On October 26th I wrote about various dysfunctional iOS and mobility solutions and I gave Delta's website a brief (negative) mention in this story too. Today, I discovered over the weekend – Delta made changes since the last work week – that the airline has carried out a site upgrade that rendered its homepage all but useless to many travellers. That is literally, useless: you cannot log in if you use Internet Explorer. We're not big fans of just about anything Microsoft here in the office. But this discrimination against MSFT-centric browser users on Delta.com is a mistake only the Friendly skies of competitor United could love.
I reported the error to Delta this morning. This is what it still looks like as of 1PM ET on 11 November 2012 (Sunday):
Note: Viewed in latest Firefox (on Win7) – note login field in lower left corner
Viewed in Internet Explorer (v.9 also on Win 7). Note lower left corner: no login field!
Last I looked, Internet Explorer is still a widely used web browser. Yet Delta seems to have missed this point.
Other than forgetting to QA their new site, Delta has added or kept these inconveniences:
- As you log in to the new site, you have to upgrade your password. Delta says that you 'may' use a 6-20 character password with mixed upper and lower case and numbers, but the 'may' is used in the IRS sense meaning that you must use this format. Of course this is not bad per se, but Delta's incorrect use of English creates problems – and probably a few calls to customer support.
- Unorthodox profile management – the new shortcut bar is placed at the bottom of the web page! This totally breaks with web site standards, and is a clear downgrade from their previous interface that used an industry-standard dropdown menu approach to deliver shortcuts to various activities.
- The previous design had practical in-site 'popups' that showed your activities and had shortcuts to actions – this is now gone.
- Page stuffing slows you down (the new design fields bigger images and more ads). This is understandable, and acceptable, but the high quality and more frequent images take a long time to load, even on a good broadband connection.
- Adding insult to injury? My reason for going to Delta was to check in for a flight tomorrow morning. After checking in, Delta offered me a free drink/snack ticket. How generous. However, I would have to print my boarding pass to get this! What happened to going paperless? Hello Delta? Hint, the nice thing with the web is that you can stay electronic – if the TSA can scan boarding passes, I think Delta should be able to manage these coupons electronically. Look at Delta's green statements around Earth Day. Green irony of ironies ...
- Click increase – previously I could log in by just entering my password – the new site requires first the password, then your last name – slowing you down. Especially annoying when you log in via iPhone. Taking lessons from SAP SRM we suppose?
- Boarding pass delivery still flawed – why can't Delta remember my cell phone number? This is why I have it in my profile. Every time I check in, I still have to manually key in my phone number to get my boarding pass link. Why, oh why?
Also, please move the new menu bar back where it came from -- top of the page. And do it pronto. Just like United, Delta, you're supposed IT upgrades are harming customers.
For Spend Matters readers in travel procurement groups, we strongly recommend getting a memorandum out to those Delta flyers to notify them of the current issues. Those with large travel spend with Delta (and other airlines) should attempt to negotiate site upgrade change notifications and failures (not just downtime) as part of SLA agreements on a go-forward basis, since these incidents appear to be happening more and more. This incident should also serve as a case -- much like the recent Ariba Sourcing sign-on challenges suppliers faced in another upgrade challenge earlier this year -- about the need to fully think through all of the implications of upgrades which impact usability, sign-on and related areas for all classes of users.
In closing, here's a constructive idea that all airlines can learn from when it comes to making life easier for business travellers -- take a look at Amazon's 1-Click ordering concept. Imagine a check-in process, assuming the user is the only one flying, where standard settings are automatically pre-populated (e.g., no luggage, no special services, send my boarding pass to my cell phone, etc.) and then an option to "if there are no changes to these options, click here to check in". Literally, with one click, I'm done.
Last, if you want further analysis of Delta's current issues, check out this thread on Flyer Talk.
- Thomas Kase