Rookie Wednesday: Trying to simply explain Delta seat choices – “Let’s play ball”

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RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

what bugs me the most about comfort+ seats and service
The C+ FAQS from Delta

I thought I would take a stab and try to, in a simple way, explain what is already a total mess of seating / marketing / spin. Also, later on, I want to touch on what is definitely going to become a hot button issue (notice wording above) and those who don’t see this have no clue how human expectations work.

As I talked about in this rookie post, Delta ONLY has 2 cabin service on all it’s jets (other than jets with only 1 cabin service, that is, tiny regional jets with all coach). So they are going to try to spin everything past business class seats into a number of “experiences”. More on that in a bit. First let’s play ball, if you will, to make the seating more clear to you (maybe).

understainding Delta seat choices
You don’t want to be out in “left field”!

Yes, I get this is a little bit like the old “who’s on 1st” comedy routine, but I think this really is the best way to explain this. Also, as I break this down, please no one go “Flyer Talker” on me as this is meant to be basic, understandable comparisons. Clear? Here we go:

On 1st base we have Delta ONE! This is a business class seat on international aircraft and some transcon flights. It is a seat that can go fully flat. Service is often much better on these routes. Please do not think this is 1st class as Delta does not have 1st class, they only have business class.

On 2nd base we have Delta 1st class. Wait. You just said Delta does not have 1st class. That is correct. Delta, domestically has business class seats. They call them 1st class. Confusing? You betcha. Sorry. I don’t run the Delta “spin team”. So bad even the Delta CEO cannot keep the seat names straight.

On 3rd base we have Delta Comfort Plus (C+). This is a coach seat. Again, Delta only has two seats business and coach. So, this seat is sold as an “experience” better than the rest of coach. You get a tiny bit of extra leg room and recline / pitch. Some free goodies sometimes depending on length of flight. Don’t expect to be impressed.

In center field we have FCM. Delta is doing everything it can to sell you all of the above for money or points. Delta’s goal is to push these sales as far as they can and evidence has shown people are falling for these sales pitches.

In right field we have Main Cabin or coach. This is all the seats behind the C+ ones. Same seat and in exit row just about the same extra leg room just less of an “experience”.

Way out in left field we have BASIC. This is a coach seat like all the rest behind C+ but the “experience” is worse. That is, you get whatever coach seat Delta tells you that you get.

Playing short stop we have Delta360. That is a super special group of big spenders that Delta really loves. They get special treatment and can have things done (like upgrades) that others do not get. This is “the club” to be in with Delta.

At the catcher position we have Medallion upgrades. These are the coveted upgrades (to business class) that most flyers want. However, Delta is now saying the C+ “experience” is SO GOOD that there will be soon an upgrade list for even C+ seats.

Then on deck we have Global and Regional Upgrade certificates. These are an instrument that top elites can choose to leap frog over others to get the coveted business class seats.

Lastly we have the pitcher or DAL (symbol for Delta stock, btw). The game revolves around the pitcher tossing “YOU” the ball. Where you end up sure depends on what kind of “curve ball” the pitcher sends your way.

So there you are. Does this simple sports analogy help you better understand what is in place? Maybe. But now on to the issues with this “game” we play when we fly Delta.

Delta is brilliant in that they are marketing what they have the best they can. A metal tube can only hold so many people (legally and safely) and thus you have to sell what is beyond the seat. Delta is trying to do that. They are selling you a travel “experience”. There are issues with this and it is a long list but let me hit the main ones.

Unless the flight is over 900+ miles you don’t get the entire C+ experience. Many already complain about this. Next, flight attendants do not always have time to fully service the business class passengers so C+ will most times be the same coach “experience” as the rest of “Main Cabin” gets. If you are in BASIC, you had better have a Delta AMEX card because on most Delta flights nowadays if you are ZONE 2 or worse you are going to have your carry-on force checked as overhead space will be gone.

Lastly we have the mess of C+ upgrades. The complexity of this “W fare class” that is only meant to be an improved “experience” is going to make people nuts. Not allowing top elites to have their family with them is making folks nuts already. It will get worse.

My only hope with all of this is that Delta is done with this seat confusion. If it gets any worse, we are out of space in the infield and outfield after all! – René

1 Comment

  1. I dislike that Delta is doing this to confuse, or arguably cheat, pax out of money.
    I’m all for enhancing shareholder wealth but this is pure obfuscation, borderline chicanery.
    I use Delta almost exclusively and still have some trouble figuring much of it out without reviewing. The whole “manage upgrade” thing is terrible.
    I don’t wanna automatically upgrade my exit row aisle to middle seat C+.

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