Should there be an upgrade list for Delta Comfort+™ seats?

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The above tweet got me thinking. Delta has done an amazing job drumming up how “amazing” the Delta comfort Plus seats are.

Delta 767-300 domestic comfort plus seat Delta points blog

Gosh, those seats sure are pretty (well to some anyway). They do stand out compared to the rest of coach or as Delta now calls it “main cabin” seating. But do they stand out enough?

I have from a reliable source that a small curtain dividing C+ from Main is going to happen at some point. It seems there are a number of flyers who are upset that this section of the plane is getting so many more perks than the rest of coach (since the seat is after all the same). Even a small overhead divider will differentiate this section of seats that offer much better perks on many flights.

But that begs the question, should there be an upgrade list for this section of seats as well for medallions? I know this presents a number of problems and other issues.

For example, any 1st class seat is better than coach so just about no one complains about an upgrade. But if I were in “main cabin” or exit row aisle or window seats I would NOT want to move to middle row C+ seats no matter how many perks you give me and I think most frequent flyers worst fear is middle seat.

But let’s switch it around. If I am able to score a good C+ seat, after a medallion (other than me) moves up to 1st class then I will be most pleased to take his or her old C+ aisle or window seat! Yes, please give me free drinks, Delta Studio and on longer flights a nice snack basket.

I know what you are thinking before you even say it. You are thinking that gate agents are already stressed out and have a hard enough time clearing medallions to 1st class as they are pushing that time frame as late as possible to sell as many seats as they can. Oh that, and the pressure to get the flight out on time – when would there be time for yet ANOTHER upgrade list to kick in and once again move people around let alone what if they say NO to the middle seat upgrade?

This really is not that hard when you think about it if only Delta wants to spend a little bit of all the money they are making to automate much of this. For example. How hard would this be to put into the “My Delta” section of the web page and have it look at what you like:

1) 1st class
2) C+ aisle
3) C+ window
4) Exit aisle
5) Exit window
6) Any aisle
7) Any window
8) middle – never EVER!

So when the gate agent upgrades a medallion the computer system would look at the C+ upgrade list and simply take the #1 on THAT list and if they can find a seat for them they upgrade to C+. If not, they stay on the list basically in the spot they were in because their seat of choice was not open. How hard could this be (OK yes, I know we are talking Delta IT, but still)?

There is more than just extra effort to my madness about this. Delta has CLEARLY attempted to differentiate basically all the same coach seats as different and special. If they are THAT special then they should be something we can upgrade into. Plus, if you think about it, that would again “sell” the specialness of this “product” in the consumer’s mind (wow – I got an upgrade).

Before you blast me in the comments, I get that for most we are reaching here but so is the C+ concept to me. To me, it is the seat that matter first. I want to work on my laptop and a little extra leg room and recline does not help me do that. I have no place to put my “free drinks” and the C+ snack basket is comparable to the $kyGrub I just had when I exited the $kyPub. So this would be for the “rest” of the flyers who would maybe be impressed with this idea.

What do you think? I would love to know. You vote and you tell me. – René

Should Delta have a second upgrade list for Comfort Plus seating at the gate?

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14 comments

  1. Well, two things:

    1) An upgrade list may be needed because, as we all know, upgrades are almost non-existent for silver, gold and, increasingly, platinum elite passengers. I had about a 45% upgrade rate as a platinum. As a diamond with the American Express Delta Reserve card, I’m at about 95%, but I chose my routes and flight times carefully to maximize upgrade chances. Plus, we know Delta’s own strategy, according to investor conference calls, is to up-sell first-class and greatly reduce upgrade chances.

    2) I’d be more content if flight attendants would pull the curtain separating first-class from everyone else. I’m sick and tired of passengers using first-class bathrooms when they aren’t entitled to do so. Flight attendants typically don’t enforce this, except on international flights.

  2. Think that would be yet another GM- devaluation lose of the ability to pick an open seat T-24 in C+ for free in exchange for only a chance to get that same seat at the gate. Unless those upgrade matched the same windows as 1class upgrades pre skystones 2015. Hope that makes sense. right now I’d rather southwest myself in C+ before check-in on a reminder than see myself on a list. #cuttingthequeue

    Eitherway it’s a loss from being able to choose the seat at booking for free. To me it’s only a perk if I can count on it, C+ included. Otherwise it’s just a favor or courtesy. Again since I don’t drink the real benefit to me of C- seats is the comp Delta Studio…..when the plane.

    Now that is poll worthy. Would much rather see Delta Studio as a medallion perk regardless of where you are seated. It just isn’t a limited commodity like Comfort seats or Goldfish even when given out for free. so make it a perk and not a surprise upgrade. *sigh*

  3. Rene,

    I suppose I’m a little confused as to the need for this. For DM and PM they can pick a C+ seat at purchase, for GM they may choose one at 3 days out. I am FO(Didn’t hit MQD for Gold, will be PM with MQD exempt this year)and have had several options in C+ for all my flights this year.

