With no Comfort+ seats on the A350 it means no “free” seat upgrades on international flights as there have been in the past. Now some would argue that C+ seats are not really an upgrade (and I would agree with them) since the seat is exactly the same as the rest of coach. However, you did get a tiny bit more space and recline and that was nice but the “experience”, as Delta likes to tout, was the same as the rest of coach.
Now that Premium Economy seats are on the way, called Premium Select (PS), the days of free upgrades are over. You have to use a Diamond Medallion Choice Benefit called a Global Upgrade to get into either PS or all the way in to Delta One (D1). The catch is if you use it to go just to PS you are then done and can NOT use it to D1. You can say you only want D1 or no upgrade and that is fine you will either clear or be stuck in coach.
So does this really mean no upgrades for Delta Medallions ever? My guess is, on a rather regular basis, you are going to see elites upgraded free to PS seats. Why?
Over Sold Flights (in coach)!
You see, right now, when Delta oversells coach but there are open seats in D1 then they upgrade for free elites to the D1 seat so they don’t have to offer a bump voucher to someone in coach. The elite is happy and Delta is happy to not have to pay out compensation. This is generally called an OP-UP or operational upgrade.
Well with 48 new non-upgrade seats, that I think will go unsold on a number of flights, you will have yet another seat to upgrade for free an elite into to free up space in coach. We could even see someone in PS upgraded to D1 then someone in Coach to PS (or for speed the gate agent may just take the elite direct from coach to D1).
Anyway, this is yet one more reason to reach for top elite status if you travel often on routes where the PS seats will be on the jet as normally Delta will start with Diamonds and work their way down from there. Depending on how bad the oversold situation is in coach you could see a number of elites sitting in a premium cabin for the price of a coach seat!
Lastly, the few times the jets with PS seats fly domestically, it will be interesting to see if elites get these seats free (since there is no C+) or if they will become part of the 1st class upgrade mix.
Have you ever got an OP-UP before? Let us know in the comments below. – René