…and the winners of the 2014 Culinary Travel Awards are Emirates, Delta, Etihad, Singapore, and Oman air. Emirates took home the “Experts’ Choice” award, Oman received the “Readers’ Choice” award, and Delta, Etihad, and Singapore received the “Outstanding” awards. From the press release:

Emirates – Experts’ Chocie

For the second year in a row, we have been dazzled by the quality of food and service enjoyed on Emirates. It’s always a pleasure starting and ending a trip with an airline that’s dedicated to making a journey’s dining painless, memorable, and relaxing. Seven-course meals are served on Royal Doulton fine bone china, alongside an extensive range of vintage wines. Award-winning chefs have created menus that are not only exquisite but also healthy, placing a huge emphasis on dishes that are low in fat, salt, and added sugar. During a long trip, there is nothing better than freshening up with a shower (there are two onboard) before enjoying delicacies such as wild Iranian caviar with sour cream and blinis or lamb noisette with roasted seasonal vegetables and creamy mashed potatoes, while sipping champagne in a spacious and private first-class suite. Our expert panel loves being able to stretch their legs and socialize in the business and first-class lounges with a traditional Arabic meze and cocktails, or relax and find comfort with a fresh espresso and craquelin—an airy and light hazelnut cake covered with rich chocolate ganache. Dining in this kind of impeccable luxury is comparable to dining in any gourmet restaurant or five-star hotel we’ve encountered the world over. We can’t help but appreciate the attention to detail on every aspect of a flight with Emirates, making the travel just as memorable as the destination itself.

Oman Air – Readers’ Choice

The traditional Arabic greeting of dates and coffee is just the beginning of a dining service that focuses on the essential details that make a difference at 40,000 feet. It certainly set the right mood for our readers, who selected Oman Air’s first and business class dining as their favorite in 2014. Consider the cabins: small and intimate, making meal service feel more like a private catered affair. Bespoke full-size china and glassware, elegant cutlery, and a focus on seasonal ingredients turn the meal into something so much more than airline fare. Oman plans the lavishness of its meals based on the length of the flights, making the daily trip from London to Muscat a particular favorite among our readers: A substantial dinner menu is one of the rewards, starting with a caviar and champagne service (Dom Pérignon) followed by several canapés, appetizers such as a winter pumpkin-and-apple soup, and entrées along the lines of poached fillet of beef, Loch Fyne salmon, pan-fried sea bass with cherry tomato, herb, and olive salsa, and saffron risotto with grilled asparagus. Diners also have the option of a wonderful Arabic meze with traditional kibbeh, tabbouleh, spinach fatayer, olives, and labneh with fresh mint, followed by the reader favorite, “Arabian Festival Combination Dish”—king prawn kebab, steamed chickpea rice with pine nuts, and seasoned okra. After dessert (chocolate mousse gâteau or baklava), guests indulge in a cheese plate served with Croft vintage port. If all this delicious decadence is not enough, look forward to waking up well-rested to the scent of freshly brewed coffee and a bowl of Bircher muesli, yogurt, and fresh fruit—a light repast before landing.

Check out the full list of 2014 Culinary Travel Award winners here.

Related

Emirates A380 First Class Shower06

Want a flight on Emirates? Consider Juicy Miles for all your award booking needs.

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Earlier this week, we found out that Delta was shadily planning on eliminating round-the-world (RTW) award redemptions without any real communication to their members. It’s a shame as RTW awards can be considered one of the best tools in a frequent flier’s arsenal..if you know how to use them properly and maximize their value.

At Juicy Miles, we receive round-the-world requests most often for redemptions using American, Delta, and United miles. Chris, one of our Juicy Miles bookers and resident SkyMiles expert, shares his guide to booking those final RTW awards.

Even with the devaluation of low level business class to Asia, Europe, and Australia for travel after June 1st, 2014, the price of the RTW award in business class remains unchanged at 280,000 SkyMiles (coach is 180,000 SkyMiles). You can find Delta’s official page for RTW awards here. We consider this one of the remaining sweet spots (for a few weeks anyway) in Delta’s award portfolio.

