February 7, 2011 | By Mike Cameron
Delta announced a major investment in its international fleet with plans to introduce a premium economy section – “Economy Comfort” – on all long-haul international flights in summer 2011. The new seats will feature up to four additional inches of legroom and 50 percent more recline than Delta’s standard international Economy class seats.
The product, which is similar to upgraded Economy services currently available on flights operated by Delta’s joint venture partner Air France-KLM, will be installed in the first few rows of the Economy cabin on more than 160 Boeing 747, 757, 767, 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft by this summer.
Customers who have purchased an international Economy ticket on Delta will be able to choose Economy Comfort seats for an additional fee of $80-$160 one-way through delta.com, kiosks and Delta reservations beginning in May for travel this summer. Complimentary access to Economy Comfort seats will be available to all SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallions; up to eight companions traveling in the same reservation with Diamond and Platinum Medallions; and customers purchasing full-fare Economy class tickets. Gold and Silver Medallions will enjoy 50 and 25 percent discounts on the Economy Comfort seat fees, respectively.
“Just as Delta is investing in BusinessElite, which is among the industry’s most competitive premium products, it makes sense to offer enhancements to our Economy Class service that provide additional comfort,” said Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s executive vice president – Network Planning, Revenue Management and Marketing. “Economy Comfort is one of many elements Delta is committed to delivering to our customers as part of a more than $2 billion investment we are making in the air and on the ground to improve the customer experience and position Delta as a leader in customer service.”
In addition to more leg room and recline, customers seated in Economy Comfort will board early and enjoy complimentary spirits throughout the flight. These benefits are in addition to Delta’s standard international Economy class amenities, including complimentary meals, beer, wine, entertainment, blankets and pillows. In-seat power will also be available on aircraft equipped with personal entertainment systems which come with free HBO programming and other for-fee content(1). The seats will be designated with a specially designed seat cover.
Full flat-bed seats on all international widebodies by 2013
In addition to investing in the international Economy cabin, Delta today announced it now plans to install 34 horizontal flat-bed BusinessElite seats with direct aisle access in each of its 32 Airbus A330 aircraft by 2013. With this announcement, Delta now plans to offer full flat-bed seating in BusinessElite on all international widebody flights, or more than 150 aircraft, by 2013.
The new A330 seat, manufactured by Weber Aircraft LLC, will be 81.7 inches in length and 20.5 inches wide, similar to the flat-bed product currently offered on Delta’s 777 fleet. It also will feature a 120-volt universal power outlet, USB port, personal LED reading lamp and a 15.4 inch personal video monitor with instant access to 250 new and classic movies, premium programming from HBO and Showtime, other television programming, video games and more than 4,000 digital music tracks.
Today’s announcements are the latest in Delta’s previously announced plan to invest more than $2 billion in enhanced global products, services and airport facilities through 2013. In addition to adding the Economy Comfort product and offering full-flat bed seats on its entire international widebody fleet, Delta is upgrading its domestic fleet with more First Class seats and in-seat entertainment; adding personal, in-seat entertainment for both BusinessElite and Economy class customers on all long-haul international flights; adding in-flight Wi-Fi service to all domestic aircraft with a First and Economy class cabin; and building new terminal facilities for international customers at its two largest global gateways – Atlanta and New York-JFK.
Economy Comfort seating will be offered on Delta’s Boeing 747, 757, 767 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft flying long-haul intercontinental routes between the U.S. and Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, the Middle East and South America (Lima, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Buenos Aires and Santiago only). Economy Comfort seating is limited and may not be available on all flights. The Economy Comfort Medallion travel companion benefit is applicable for up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation as the Medallion member. Group reservations are not applicable. For companions of Gold Medallion members, fees apply per seat. All SkyMiles program rules apply to SkyMiles program membership, miles, offers, mile accrual, mile redemption and travel benefits, respectively.
(1) HBO programming to begin in July 2011 on select aircraft with personal video-screens; In-seat power and personal entertainment being installed through 2013.