Archive for the Delta Category

Free 1,000 Delta Skymiles for mobile check-in

Posted in Airlines, Delta, Miles, Promotion with tags , , , on July 3, 2011 by getgowing

All you need is a smartphone and a Delta flight, and you’re pretty much set.  Just register for this promotion here, and have a flight scheduled between June 30 – September 7.  Use the Delta mobile-app to check-in to you flight, and you should be ready to go with an extra 1,000 bonus miles!  Here are the official terms & conditions from the registration site:

Terms & Conditions

Eligibility: To participate in this offer, SkyMiles members must register online between June 30 and September 7, 2011. To earn bonus miles, promotional registration is required for each qualified SkyMiles member. Members must register for this offer before checking in through the Fly Delta app for a Delta marketed and operated flight between June 30 and September 7, 2011.

Bonus Offer: Check in through the Fly Delta app for a Delta marketed and operated flight between June 30 and September 7, 2011, and earn 1,000 miles. One bonus per member. Must enroll in this promotion prior to check-in. Codeshare flights operated by carriers other than Delta are excluded from this offer.

Travel Period: Check in for travel must be between June 30 and September 7, 2011.

Promotional Reference Code: Please refer Delta customer service representative to 97061724.

Award Travel: Taxes and fees for Award Travel are the responsibility of the passenger and must be paid at the time the ticket is booked. Award Travel seats are limited and may not be available on all flights or in all markets.

 

If you are not comfortable with using just a electronic boarding pass, or you airport is not equipped with eboarding pass scanners, you can still use this method to check in, then use your regular computer to print out your boarding passes, or get another copy at a kiosk at the airport.  Every mile counts!

(I know some of you probably already know about this….I’ve been a little busy.  Sorry!)

Delta Airlines Atlanta to Frankfurt (ATL-FRA), June 2011

Posted in Airline Lounge, Airlines, Delta, Trip Report with tags , , , , , , on June 30, 2011 by getgowing

This is the 2nd installment of my second almost-’round-the-world trip for 2011.  Here are some previous introductory posts, trip reports, and live posts during my travels:

 
 
Delta Airlines
Flight #14
Atlanta (ATL) – Frankfurt (FRA)
June 14, 2011
Departure: 16:42 (scheduled 16:30)
Arrival:  07:48 (scheduled 07:40)
Duration: 9’06”
Aircraft: Boeing 767-400ER
Aircraft Registration: N833MH
Seat: 18A (Window, Economy Comfort)
Miles flown on this trip including this flight: 5,359

Check-in

Just connecting from EWR, so was already checked in.

Lounges

As usual, to take advantage of the current American Express promotion (expiring on June 30, 2011) I did the ATL Delta SkyClub tour.  My previous flight was gated at Terminal A, so my order was the 2 lounges in Terminal A, the 1 lounge in Terminal T, the 2 lounges in Terminal B, the 1 lounge in Terminal C, and finally the 2 lounges in Terminal E.  Since my gate was in Terminal E, I made the lounge closer to the TGI Fridays my home after my lounge run.

When I was approaching the first Terminal E lounge (closest to Fridays) there was a Delta agent standing there directing all incomers to use the other lounge around the corner.  Weird I thought.  After checking in to the farther lounge, the agent just gave me a handful of 300 bonus point certificates (which I previously mentioned here)…which is how I ended up with 13 certificates when there are only 8 lounges in Atlanta.  Sweet.  Free points.  Always good.

This lounge is mostly one large open room, but it has the best view in ATL if you are interested in looking at a wide-body aircraft up close.