Destination Planning & Routing

  • You are allowed between 3-6 stopovers/open jaws on your award. Any less than 3 or more than 6 is considered an invalid award. At most, 3 stops are allowed on any one continent.
  • You must cross both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
  • All destinations must be in longitudinal order traveling in one direction; East or West. Delta calculates a valid award by taking the longitude reading of each stopover city and then ensures they are all in one direction. For example, if traveling east and you want to travel to London, Rome, and Amsterdam, you would have to fly to them in this order: London, Amsterdam, Rome. If you stopped in Rome before Amsterdam, that would be backtracking. For those who enjoy the flying experience, a lot of value can be extracted since there is no restriction on how far North or South the order of cities must be. Starting in Santiago to London to Johannesburg to Moscow to Singapore to Tokyo to Sydney would be valid, and all would require long-haul 9+ hours of flying between each.
  • For an open jaw, the starting and ending points must be in the direction of travel. For example, traveling east, if you wanted an open jaw between London and Amsterdam, you must fly into London and out of Amsterdam. The reverse would not be allowed on an eastward itinerary.

Once you have your list of destinations in the right order, its time to start figuring out your routing. Delta has a list of available partners on their website for regular awards.

Unfortunately, RTW awards cannot use all Delta partners; those that are not allowed as of this entry (October 15, 2013 – UPDATED 5/7/14) have been crossed out in our list below (Star Alliance / OneWorld it is not ;-)).

Delta Air Lines
Aeroflot
Aerolineas Argentinas
Aeromexico
AirEuropa
Air France
Air Tahiti Nui
Alaska Airlines
Alitalia
China Airlines
China Eastern
China Southern
Czech Airlines
GOL
Garuda Indonesia* added
Hawaiian Airlines
Kenya Airways
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Korean Air
Malaysia Airlines
Middle East Airlines
Saudia Airlines
Tarom Airlines
Vietnam Airlines
Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Australia
Xiamen Airlines
*Thai AirAsia
*Jetstar
*Skymark Airlines

One might say the biggest loss from the non allowable list is Virgin Australia, drastically limiting options to the Australia/New Zealand. If you wanted to visit Australia outside of the major cities (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth), you would have to use cash or other miles (Avios are a good option). It’s possible that at some point Virgin Atlantic will join the allowable list given their new relationship with Delta.

  • “The most direct routing applies.” This is a very loose term. You cannot fly from London to Johannesburg via Atlanta. There are many more direct options via Europe/Africa. IF there is no availability on the dates you want to fly via CDG, AMS, SVO, NBO AND LHR-ATL-JNB is the only thing available, you will be able to get an agent to ticket it. Now, since Virgin Australia and Malaysia can’t be used, agents have no problem flying you from Sydney to Auckland via Seoul on Korean Air. What would normally be a 3.5 hour flight turns into two 11 hour flights. This can work to your advantage (or disadvantage if you’re strapped for time) for some of the more obscure destinations. In the example below, two of the client’s destinations were Colombo, Sri Lanka followed by Antananarivo, Madagascar. Two destinations that don’t have daily service. That was the hardest part of building his award. Moving along by taking somewhat circuitous routings…
  • There is no maximum permitted mileage. If your award has you flying 25K, 30K, or 50K miles, its all the same price. This is not the same with traditional revenue RTW tickets.
  • You are allowed 16 flight coupons. A flight coupon can generally be thought of as one flight segment, one takeoff and landing. There are two exceptions:
    • “Direct Flights” with stops. Direct flights are a confusing airline marketing term. Delta flight #49 is a direct flight from Mumbai (BOM) to Minneapolis (MSP), however the flight stops in Amsterdam (AMS) for 3 hours. If you booked this flight with the same flight number, DL49 from BOM-MSP, that would only count as one flight coupon even though it is actually two flights.
    • Open Jaws. While you can really maximize the number of cities you visit by making every destination an open jaw instead of a stopover, each open jaw counts as one flight coupon. The client in our example below wanted an open jaw between Auckland (AKL) and Sydney (SYD). However, in the system the open jaw segment (AKL-SYD) shows as ARNK (arrival unknown) to keep the itinerary’s cities in sequential order, and thus needs to use one of the flight coupons. This exception also has its own exception. If there is an open jaw between your origin and destination (traveling east, say you start your trip in New York and terminate in Chicago) this counts against one of your 6 stopovers/open jaws, but does not count against your 16 flight coupons.
  • Only Delta low level availability can be booked for RTW. For partner awards, whatever is available for a standard award is available for a RTW award.

