Travel Related

Delta Comfort Plus Upgrade Reader Questions Answered and other Important bits to know!

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr
Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

delta air line gids display for first class and comfort plus upgrade screen atlanta atl airport renespoints blog
Congrats? You get middle seat “Upgrade”?

This past Monday I blogged about the “fake” upgrade e-mails many of us are getting from Delta, that is, we have been “SideGraded” from one coach seat to another coach seat of the exact same size as the one we were in since the Comfort Plus or C+ seat is the same as all the other “Main Cabin” seats (size wise). But I also said I would cover a number of other points as well.

only middel seats open on my yyz to atl flight delta 717-200 jet
I warned you THIS would happen!

Let’s knock out some of the most common ones folks are either getting wrong or have not thought about. I will be using the Delta 717-200 seat map just above as well as the top screen shot of the GIDS (gate information display system) screen from Atlanta ATL airport.

Q) Do I have to upgrade to C+ before I can upgrade to 1st class?

A) No. You do NOT need to upgrade to C+ as a step between coach and 1st class

Q) If I do get a FREE Complimentary C+ upgrade does it improve my chance to upgrade to 1st class?

A) No. A FREE or Complimentary upgrade to C+ has ZERO impact on your upgrade chance to 1st.

Q) Do I have to request C+ upgrades?

A) It is not an upgrade but yes, under most circumstances, you have to check the box to get the upgrade.

Q) If I pay for W or a C+ fare, will that help me upgrade to 1st class?

A) YES! To me, buying C+ for the sake of flying C+ is ridiculous. However, the W fare class is at the very top of the fare class list (don’t think alphabetical order, think airline order). We all should know fare class is a MAJOR component of earning an upgrade.

Q) If there is a C+ seat open after we take off, can I switch as a Medallion elite (any level)

A) No. Flight Attendants will not (or should not) allow this unless there is say an issue with your current seat (hint, hint).

Q) Can I buy a C+ “upgrade” once in the air?

A) Yes, many times, but why? 😉 There are likely only middle seats open.

Q) If I choose NO, that is do not pick the box that says I want to upgrade to C+, will a gate agent over ride this and gate upgrade me to a middle seat C+?

A) This should not happen unless SHENA comes for a visit. The only thing you should get, as long as it is checked, is an upgrade to 1st class.

Q) If my wife and I are traveling together, could Delta put us in separate rows during C+ upgrade window or at the gate?

A) You betcha. It is so important to remember Delta fully thinks this is a “whiz bang” upgrade and each of you in a middle seat (not together) is better than sitting together as C+ is an upgrade you must want! Have fun trying to get someone to trade seats with you to a middle seat! 🙁

Q) Do you think C+ upgrade issues could impact your chance for a 1st class upgrade?

A) This is personal speculation but is based on observation. YES I think it could and will. Gate agents pull SHENA events all the time and are now even more stressed with dual-upgrade lists vs. just one.

Q) Will you, Rene, ever pick C+ seats as a Diamond?

A) Sure, if I can instantly clear and get an aisle seat at booking. I will NEVER EVER play the upgrade lottery to C+ then to 1st class. I will leave the box unchecked if I cannot instantly upgrade to the seat I want. If, due to seats being blocked for C+ sales, I will just stick with exit row.

These are the most common questions I have received from readers either via e-mail, twitter or on the blog. Have other C+ related questions? First take the time please to read the FAQs page on but if that does not do it, or it is not covered there, feel free to comment below on the blog. – René


Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. Funny, what kind of questions you get. I guess there are very many people out there that don’t check Delta’s website just once to get some information.
    Luckily, they know you 😉
    Anyway, there is one question/answer that struck me. You think, that couples could be split due to an upgrade? It never happened to us, when we got upgraded to first class. And I would say, an upgrade to first class is as much an upgrade as one to C+ … if not even more an upgrade than … 😉
    Anyway, that one image of all those open middle seats and your subtitle that you warned us, makes me somewhat smile … because this is kinda logical and clearly communicated by Delta. But as we know, people often don’t read.
    If there were middle seats in first class this would really be nothing new … the concept of upgrading to a middle seat. Though, of course, any first class seat is (as a seat) better than any coach class seat.
    But you might have more legroom in coach … I’m thinking of some 757s where bulkhead seats in first class have a very restricted legroom.

    • @Ralfinho – Oh sure Delta can split you up. If you, and your wife, upgrade to 1st class and two seats together are not open do you say no? Delta feels the “same” feeling and logic should apply to C+. I know, stupid and a total joke but what they believe.

  2. Santastico Reply

    Gave up on Delta. Period!!! I am flying MSP-SFO-MSP next week on a personal trip (so it comes out of my pocket). Delta non-stop $1220 vs United non-stop at $443. What are the guys down in Atlanta smoking??? Well, I have zero status with United but having Platinum status with Delta is close to not having status at all now that I cannot even select C+ for free. As I said before, unless Delta is the only non-stop option out of MSP you lost my business to all other flights.

