Delta introduced some details of its International Economy Comfort product today via their blog, and in an email to SkyMiles members. Economy comfort will be available on Delta’s international fleet and will encompass the first few rows of the economy cabin. In addition to 4 extra inches of legroom, Economy Comfort customers will receive priority boarding in Zone 2 (if not already a Sky Priority passenger), 50 percent more recline, free cocktails/spirits, in seat power (woohoo!), and free HBO.
Medallion members can access Economy Comfort at a special price. Silver and Gold Medallion members receive a discount on the upcharge of 25 percent and 50 percent respectively. Platinum and Diamond Medallion members can book Economy Comfort seats for free if they book the full economy fare. Companions traveling in the same PNR will have access to Economy Comfort under the same fee structure. According to Delta, the Economy Comfort upcharge will vary from $80 to $160 dollars per segment. According to Delta, Economy Comfort will be available for purchase in May 2011 for travel beginning in Summer 2011.
At first blush, I like it. I like the fact that they are giving you something besides a little more legroom for what appears to be a reasonable fee. Priority boarding, free booze, and the prospect of reliable at seat power are a real draw. Free HBO is better than a stick in the eye too. Admittedly, United’s Economy Plus seating is available to a wider swath of elites for no upcharge, but all you get is more legroom. Additionally, a United elite can get that extra room on every domestic AND international mainline flight, as well as many Express flights. That said, the jury is still out on whether or not the “new” United maintains the Economy Plus product in its current form at the merged airline. All in all, I think Delta is rolling out a product that really does add a value that more than a few travelers will be willing to pay for. So far, so good. I know I’d pay a reasonable upcharge for Economy Comfort and look forward to the opportunity to try it.