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Delta starts aligning Policies and Fees following Delta-Northwest Merger

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Delta Air Lines has started aligning the policies and fees for customers traveling on Delta and Northwest-operated flights as the airline works to ensure a consistent customer experience during the integration of the two carriers.

Some of the changes to align Delta and Northwest’s policies and fees include:

Elimination of SkyMiles and WorldPerks award ticket fuel surcharges – Effective immediately, Delta will eliminate the $25-$100 fuel surcharges assessed for SkyMiles and WorldPerks award ticket travel originating from the U.S. and Canada. The surcharges were instituted earlier this year by both airlines in response to unprecedented fuel costs.

Reduction of Reservation Sales Direct Ticketing charges – Delta, effective today, November 6, will reduce the fee assessed for tickets purchased over the phone from a reservations sales representative from $25 to $20 consistent with Northwest’s policy. Delta will also reduce the fee collected when customers redeem either SkyMiles or WorldPerks award travel over the phone with a reservations sales representative from $25 to $20. As always, there will continue to be no charge for customers who book tickets and redeem award travel online at either or

Elimination of curbside check-in administrative fees – Delta, effective December 5, will discontinue the $3 curbside check-in administration fee. With this change, customers will no longer incur an administrative fee for checking bags via skycaps for Delta and Northwest-operated flights at airport locations worldwide, consistent with Northwest’s policy.

Alignment of first and second checked bag fees – Effective immediately, for travel on or after December 5, customers flying within the United States will be charged $15 for the first checked bag and $25 for the second checked bag when traveling domestically, consistent with Northwest’s existing policies. Customers who purchased Delta tickets on or before November 5, 2008, and who are traveling on or after December 5, 2008, will be charged $50 for a second bag, but will be permitted to check their first bag without charge pursuant to Delta’s previous policy.

All customers flying in First or Business Class, including SkyMiles Medallion members and WorldPerks Elite members, will receive up to three checked bags, up to 70 pounds each, for free. SkyMiles Medallion members and WorldPerks Elite members flying in Coach Class will receive up to two checked bags, up to 70 pounds each, for free. All customers traveling in full fare (Y) Coach Class, as well as customers traveling internationally will receive up to two checked bags, up to 50 pounds each, for free. U. S. Military personnel on active duty with travel orders will continue to be able to check up to 10 pieces of luggage on Delta and Northwest-operated mainline flights or up to four pieces of luggage on Delta Connection flights, up to a maximum of 100 pounds each, free of charge.

Addition of “Coach Choice Seats” on Delta flights – Last week, Delta began offering customers the opportunity to purchase “Coach Choice Seats” on select Delta and Delta Connection flights when they use self-service check-in within 24 hours of their scheduled departure time. A service currently offered at Northwest, the program offers “Coach Choice Seats” for $5-$25 based on distance traveled and seat location. Additionally, SkyMiles Medallion members, WorldPerks Elite members, SkyTeam Elite members and passengers confirmed in Y or B class may select a “Coach Choice” seat at no additional charge when checking in online or at a kiosk within 24 hours of departure. Coach Choice Seats represent less than 10% of all seat assignments available on Delta-operated flights. SkyMiles Medallion and WorldPerks Elite members will continue to enjoy access to preferred seating (i.e. select bulkhead, exit row and forward cabin-seating) without a charge at the time of booking.

Most other Northwest baggage policies and fees will be aligned to Delta’s structure, effective December 5. Travel on Delta and Northwest tickets purchased prior to the announcement of these changes will continue to be governed by the prior Delta and Northwest policies.

“The increase in bags being carried on board Delta aircraft this year tells us that customers are not differentiating Delta as the only major airline not charging for a first checked bag,” said Steve Gorman, Delta’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “As we align customer policies and fees to simplify the travel experience for our customers throughout the merger, Delta is adopting proven practices from both Delta and Northwest that have been broadly accepted in the marketplace.”

Although Delta and Northwest policies and fees are being aligned over the next 30 days, customers are reminded to continue checking in for flights and doing business directly with the airline operating their flights just as they did before the merger.

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