The nose of the plane is so close the windows, if they could open, you could almost reach out and touch it.  I stayed here for a little bit, had some more Sweetwater 420 Pale Ale, crackers, and cheese, then went to my gate to make sure I was first in line if they needed any volunteers.  My gate was E4.  The gates are farther apart in the E terminal because this is where most of the international flights board, and so there needs to be more waiting area space for the increased passenger capacities.  From the farther lounge out to gate E4, it must have taken a good 5-6 minutes.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the distance I walked was at least 1/4-1/2 a mile.  I thought I would never get there.  I arrived about 2 hours before the flight was scheduled to take off, and there was nobody working the gate yet.  There were only a few passengers waiting.  After about 10 minutes somebody came to start setting up to “open” the flight to gate control.   Before coming to the airport, I did some research on available inventory for the flight, and it looked promising, though not guaranteed, that they may need volunteers.  She took note and remembered me if she needed anybody.  As there was still an hour before boarding, I made my way back to the lounges to wait in comfort….even if it did require another long round trip walk.

This time, the closer lounge was available, so I made my final check-in for my last 300 point certificate.  Later, I found out from my seatmate on the plane that there was a guy that kinda went a little crazy, or needed some medical assistance, and had to be escorted out.  So I assume that’s why they weren’t letting anybody else in temporarily.  This lounge is a bit smaller that the other E lounge, but it does have showers available.  For about 45 minutes I again enjoyed my last Sweetwater 420 PA for a few months.

Boarding

I left the lounge a little early just in case they needed me and they needed time to process everything.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t oversold enough to need any volunteers.

Our Boeing 767-400ER from the gate waiting area

After the passengers that needed assistance, families, and BusinessElite passengers, I queued up and took my seat.  (For the record books, this flight number, DL 14, is the lowest flight number I’ve taken to date)

Seat

On this flight I would be getting to try out the new Economy Comfort seats that officially rolled out for purchase June 1st.  For a few weeks prior however, they were already installed in some aircraft and able to be used and selected for free by all Medallions.  Now, only Platinum and Diamond Medallions can select them for free.  Golds get them at 50% off, Silvers at 25% off.  And General Members pay full price.  The main perks of Economy Comfort are 4″ of extra leg room, 50% more recline, free spirits (beer and wine are already complimentary), and being able to board earlier and not have to fight for overhead space.

Boeing 767-400ER Standard Economy legroom

Boeing 767-400ER Economy Comfort legroom (not a picture of my actual seat)

The legroom difference might not look like much (if you click on each photo, you’ll get a better view of the difference), but its definitely noticeable enough where I don’t have any worry about my knees when the person in front of me fully reclines.  I didn’t take my laptop out but I would still be watchful if I had my computer on the tray table and the person starts to recline.  The seat may still hit the top of your screen.  I thought I took pictures of the differences in recline, but I either lost them or didn’t take them.  On my flights home, I have Economy Comfort seats again so I’ll be sure to snap pics then.  This plane also had power ports (AC & USB) for every seat in Economy Comfort.  It seems these seats require a little more oomph when trying to recline versus regular seats.  Just don’t be afraid to push a little harder while holding down that silver button.  Of course as a courtesy give the person behind you warning when you are reclining.

This aircraft has power ports for the entire forward section of economy, not just Economy Comfort.  Both ports are located underneath the seats, in the center (at least for the double seating to the outside of the aisles).

My seatmate's ports were slightly broken when we found it. Mine was the lighted up one on the right.

On this aircraft, economy also has personal entertainment on each seat headrest.  Delta is working on reconfiguring their planes so that all their long haul flights have individual in-flight entertainment in economy.  In the meantime, you may want to avoid flying their Boeing 747-400s to Asia as they still use projector screens for economy.

Service

Service started a little later than expected, since there was some rough wind.  Nothing special, standard service….drinks first, then the choice of meal.  I chose the chicken with some mashed potatoes.  I forget what the other meal was.

There was a small salad in the plastic container. I'll usually never turn down free food....the chicken tasted marginally better than it looks in the picture

As most eastbound flights to Europe are red-eyes, service slowed to allow for sleep soon after dinner.  I would have appreciated a refill on my red wine, but I suppose I should have used the call button if I really wanted it.

