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Did Delta Suspend Automatic Comfort+ Upgrades?

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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.


Complimentary upgrades to Delta Comfort+ can be a nice perk — if you get one of the product’s better seats (such as a bulkhead or exit row, depending on an aircraft’s configuration). All Delta Medallion members are eligible for free upgrades to C+, which clear (space permitting) at published tiers before a flight’s departure.

Diamonds and Platinums usually have complimentary access to C+ seats a couple of minutes after booking a trip.

As Points, Miles, and Martinis notes, the feature has been paused.

However, even on flights that apparently don’t have social distancing restrictions, all the C+ are available — for purchase.

Comfort+ Seats Still Available — for a Price

But if you still want to sit in C+, Delta will sell you a seat.

I booked (and soon canceled) a dummy trip for this November from LAX to Fargo.

Booking a Comfort+ seat on a Delta Air Lines flight from LAX to MSP.

Um, yeah. No, thanks.

(FWIW, as this is an A321, I’d be plenty happy in row 26.)

Worth noting: “Bottled water” was the only onboard service listed. So paying $79 (in this instance) gets you more legroom and an earlier boarding slot than Sky Priority or Main Cabin. No complimentary alcoholic beverages or upgraded snack basket.

Delta announced their social distancing measures — at least, as they pertain to seating — are effective only through June 30. Though it’ s not clear if that’s for flights flown by June 30 or any trip purchased through then.

So When Do People Get Upgraded to C+?

Comfort+ and first class (which also was paused last month) upgrades are apparently now processed manually by gate agents.

Per this message on the “Manage Your Upgrades” section of a Delta trip:

Final Approach

Anyone else wondering if we’ll see a big Medallion devaluation — and this perk will be knocked out?

I understand Delta is operating at limited capacity — and has to watch every penny. But if social distancing measures are in effect, why would anyone buy up to Comfort+? You can sit in coach and — if Delta follows their reduced capacity rules — have at least a seat between you and the next person in your row. That alone lends itself to more legroom.

— Chris

 

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.


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8 Comments

  1. Santiago R Speranza Reply

    Yes, I called and they confirmed this to be the case until COVID-19 is over… They now told me they are booking up to 60% of flights and any and all complimentary upgrades will be managed and provided by the Gate Agent. I am a 8 year Platinum with Delta… I appreciate the safety of this but it’s also a big drawback.

  2. LOL! Do you read your own column? You wrote about this on April 8. But yes it’s a really crappy move on Delta‘s part. It was scheduled to end May 31. Hopefully they end thIs stupid policy.

  3. Even as a PM I only buy BE now since covid started. No risk as flights are all changeable at no penalty and seats are assigned at the gate anyways. The only exception was to use up my last 2 RUCs for a trip from east coast to California.

  4. Time to fly on the cheapest F fare from any airline since no there are no qualification requirements for 2020 and since the service is zilch on all airlines. Delta is not usually the cheapest F fare, so I will likely be flying DL less. Brilliant move on DLs part

  5. i booked a first class flight to aspen via SLC and back IN FIRST CLASS after booking, SLC to Ase i wasput in Main cabin but c- seats were open so i tried to book one immediately $99 to upgrade..SO i called the DM line and after 12 minutes on hold got call back option then 28 minutes later got the call back…. told by Sandra ( with a foreign accent) cannot have the seat upgrade for free… I again said i booked a First class fare she said i did not it was a multi-cabin fare..No where did it say that when i was booking my FC seats.. so before hanging up and waiting an hour i asked for a supervisor…..on hold for 12 minutes Sandra came back and said i could have C- for free…
    interesting,,,

  6. What I don’t understand is why do automatic upgrades to both First Class and Comfort + even need to be suspended at all in the first place? Delta is capping all available inventory in First Class at 50% and Comfort + at 60%, so I don’t see why all upgrades must be done at the gate if they are already caping a available inventory in advance. I feel that this is something DL has wanted to do for awhile and they are using the pandemic as an excuse to finally do it.

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