Contributor: David Bernard
Buried away deep in Delta’s website, we found unsettling information on their new premium economy product which they announced last week. As more US-based airlines began to unveil new premium economy products, one thing remained uncertain. What would all of this mean for elite members who want their hard-earned complimentary upgrades? We’ve theorized about American Airlines, but today we finally have some answers from Delta, which didn’t initially say anything on its webpage advertising the new product.
According to their sections on status benefits, no one will be granted space-available upgrades into this newly introduced service, which is set to start next fall. This is certainly unwelcome news for many flyers who often fall short of first class because Delta One upgrades are not allowed. At least in comfort+ seats, you get SkyPriority boarding free drinks and better free snacks. Assuming that this products continues as forecasted, Comfort+ seats will likely replace all international routes which currently offer complimentary upgrades to extra legroom seats even though it is serviced by Delta One.
We’re starting to see a clear push for long haul flights to be differentiated between classes. As of now, any flight serviced by Delta One (aka most international premium routes, as well as transcontinental service between JFK-LAX/SFO) will not allow for complimentary first class upgrades for medallion members. They were entitled to comfort+ seats however as there are currently no route-limitations on those upgrades. As international flights continue to progress to their new set-up however, upgrades will become a thing of the past, at least for Delta.
This will certainly be very bothersome for elite members, as Delta continues to cut more benefits. Both United and American Airlines offer first class upgrades on premium long-haul routes for at least some frequent flyer tiers. For Delta to not even offer extra legroom now will be a huge devaluation to the program. This limits flyers almost solely to upgrades just within North America, something that doesn’t seem marketable when both other legacy carriers can offer you more.
Time will tell how this goes over with customers, but my guess would be that it won’t be positively received.
What are your thoughts? Do you think this decision is a step backwards for the airline? Comment and share below!