Finally. Like a bad old habit I am done with Delta Airlines. When I first start flying to U.S., it was Pan Am that was the carrier of choice. That went bankrupt. Then the direct routes of Northwest Orient from Manila to New York were the most convenient, and frankly, often the cheapest, so I flew that airline several dozen times. They also had great upgrades to business class which also probably partially led to their eventual demise. Enter Delta, who bought Northwest Orient’s routes and were now the default airline of choice, as we as a family had so many “frequent flier points invested” and we had our credit cards churning out more points into the program. They were fine for a while, until recent (past two years) changes in their frequent flier programs, huge increases in fares and other changes made them frankly, rather obnoxious.
So we have started flying other airlines, the daughter has a great direct flight to her university town through Korean Airlines which she says has newer planes, cleaner bathrooms and better bibimbap. We have flown Philippine Airlines on discount tickets and it wasn’t any worse than Delta, and since I have their highest level of frequent flier card, we get lots of perks like tons of extra baggage. Emirates has been pretty fabulous, and all those mideast oil subsidies don’t hurt either. Singapore Airlines is back on our list, but it’s often quite pricey. And Cathay Pacific is likely to be the biggest recipient of our transferred travel. As we try to use up the remnants of our points with Delta, we have been met with bizarrely inconsistent rules, and their website changes offers dynamically. Going to their offices and speaking with humans is even more infuriating, so well, it’s time to say “good riddance”! Goodbye Delta, you have succeeded in driving away three customers who have flown you and your predecessor to Asia, Northwest, for decades. Time to do what all smart travel advisors are counseling these days and forget loyalty, just book flights on a trip to trip basis based on cost, as points no longer anchor the relationship between regular fliers and their chosen airline. But we still have to figure out how to use those last few hundred thousand miles, before Delta ends up in the same place as Pan American and Northwest Orient Airlines, in our distant memories.
Here’s an interesting factoid, however. When I first flew to New York in 1975, a round-trip economy ticket was roughly USD1,300-1,400 or roughly PHP10,000. Today, the same type of ticket can be had for roughly USD1,100-1,400 or roughly PHP50,000-70,000 depending on carrier. Isn’t it fascinating that the price of a ticket to New York hasn’t really changed much in dollar terms in 40+ years?!?