Delta Re-brands seat names & adds some perks but downgrades Gold Medallions.

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This is an impressive video. Delta has either hired or employed a crack team to make the jets look more glamorous than a Hollywood blockbuster movie. This video makes you want to fly Delta. Also, if you want to read the full PR release, the link is HERE

737_ComfortPlus

Also new is the new quilted seat covers in BOTH 1st class and Comfort+ (was called just EC or Economy Comfort before)

737_FirstClass

I again give it to them for good work. The baby blue old EC head top covers were less than impressive or differentiated the product. Now do keep in mind the seats in C+ (doesn’t C+ sound funny) are the same as the rest of coach other than extra space and recline. This is not a different product than the rest of coach – just now looks very different.

DLCC-100 Branded Products Chart_v4

Now as I warned you in my speculation post about what is coming from Delta, the new SOP or “standard operating procedure” is everything must be net=neutral. That is, if they are going to give they are going to take something away. I warned GMs & FOs to be very afraid as they would likely get a cut in perks. Let’s take a look at what is new:

1) Free drinks
2) The quilted seats
3) Dedicated overhead space
4) Snacks in C+ (think 1st class snack basket)
5 ) C+ gets free Delta Studio

That’s what’s new. The #KeepDescending part is the fact that Golds only get access to these at the 72 hour window (Silvers at 24 hour window but this is nothing new). I think the access to this seat will be VERY limited for Golds and Silvers from now on. Why? DMs & PMs are going to  grab them all. They will not pick exit row anymore as the perks of the C+ seats are better. Plus, you had better believe Delta will do a full court press to SELL-SELL-SELL these seats to non-elites both at booking and on the Fly Delta phone app. Bottom line is Golds and Silvers will have to scrounge to get this seat and thus the loss of the HOOU coupons will have the biggest impact on Gold Medallion flyers and those who are often stuck on regional jets that have no C+ product (or 1st class for that matter).

Some other thoughts. It will be interesting to see how this is implemented. FAs had better get with the program when it comes to overhead space and enforce that this is for C+ flyers or they will be diluting the value of this up-sold product. Same goes for drinks and snacks. They had better offer the same level of 1st class service, that is checking on them more often than once with the cart service if this is really to be a premium type experience. The only other thing that seems to be missing is Seattle from New York was always included as a premium route, but is no longer listed.

What do you think? Are you pleased with the product re-branding. Let the discussion begin! – René
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67 comments

  1. Seeing this does make me want to fly Delta, but the earning miles on revenue does still keep me from doing so.
    Although one flight won’t hurt 🙂

  2. Rene,

    As a PM, I think this will be fine. Golds and below perhaps this is the final push to switch to Alaska or AAdvantage.

    Or am I reading things incorrectly?

  3. Lighter travel this year has me firmly back at GM…Delta’s quest to discourage the moderate flier certainly makes it easier to flip to UAL or AA.

  4. I’m a bit confused. If I’m traveling to Europe (example) and am holding Silver or Gold status – I still have the ability to pay to upgrade to the new Economy Comfort “Comfort Plus” correct?

    You are just talking about access as in moving to the seat for free, but those same seats would be visible within delta.com to anyone that wants to pay to upgrade correct?

    So in a way it really just means less opportunity to select the better seating for free, but there is still the option to pay the fee to upgrade? It would matter more to me that I can still see and select these premium seats even at an extra cost.

  5. As a 3 year gold member and loyal flyer, this stinks for me. Trying to weigh the cost of a big MR in DEC vs just paying for the services and taking the best price carrier. The loss of EC at booking is a big blow! Thanks Delta for looking after your customers.

  6. @John – as long as you are NOT in a BASIC economy fare class yes you can pay to upgrade. This only REALLY hurts Gold Medallions.

  7. What happens if PM or DM books comfort+ seat, but gets upgraded. Are the next in line for 1st class upgrade then upgraded to comfort+?

    I can’t imagine the seat will go empty otherwise

  8. Also, as gold i kind of don’t care if i get this or not. Nice upgrade from exit row. But It’s not 1st and I don’t want Delta to think this satiates my desire for 1st class upgrade.

  9. Please tell me how offering those seats for free is a devaluation when GM only used to get a discount?

    And the free booze without having to use a HOOU coupon that no longer exists?

    And the complimentary for International travel?

    I don’t get it.

  10. Oh dear, so that was the big announcement. It looks nice, a touch of Virgin Atlantic now showing. I think the only way GM will get the premium seats is by paying whereas they were free. I only hope American don’t water their program down. Really sad about Delta giving up on their loyal GM and SM pax. The fares are also increasing. Was looking at MIA-JNB-LHR-MIA. The difference between DL and AA/BA was $600!!! Cheaper to book AF/KL, but then I don’t get the MQD credit!!! They have you at every turn.