Of course, finding availability can be the most frustrating part. You can use delta.com, airfrance.us, expertflyer.com, or the KVS tool to find availability.

Once you have your itinerary and flights, its time to call Delta to get your itinerary booked. Here are a few interesting facts regarding contacting the DL RTW award desk:

  • You have to call Delta and ask to be transferred to the “Around the World award desk”, there is no direct number.
  • Their hours are from 9am to 8pm Eastern Time every day.
  • Unlike many agents, they will work with you until you are satisfied. If that takes 10 minutes or 3 hours, they will stay with you.
  • These are some of the most knowledgeable agents from Delta reservations. They also do double duty as the Rates Desk, among other jobs. Hence, wait times to get an agent can sometimes take several minutes.

Other information regarding RTW award tickets:

  • All tickets are manually ticketed, not processed automatically by the system.
  • Standard award change fees apply. For general members, Silver Medallion, and Gold Medallion: $150 per ticket. For Platinum and Diamond Medallions: fee is waived.
  • Taxes are manually calculated. If you make a change to the beginning of a ticket, the taxes for the entire ticket are recalculated at current exchange rates. If you are only adding on to the end of a ticket, only the new segments’ taxes are calculated.

Hopefully this has been helpful and feel free to comment with any award booking questions or reach out to us directly at Juicy Miles for all your award booking needs…or if you’d just prefer for us to take care of it all for you!

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24/7 Wall Street‘s / Yahoo‘s “10 brands that will disappear in 2015” actually lists Alaska Airlines as a potential company that might not be around after 2015…what hogwash! Alaska management has said multiple times that they are not interested in selling the company nor do they need to in order to effectively compete. The article doesn’t even provide any new facts to make their case. Instead, it notes the fact that Alaska is one of the last independent carriers, larger airlines have been acquired in the past, and Alaska’s profits and customer service make it a great prize. Additionally, Delta’s desire to gain Alaska’s West Coast routes is mentioned.

Alaska Air Group Inc. is one of the few remaining independent airlines in the United States that is not owned by one of the four larger carriers. Even larger airlines have been acquired: Northwest was bought by Delta, Continental merged with United and U.S. Airways joined with American Airlines. The recent consolidations in the industry have been successful, leading to significant cost cuts. Alaska Air, with its profits and customer service reputation, is the last real prize left. There has been speculation that Delta might buy Alaska Air for its West Coast routes. The rumors have pushed Alaska Air shares higher. Alaska Air is particularly strong in the busiest West Coast markets, especially in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and Seattle. It has also begun to challenge carriers in East Coast markets, including several cities in Florida. Revenue and net income have risen steadily over the past five years. And Alaska Air often ranks highest in customer satisfaction among traditional carriers.

On to a few more reliable Alaska / Delta stories…

TheStreet reports that Alaska is countering Delta’s assault with their secret weapon – unified employees (thanks to Mark from Yahoo! for sharing with PMttP readers):