  3. Rene,
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but regarding a medallion traveling with non-status companion and assuming I am willing to pay for my companion to sit in with me in C+…
    I either have to buy the tickets separately in order for me to get the complimentary “upgrade” to C+ or I have to buy both of us in the higher fare C+ if on the same reservation?! This is ridiculous. Shouldn’t delta.dumb ask me what level each traveler is so we can be on same reservation without making me pay for something I should get complimentary as a Platinum?

    • @Barry – Correct. You can split the reservation, if your free UG is open say weeks out, then pay to UG your +1. Then “link” the reservations and hope if issue happen you both are accommodated on the same flights etc. I agree it stinks you have split a PRN to get this done.

  4. Okay, Rene, thanks for that info. So I guess, as long as ‘connected’ seats are available, Delta IT is smart enough to put you together when upgrading you. So we were lucky in those instances when we got upgraded.
    And when there are only ‘single’ seats left, but enough for your party, you may still get upgraded, but split into different rows or so. I understand, just assumed somehow otherwise since we were always lucky to sit together.

  5. Q) If I pay for W or a C+ fare, will that help me upgrade to 1st class?

    Do you have proof from Delta this is the case? I have read reports on Flyertalk that W fares do not trump YBM fares but maybe that’s just in the case of WU fares when upgraded. The link you have above doesn’t work.. Thanks

    • @M. Ridley – Link fixed. It had an extra HTTP stuck in front. Sorry. Again, look at the fare class order on

  6. Rene- important correction on Q) If I pay for W or a C+ fare, will that help me upgrade to 1st class? it does NOT help. Upgrade isn’t based on W, it’s based on the underlying economy fare. I just called Delta and confirmed a W fare I had will actually upgrade based on my underlying L class.

    • @Tom – Incorrect. If you are UPGRADED it is based on the lower fare class. If you BUY it FULL FARE W class you are much higher up on the list. See the difference. Both are covered in the above.

  7. poor old dave Reply

    @santastico I am doing similar today. Round trip to ORD on Delta went up $600 to over $900 per economy ticket (in one hour after first search) which was $300 more than United. I ended up using points which on United was 20k less AND 1 leg of the 2 is in FC. I am DM and MM and will be in the very last seat on the return which is ok because even with status and etc for a higher cost my choice of seats was the same on Delta. My trip is to attend a funeral and Delta sure wanted to gig me …

  8. What do I get for being a diamond flying on a global cert from Seattle to Atlanta? The luxury of getting on the plane early, nothing more. (no upgrade to either class) . They better not thank me for my status or I may tell them what I think and it’s not their fault. I’m sure delta has done the math and has decided it’s more profitable to handle c+ this way so they won’t care but I’m done with them.

  9. @Rene- I bought a W fare. Delta agent asked me why I bought into W since the upgrade is free for me as a Platinum. I said I wanted higher upgrade priority for first class and she was quick to call out that it does not impact domestic upgrade priority as there is still an underlying economy fare class (L in my case) despite buying into W. Maybe the one rep I spoke to is mistaken, but I’ve seen it confirmed on Flyer Talk forums as well. Worth looking into…

    • @Tom – Well as we all know, Delta is not the most transparent on fare class anyway (see this weeks Rookie post). If Delta can hide info from us, they will and it is up to us to find the facts of this and most matters that affect us!

  10. Do you agree, Rene, that delta is doing this because it hopes all of its elites will not check the C+ upgrade box thus leaving those seats for delta to sell instead of upgrade? That also leaves more elites in line for the upgrade to first only and the further down that list an elite is the more likely the elite will pay to upgrade to first. Thus, win, win all the way around for delta because it is then selling all of those upgrades instead of giving them away for “free.”

    • @Chris – IMO the ONLY reason they are doing this is to avoid elite meltdowns when they find themselves in a middle seat they did not want. Delta can say we gave you the option to opt-out.

  11. The easy way to get around this is to leave the C+ upgrade box unchecked. 72 hours before the flight check which C+ seats are available and then decide to check the box or not.

    I just did this and it worked fine. There was a window seat open in C+ so I checked the box and then grabbed the seat I wanted manually.

    It is no different than how we all handled C+ upgrades before the new policy. If someone doesn’t care if they get a middle seat they can default to checking the upgrade box. Otherwise just do it the way we used to do it.

    • @Charles – Yep that is one way to deal with it. The only issue that could maybe be a problem is if the seat maps don’t match up one day ie Delta holds seats for sale that are not in the upgrade bucket.

  12. How long before upgrades to first class will require purchasing a C+ fare and those purchasing main cabin fares will be limited to C+ “upgrades?”

  13. I am surprised you have not written about the great C+ debacle that happened on Monday. If you were in a C+ seat before Monday’s fantastic enhancement, you were unceremoniously dumped out of your C+ seat and put in the main cabin. The quote from the Delta rep I spoke with, “…it (the system) removed everyone from Comfort+ and put them in main cabin seats.” Delta IT strikes again! Ridiculous.

  14. I hope everyone is commenting to Delta about the change to C+ on Monday. If enough of us do, maybe, just maybe they will at least allow a +one UG at booking for elites.

Write A Comment