I am starting an operation to identify everything that each airline does for our Service Members. From flying to charity work to hiring of vets. I have come up with a slate of questions for each airline. Delta was gracious enough to go first in this effort. Right up front, I want to thank Michael Thomas from Delta’s Corporate Communications Department for his time and answers to a wide variety of questions. He personally participates in these activities and one day I will have to “coin” him for his efforts in supporting our troops.
Here are the questions and answers received:
1. Does Delta give special consideration to military members in the boarding process?
Uniformed members are recognized and invited to board with our First Class and elite passengers. Many pilots and Fight Attendents will recognize the Service Members when they are on board the aircraft with a round of applause.
2. What is Delta’s baggage policy for military personnel on orders?
Personnel are allowed four free bags when traveling on orders in economy and five if they are in Business or First Class.
3. Does Delta have military fares and how does one book them?
While there are military fares available, they are akin to unrestricted fares meaning that they are not usually the lowest cost option. However, they are fully refundable or changable. (My thoughts) Therefore they may work in certain situations if you think the trip is iffy or you can’t necessarily pin down the date. I know this has occurred with me when you are supposed to get that four day pass before leaving for deployment and the dates may not be nailed down until the last minute. Price it both ways before making a decision.
4. What is Delta’s policy on admitting Service Members to the Sky Club when they are travelling?
Delta grants access to military traveling in or conjunction with the war effort in Iraq or Afghanistan, in or out of uniform. They may be asked to show their military orders.
5. Describe Delta’s charitable donations to military-related causes such as the USO, Fisher House, etc.
Delta donated $350,000 to the Fisher House last year and millions of Sky Miles to both Fisher House, Luke’s Wings, and the USO. Delta is also proud to run holiday lounges for Service Members during the holidays on Concourse B at ATL and at MEM. They take care of thousands of our troops transiting home to see loved ones with a USO-type experience of snacks and entertainment. Michael personally participates in this activity. Comment: This was news to me and very cool because it is often too much effort to leave the concourse and go outside security to enjoy the USO. I still remember my days as a PFC where the Drill Sergeant dropped us off six hours before the flight just to make sure we made it!
6. How do Service Members contribute Sky Miles to charities?
To donate SkyMiles to a variety of worthy causes, please visit this site. You’ll find a complete listing of the charities we support through SkyWish including Hero Miles for Fisher House and Luke’s Wings. Comment: I will confess to being unaware of Luke’s Wings, a charity that raise miles and funds to fly loved ones to meet thier wounded warriors while they are receiving treatment. Check them out.
7. Hiring of veterans, especially those of the recent wars is a big subject right now. What does Delta do to promote military
Delta is proud to participate in the 100,000 Jobs Mission who have achieved hiring 65,000 vets so far. In addition, they use People Scout who use Hero to Hire, DOL VETS, and other databases that specialize in finding veterans for open positions at Delta. Of the 80,000 Delta employees, over 10,000 are veterans or Reservists! Their support for National Guard and Reservists is so great that Delta was awarded the Freedom Award by Employer Support to Guard and Reserve (ESGR). This was the first time in ten years that an airline won that award. To honor this achievement, they renamed one of their 757s “Spirit of Freedom”
8. Anything else that you would like to add?
Michael told me of a group of Delta employees at ATL that got together and formed their own military honor guard. When a Service members remains are transported through ATL, they are received at the aircraft with a specially decorated tug and baggage cart with military colors. The flag-draped coffin is then escorted to the next aircraft to take the remains to their final destination. Here is a blog from Delta about the group and an article from the USO magazine.