What Delta should do to upgrade the JFK-SEA/SFO/LAX flight experience!

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tweet from luvo to me about my post on EC transcon upgrades

Last week Luvo, the company, responded with an MT or modified re-tweet about my post talking about Delta’s latest “enhancements” to the EC or economy comfort flight experience from JFK. Most readers responded they liked the new perks while other medallions responded that they are avoiding that route now since there is no shot at a business class upgrade. To me, it is about the seat and Delta’s EC seat is only marginally better than any other coach seat, that is a tiny bit more leg room and recline; other than that, no big difference.

PremiumVoyageur  seats1

What Delta could do, to differentiate the EC experience, on JUST THIS ROUTE, is to put in a “real” EC seat. Air France has a truly differentiated EC hard product on many of its international birds.

PremiumVoyageur  seats2

It is a REAL upgrade over the standard coach seat. You are talking 19″ of seat width and 38″ of recline vs Delta’s EC product that is 17-18″ of width and 35″ of recline. 1″ of extra width is really nice and 38″ of recline is a remarkable difference when trying to rest on a long flight.

AF EC seats

Plus there is the additional space around you. On the widebody jets Air France has removed one seat going from 2-4-2 to 2-3-2 to accommodate these larger seats. Doing this on narrow body Delta jets would be difficult so I don’t have the perfect answer as to the hard design change idea. Plus, I am sure there are others better equipped to make those kinds of hardware suggestions than me.

I guess my point is if Delta is going to keep the medallion non-upgrade stand on these routes, they need to offer more than just soft upgrades and truly offer an improved hard product as well. What do you think? Would an upgrade EC seat bring you who are avoiding the route back? – René
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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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13 comments

  1. Delta is doing just fine with yield on those routes without the ‘lost’ Medallions.

  2. @Greg – most days when I have looked they are only 50% booked. maybe. they are going to have stiff competition from Jet Blue and MINT product for MUCH less. we shall see.

  3. I fly to Europe a lot, which is actually where I earn my status. Sometimes I fly Air France and, actually, gate upgrades to “premium economy” for about $150. While the service is marginally better, I stopped doing this after a couple times because I couldn’t sleep. While premium economy seats recline more, the footrest doesn’t come up all the way. Plus, if the seat next to you is empty (as has always been the case for me), you can’t take advantage of the extra space because of the non-movable armrests and such.

  4. You are confusing “recline” with “seat pitch”. There is no way either seat reclines 35-38″. I think it is more like 8″ on the delta EC.

  5. I still fly JFK-LAX RT and let me say, those biz class seats are still full. Actually, on a recent LAX-JFK flight, I saw something interesting. A gate agent plucked two men from the EC section and sent them up to biz.

    One of them sat next to me in 12G. Then, another passenger came and she too had 12G. Suffice it to say, I’m sure the man was happy to go to 1A.

    Were gate agents making discretionary decisions of upgrading passengers?

  6. @glbetrkkr – “seeing” the seats full does not mean they were SOLD! non-revs get free travel on these routes. also if coach is oversold medallions get op-up’ed or an operational upgrade to 1st. that is what you are seeing is my best guess. from the seat map of seats for sale they often show 50% empty.

  7. Agree with i Fly. The AF seats are absolutely horrible for sleeping. I, and many others, actually prefer AF’s Y seat to their PV seat.

  8. Those wraps are a little bit gross. Just saying. I have a high tolerance for crap food while on an airplane, so it’s saying a lot if I took two bites and was done. Usually I’m just bored and looking for something to do while watching a movie…but this just didn’t work. Meanwhile, it IS a short enough flight that I’m perfectly happy in the “B” column of EC on a 767. Also, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been seated next to a DM in EC because there were 12 others out of LAX…what’s a little PM to do?

  9. Nice try, but I think delta will never offer something like this in coach. They might try it for domestic first class.

  10. Well, looking today, SFO-JFK:
    4 PM: 9 empty seat
    9:30 PM: 3 Empty seats
    11 PM: 25 empty seats (including 7 in Business Elite).

    Sad to say, looks like Delta’s selling those seats just fine without any disgruntled DMs (did PMs ever get an upgrade on that route?)

  11. Rene, any thoughts as to why Delta ignores the JFK to PDX run? No different than SEA and SFO and planes are always packed.

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