Yesterday, I reported that Delta was adding premium economy on some of its international transatlantic routes. I suspected that they were moving some of their premium aircraft to more profitable routes. I honestly expected them to put them on international routes, that could not justify a larger aircraft such as a 767 or A330. Well, it seems I was wrong as to where they would be deployed. Delta is planning to add more Delta One domestic routes in the coming year. They will move the 757s that currently fly these routes into international service, and the premium 757s will start flying domestically.
It seems that Delta is adding these to long domestic routes out of JFK. Most of these routes will be competing between jetBlue’s MINT business class and Delta. So far, the routes announced are:
LAX- Boston (1xDaily)
JFK- San Dieg
These routes are already being served by jetBlue’s A321 with MINT. The announcement comes after Delta added Delta One to flights between Washington-DCA and LAX, as well as SFO and Boston. Delta will compete with American’s A321T on the Boston-LAX route as well as with jetBlue. These routes will join the already established Delta One routes from JFK to SFO and LAX.
What to Expect?
Delta One offers lie flat seats and amenity kits in business class, as well as SkyClub access. Economy class offers inflight meals, which is a plus for everyone flying on the flights. The main upside is is that there will be complimentary upgrades on these flights for Delta Elites. These flights will now require a Regional Upgrade or a day of departure upgrade, which is a major boost for Delta Silver and Gold Elites especially, but also Platinums and Diamonds.
This is a major loss for Delta Elites who usually upgraded on flights between these cities. Although Delta One is a solid business class product (second only to jetBlue MINT in my opinion), this frequent flyer unfriendly move may push loyal fliers to American. The key here is that American still offers its elites upgrades on transcontinental routes. Although Gold and Platinum AAdvantage members need stickers for upgrades, Platinum Pro and Executive Platinums get unlimited domestic upgrades. This is the biggest benefit of American’s AAdvantage program. If the airline, which has been fighting in the “race to the bottom” with United and Delta, were to change their policy to regional upgrades, I may change my loyalties. I hope that the move pushes elite flyers away from Delta and serves as a cautionary tale to American, and makes sure United does not expand its regional upgrade routes as well.
What do you think? Was Delta’s move a good one? Will they see more benefit from having Delta One on these routes or will it come back to haunt them? Let us know!
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Images from Wikimedia or Delta