This is how airlines print money

Ah, the Golden Age of flying, when airline peanuts were complimentary and legroom was more than a distant memory. You remember that, right?

No? Me neither.

But let’s talk about the latest debacle: Delta Air Lines revamping its SkyMiles program into a VIP club for high rollers. Gone are the days when you could rack up status by flying frequently. Now, it’s all about how deep your pockets are. Why settle for ‘frequent fliers’ when you can have ‘frequent spenders,’ am I right?

Delta Just Wants Your Money...Well, They All Do

First, let’s dissect this whole SkyMiles fiasco. Status and perks used to be the dangling carrots that made us tolerate the cramped seats and lackluster customer service. You fly often, you get perks—it was simple. But Delta decided to throw that playbook out the window.

Now, it’s about dollars spent. So, if you were dreaming of that Platinum Medallion status, get ready to swipe that credit card like you’re on a shopping spree at Tiffany’s.

The airlines are now banks...there's more money to be made

This shift from a mileage-based program to a spending-based one isn’t just a Delta phenomenon; it’s an airline industry trend. And why? Because they’ve realized it’s a killer way to make money. It’s like turning your flight into a shopping experience. Would you like some extra legroom with that $500 ticket?” And just like that, your ticket price skyrockets faster than the plane on the runway.

Yay! Congress Steps In! Oh, wait...

But before we collectively throw our arms up and say, “Damn you, airlines,” let’s shift the blame where it partly belongs: Congress.

Ah, yes, the good ol’ U.S. government, which once upon a time treated airlines like public utilities and regulated them to make sure they didn’t gouge us too hard. But in 1978, Congress deregulated the airlines, and it was like ringing the dinner bell at a shark feeding frenzy.

No rules meant airlines could get as creative as they wanted with their pricing schemes. They shifted from public utility to private enterprise, where the bottom line wasn’t the public’s convenience but shareholders’ dividends.

Damn you Congress! Well, damn me too...

So why did Congress let this happen? Because we let them. We’re the ones booking those cheap, no-frills tickets and then complaining when we have to pay extra for a bag or a decent seat (you DO remember what I ranted about yesterday, right?). We get mad at airlines, but we’re also addicted to our own conveniences, even if they come at a high cost. It’s like we’re stuck in this toxic relationship, and neither party is willing to break it off.

These are YOUR airlines with it

In the end, the recent changes to frequent-flier programs are merely a symptom of a more significant disease: a warped air-travel industry that long ago traded customer-centric approaches for profit-centric ones. And the kicker? We’re partly to blame for letting them get away with it.

So go ahead, get mad at Delta. Write a fiery tweet, or maybe even swear off flying. But remember, we’re all enablers in this turbulent relationship with the sky. The question is, when will we—Congress included—decide enough is enough?

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Kenneth Holland

Kenneth Holland - SkyGoFly Founder

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