Why, for now, Delta flip-flopping on Comfort Plus seats on modified 777s is a really bad idea!

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Is this good or bad for us?

When Delta, at long last, started to refresh the worst Delta One seats they fly on the 777 they rolled them out with only Delta One Suites (business class), Premium Select (premium economy) and Main Cabin (coach i.e. Y) seats. Since none of the A350s have Comfort Plus (C+) and the redone 777s did not either it looked like for international flights C+ would become a thing of the past. I said this is a good thing in this post. Maybe I was wrong. Or was I?

You see now Delta has done a flip-flop on this ship mod choice. The rest of the mods or modifications of the 777 will have D1S, PS, C+ and Y seats. Short term this is a really bad idea and could be a real mess going forward. Keep reading and you will see why I say this.

Let me first off state that on international flights C+ over Y is a real upgrade. It makes a difference as on longer flights the extra space is great and much more than on domestic C+ configurations that I really could care less about. Domestically I most times just pick an exit row and no way would I ever pay more for C+ in cash or Delta points. YES, having C+ on international flights, instantly free for Diamonds and Platinums at booking and open for a free upgrade for Silvers and Golds days before flight, is a sweet perk that will be nice to have back again. But there are major issues with this change.

Is C+ “premium” at all?

First of all, Delta has to pull out of service the four 777s already paid for and redone without C+ and mega promoted this past summer (i.e. promoted without C+) to be reworked again! Heck, at the time, Delta on twitter even bragged up that PS is better than C+ so this change was a good thing (so why change again?). Beyond that, the question will now be what happens with the A350s? None of them have the C+ seats (or experience) and that is the main flagship of the Delta fleet. Will all those be pulled in for C+ addition or will the old 777s have something better than the flagship jet? Even the new A330-900neo will have C+. But then there is the scary issue – searches.

Same issue at Expedia!

Notice both the Google flight search as well as Expedia. Do you see two mega problems? The first is that you can not opt-out of E BASIC seats. But the larger problem is there is no “branded” C+ choice to opt-in or opt-out of (cuz only Delta does most of this seat gamesmanship / experience thing). Think how many times folks will believe they are buying a REAL “premium economy” seat i.e. expecting Delta Premium Select and end up in a seat the same size as the rest of coach, that is, a C+ seat. I am sure Delta will blame the search sites and say folks should always just book on Delta.com.

This change does not impact me one way or the other so I really don’t personally care that much but I do care about readers and those who likely will get fooled by the mothership. For me on flights that are that long I will either book D1S / D1 or PS seats. Personally, for a daytime flight of 6-8 hours the Delta Premium Select seat and experience is very good and well worth the price in dollars or SkyMiles paid. If my daytime flight choice does not have PS seats then I will just book D1.

What do you think about this change to again have C+ on some of the Delta international fights? Are you happy with it or will you be frustrated booking seats? What if there is an equipment swap and you end up with a bird with just coach – will that matter to you? Let me know. – René

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  1. If I thought I had a C+ seat (either paid or gratis) and there was an equipment change and I got pushed back to regular coach, I would be upset. I had paid for the seat I would be VERY upset. If that seat had been a complimentary upgrade, I would go away with a sour taste in my mouth about Delta.

  2. I can see your point on this. Delta seems to make it all so confusing also. I will say that I’ve heard that the refit will happen at Atlanta and not in Asia like the D1S refit in so it won’t take these out of service as long. It also seems to be just moving seats around so not super time consuming.

  3. It is a huge positive change. I had already reluctantly booked fights using UA miles to Australia so that I could get the Economy+ upgrade. As soon as I noticed the change a few weeks ago I cancelled the UA points reservation and switched to DL using $. Comfort+ FTW!

  4. @Rene I know you’ve written about how DC becomes PE on Google Flights. I almost got burned recently with a corporate trip where my return was VS PE, connecting in JFK and though I selected Premium Economy, I ended up in “Economy Delight” for the TATL leg!

    I think this was partly because the flight was “marketed by Delta” and they are sneaky. That’s just a theory… fortunately I caught it and quickly added a couple hundred bucks to go to a G fare on the VS leg.

  5. I think it’s great. This allows them to target the customers who don’t want to shell out an extra $1k for PS but don’t mind an extra couple of hundred for C+ (and the idea of a better flight experience). Furthermore it keeps medallion members happy especially those who travel for work but are only given paid economy seats.
    And having flown many times on the 777 all over Asia and then recently the a350, I will take a 777 any day over the a350. Up front might be better but it is a noticeable difference in the back, seats are far less comfortable and many features that just were not as enjoyable. I will say the larger galley in the back is great if you enjoy stretching out and the larger mirrors in the bathroom are nice but outside of that I’ll take a 777 any day to Asia in economy

  6. Why would being able to get an affordable better seat (premium select costs a lot more and may not be affordable) be bad?

  7. I am very mixed on C+ on international. You get free alcohol on international anyways, so the only benefit is the extra seat pitch – that’s it! For that, I’ve been thrown into middle C+ even after many attempts to get myself out. And on most of the 767, C+ seats are near emergency exits, they have the rock-hard seat padding and are some of the most uncomfortable seats in the entire plane. I rather see Delta put more rows of PS and allow more free upgrade into PS, i.e, issue 8 GUCs that’s for PS instead of 4 for D1, or some mixture of that.

    Having to fly with Korean Air a lot since last May’s JV, I dont even bother flying with DL on Asia flight anymore. Korean Air’s standard economy is 34″-35″, so why bother pay more for DL’s C+?

    I also want DL to keep domestic C+. When flying domestic, I often need to do work and the extra pitch allow me to actually open my laptop…which is a real issue on the 30-31″ main cabin seats with those non-movable tray tables.

  8. I think it is a good idea to bring back the C+ seats on Intl flights again. I do not have funds to cover the extra $1 for the premium seats.

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