A passenger advocacy group, FlyersrRights.org, is accusing Delta Air Lines of shaming travelers into paying for upgrades after they have bought a plane ticket.
“What’s going on is Delta’s giving passengers a heads up,” Conde Nast Traveler’s consumer news editor Paul Brady explained to CBS News. “They’re saying, ‘If you buy our cheapest ticket, you’re not going to get these certain things, whether it’s a seat assignment, preferential treatment, baggage allowances.’”
But flyersrights.org president Paul Hudson says that the message the airline flashes on the screen when you’re booking the cheapest ticket equates to shaming. The airline warns that you’ll be last to board your flight and the last to find overhead-bin space. You won’t get a seat assignment until after check-in. There are no refunds, no ticket changes.
A screen shot of Delta’s warning. (Photo: Delta.com)
These rules are a result of Delta’s new five tiers of service, which was announced in December, the lowest level of which has been compared to “economy minus.”
Conde Nast Traveler’s Brady thinks it’s not all bad: “It’s part of a bigger overall industry trend, what we call ‘unbundling.’ The airlines are taking out all of those things that used to be free and charging extra for them. The good news is that airlines are being more transparent about what you get and what your fare actually covers.”
A Delta Air Lines jet takes off from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Va. (Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
Delta spokesman Anthony Black told the Los Angeles Times that the airline is not shaming, but rather, trying “to make people aware of what they are buying.”
Regardless, FlyersRights.org’s Hudson claims the practice is really upselling and compares it to how car dealers pressure buyers to shell out for upgrades on cars. “If it works, other airlines will likely try to follow,” Hudson told the Los Angeles Times.
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