For Alaska the reality of being under assault by a stronger adversary sank in at the end of July, when the carrier reported earnings that beat estimates — yet watched its shares fall 9% as analysts worried about capacity increases in key markets. But Delta’s effort to build a Seattle hub on top of Alaska’s Seattle hub is also having a positive impact for the airline, in that it is further uniting Alaska’s approximately 10,200 workers, 83% of them unionized. It has not escaped the workers that Delta is a largely non-union carrier, one that strongly resisted efforts by the International Association of Machinists and the Association of Flight Attendants to organize its workers following the 2008 merger with Northwest. IAM and AFA are the two largest unions at Alaska. The employees “know Delta is anti-union,” said Tom Higginbotham, president of IAM District Lodge 142. “Their focus is on making Alaska work better than Delta. “The company is definitely doing everything it can to bring everyone together for what it believes is a war,” Higginbotham said. “Our relationship with Alaska over the last five or six years has been very good, and this has strengthened everybody’s willingness to cooperate with each other.” The IAM represents about 3,100 employees, including 2,500 agents and 600 ramp and stores workers. Jeff Peterson, president of the Alaska chapter of the Association of Flight Attendants, said, “Considering Delta is one of our closest code share partners, Delta management isn’t playing very nice. “Many of Delta’s flight attendants seem to have the impression that Delta is going to buy us or run us out of business,” Peterson said. “That opinion must be coming from their management [but] I can assure you that’s not going to happen. Delta does a nice job, we don’t begrudge their employees anything, but we’re here to stay.”

Check out the full article from TheStreet here.

The Seattle Times shares Delta CEO Richard Anderson’s thoughts on the “Seattle Wars” (thanks to Jenny from ST for sharing with our readers):

Some analysts see Delta exerting pressure for an endgame in which the giant Atlanta-based enterprise swallows its smaller Pacific Northwest rival. Anderson deflects talk of that possibility and insists Delta is here “to be successful unilaterally” in a rough-and-tumble industry. “There’s no drama. It’s just business,” Anderson said. “Is Airbus tough with Boeing? Is Apple tough on Microsoft? It’s a competitive marketplace.” Recently, Delta inaugurated direct flights from Seattle to Hong Kong, bringing to 10 the number of its daily international nonstop routes out of the city, six to Asia and four to Europe. Anderson said that adding such destinations from Seattle is “huge for the economic and cultural development of the community.” Delta’s expansion requires building up its base at Sea-Tac. Anderson said the airline has about 2,800 employees based here now and will soon grow past 3,000. “We’re in the process right now of hiring 1,400 flight attendants and 600 pilots,” he said. “A lot of those will end up based here.”

Check out the full Seattle Times article here. 

Related – 

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My new role has me interacting quite a bit with our marketing and public relations teams. They recently brought me to a New York PR event where Delta had two of their media relations team members in attendance. I of course took some time (over drinks) to speak with them. I really wanted to watch them try and spin the upcoming SkyMiles “enhancements” but they politely declined.  However, they did have a lot to say about the following three stories (this is the official media relations team responses so take these with a DL corporate skew)…

Michigan Mom’s Mistakenly Voided Ticket – Stranded in Punta Cana – here’s a snippet from the Detroit Free Press article if you’ve forgotten the story:

Karen Smith of Milford was on vacation with her family in the Dominican Republic. On their way home April 12, she printed out her first-class boarding pass and had it scanned by both security and US Airways agents at the Punta Cana boarding gate. Then something went wrong. She was pulled out of the line just as she and her family were about to get on the plane. They took her boarding pass. They said they needed to give her a “flight coupon” back at the counter. They made her stand at the counter so long that the flight took off with her husband and three children aboard and all their luggage. However, the day the family left Detroit, Delta had to make an adjustment to Smith’s ticket at the gate, but — and this is the part that is not supposed to be possible — somehow voided out the entire e-ticket including the US Airways return portion — even though the change did not show up in the US Airways reservations system and the passenger had no way of knowing about the problem. Thus, upon her return from Punta Cana, Smith was able to print out her US Airways first class boarding pass, get it scanned, and nearly board the plane when US Airways agents, noticing for the first time the lack of a valid underlying ticket, pulled her from the line.

Delta wanted us to know that although it was widely reported that they refunded the $1385.30 for Karen’s new ticket home as well as paid her $160 hotel cost, they also offered the family complimentary flights so that they could enjoy a new vacation with confirmed return flights for the entire family.