When I got to my seat, I struck up a conversation with my seatmate, Thommy.  He was a hairdresser who owned his own salon somewhere in Frankfurt.  Thommy was heading home from Monterrey after giving a clinic to teachers who teach hairdressing.  Pretty cool, I thought.  I inquired some more, and he says he does this all over the world, a few times a year.  The economy has scaled back his traveling, but he still goes out every once in a while.  Much of his travel was because he is a free-lancer/consultant with a major hair product brand.  He also said he’s even competed and won in international hairdressing competitions, like when the World Cup was in Osaka.  I didn’t even know there was a World Cup for hairdressing.  Through our conversation I also learned that there is the World Championships for hairdressing (I don’t know the actual names of these events) and that one of them are really artistic cuts and styles which you would not usually see on the street, and the other is for more “normal” styles.  Anyway, we ended up sharing information and said that when I’m around in Frankfurt he would show me around a bit and get some good German food.  (I know what might be on some of your minds…..he has a wife and an 11 yr old daughter)

I managed to get about a good 5 hrs or so of sleep before breakfast came around.  I don’t know how, but I forgot to take pictures or write down what the choices were, too.  Sorry.  Wasn’t exceedingly good or bad if I don’t remember anything about it.  The one really REALLY annoying thing that does stand out was whenever drinks were being handed out, one of the stewardesses was in charge of the coffee, tea, or water.  She would walk up and down the aisles robotically saying “Coffe tea water!”  (If you’ve ever been to the boardwalk in Wildwood, NJ, you know how annoying the recorded message “Watch the tram car please” can get.  This was WAYYY worse, and it wasn’t recorded)

Deplaning

Getting off the plane was fairly quick, though I took my time a bit.  Thommy were still engaged in conversation all the way through from when we woke up all the way to when the jetbridge pulled up.  Even though I took a few extra minutes getting off the plane, he waited just after the jetway for me.  We continued to talk and he gave me suggestions on where I should go in Frankfurt for my 6 hour layover.  Once we got to immigration, we separated into our respective EU / non-EU passport lines.  Similar to Amsterdam, you do not need to fill out a landing card when flying into Frankfurt.  I got my stamp, and was funneled into the baggage claim area.  I went to an agent to make sure my bag was on this flight and not stranded in Atlanta somewhere, then I was off to explore Frankfurt!

Go to Get Gowing on Facebook to see more photos on this segment of my trip.

Delta Airlines Newark to Atlanta (EWR-ATL), June 2011

Posted in Airline Lounge, Airlines, Delta, Trip Report with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2011 by getgowing

This is my first installment in a multi part series about my summer trip through various cities in Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Austria, and the Netherlands.

Delta Airlines
Flight #2343
Newark (EWR) – Atlanta (ATL)
June 14, 2011
Departure: 10:45 (scheduled 10:30)
Arrival:  12:35 (scheduled 12:42)
Duration: 1’50”
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas MD-88
Aircraft Registration: N934DL
Seat: 4D (Window, First Class)
 

Check-in

I have never encountered much of a wait whenever checking in at Newark.  Today was no different.  Plenty of agents and not that many people.

Newark check-in

Newark Sky Priority check-in

When I got there, the Sky Priority line had nobody in it (I took the picture after I checked my bags).  Again as I had my backpack checked, I checked the luggage tag since I knew there were several connections (EWR-ATL-FRA-SVO-NRT) the tag could be printed incorrectly and my bag could end up somewhere else.  Not that this would be a problem since I took out that insurance policy, but still, a good practice.  I think with that many connections, the agent needs to manually make a bag tag instead of it being automatic with the computer, not quite sure.  Just took a couple extra minutes then I was on my way to the lounge.

On this flight, because of the debacle that 14 active Army soldiers went through because of Delta (see THIS video) and that I wanted to support our troops (not to mention it was Flag Day), I was going to trade my upgraded First Class seat to anybody I saw in uniform that was on active orders.  I had plenty of time in Atlanta, so I wasn’t in a rush to get to my next flight.  All I had to do was lounge hop to collect my American Express Membership Rewards 300 point bonus certificates which takes about an hour, and I had more than 3 at the airport.  Luckily I did find somebody who was on orders flying on my same flight.  You can see his back at the counter on the Sky Priority picture above.  I was even willing to guest him and his fiance into the lounge with me.  He didn’t want to accept the offer.  Not sure why, but he didn’t seem interested.  I guess he felt uncomfortable?  I mean, I guess its a little weird having a stranger come up to you and offering to trade a first class seat for an economy seat…AND getting into the lounge.  (Though I’m not even sure if he knew what’s inside the lounge).  Oh well.  Maybe he’ll change his mind at the gate.