    I would opine that with checking in at 24 hours most seats open up, and if seat selection is that important to someone, the should take the time to check the app and see whats available up until they are at the airport. I’d rather see Delta invest in the Sky Clubs than some IT that will never work reliably.

  4. I’ve seen GM upgrade probably due to fare class purchased among other factors. I love that they try to sell first class for $100 BOS ATL at check in. Opted out and then saw number 2 for 8 upgrades two hours before boarding. Sneaky. They also want us to purchase C+ so we don’t stress about trying to get them for free. My favorite thing is how one loses C+ if not available when making SDC. C+ is great when it’s free not when it adds $$$ to the ticket. Are there that many people that aren’t eligible for free C+?

  5. @Mike from DC – Allow me to UN-confuse you. At gate it can be a mess. APP blocks you changing seats at some point as you end up with GATE control. This would fix that. Clear? 🙂

  6. This is sort of happing already. On recent flight the GIDS (at the gate) upgrade list showed somebody in C+ I didn’t get a picture but will try if I see it again.

  7. I have flown a LOT of segments thus far this year and I did a twelve segment MR where I observed a lot of empty C+ seats after the door closed. ALL attempts of pax trying to ‘sneak’ up and self-UG were thwarted by observant FA crew.

    There are many opportunities for the Elites to get these seats, although I understand your point René with the APP’s limitations. However, you asked for comments and it is of my opinion that the GA are already heavily burdened and I would not trust another ‘computer-operated’ UG system for C+ seats.

    I am very fortunate; I am 100% for UG this year…and all Elite companions that have flown with me (on separate PNR’s) have gotten C+ seats before gate arrival.

    That’s just my input.

  8. @Mike from DC: I agree about the Sky Clubs. I’d like to see a dedicated area for business-elite — strike that, Delta-one — customers on international flights. Not all airports with big international flights have Sky Clubs with showers, let alone adequate space for those buying the most expensive tickets.

  9. Rene,
    Please remove the Hulu ads from your site. They are causing my screen to scroll up and down constantly. Your site is unusable with that ad.

    Thanks

  10. Sure upgrade opening lists to C+ sounds great until you see the clear path to IT monetizing these upgrades or Delta management making us use some new upgrade certificate for the seat. Add a curtain and poof Delta is the only 3 class domestic carrier.

  11. I am DM and I am happy to say I don’t know what level gives you access to C+ for free. It would be nice for the PM, GM and SMs to get something. But the last minute changes are a burden on the GAs and FAs. After we start getting upgrades, we can feel very entitled- (see Rene’s recent post about employees taking 1st class seats). I am as selfish as anyone and now feel like Delta owes me upgrades. I would say I have been pulled from the back cabin half a dozen times in the last 6 months for after boarding upgrades. That’s great, but I worry that if this starts extending down to the C+ seats, GA/FAs will give up trying to do last minute switches. I am sure the GAs are already very tired of passengers asking them about upgrades. Some gates have a sign to put out saying “First Class has checked in Full” On the other side, almost every time I am upgraded at the gate, I am vacating a C+ seat, and it is a shame if these seats go empty, rather than give the lesser medallions a perk.

  12. Two Points:

    1. Before DL invests in ANYTHING, can we all agree they need to invest in retiring the CRJ200? #SatansChariot

    2. As a DM, a C+ list would be great. I don’t know what routes others are flying, but on 8 ATL-West Coast segments this year, I’ve been UGd once with 7 flights having a total of 2 UG seats available. On all of these flights C+ was sold out before booking and nothing opened up as there were no UGs.

    I think Rene hit it on the head last year when he said that C+ would be the “New Upgrade” for medallions as the FCM process continues to roll on and gather steam/revenue. This is just the natural progression DL will need to take if they want to keep their medium and low revenue FFs.

  13. I saw the same thing that @FredW mentions — an upgraded status was showing on the GIDS for someone in 11B, so had to ask the GA if the plane had that many F rows — turns out it was an upgrade to C+.

  14. On 4 legs two weeks ago (through ATL) on MD88 & 757 I saw several concerning things. I was on UG ineligible voucher fare so in first row of C+ all legs, and less mad since not directly impacted.

    First leg, UG list over 20 pax, roughly 5 clear at gate. Last minute a DL Pilot board in full garb and takes window seat in FC. 1 dressed Delta FA also sitting as pax in C+ first row.

    Final leg, UG list over 30 pax, 4 or so cleared. I sit in C+ and rest of first row empty except 1 other person. Last minute 4!! dressed FAs board and sit in first row of C+ with me, presumably in seats where DM/PM were upgraded from. Surely some PM/GM and lower in back and wanted those seats.

    There was weather, so slight delays (15 min or so) and many repositioning staff…but seems there are pax entitled to get these seats that are not being moved forward because of bad processes…

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