Everyone loves a free upgrade, in fact many of us travel and throw ourselves behind a single airline frequent flyer program because we love the benefits. The benefits of regional and in some cases, system wide upgrades, free baggage allowance, free same day travel changes, etc etc. Yet, not every airline can deliver and sometimes benefits that we become accustomed to are stripped away at the worst possible times. Despite this, there is NOTHING worse than when you receive a perk, such as an upgrade, to only have it taken away minutes later. And for the second time in 12 months, it happened to me moments after boarding!
On my flight from Minneapolis to New York LaGuardia, I was #11 on the upgrade list. With 10 other flyers ahead of me (despite being booked in “M” class meaning only diamond elites and Platinum’s booked in Y or B class were ahead of me on the list) I assumed there was no way I would clear the upgrade list on the A320, which only has 12 first class cabin seats. I took my sweet time to arrive at the gate because I hate boarding and just sitting on the plane awaiting everyone else to board.
When I arrived at the gate, the gate agent was calling for zone 2 boarding. This told me anyone with status, a Delta American Express, or seated in the first class cabin had probably already boarded. I looked up at the gate monitor and saw that I had moved from #11 to #1 on the upgrade list and to my surprise, there was 1 unclaimed first class seat! WAHOOO! I thought, my upgrade just might clear. I looked back down at the phone to reply to an email and then when I looked back up on the screen I noticed HOR/R was on the “cleared list”. AWESOME! I would be flying in the roomier forward cabin from MSP to LGA. I walked up to the gate, had my boarding pass scanned and the gate agent presented me with my new seat 1D. I smiled to myself and continued towards the plane.
By the time I found myself on the jet bridge, there was a line of people waiting to board and the process had basically came to a halt as people tried to find space for their luggage. I stood there responding to emails when I heard a lady say behind me, “excuse me, Mr. Horan?” I turned and smiled to find the gate agent who had provided me my new seat assignment; just minutes earlier, with a scrap piece of paper in her hand with 11f written on it. She quickly said, unapologetically,“There has been an error, you’ve been reassigned to your original seat 11F, the exit row.”
I honestly was in shock. I couldn’t believe that I was hearing what I was hearing. I smiled at her and candidly said. “Oh, wow, thanks for providing me with false hope.” She took the computer generated upgrade slip out of my hand and turned backed towards the terminal, leaving me upgradeless.
Yes, I could have fought this and I could have tried to keep my seat, but I was tired and was in NO mood to argue. I was on a business trip and could not afford to miss my flight or my connecting flight. This flight was already running a few minutes behind and I had only a 32 minute connecting in LGA. I instead took my exit row and quickly tweeted to @DeltaAssist about the situation. Sure enough, they could see I was upgraded and could not explain what went wrong.
Here’s part of our direct messages on Twitter:
So there you have it folks. Delta continues to give us their D game, taking away process upgrades and further devaluing the SkyMile program. What is the likelihood of losing an upgrade after it’s processed? Not that high, but yet for some reason it’s happened to me twice in the past 12 months!