Delta Landing Aborted After “Joke” from Air Traffic Control – how could you forget this one? Reminder courtesy of the HuffPost:

Back in June, flight 630 was a mere 1,000 feet from the ground over ATL when air traffic control told the pilot to “go around” because he couldn’t land yet. Then, moments later, the controller gave a different instruction: “I’m kidding, Delta 630. After you land, I’ve got no one behind you. Expect to exit right. Delta 630 you’re clear to land on (runway) 27-Left.” It was too late — the plane had already altered course and was forced to climb to roughly 4,000 feet and circle the airport for another 15 minutes, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, while the “joke” was straightened out on the ground.

Delta notes that they continue to fully cooperate with the FAA teams investigating the incident and that behind close doors they consider this a huge safety issue and are doing everything possible to ensure proper corrective action is taken to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.

Farewell to some of the 747s – the early retirement of some of my favorite (and newly renovated) DL jets:

In a startling change of plans, Delta Air Lines today confirmed that it will retire four of its Boeing 747s beginning in September. Employees were notified in a memo penned by Glen Hauenstein the airline’s chief revenue officer. Hauenstein described the decision as way to “reduce Delta’s footprint at Tokyo Narita” and to do less intra-Asia flying. It seems to have taken a lot less time for the airline to do an about face because as recently as two weeks ago cockpit crews were offered opportunities to bid for captain and first officer positions on the jumbo. So they were surprised last week when the offer was rescinded. Regarding the flight crews, Delta spokesman Anthony Black said the company’s plan for them was “still to be communicated.” Boeing 777 and 767s now flying Atlantic routes will be re positioned to the Pacific. The first two 747s will be retired on September 30th and October 1 when the Atlanta -Tokyo and Los Angeles – Tokyo routes are converted to Boeing 777s. Numbers three and four stop flying on October 26 when Detroit – Nagoya will be converted to an Airbus A330 and the Tokyo – Hong Kong and Nagoya – Manila flights will be canceled.

Apparently, many employees are very upset about this announcement and have formed groups to ensure that each 747 is sent off with a special celebration. Celebrations will involve not only the final flight for each jet, but also sporadic flights in the weeks and months leading up to the retirements. No specific details were provided, though the team mentioned that there will be both on-board and gate hosted events. More details to follow…

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The last several weeks have had pretty great SkyMiles saver award availability from JFK and BOS to London on Virgin Atlantic, both in Business (Upper Class) and Economy. The trend seems to be continuing into August, though you’ll have to ignore the error prone award availability calendar. Most often, the calendar shows saver or low availability on dates with no actual saver seats, however it appears to be the opposite this time around. The calendar is displaying multiple days with only peak availability, though when actually searching on those days, you are likely to find saver seats… most often on Virgin Atlantic with very few on actual Delta metal.

Delta Award CalendarDelta Virgin Atlantic Award Availability

Not a bad way at all to get to Europe in the prime August travel period, though of course you’ll be stuck with the UK air passenger duty fee and UK passenger service charges if booking a r/t – around $330 regardless of whether you select Virgin or Delta. Of course, flying back to the US from another European airport will save you the majority of these fees ($5.60 for the outbound only).

Delta Virgin Atlantic FeesDelta FeesDelta One Way

Related – Trip Report – Virgin Atlantic Upper Class w/ DL SkyMiles Newark (EWR) – London Heathrow (LHR)

Interested in using your miles for a flight but can’t find availability? Consider using Juicy Miles for award booking assistance!

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Could someone please tell me how an Alaska Airlines flight between Salt Lake City and San Jose, Ca. is going to make money? Because I can’t see it. In fact, if you believe in that flight, don’t read this column, where the assumption is that the flight is ridiculous.

Forbes contributor Ted Reed outlines why he thinks Alaska needs to make nice with Delta in order to avoid an “unwinnable battle” and to benefit from the future revenue that Delta’s international flying while bring to its Seattle partners.

Here’s a snippet of the article, check out the full text here. What are your thoughts?

