Strange email from the airlines


A couple stories caught my eye regarding emails from airlines.  Both are rather strange, though for different reasons.

First up, word from a few security companies that virus emails purportedly from Delta are making the rounds.  They prey on the fact that Delta includes an attachment in their itinerary confirmation emails, meaning that people are used to opening an attachment that appears to be from the airline.  And since the message appears to come from a “known” sender that whole idea of not opening unknown emails doesn’t seem to be working to prevent the spread of the infections.  Of course, the fact that Delta still insists on including an attachment in their emails baffles me.  I don’t understand why they do it.  And the fact is that people are likely going to open the virus emails no matter what they say on them, much like people continue to smoke cigarettes even though they know cancer is coming.  Still, this is the first time I’ve seen an airline get played this way rather than a bank, so that is intriguing.

The second strange email story is brought to us by United.  They have a habit of setting policies that I just don’t understand, so I suppose this latest one shouldn’t surprise me at all.  But it does.  Email marketing has to be pretty much the cheapest medium out there.  It requires a minimal infrastructure investment and then it is essentially free.  There are no real charges to send out a thousand or a million emails.  This affordability has made it the method of choice for many, many companies.  United, however, has decided that email marketing just isn’t worth the effort for them, at least for their weekend specials.  Here’s what they had to say in this week’s email:

Thank you for having subscribed to our E-Fares emails. These weekly emails are being discontinued, and this is the last issue that you will receive. E-Fares will continue to be available on united.com Tuesday through Friday of each week. To see these fares, you can select the E-Fares link in the News & Deals section of the united.com home page or on the Special Deals page, whenever E-Fares are available. You can also use the united.com booking tool and look for fares marked with a blue star and the label "E-Fares."

Basically they’re going to stop trying to sell these deals to their customers unless the customer goes out of their way to find the deal.  I just don’t get that mentality.  Sure, the deals aren’t all that great, so it isn’t a huge loss, but choosing to stop marketing them aggressively (or really at all) just doesn’t make any sense to me.  It can’t be costing them very much money to generate and send those emails every week.  So why cut it?

I’m sure I’ll never understand the motivation behind either of these developments, but that’s just part of the fun living in my sheltered little world of reality rather than Delta- or United-land.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .
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