Lounge

Newark Delta Sky Club.  Its a small lounge, but it has everything I need.  Fast internet, snacks (unfortunately, most Delta SkyClubs don’t stock any hot food choices), nicely stocked bar with a couple beers on tap, plenty of outlets, and out of all my visits I have yet to see the place so packed that I couldn’t find a seat.  It was less than a quarter full when I was there.  Of course I got a 300 point American Express certificate for checking in with my American Express Platinum card.

Entrance is between security and all the Delta gates.

Fairly empty lounge

Tables against the windows

GREAT view of other gates and the runway.

Big fig newtons, mini muffins, bagels, Oatmeal

The bar area

One notable thing happened while in the lounge.  As I was walking in, there were 2 delivery men bringing several cases of Heineken into the lounge.  After checking-in, I end up having a conversation with the older delivery man (probably early 50s) as he was taking a coffee break before his last delivery stop.  We probably had a 10-15 minute conversation about traveling and how one time he got to travel in business class for free to Hawaii because a friend used to work for Continental.  I later tell him that I was going to Japan, and he was amazed.  That he would love to go see Japan one day and that its been a dream of his to go.  It didn’t even phase me when I said “Japan”.  Just 3 years ago, if somebody asked me where I was going and I said some far international destination, inside I felt awesome….special.  Like it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit _______ , and I was about to do it.  Now, in just a couple years, a list of far destinations can roll off my tongue like I’m just getting in my car and going down the New Jersey Turnpike.  His conversation brought me back in check with reality.

Boarding

When I got there, they were already boarding Zone 2.  (The order of boarding with Delta is usually passengers that need assistance & those traveling with small children, the premium cabin, then Zones 1 through 4)  I again saw the soldier in queue to board, and gave him the same offer, to change seats when we get on the plane.  He again declined.  Oh well.  I tried.  I walked ahead to the front through the priority boarding lane and got on the plane.

Just after the boarding pass scanners at the top of the jetway, there were two TSA agents waiting and just as I passed, the next girl in line was asked to do a “random screening” prior to boarding.  I haven’t seen this before, especially without any real set up.  Just two agents standing there, no table, no nothing.

The first class cabin was full, and I was the last one to take my seat.  Within 3 minutes, I was greeted by the stewardess and offered a drink.  I chose OJ.  On Delta, there is usually a small bottle of Dasani waiting for you at your seat.  I’m not sure why, but we pushed back a few minutes late.  The captain said he would do what he could to make up the time in the air.

Seat

This was a standard domestic first class seat.  Had no AC or USB power outlets, or personal entertainment systems, but it was only a 2 hour flight.  I could deal without those.  And Delta still provides a mini pillow and a small blanket in First Class.  Though I usually just stick them in the overhead since most of my domestic flights are less than 2.5 hours.

Plenty of knee and leg room, at least for a 2 hour flight.

Service

Even though this flight is under the minimum mileage for serving a meal in First Class, they still do so because their competition (Continental) on this same route offers their First Class passengers meals still.  But Delta only offers it when the flights occur at meal time.  I know that a few flights that leave in the early afternoon only get a snack basket passed around to pick from.  We only had one meal choice, which was a chicken sandwich and a bowl of fresh fruit.

Early lunch with a Bloody Mary

I’ve never had a Bloody Mary before, so I figured why not try one when I don’t have to pay extra for it?  I’m not sure if this was just a bad mix, or because I was 35,000 feet up, but I don’t think I’ll ever get a Bloody Mary again.  It was difficult for me to finish it, but I felt bad sending a full drink back.

After a quick nap, I woke up to our initial approach to Atlanta.

