Some Delta Air Lines flight attendants are apparently getting into the credit card commission hustle during flights.
(Who do they think they are — bloggers?! 😉 )
Delta: The Last of Dying Breed?
“It seems Delta’s run as the last US carrier without inflight credit card pitches is over,” FlyerTalk member DLASflyer lamented on Monday. “Early morning MSP-SLC flight today FA comes on with an ‘exclusive inflight offer’ for Amex cards. What a shame. He seemed to be reading a company script. Guess this is how Delta gets to $10 billion in renumeration… [He was waving] cards in people’s faces after his announcement. Disappointing but not surprising.”
To be clear, this isn’t the script we hear shortly after takeoff on Delta flights when flight attendants say something like, “You can earn back 20% on inflight purchases when you pay with your Delta SkyMiles American Express Card…”
Think something like this:
We’re talking about flight attendants taking it upon themselves to promote the Delta SkyMiles Amexes — and earn a commission from any successful applications.
The airline has something called Delta Uplift (“Promote the Cards. Get Paid.”), a program available to all employees. Someone familiar with the program said it’s open to all mainline Delta employees. Participants are paid either in cash or miles. (Fun tidbit: we hear the folks based out of Salt Lake City are Delta’s top credit card earners.)
We’re told employees wishing to participate in Delta Uplift must undergo training and pass a test before they’re eligible to earn referral commissions. (Getting the OK to earn credit card commissions isn’t necessarily easy — trust us.) They also are supposed to use a specific script when giving verbal hard sells.
But this isn’t anything new.
Flyer0889 (who sounds like they might be a Delta flight attendant) posted, “We’ve always had this announcement and incentive to push the credit cards. Very very few of us actually do though. I can literally count on one hand the number of times a FA has offered them on the flights I’ve worked and most of them were the same FA.”
The people with whom I spoke confirmed about as much. One also mentioned that only one Delta Amex pitch was made during their past four flights in recent weeks.
Here’s what I find interesting: Delta seems to actively encourage their employees to pitch the airline’s cobranded credit cards — but doesn’t allow those same people to access Sky Clubs when they fly on non-revenue tickets. I understand the employees receive rewards for each successful referral (someone who applies using an employee’s referral and is approved for the card). But that’s easier said than done.
Should People Be Wound Up About the Pitchers?
I can’t point fingers at most people trying to make a few extra bucks on credit card commissions. (There’s one blogger who regularly bashes bloggers who have credit card affiliate relationships — yet doesn’t see the ironic chutzpah of then begging readers to use his credit card affiliate links. Oh, well.)
Look at it this way: flight attendants who pitch credit cards have their target audience right in front of them: travelers on flights who might be talked into applying for the airline’s credit card.
When crews make cabin announcements, your inflight entertainment (the seatback monitor in front of you and audio) cuts out until the announcement ends. You may not have a choice but to listen to their spiel.
On the other hand, I think we’ve all seen people roll their eyes or sigh whenever a cabin announcement is made. Like, there could be an engine fire and smoke filling the cabin. People would be furious with the pilot who interrupted their 7,923th screening of The Notebook.
You know it’s true.
So, I imagine their would-be captivated audiences might feel like they’re being held captive.
Given that Delta Uplift (or some equivalent) has been around for a while but seemingly not often utilized, I doubt credit card pitches will be made on every Delta flight from now on.
I wonder if we don’t hear more Delta Amex pitches on flights because in-person sales work can be difficult. I once held a job in sales (long story). Getting on the phone or going to sites was difficult. Sales hustles aren’t for everyone — even when you have a script.
It looks like we travel points-and-miles bloggers might have new competition. 🙂
Some Delta flight attendants seem to be active in the credit card side hustle.
I don’t particularly enjoy inflight credit card pitches disrupting my entertainment. But, hey, part of my income depends on credit card commissions. So, I can’t really get too upset.
What do you think about all this? If you work for an airline and have a similar program, we’d love to hear about it.
Please tell us in the below Comments section!
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