Delta plane shot

For those travelers with SkyMiles, Delta’s frequent flyer loyalty program, a few added benefits may be in the offing for a tidy little price. Delta Air Lines recently began offering a new travel option for SkyMiles customers that can enhance the travel experience with such perks as checked bags, priority boarding and seat selection. The benefits can be accessed for $199 in a program that runs through January 5.

An eligible SkyMiles member who purchases the Smart Travel Pack will receive:

  • Free first checked bag for each passenger traveling in the same reservation (up to eight friends and family members)
  • Priority Boarding to give the entire party more time to get onboard and get settled in their seats with carry-on baggage stowed
  • Access to Preferred Seats to allow selection of bulkhead or exit row seats or access aisle or window seat toward the front of the plane at no additional charge
  • Discounted Economy Comfort, which gives customers the option to upgrade to Economy Comfort for 50 percent less on domestic flights and 25 percent less on international flights
  • 20 percent more bonus miles

The Smart Travel Pack option is good for new or existing travel through Jan 5, 2014, regardless of when the ticket was actually purchased date. Once purchased, the benefits of the Smart Travel Pack will be included for any travel during the promotional period when customers include their SkyMiles number in their reservation.

The offer can turn out to be a savings, especially when Delta’s standard Economy Class first bag fees run $25 – a party of eight can pay for the entire benefit in one trip. New baggage fee surcharges may be in the offing and the Smart Travel Pack would offer some protection, at least through January 5.

The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics released a report this year showing the nation’s 15 largest airlines collected a combined total of $3.5 billion in baggage fees in 2012. Specifically, Delta Air Lines earned $866 million from bag fees last year, while United Airlines raked in $706 million. American Airlines made $557 million, and US Airways earned $516 million.

Surcharges of $3-$12 per bag, on top of what the airlines already charge for their normal baggage fees have been in discussion.

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