Are free drinks, a wrap, popsicle, a water, pillow, blanket & mini-kit enough to offset free upgrades?

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delta upgrades to EC on JFK transcons june2014

Delta today, as my fellow blogger MJ on Travel covered, announced an enhancement to the non-upgradeable transcon flights to/from JFK-SFO/SEA/LAX. Now if you are in EC, that is Economy comfort, either free as an elite or for $99 (choke) you can upgrade to the same seat offered in coach (just less recline and legroom in coach). Here are the PR details:

Customers on Delta’s transcontinental routes will continue to receive priority boarding, seats with more legroom, plus free beer, wine and spirits when they purchase Economy Comfort starting at $99 per flight segment.

Economy Comfort customers will receive a complimentary pre-set pillow and blanket on their seat while they board the aircraft. After boarding, Economy Comfort customers will be offered a Delta sleep kit, including eye shades and ear plugs, as added amenities. During flight, Economy Comfort customers will enjoy complimentary Luvo snack wraps and a full-size bottle of water for all flights and Luvo frozen yogurt bars as a mid-flight snack on most flights except those flights leaving the West Coast after 9 p.m.” – Delta Corp

First off, as an elite who gets EC free, I like this change. I appreciate every little perk Delta can give me for no extra charge. However, in this case, they took away my free upgrades I had before to pay for things like this (that is, my chance at a free upgrade on these routes). Personally I will be happy to trade all of the above and MORE to have a shot at an upgrade again and I think most of my fellow medallions would agree. I guess the biggest perk is you don’t have to buy a sub and print a HOOU coupon now if you get one of these EC seats.

I would not ever dream of paying almost $100 ONE-WAY for these bits; I would rather get lunch at the airport and try for an exit row seat but that is just me. What do you think? Like the latest enhancements to the transcon flights? – René
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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  1. I must say this is a good offering for free for Medallions. Being able to secure this at time of booking for GM+ is a good thing and way better than nothing. Knowing you’ll have a bite to eat a head of time instead of “wondering” if you will get upgraded helps you to plan things. Of course who wouldn’t much rather be in the front in lie-flat seats, but this is way better than nothing, it’s almost a mini-business cabin!

  2. Rene,
    Mark this down as the first of a MANY partial reverse moves from Delta as they realize the push back from all the “enhancements” we’ve gotten over the past few months.

  3. No definitely not worth it. And as someone who takes 10 round trips a year from sf to NYC I am NOT flying delta non stop transcontinental until I get free upgrades back. I am a diamond and I vote with my dollars. And my loyalty,,

  4. Delta should have renamed the full-flat transcon product when they introduced it so that DMs wouldn’t feel so entitled and bitter. DL obviously feels it can sell this product, and will come out ahead (in $$) even if some of the beds fly empty, just like international biz class. Equating that product to the “more comfy” seats on 75s, 88s, or even bigger RJs, and thinking they deserve the upgrade is a special kind of hubris on the part of some DMs (disclaimer: I are a DM). Transcon pax (except paid first) generally aren’t nearly as profitable as the higher cpm short-hauls.

    Granted, it’s entirely Delta’s fault that this is perceived as a take-away, rather than an upgraded class of service.

  5. These amenities remind me of what Hawaiian Air plans to offer in premium economy, which is just pitch + in-flight amenities.

  6. Of course it would be great to have a slight chance for an upgrade to BE. However, I am happy with these enhancements.
    As a lowly Silver Medallion my chances are miniscule to get some upgrades (though I had a great ratio of 2 for 8 during my last vacation in the US). Hence, I love to get something extra when sitting in EC (exit rows are not my thing but I love EC).
    Unfortunately, I don’t get EC for free (except for within 24h before flight) … but at least I get a 50% discount.
    I already noticed last December on our flight from LAX to JFK that EC customers got better snacks than regular coach pax, which was welcome 😉

  7. I wouldn’t pay DL $99 to “upgrade” for these awesome trinkets. Somebody must be high.

    while I don’t normally fly United and have no status, I had to purchase a ticket to ORD in a couple of weeks and was offered to upgrade to UA domestic first for $85 each way! Why the heck would I pay DL $99 to sit in coach?

  8. I have to agree with Noah and Dr. John. As a Platinum I don’t see those transcon upgrades often and it’s a nuisance being close on the list…should I get dinner or not…so I’m happy with it for that. It’s a done deal and I can get to the airport not having to think about it. And yes too, another reversal of “enhancements” …
    But it does show that they’re watching, and listening…

    So next year when we all start flying a different airline because of the paltry miles earned on these trips they can have a chance to reverse the “enhancement” yet again!

  9. I usually get EC, would even pay for it, at the $19 or $29 tag if needed. It does give you a bit more legroom. But lest be real, its still a coach seat and $99 each seg, for some $15 worth of goodies, they are high. I think Delta is pushing the envelope to see what they can get away with. If it doesn’t sell they will slowly revert until they hit a spot where people will pay

  10. I’m with you 100%. However, since they won’t reverse their decision for Medallions on these routes, we can say that at least they’re trying.

    I flew the old BusinessElite international lite 757-200 on Monday from MCO to JFK and found the forward cabin to have quite the alternate vibe. I expect to ride that route with growing frequency. Typically, it is served by an A320 but the 757 peeks in from time to time. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  11. My first thought when I read this was that that passenger right behind EC who sees the person in front of him getting food, etc. is going to think he will be getting something to eat also. And, I doubt he’ll be very happy when he finds out that that is one more division of status between him and the EC guy. Non-EC guy won’t know/understand that that person may or may not have paid $99 for the food privilege. I don’t fly that route and would be eligible for the EC seat without paying but I saw it from the perspective of the have-not passengers. Or am I wrong and that the have nots will get to purchase similar food?

  12. As a PM flying JFK – SFO, I was so far down the Upgrade list it was a sad joke. So having those seats made non-upgradable meant nothing to me.

    This mini-kit looks nice. So I’d say I, and everyone not a DM whose business /client paid for a high cost ticket, has come out ahead in this switch.

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