Deplaning

There weren’t any problems when we arrived in ATL.  No long wait for a gate, no wait for a jetway operator.  Since I was in the last row of First Class, my seatmate even held up traffic so I could get my bag and deplane.  How nice of him.  We arrived in Terminal A and I was ready to begin my tour of all 8 Atlanta Skyclubs to rake in the American Express points.

Calling Delta Customer Service

Posted in Delta, Miles, Travel Tips, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 24, 2011 by getgowing

Sorry I haven’t been updating any trip reports (since I now have two Asia trips pending).  I am here in Japan to rehearse with the Tenrikyo Aimachi Marching Band.  We are performing in exhibition at the Basel Tattoo in Basel, Switzerland, in mid-July.  I’ve been busy catching up learning my positions and music.  But once those are learned, be assured I’ll be putting up all my pending posts!

Part of my itinerary coming to Japan was FRA-SVO-NRT (Frankfurt-Moscow-Tokyo Narita) on Aeroflot, a SkyTeam partner with Delta.  Now when I purchased the tickets, I made sure to purchase a high enough fare class so that I would earn 100% MQMs (Medallion Qualifying Miles – miles solely for gaining status with the airline) instead of 75% or 25% with cheaper fares.  Well apparently in the past week or so, Delta changed the earnings so that my fare classes would only earn 75% instead of the full 100%.  I wrote an email (through their comments/complaints section on their website) stating my disapproval of this, and their response was that I was given 100% MQMs, though the amount definitely wasn’t 100%.  SVO-NRT is about 4675 miles, and I was only given 3,600 miles.  Clearly not 100%.  After two phone calls to Delta, and one email complaint about this, I was given full credit of these miles.

Anyway, the point I was going to make is that if you are calling Delta, or perhaps any other phone customer service that is 24 hours, you may have better luck with agents that are more cooperative and helpful late at night, rather than during normal calling hours.  Many seem to not worry as much about their call handling time and are just helpful.  However, I think these are the times where there are also a handful of agents that are still new to the job, so they don’t encounter as much volume in their training process.  But at least late at night, your wait times will be considerably less.  Your mileage may vary.

5 airports, 4 planes, 3 trains, 2 continents away from home, 1 long-haul bus

Posted in Aeroflot, Airlines, Delta with tags , , , , , , on June 16, 2011 by getgowing

I finally made it to my destination in Handa City, Japan.  I will be writing up a full report of all my travels but I’ll discuss some highlights that I can’t wait to talk about.

Besides the free points I already told you about on my previous post, I sat next to a German guy from Frankfurt was heading home after a few days in Monterrey.  He is a hairdresser, but also he does clinics around the world.  This time, he was teaching other hairdressing teachers how to teach cutting hair.  Pretty cool way to travel.  But we kept talking, and he said that when I am back in town in July, he’ll show me around, get some beer and schnitzel or whatever, and just have a good time.  (Has a wife and 11 year old daughter, by the way.)  Sweet.  Trips are always better when you have a local to guide you around.

I was flying from FRA-NRT with a layover in SVO.  Originally, the connection was only 55 minutes, if everything was on time.  But my flight to SVO was told to hold because of VIP usage of the airport.  So now the 55 minutes is down to 40, in an airport I’m unfamiliar with.  Great.  That airline only flies SVO-NRT once a day, so if I miss it, I’m screwed.  As we are deplaning, they decide to use two jetways, one for business class, and one for economy (I was in economy on this trip).  Because it took so long, the economy jetway took an additional 5 minutes out of my layover.  I strapped my backpack down as much as it could, and held on to my duffel tightly, and ran like I had a herd of bulls chasing me through the terminal.  Life or Death.  That’s what was going through my mind.  Sprinting, I had to stop at the transfer desk and get my boarding pass validated or something, then had to go through security AGAIN.  Thankfully, there was nobody on line, and the longest part of security was taking off and putting my belt back on.  I again started running, as luck would have it, my gate was at the very end of the terminal.  At least I didn’t have to change terminals, or else I probably wouldn’t have made it.  I make it to the gate, with 20 minutes to spare!  Needless to say, I was dripping in sweat when I was in line to board.

