Delta is now threatening to ban SkyMiles members who threaten and/or insult Delta employees, and much more.
Delta SkyMiles could ban abusive passengers
The Delta SkyMiles program rules have just been updated in a noteworthy way. SkyMiles members can now be banned from the frequent flyer program for documented abusive behavior towards Delta employees.
Specifically, the SkyMiles program is threatening to ban members if they insult or threaten Delta employees, if they use excessive obscene or profane language directed at Delta employees, and/or if they intentionally destruct Delta property.
Here’s what has been added to the terms:
Delta may terminate your SkyMiles membership, including any Medallion Status, on the basis of documented abusive behavior.
Abusive behavior means behavior that is directed at a Delta Employee or ambassador, during travel or interactions with Delta’s Reservations or Customer Care personnel, where the passenger’s conduct is disorderly, abusive or violent, including without limitation:
- Personal threats toward a Delta employee or ambassador;
- Excessive/repeated obscene or profane language directed toward a Delta employee or ambassador;
- Insults or slurs directed toward a Delta employee or ambassador; or
- Intentional destruction of Delta property.
This update isn’t too surprising
It goes without saying that passenger behavior during the pandemic has gotten significantly worse, between mask compliance issues, political differences, and people just generally being on edge.
It has gotten so bad that at the beginning of 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration introduced a zero-tolerance policy, whereby passengers can face jail time or up to a $35,000 fine for misbehaving on a flight.
Beyond new federal regulations, we’ve seen airlines take matters into their own hands, and arguably Delta has been at the forefront of that. Also earlier this year, Delta threatened rude passengers with lifetime bans. As Delta CEO Ed Bastian described this in a memo to employees:
“Please know that respect and civility to others on our planes, at our airports, in our workplaces, and in our society — even when we have differences of opinion — have always been a requirement for our people and our customers. Those who refuse to display basic civility to our people or their fellow travelers are not welcome on Delta. Their actions will not be tolerated, and they will not have the privilege of flying our airline ever again.”
What makes this latest policy different?
- The previous update was for banning passengers from the airline, while this update is for banning members from the frequent flyer program
- The previous update applied to acting poorly towards both employees and fellow travelers, while this update applies exclusively to acting poorly towards employees
Ultimately this seems like a reasonable measure for the airline to introduce, and it’s a good way for Delta to stand up for its employees, given how terrible some people are. Whether or not any members will actually be banned for this reason remains to be seen.
I’d consider this to be more reasonable than the recent British Airways Executive Club update, which essentially gives the airline the right to ban passengers from the program for criticizing the airline.
Earlier this year Delta started to threaten to ban passengers from the airline if they misbehaved towards employees, and now the airline is threatening to ban members from the SkyMiles program for similar behavior.
This includes those who threaten employees, use profanity towards them, or insult them, as well as anyone who intentionally destruct Delta property.
What do you make of Delta’s SkyMiles updates?