Are you old enough to remember when people dressed up to ride on a plane? Or when your frequent flier miles actually entitled you to be treated with some respect? Of course, there are still some airlines who do seem to value their customers, but I'm disturbed by a recent change that Delta implemented, which doesn't bode well for the future. Many airlines now offer a basic economy fare with heavy restrictions, such as the inability to choose your seat in advance or to make changes, or even bring a carry-on in some cases. Now, Delta, which no longer publishes an awards chart is relegating some of its customers who are buying tickets with miles to those less desirable seats--and not just for passengers who are searching for basic economy.
Pushing your frequent-flier passengers to the cheap seats and hoping they are willing to pay more for a better seat with options seems a pretty miserable way to treat your customers. What's alarming is that once a major carrier adopts a policy, others typically follow. If you're a budget traveler like I am, I will sometimes pay a little more to book a paid flight on an airline I have a mileage account with, but if most airlines adopt Delta's policy, I will simply check Skyscanner.com to see who has the cheapest flights. Loyalty runs both ways, and I hope Delta's policy fails.