Delta Bags on Time is an offer where Delta guarantees that checked domestic baggage will show up at baggage claim within 20 minutes of a flight’s arrival at the gate. If your bags take longer than 20 minutes, you’re eligible to receive 2500 SkyMiles. All you have to do is go online and request miles within 3 days of arrival.
Alaska Airlines also guarantees your checked baggage will arrive at baggage claim within 20 minutes of arrival at the gate. If your bag takes longer, you can get $25 off a future Alaska flight or 2500 Mileage Plan miles. You must request the voucher or miles within 2 hours with a customer service agent at the airport.
Alaska Airlines uses Boeing 737 aircraft for their mainline flights, while Delta often uses larger aircraft like Boeing 757 or 767 aircraft. It’s much more likely that Delta needs more time to offload baggage on some routes.
I’ve been flying Delta a bit more and even have Medallion status, which waives my checked baggage fee. I had one longer international trip on Delta that required a checked bag simply because of the amount of stuff I had to take with me. I flew from Roatan via Atlanta and arrived at Pittsburgh late on a Saturday close to midnight. My bags took about 24 minutes to get to the claim (using time = 0 as the arrival time posted on the Delta app).
Since arriving at Pittsburgh requires walking to a central concourse and taking a train to baggage claim/ground transportation, I only spent about 10 extra minutes at baggage claim waiting for my bags that I wouldn’t have otherwise spent with just carryon bags. I noticed a sign guaranteeing the 20-minute guarantee and realized it had been right around that amount of time since we landed. I Googled the Delta website and submitted a claim for 2500 miles that posted instantly! That’s 2,500 miles for a 10-minute wait – not bad!
More recently, I was flying Delta from Pittsburgh to Orlando, with a tight 46-minute connection in Atlanta. I was meeting friends in Orlando who were all arriving about 15-30 minutes after myself. Because of that, I thought about checking my bag to try for the 20-minute guarantee and 2500 miles since I’d be waiting for them anyway. The 46-minute connection in Atlanta made me think otherwise – this trip was only for a couple of days and I didn’t want to risk my bag missing my Orlando flight before I drove over an hour away.
When I got to the gate in ATL for my Delta flight to Orlando, the full Boeing 757-200 flight was already boarding. I volunteered to have my bag gate-checked directly onto the flight and happily took my seat in Comfort+ near the door without the need to find overhead space. As soon as the door opened in Orlando, I set a 20-minute timer on my watch, exited the plane, and took the train to baggage claim. The timer went off while I was waiting at baggage claim, and once again, I requested miles online via my phone. They posted instantly as well! A few minutes later, my bag appeared, just as the first of my group arrived from other flights. Another easy 2500 miles for practically no extra wait!
A few notes about Delta’s guarantee:
- Even though the guarantee is only valid on domestic flights, it still works if you fly a domestic Delta flight that connects from an international flight. Even though I flew from Roatan to Pittsburgh via Atlanta, I still got 2500 miles when my bags showed in Pittsburgh too late.
- The guarantee also works on gate-checked bags. I noticed that since I checked at the gate, my bag didn’t get a Sky Priority tag. At MCO, Sky Priority bags get sent to a dedicated baggage claim. This may have helped me since I noticed Sky Priority bags came out sooner.
- If you fly Delta frequently to a certain city, time how long it takes for you to get from common Delta gates to ground transportation/baggage claim. If it’s an airport like MCO or PIT which requires an airport tram to get from the airside area to the landside area, you may burn most of the 20 minutes just getting from the gate to ground transportation. Checked bags have to make that same trip as well.
I’m definitely going to consider checking my bag more often whenever I fly Delta.