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Hi there Lucky,
I know you’re an American fan boy, but have really recognized Delta when it’s due – And one thing I’ve noticed on the travel blogs on boarding area is what seems to be all-out war against Delta’s Skymiles program and Medallion program changes.
In particular, what I noticed is that the hate doesn’t also extend to United – and they basically just copy every move Delta makes. It this because it’s universally recognized that United is the worst and that Delta has such a solid operation and had such a lucrative Skymiles program?
I’m a Delta loyalist – being the recipient of the Gift of Gold Choice Award for two years in a row, I’ve definitely reaped the benefits being upgraded on at least one segment of every trip I’ve taken in the last two years – but all the negativity around Delta and my fear that I’m putting miles into a program that make not be able to get me as much as it used to (very true, as Rene at Delta Points points out).
My question here, really does revolve around the seeming disproportionate amount of attention on Delta and not equally on United… What’s going on?!
I’d say some of the hate that Delta gets is pretty fair, while some is overblown. Where you fall likely depends on what you want to do with their program. United has copied a number of things on the earning and status side but has not made the changes that Delta has made on the redemption side. It has also had a really good award calendar for a long time and generous routing rules which have helped create a reservoir of good will. What Delta has done with hiding award charts has, IMO, significantly changed the unspoken contract between flyers and award programs and it is a change that I hope no one copies.
I think that United is so universally recognized at being terrible that no one even puts forth an effort to openly hate them anymore. Everyone knows United is the “worst airline” of the big 3. That hasn’t been argued in years and the amount of United loyalists you find are very few and far between. Hating Delta is more polarizing. Yeah, United copied every change Delta did, but DELTA is the one initiating negative industry changes and weak copy-cats like United follow along. When Delta does something that is negative in a loyal customer’s eyes, they’re still defended because, operationally, they’re the best of the worst. It’s because of that operational solidity that grants them the fierce love of some, but its the shady tactics they apply with their loyalty program that grants them the disdain of everyone else.