Of course Alaska wants to fight back against Delta, the arrogant intruder from the South.  And who can resist backing the relatively small airline with deep community ties that it built up over 66 years? The problem is that the battle has pushed Alaska to act like an angry kid, telling Delta that if it doesn’t stop, Alaska will hold its breath until it turns blue. The fact is that Delta has no choice but to build a Seattle hub. Delta is one of three global U.S. carriers and it needs to offer Asia service – particularly China service — from a West Coast hub, where it can gather passengers from the states to the east, all 45 of them. The best U.S. West Coast hub is San Francisco, where United is long established.  For years, that has left Delta and American, as well as United, fighting it out at LAX, a place where nobody can win.

It is easy to forget that Alaska and Delta are partners in a code share agreements.  I don’t know all the details of why they enabled their relationship to break down. My sources say that the accountants who run Alaska understandably insisted on squeezing every last penny out of the relationship, rather than backing down a little bit on price and rather than giving Delta passengers preference over passengers from other partners.

Related – 

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Last October I sadly posted about American Airlines canceling their long running JFK-Barbados flight – American Axes One of my Favorite JFK Routes – Caribbean Left with Just a Few Flights. I lamented that this was one of my favorite JFK-Caribbean flights on AA for a bunch of reasons:

  1. Barbados always seemed to be less touristy than the other Caribbean locals with direct NYC based flights (less US tourists anyway…very big with the UK). Friendly locals,beautiful uncrowded beaches, and a great Hilton as well.
  2. Award availability was fantastic. My family of four flew Dec 24th returning December 30th two years ago, all on MileSAAver awards at35K. We’ve done that to several other Caribbean location each and every year on AA for 11 years now!
  3. Since award availability was so fantastic, there was always Avios availability as well. I was able to avoid a NYC blizzard last year and escape to Barbados last minute using an AAdvantage MileSAAver award booked via British Airways Avios. The total cost was $47.50 in taxes and only 12,500 Avios points (instead of 17,500 AA miles) each way!

That left AA with non-stop Caribbean service from JFK to only Antigua (ANU), St. Kitts (SKB) once per week, Port-au-Prince (PAP), San Juan (SJU), St. Maarten (SXM), and St. Thomas (STT). A far cry from the days when we’d sit down at the table and look at AA’s “Where We Fly” map to pick our next Caribbean winter vacation spot, always a new destination.

In any case, Delta yesterday announced the launch of their flights from ATL and JFK, though they will only be operated twice per week. Here’s that press release:

Barbados and Delta Air Lines (DAL) today announce a collaboration on new nonstop service this winter to the Caribbean island. Travelers from the Eastern and Central regions of the U.S. now have a new reason to head to the sun-drenched island, with nonstop flights beginning on December 4, 2014, twice weekly between Grantley Adams International Airport in Bridgetown and both New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, where connections to cities across the United States are available.

Flights will operate Thursdays and Saturdays, and two flights will start simultaneously, one from New York into Barbados and then onto Atlanta; and then a second one originating in Atlanta, traveling to Barbados and on to New York.

Available for purchase now, round-trip flight times from JFK and ATL to Bridgetown, Barbados are as follows:

Delta Barbaods Schedule

The two spacious Boeing 737 aircrafts have a seating capacity of 160, consisting of 16 business class seats, 18 economy comfort seats and 126 economy seats on each flight. The 737 offers travelers amenities including complimentary personal television programming with 18 free channels from DISH Network, comfortable leather seats and up to 4 more inches of legroom with Economy Comfort.

Not unsurprisingly award availability is a bit different than AA’s. There is absolutely no Saver award availability for the entire schedule loaded in economy or first.

DL JFK-BGI Dec 2014 Award Availability

Well, at least a direct NYC flight to Barbados that is redeemable with points has returned. The majority of my SkyMiles were obtained on the cheap, so I could consider a standard award for 55K miles depending on how bad I want to escape winter. Note that JetBlue currently operates JFK-BGI as well and flights can be redeemed using TrueBlue points…though I don’t have many.

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Following the US 2-1 World Cup win over Ghana yesterday, Delta tweeted out congratulations to Team USA which they represented with a picture of the Statue of Liberty. The losing team, Ghana, was represented by a giraffe…except there are no giraffes in Ghana.

