The airline industry has come to terms with the fact that loyalty is no longer a real issue with passengers. Most people will go with an airline that offers the right flight, at the right time and for the right price. Very few people will only stick to one airline.
That is, however, unless they have elite frequent flyer status. People who frequently fly and gain elite status are more prone to staying with one airline so that they can keep that status active. The benefits of flying with elite status are too great to give up easily. Benefits include, among other things, early boarding, priority seating and access to dedicated services if issues arise during the trip.
These elite airline passengers can lose their status if they stop flying for a short period of time due to a major life event. Being injured or ill, caring for an ill family member, changing jobs and having a baby are all major life changes that can cause an elite flyer to stay on the ground for a while.
Delta Air Lines wants to empower its SkyMiles Medallion members. The carrier has just released a statement saying it will work with those undergoing major life changes so that they can retain their elite flying status.
Affected Medallion passengers are required to fill out a form on delta.com/reclaimmystatus and state the reason why they are currently not able to fly as frequently. After evaluation and approval founded on a case-by-case basis, Delta will then give them three months of complimentary Medallion Status. Passengers will have to resume flying and meet minimum spending requirements over that three-month window to retain their status for an extended period of time.
Very few airlines actually let customers reclaim their elite status. Some airlines like Air Canada, Alaska and British Airways, however, let new parents extend their elite status.