As customer backlash over Delta Air Lines’ loyalty program changes continues, CEO Ed Bastian has announced that modifications will be made to address the negative feedback. The controversial program overhaul, which would have made it more expensive for travelers to earn elite status and access airport lounges, faced strong criticism from customers. Bastian acknowledged that the changes may have gone too far and pledged to make adjustments in the coming weeks.
The key change in Delta’s program was the shift towards rewarding customers with elite status based on how much they spent, mirroring American Airlines’ model. This decision drew criticism from customers who prioritize frequent travel, as it would make it more difficult for them to earn elite status.
Furthermore, the program overhaul would also reduce access to Delta’s popular Sky Club lounges for many American Express cardholders. This announcement faced backlash, with customers expressing frustration over the loss of lounge access benefits.
Seizing the opportunity created by customer discontent, JetBlue Airways offered frequent-flyer status matching to attract disgruntled Delta customers. Hoping to convince frustrated travelers to switch loyalty programs, JetBlue capitalized on the dissatisfaction caused by Delta’s changes.
Additionally, Delta has been grappling with a surge in elite travelers, driven by increased post-pandemic spending. This surge has led to long lines and overcrowding at Delta’s lounges, prompting the airline to seek solutions to accommodate the growing number of customers.
In response to the criticism and overcrowding issues, Delta implemented measures last year to address lounge overcrowding. These measures included barring employees from using lounges when flying standby and raising prices for club memberships to manage the demand from regular customers.
While specific details of the modifications to Delta’s loyalty program have not been revealed at this time, CEO Ed Bastian has indicated that the airline will announce the updated changes in the following weeks. This suggests that Delta is taking customer feedback into account and actively working towards improving its loyalty program.
As the situation continues to develop, it remains to be seen how Delta’s loyalty program adjustments will be received by customers and whether they will effectively address the concerns raised by frequent travelers.
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