Over the last few days I have heard some rumblings about luggage tags that have been showing up on luggage of passengers who have flown on Delta Air Lines (DL) to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). They will be waiting for their bags at baggage claim, and when they show up, find a Delta / American Express advertising tag on them.
Some frequent fliers, on sites like Flyertalk.com, have not been so happy about the tags. Others on sites like HackMyTrip.com, title their story Delta Pisses Off Seattle Customers. The complaint was their bags were already taking long enough, why does Delta need to delay them more by putting unwanted advertising on them?
My first thought, honestly, was to be a bit annoyed as well. That would anger me if I had to wait longer for my bag just to find ads on them. I decided to give Delta a call and find out some more information on these tags and what the purpose was (I figured surely it wasn’t to anger passengers).
First off, this directed Seattle marketing campaign has been going on for over a month now. This is the first time that they have heard any negative feedback about the tags (yes, they do read these opinions on sites like Flyertalk).
Also, it turns out that these tags are not delaying bags. Delta has hired out other people, where their job is to add the tags to the bags, which doesn’t cause any sort of additional delay.
This experience has also started another conversation on how Alaska Airlines (AS) can get their bags to passengers in 20 minutes (Alaska has a really sweet 20 min guarantee), compared to the 30-40 minute time it sometimes takes with Delta.
What Alaska is able to do is pretty darn amazing. Most airlines around the world are not able to do accomplish plane-to-passenger in less than 20 minutes (I have personally put it to the test about a dozen times; never has it been over 20). One reason is Alaska runs a fleet of Boeing 737s, Bombardier Q400s and CRJs, which are much quicker to unload than the Boeing 737s, CRJs, Boeing 757s, Boeing 767s, Airbus A320s/A319s, and Airbus A330s that Delta needs to unload.
Alaska has also determined that bag speed is an important aspect to passengers and invested quite a bit of time and money into their program.
So, Delta is not trying to be some evil airline and make a few bucks off of delaying your bag. They are trying to make some money off a targeted marketing campaign that might be a little annoying in taking time to remove the tag, but it seems not really to be that big of a deal in the whole scheme of things – at least in my opinion.
The question remains. After the marketing campaign is over, can’t Delta keeps on some of those extra workers to see if they might be able to improve bag speed?