  11. @KD – Domestic Golds got to pick C+ free whenever. The HOOU was great if you wanted to say pick exit row. I often WANT exit over C+ as exit is better on MANY jets than row 2 or 3 in C+. Get it now?

  12. @Bill you are so right. I usually fly 60+K paid per year and 2014 was my last year on DL paid flights. I have a $36 TVC that will expire 7/2015, not enough to entice me to pay for a flight. I’ve already booked 370K FF miles on DL and have another 200K+ to use in an emergancy. I saved thousands by using other airlines for my paid flights. When I use those miles I’ll pay the $50 for EC+ and still have a inexpensive flight. lol

  13. On balance, free for international travel is far better than having to pay for it, even discounted.

  14. Just wait. Mark my words. We didn’t think two years ago they would do any of what they have done now. And they’ve done a lot in the last year. Now Gold is worthless, at least in practice, unless you are flying routes with no Platinums or Diamonds. I fly a lot out of Flint. I just hit Diamond. As a Platinum for the last year, I was at about 40% upgrade. My morning two-cabin Flint to Atlanta flights were often 15-20 people on the upgrade list. As a Platinum with the Reserve American Express card, I was often number four or five with three seats empty. You know damn well that Platinum is next. They will target Platinum for reduced practical benefits.

  15. I also don’t understand why Delta didn’t take old first-class/business-class seats and put them in economy comfort or whatever it’s called now. That would add some value, especially on an overnight flight.

    It’s interesting they’ve also pulled out the business-elite (now Delta One) product from New York J.F.K. to Seattle (and vice versa). I wonder if that means they aren’t winning with their war against Alaska Airlines. Also, it’s interesting because most of Delta’s Asia flights now seem to be going in and out of Seattle. I wonder if people will like flying domestic first-class from Seattle to New York J.F.K. after having the much-nicer experience from Hong Kong to Seattle. It’s not as if they are reducing the price for the lower-grade service.

  16. Interesting. Literally just booked a trip to LAS via ATL As GM I was able to select C+(or exit row) for all flights at booking. Went to book to SFO in April and was not allowed.
    Guess I should have read blog first.
    Oh, and my new accrued mileage will be roughly 1/3 of what it once was.
    Thanks DAL.

  17. As a GM, this is very disappointing. Free Economy Comfort (at booking) and Standby benefits are the only reason I pushed for Gold again this year instead of flying the competitors–after all, Golds hardly get upgrades these days. That said, there’s no doubt I’ll be booking the New American a ton more in the coming year since they have offered me a status match.

  18. Actually happy with this. My company is willing to pay for Economy Comfort and it’s necessary for me as I physically have a hard time fitting in standard Economy (6’4″, long legs). If the product I’m getting in the end is better, I don’t complain.

  19. Isn’t this also a down grade for PM and DM too? Gifting Silver or Gold status isn’t what it use to be either with this change?

  20. I agree this really hits GM, but also don’t understand why we have three months of no HOOUs. It doesn’t make any sense. Again, I think the rollout is bad. I read it on your blog first. As a DM, I would expect an email from Delta today.

  21. Gold got hosed on Skymiles 2015… This hurts as well…

    Glad I am choosing to forget the elite game… Going for price… You all can enjoy your perks and I’m glad they are going to work for you all!

  22. As a GM, my upgrade percentage is horrible. And I dont fly busy, regular routes. The saving grace was the HOOU coupons, but now even those are gone. (last flight, I forgot to print at home and on my stopover the skylounge said it wouldnt print up there for whatever reason but the delta help desk in terminal, the lady had mercy on me and took 2 coupons, out of her wallet oddly enough, and gave to me). But, alas, my travel portion of my job has decreed and at a good time too because it looks like I will need to leave Delta. I’d work hard just to get GM, but now its not even worth too muhc anymore. no worries, I’ll still read the blog! 🙂

  23. Nobody has pointed this out here, on FlyerTalk or other places, but American just made big news over the weekend with ‘enhancements.’ I know Delta was working on this for a while, but perhaps they rushed out an earlier than expected announcement to also get in the news and minimize any American owning of the publicity stage. Just a thought from someone who works in P.R.

    On a side note, it was rolled out bad. They should have e-mailed all of their customers. As of almost 2:30 p.m. Eastern, I have yet to receive an e-mail about the changes.

    This doesn’t upset me as much as last week’s Delta partner mile earning announcement. They should have announced that six months ago.

