The other day I got a nice email from Singapore Airlines with the above graphic for their “new class of service”. It said in part the seat would include:
“Singapore Airlines Premium Economy Class is a new way to fly with enhanced comfort, additional choices, and exclusive privileges.”
That sounds great. The seats look very nice compared to any coach or Comfort+ type seat Delta has. Then Delta PR this week was focused on promoting their, on paper anyway, OFCMB or 5 class of service with up-sell choices with Expedia and Orbitz travel. Lovely. Makes me think back to my recent Field of Dreams road trip and hear in my head, “If you market it, they will buy“. Delta is doing all they can to sell the two kinds of seats they offer as unique products when they are not even outside “Delta land” now. But all of this got me thinking.
I have been told a rumor that Delta is in fact at least thinking of installing a real Premium Economy seat on international flights and I feel this would be a smashing idea. It truly is about time and they need to catch up at this point with what is in the rest of the market. After all Delta owns almost half of Virgin Atlantic and they have just an amazing Premium Economy seat but the only way Delta flyers have access to this is to buy a ticket – not via upgrades etc. The same thing goes for Air France. Medallions cannot get access free.
Now on to my speculations and why I think this would be such a home run idea for Delta and how this could be marketed.
Delta would install these seats for all internationally configured jets as well as the LAX-JFK/SFO route (plus Hawaii direct). All of these routes are non-Medallion upgradedable as they have DeltaONE seats that are full flat and much much much better than the normal domestic 1st class or business class seat. Really, when you think about it, the DeltaONE seat is much more like a 1st class seat compared to so many other airlines.
Here is how this will be marketed. Delta will offer FREE upgrades for this seat for Diamonds and Platinum Medallion members. They will offer discounted upgrades for purchase for Gold and Silver Medallion members. This way, even those who are buying long haul coach seats have a shot at a “minor” upgrade either free or at a discounted price and loyalty is rewarded. The DeltaONE seats are preserved for high price sales and Global Upgrade certs.
The other big plus is there would then be alignment with both Virgin Atlantic plus Air France and a chance to compete with airlines like Singapore and others who offer more than just two choices of seats on international aircraft.
For me, Comfort+ on Domestic flights is fine. You are getting a little bit more in space and perks even if the seat is the same as the rest of coach. Those flights are normally not “that” long that a true Premium Economy seat is called for. Plus, domestic birds, for the most part, do not have DeltaONE but just a 1st class or business class seat. A Premium Economy seat here would rival what was up front – not good.
What else? Delta is wanting to block the ME3 from new routes. I do not get in the middle of things like that but it looks like they ARE going to have to compete head to head after all. DeltaONE is a great product so I think they are fine there. The rest of coach is fine and service is good. What is missing in this equation is Premium Economy!
Delta has been smart enough not to destroy elite points by still awarding them for the distance you fly but there is less reward for international elite flyers with only two types of seats. A real Premium Economy would be a tangible reason to avoid the ME3 and keep banking your MQMs, that is, elite points for each trip to Delta. It just fits with the current SkyMiles program.
I could go on and on but clearly there is a need. It would be a great way to compete and reward elites and even make some more money on up-sells. Other than the cost to upgrade the seats I see very few drawbacks from finally making this move on all of Delta’s international birds. What do you think? Like the idea? – René
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