A consumer advocacy group focused on airline travel is claiming that Delta Air Lines is using potentially illegal shaming tactics to upsell customers who attempt to purchase basic coach seats. The group, Flyerrights.org, sent out a tweet on August 17 that showcases the type of shaming being used by Delta.
— Consumer Reports (@ConsumerReports) August 18, 2015
The pop up window appears to ask passengers if they want to upgrade to a roomier seat, receive early boarding privileges or a refundable ticket, as well as many other and more expensive upgrades.
The pop up also tells travelers that they will not be assigned a seat until boarding if they refuse to upgrade and that they may miss out on overhead bin space.
“If it works, other airlines will likely try to follow,” Paul Hudson, president of flyersrights.org told the Los Angeles Times. He likened the move to a car salesman who pressures a buyer into fancy extras they don’t actually need. Hudson likened the warning to a tactic used to by car dealers that may pressure potential buyers into forking over extra cash for fancy extras, like an upgraded sound system.
The issue isn’t that Delta Air Lines is offering upsells. Rather that the airline is luring customers into its portal with cheap deals and then shaming them into larger purchases.
Airlines spokesman Anthony Black told the Los Angeles Times that the website warning was meant “to make people aware of what they are buying.”
Not that upselling should come as a surprise among airline customers who have become accustomed to paying for extra bags, more legroom, early boarding, and various other add-ons.