Delta angers its elite fliers

ATLANTA: At a time when the airline industry is under increasing scrutiny, Delta's elite level fliers are protesting against what they say are poorly communicated and dramatic changes in their SkyMiles benefits.

ATLANTA: At a time when the airline industry is under increasing scrutiny, Delta's elite level fliers are protesting against what they say are poorly communicated and dramatic changes in their SkyMiles benefits.

ATLANTA: At a time when the airline industry is under increasing scrutiny, Delta's elite level fliers are protesting against what they say are poorly communicated and dramatic changes in their SkyMiles benefits.

Instead of earning tickets for any global destination Delta serves after flying 20,000 miles, members now have to fly 60,000 miles to receive ticket vouchers for restricted flights to North America.

But also angering elite fliers is the way in which the changes have been communicated. Many are only now becoming aware of changes supposedly announced in August.

Delta said it employed a carefully targeted PR strategy to make the announcement.

However, spokesperson Tracey Bowen admitted a general press release was not issued about the change even though SkyMiles has 28 million members worldwide.

Delta sent letters to affected members in August of last year. And, according to Bowen, this is also when the company contacted key journalists that cover frequent flier programs. But this did not include major market newspapers such as Delta's hometown Atlanta Journal Constitution, which did not report the story until December.

Bowen added that Delta included information about the change on its Web site and in its monthly newsletter. However, finding details on the site takes considerable navigation and most members fail to read direct mail related to their frequent flier programs.

A protest and petition Web site (saveskymiles.com) sprang to life in November and has gained participation among Delta fliers. To date, more than 2,700 medallion members have signed the petition.



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