Is United Airlines Delta’s New Best Friend?

Written by Charlie

We have seen for a while that United seems to like copying Delta and their progressing moves against the bulk of their travelers. Or, at least United likes to sit on the sidelines and let Delta get hit before implementing pretty much the same thing. Either way, United likes to come behind Delta and let them be the pacemaker.


United is taking some of the public heat from Delta, but not on purpose!

Until now! Delta has been aggressively changing things up lately in a way that really does not benefit anyone but Delta. I mean, the new revenue based earning strategy was sure to benefit their higher valued customers, but the way they have been making changes on the award redemption front is definitely not to benefit anyone (but themselves).

Because of those changes, Delta has been getting some serious heat across the blogosphere and on the media front as Delta flyers are upset and fed up with the changes that are coming out of Atlanta. But, things have been a little quite on the newsfront and blogfront lately. Why might that be?

Is United Delta’s New Best Friend?

Maybe because United has moved into position as the one taking the brunt of the blows now and not because of the award redemption mess that Delta has. No, it has to do with a fare that was incorrectly converted into Danish currency last Wednesday that resulted in the thousands of tickets issued in business and first class for a small fraction of their regular price – like, as low as $40! The news media picked up on that as well as Flyertalk getting quite busy with a thread dedicated to this error. At present, the situation is that United has canceled all of those tickets and both sides are waiting to hear from the Department of Transportation to see what their ruling is on this as being a “mistake” fare or not and whether it needs to be honored.


That’s a lot of bad press!

Some of the heat off of Delta – hopefully, United takes a breath too

I’m sure Delta is taking a big breath right now and relieved that some of the heat is off of them as people line up against United. My guess would be that United would not have to reinstate those tickets but who really knows quite yet. One thing I can make a guess at – if United does not have to reinstate the tickets, they will probably not be in too big of a rush to follow Delta down the latest award fiasco (removing award charts, moving to more of a dynamic pricing structures for awards, increasing close-in award mileage amounts, etc). They will probably need to just sit quietly for a while until some of the anger moves away. At least that would be my wishful thought on this!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • What anger? I can’t even put into words the anger I would have felt had UA honored these mistake fares. In my opinion anyone who purposely entered the wrong country in the billing information to get this deal on purpose, full knowing that it was not an intentional fare, committed fraud. It may be hard to prove legally, but ethically speaking, it was definitely dishonest. And just because UA has also treated their customers badly sometimes, does not make this ok.
    To now even tie up valuable taxpayer dollars by filing complaints with the DOT (when they have clearly better and more important things to do) is making things even worse.