Delta World Cup Tweet

There was a huge immediate backlash on social media to the stereotyping and Delta apologized quickly (twice actually). Here’s the latest apology, the first was deleted after Delta noted that they were sorry for the choice of photo in their “precious” tweet instead of previous tweet.

Delta World Cup Tweet 2

Related – Special World Cup Airline Liveries

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Delta announced yesterday that they are looking to buy up to 50 wide-body jets and currently studying replacements for both their Boeing 747-400 and 767-300ER planes, each with an average of about 20+ years.  However, CEO Richard Anderson said no deal would come any time soon and that Delta will continue its “watch and wait” strategy  to reduce potential technical risks and allow the jets to prove themselves before looking at any new or altered models including the 787 and a potential A330neo. Delta currently operates 16 747-400s and 74 767-300s as per Flightglobal.

Reuters reports that:

The prospect for an order for dozens of wide-body jets from Delta, widely seen as one of the most conservative buyers of new capacity, would trigger fierce competition between Boeing and European rival Airbus. Delta is seen as a prime customer for a potential revamp of the Airbus A330, which the European manufacturer is considering updating with new engines to help airlines reduce fuel bills. Delta bought 10 current-generation A330s last year. Airbus has not said whether it plans to go ahead with the “A330neo” but is expected to take a decision later this year and interest from Delta could be decisive, industry sources say. However, Delta could expand its fleet of existing models of the Boeing 777. Delta has 18 next-generation Boeing 787s on order and has not ruled out expanding the airline’s order for Boeing 787s, inherited from its 2008 takeover of Northwest Airlines, but called on Boeing to reduce prices to compete against the A330, which Delta had helped to launch in the United States.

Posted by Adam | 3 Comments

Delta today introduced new sleep kits and several updated amenities for passengers seated in the Economy cabin on long-haul international flights. From the press release:

Sleep kits will be offered to each customer by flight attendants and will include individual eyeshades plus earplugs to help customers get better rest when travelling between continents

In addition, on all trans-Atlantic flights of 3,850 miles or less from the U.S. to Europe, customers in the Economy cabin will receive a full-size bottle of water following meal service and updated snack offerings for morning and afternoon/evening arrivals. A mid-flight ice cream service will also be offered on these flights returning from Europe to the U.S.  These service improvements will expand to longer-haul international flights in early summer.

This summer, customers flying in domestic First Class as well as the Economy cabin on domestic and international flights will be offered newly upgraded earbuds that will be theirs to keep for use with Delta’s seatback entertainment systems.

Sleep Kits Economy Delta

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Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled today against a Minnesota flier who was stripped of his elite status and miles by Northwest after they said he complained too much. The flier said Northwest did not act in good faith and was trying to cut costs because of its merger with Delta. Delta confirmed the NWA argument that he was cut off because of his constant complaints.

From Yahoo! News / AP (thanks Mark for sharing with PMTTP readers):

The court said in an opinion by Justice Samuel Alito that the federal deregulation of the airline industry in 1978 prohibits most lawsuits like the one filed by Ginsberg. The frequent flier program is clearly connected to the airline’s prices, routes or services, which are covered under the Airline Deregulation Act, Alito said.

The flier and his wife flew almost exclusively on Northwest, logging roughly 75 flights a year to travel across the U.S. and abroad to give lectures and take part in conferences on education and administration. He said he flew on Northwest even when other airlines offered comparable or better flights and in 2005, reached the highest level of the WorldPerks program. Northwest cut him off in 2008, shortly after Northwest and Delta agreed to merge. Ginsberg said Northwest was looking to get rid of the high-mileage customers.

Northwest says he complained 24 times in a seven-month period, including nine instances of luggage that turned up late on airport baggage carousels. Northwest said that before it took action, it awarded Ginsberg $1,925 in travel credit vouchers, 78,500 bonus miles, a voucher for his son and $491 in cash reimbursements. The airline pointed to a provision of the mileage program’s terms that gives Northwest the right to cancel members’ accounts for abuse.

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