Courtesy Delta Newsroom

Hyperbole? Maybe.

But I’m dead serious. If you have status with Delta, you have become accustomed to one of the best features of the SkyClub (and believe me, they have been doing a fantastic job renovating them as well – they are spacious, modern, and have pretty great food) is the specialized and experienced Delta Agents that are there to assist you with just about anything.

They have even better access to make a customer’s experience with a rebooking or other “slightly more complex than normal” change than the Diamond desk. They get stuff done. They have always been a delight to chat with because these are experienced agents that genuinely care about Delta’s customers and ensure that customers, especially elite customers, are well looked after.

For reference, I’m a Platinum Medallion. I keep trying to convince myself it’s worth obscene spend on my Delta Amex to maintain is. 

One of the primary reasons that I worked so hard last year to retain Platinum status was because of the special treatment it affords me with Platinum/Diamond desk agents and SkyClub agents.

Today, I was in a situation where I had a feeling I’d need help. I’m flying today and flying tomorrow and needed help with tomorrow’s flight.

I got to LaGuardia extra early, so I’d be in the SkyClub at T-24 to tomorrow’s flight which I wanted to SDC simply to make a connection time shorter. PLENTY of availability on the earlier flight. When my flight opened for check-in, I was not presented with an option to SDC, likely because the system wants all legs of my flights to be available for check-in. Because of the length of both the flight and the layover, that wouldn’t be for around 7 more hours – lots of time for that extra inventory and especially the good seats to go away.

I knew that the SkyClub agent could help, so I went looking for the desk. I couldn’t find it! I asked a very nice woman in a purple coat who explained that they are piloting the removal of these desks – currently at LGA and LAX. I stared at her in disbelief. “You mean they want to take away the most personalized, high touch, important part of the SkyClub?”

She explained “They’d like you to use self-serve options” like chat, which, incidentally doesn’t appear to be staffed by Delta employees or, if they are, are certainly not trained for out of the box scenarios. So, I tried calling.

I was unlucky enough to get a regular agent who was wholly unhelpful. “I can sell that to you for $529! Or you can wait 7 hours and see what happens.”


So, I went back to the purple coat woman who was awesome but had no system to work on. She acknowledged that any SkyClub agent would make the change I needed no problem and suggested I head to the general Help Desk downstairs.

These agents COULD NOT HAVE CARED LESS. Seriously. Just by walking up to them I was bothering them, then they went through the motions of Deltamatic (the automated system that all agents use, but experienced agents know how to put aside for more complex tasks) and told me they couldn’t help me.

Finally, on my walk to the gate, I tried the Platinum line again and immediately just came out and asked “Are you a Diamond Desk agent?” to which he replied he was and would be happy to help. And he did. And I’m on the earlier flight.

I know at this point I should say “thanks for reading my long one-off random tale” but that isn’t the point of me bothering to write this on board my flight.

The point is – WHAT THE HELL, DELTA?

Why would you take away such a vital touchpoint for your elite customers (and frankly for all customers) and direct them to options that aren’t trained to help and don’t care enough to even try if they could?

This is a pilot that needs to be reversed ASAP. And maybe if enough of us that are departing LGA or LAX send in feedback about what a terrible move this is, they’ll recant it much like they recanted (some) of the absolutely abysmal changes they tried to make to the Medallion program.

At the time, while they rolled back some of the qualification requirements and the like, Ed Bastian did make it clear that they “went too fast” but was clear that they want to do what they did in the end.

Delta is, by far, my favorite domestic airline (despite having the least valuable miles). I hold the Delta Reserve Amex despite it not representing very good value and I constantly battle in my head whether I should divert spend onto it from much more valuable points cards to maintain status.

But when you try to automate things that can never fully be automated, you lose touch with the customer.

All you need is the customer to FEEL like you care and FEEL special. And with the chat agents and the Help Desk agents (incidentally the Help Desk agent at LAX last month asked me what a Regional Upgrade certificate was), you are not making anyone feel anything but frustrated.

As the slogan goes – “Keep Descending”  


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  1. Fully agree with what you are sharing, a many years Diamond…a year before it was even formal… The chat is just a mess…zero help and a waste of time.


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