The silver lining in all this running, was that I knew the shorter the connection, the less likely my bag would be waiting for me at my destination.  While most people despise the airlines for delayed/lost luggage, my new travel backpack no less, I was pushing for it to happen.  I knew that my connection was short to begin with, and Aeroflot is usually delayed, so I took out a separate insurance policy for $50 saying if my bags are delayed 3 hrs or more, I can file a claim and spend up to $500 to rectify the situation.

Lo and behold, my bag wasn’t at Tokyo.  I basically paid $50 to get $450 worth of clothes.  (The day before I left, I was shopping for a new pair of sneakers, but held off buying partly knowing I would probably be able to benefit from this insurance claim.)  I already do some ethically questionable things in the name of miles or gaming the system, but this situation is clearly their fault.  If I were the insurance underwriter, I would have checked the insured’s itinerary before insuring.  I say its their fault for insuring me.  Whatever.  Daddy needs a new pair of shoes.

Not only do I now get to go on a shopping spree, but my commuting from Tokyo Narita airport to Handa City via express train, subway, long-haul bus, and local train was made a whole lot lighter not having a 40lbs. backpack on my back.  Aeroflot even said they would deliver it.  Almost free money, and my bag shipped to my destination without me carrying it.  What more could I ask for?

(I’m actually going to see if its possible to double dip.  Maybe Aeroflot has compensation available for delayed baggage, too.  I guess I can ask for more.  This would definitely be morally questionable, and I might not do it even if I can.)

More pics and stories to come soon!

Delta changes baggage fees, unannounced. Shame them.

Posted in Airlines, Delta with tags , , , , , on June 6, 2011 by getgowing

Amazing.  When its an issue that is pro-consumer, Delta tells the world through every outlet imaginable.  When it raises fees and takes more money out of YOUR pocket, you never hear anything until you’re at the airport, or online checking in, when its already too late.

I haven’t had to deal with baggage fees in a long time, but this still makes me angry.  According to Delta.com, you will incur the fee changes if you purchased your ticket June 1, 2011 or later.  The old rules still remain if it was before then, no matter when your travel is.

The main change is the fee for travel between the US and:

  • US (domestic flights) + US Virgin Islands + Puerto Rico
  • Caribbean
  • Europe & Canada

Or if you are flying wholly between Europe and India.

The following chart will only pertain to you if you DO NOT have any status with Delta, Alaska Airlines, a Sky Team airline, or if you DO NOT have a Delta Skymiles American Express credit card.

There are also some issues for Medallions, too.  The new rules are still a little confusing, especially for the elite ranks, but from what I can tell:

  • Previously, if a Medallion has an itinerary wholly in economy (did not get confirmed upgrade before the gate), we were allowed to check up to 70 lbs.
  • Currently, if wholly in economy, we are only allowed up to 50 lbs., including itineraries to Europe.

I personally think that sucks, especially since I have a long trip coming up, with a ticket to Europe.  Sometimes I am between 55-60 lbs., and its not something I want to worry about nor pay for.  But just like Delta didn’t really tell the public, they probably didn’t tell their employees either.  I’m sure the terminal agents will be just as confused as the Medallions regarding weight limits for their luggage.

Finding Delta Promotions

Posted in Airlines, Delta, Promotion, Travel Tips with tags , , , on June 1, 2011 by getgowing

Promotions are one of the main ways to rake in big miles for your next big trip to Asia in business class.  Some promotions even help attain elite status with the airline.  Delta.com recently added a new feature so you don’t have to miss out on any new promotions.

First, log in to your account on Delta.com  Then follow these series of clicks:

  1. Skymiles
  2. Manage My Account
  3. View Your Skymiles Promotion
  4. View Eligible Promotions

Log in First! Then click Skymiles

2. Manage My Account

3. View Your Skymiles Promotions

4. View Eligible Promotions

Voila!  When I did it, I had two new promotions that I was eligible for, though I probably won’t do the qualifying flights to take advantage of them.  Hope this can help you grow your Skymiles account to take that trip of a lifetime.

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