Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Crown Room Club

Delta Airlines is now the official airline of the New York Yankees. This wasn't as easy a deal to make as it sounds, however. Before committing, the Yankees demanded that Delta make some changes so that its corporate culture matched that of the Yankees' more closely. Most notably, the Yankees asked Delta to adopt a similar seating strategy to that of the baseball team:

After a backlash from some of its elite fliers, the world's biggest carrier has halted a program on Delta Air Lines-operated aircraft that allowed customers to purchase better seat assignments on certain flights.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. in late October began offering coach customers on certain flights the ability to purchase a better seat assignment in their cabin for $5 to $25, depending on distance traveled and seat location. The "coach choice seats" represented less than 10 percent of all seat assignments available on Delta-operated flights, the airline said at the time.

But in an e-mail last week to elite fliers, Jeff Robertson, vice president of loyalty programs for Delta, said that some Medallion members of the carrier's frequent-flier program were upset that their access to preferred seats without charge at the time of booking was restricted as a result of the new program.
Now that both Yankee Stadium and Delta flights are designed to cater to the desires of the rich and elite, experts predict that the relationship will be a long and successful one.


mooseinohio said...

This seems odd to me as I assumed the Yankees had a charter plane and the team did not fly commercial. If that is the case I find it interesting that Delta is the official airline as opposed to having certain naming rights to Yankee Stadium.

Craig Calcaterra said...

I think the usual setup for a baseball team is for an airline to devote a plane (or planes) to them during the season (i.e. a chartered plane) but still have the thing decked out in airline logos and stuff. This is how the Braves have worked with Delta anyway. Whether the plane is a specially tricked-out ride or just a fleet model is an open question.

I know a lot of NBA teams own their own planes, but I don't know if any MLB teams do.

DG Lewis said...

Hey, it could be worse. If they became the official airline of the Giants, then to fly on Delta you'd have to buy a Personal Seat License for $60k before you even made a reservation.