  24. 1: As a new DM who just gifted my wife with GM, I’m really pissed at the 72hrs to C+ change
    2: I didn’t see anything about reserved overhead space for C+, just for 1st, which is no change. What did I miss?
    3: Love the “Access to WiFi”. 🙂 Yep, everyone who wants to can buy it.
    4: How do they give free Delta Studio to people in C+?
    5: Is Delta planning on calling their top International service “First Class”?

  25. @Greg D, for your #4, when you log in to view whatever paid content you want to watch, it will as for payment or your seat number and name (I think those were the option). I know that you have the opportunity to put in seat+name…just can’t remember exactly what it looks like. Then, once it confirms you get to watch your stuff.

  26. Right now I’m Platinum, and after a series of 5 flights with only two upgrades, feel pretty good about C+, although I probably wouldn’t if I were Gold. I have a couple thoughts:
    1) One benefit to GM members is free C+ at 72 hours on international travel. This is potentially significant.
    2) Will medallions be able to take companions with them to C+ free of charge? I see nothing addressing this anywhere.

  27. Does anyone ever contemplate a class action lawsuit against DL for not announcing changes with enough warning. Someone could have spent all year earning GM just so they could fly C+ and now they are having that benefit taken away from them. It is too late in the year to work on earning PM so someone like this is stuck. This is kind of like what happened to people who fly transcons last year when they yanked the complimentary upgrades late in the year. These perks have real value and although Delta says that they can change the program whenever they wish, I’m not sure a judge would see it that way. Seems like there is some liability here if you don’t announce changes with at least a year’s notice.

  28. Great I hit GM TOMORROW! So… I decided to see if anything new is going on and I get this crap! But as a FO I’m use to 24 hours 72 is still an upgrade.

  29. I have an economy comfort seat purchased for after March 1, so I get the free drinks and snacks (it’s a 1477 mile flight)?

  30. Good point Tom. If I had known about the devaluation earlier in the year I would have changed alliance earlier and not wasted all this time for nothing!!

  31. As a Diamond who flies 140+ segments a year I love this!!!!! This should help minimize the middle seats or back of plane with a late Booking. Huge enhancement for those that fly a lot! Thanks Delta! Don’t get getting rid of the HOOU early though. Bad will for nothing.

  32. I’m a PM with a Law Degree and this new product roll out is more confusing than our tax code. It reminds me of a trip on Virgin Australia when the passenger sitting next to me got a meal, beer and cookie and I was given water with no ice. That’s how I view this enhancment. Can we say “second” and “third” class travel? Does this mean that when a plane makes an emergency landing C+ will get right of first refusal to the emergency exits? And we wonder why people are so rude when try travel.

    This airline is truly being run by the bean counters. As of 9:30 pm, I’ve still not heard anything from Delta.

    Mark my words, SkyBonus is next on the chopping block!

  33. Just finished a mileage run to get to Gold, now they publish this. I am going to rethink & retool my frugal flight techniques – and even thought AA and the others are harder for me to use I will have to start branching out and including them in my plans.

    Thanks Delta – this might just be the one to make me switch.

  34. Flew yesterday as GM with no upgrade. I was surprised to see no HOOU when I printed my BP Monday morning. Was this policy in place Monday, or did I not get a coupon because I checked in Sunday from my phone?

  35. Will GM still get 50% discount to buy EC on TATL & TPAC (& domestic outside the 72 hour window)?

  36. C+ is intended to pacify all the diamonds and platinums who will not be getting upgrades due to delta selling more and more upgrades.

  37. No more Amex 25,000 and 50,000 spend game for me to secure Gold. NO (0) upgrades this year on Tues and Wed travel, and maybe 1 in 2013. EC is / was the only benefit for me. If this goes so do I.

  38. I agree with ‘e’. I will go to AA and get gold there. Hopefully they won’t change their program!! In 2013/14 I was only upgraded twice. It was the EC seats that I enjoyed.

  39. “john December 9, 2014 at 08:58

    C+ is intended to pacify all the diamonds and platinums who will not be getting upgrades due to delta selling more and more upgrades.”

    In Delta’s dreams.

    1: As a new DM I just gifted my wife the GM. This change makes me pissed.

    2: 2 across with a real arm rest in between in light-years better than 3 across with elbow bumping.

    3: EC was teh GM benefit for not getting many upgrades. Making it the DM /PM “benefit” for not getting upgrades is definite #KeepDescending

  40. yep, looks like will be switching from delta as my preferred airline as there doesn’t seem to be any benefit of being a loyal customer anymore.- back to american

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