Bart Jansen, USA Today
Delta Air Lines is generating millions more from initiatives such as allowing passengers to upgrade tickets after purchase, and is expanding the reimbursement for miles to include more than just seats, officials said Thursday.
The airline began in May allowing business travelers whose companies might now allow them to fly in a certain cabin to buy an upgrade after they’ve purchased their ticket, President Glen Hauenstein told analysts on an earnings call.
That change is generating revenue projected to be worth $80 million a year, he said.
In June, the airline began allowing its elite passengers to use their frequent-flier miles to upgrade their cabins, which is projected to be worth $50 million to $100 million annually, Hauenstein said.
“As we think about new ways for people to use their miles, we really don’t want them to save them forever,” he said. “We want them to control their own travel experience and find value in them today rather than storing them away.”
Elite passengers using miles this way is limited to reservations now. But Hauenstein said the option will be expanded to other distribution channels for a broader audience.
Delta is also planning to accept the currency of miles for other fees, such as those for unaccompanied minors or pets in the cabin, he said.
“We’re actually excited about using miles for all ancillary revenues, not just for seat products,” Hauenstein said.