Last year, we reported on an airline trialling two things in economy we never expected to hear in the same sentence: Delta and Bellini’s.

In 2018, Delta experimented with adding fine touches to its main cabin economy experience, including nods to its partner Virgin Atlantic, like printed menus and a separate course for dessert. Those initial trials are now over, and Delta has official plans to add first class touches to its long haul economy experience. Here’s what to expect on international Delta Main Cabin flights, going forward…

With hot towels, printed menus, welcome greetings and an actual Bellini to kick things off, you’d be excused for wondering if you stepped into the wrong cabin on your next Delta Main Cabin flight.

From Nov. 1st, the airline will officially offer an enhanced main cabin service on long haul international flights which instantly puts it on footing with the best in the skies. Well, provided that they do it well of course. All Delta long haul flights over 6.5 hours will feature additions like mix and match appetisers and entrees, custom cutlery, a separate dessert service and even a placemat over the tray table. And yes, there really will be a hot towel service.

In recent years, Delta and Virgin Atlantic have strengthened their joint venture partnership, and many of these touches sound an awful lot like differentiators which have long made Virgin Atlantic one of the most revered brands in the economy cabin, thanks to things like a complimentary afternoon tea from celebrated pastry chef Eric Lanlard.

Whatever prompted Delta to make these changes is irrelevant, because they’re great.

Many frequent travellers forget how special and unique a long haul trip is to the vast majority of the travelling public, and the idea of a Bellini for everyone (over 21 of course) to kick off a flight in style makes Delta Main Cabin Economy feel like a real treat. Travel should be celebrated, and it’s great to see an airline looking to dignify the main cabin experience, rather than marginalise it.

What will be interesting here, is to see if any other airlines follow this direction. Airlines have gone to great lengths to make economy borderline unbearable in recent years, so this is a very exciting twist for budget conscious travellers all around the world, as Delta goes a different way. Expect a first hand review of this new economy service in November. I can’t wait to try it out for myself.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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11 Comments

  1. A couple hot towels, some basic courtesy from staff and edible food = “posh” upgrades? Hyperbole much?

  2. These are great changes. Glad to hear. Maybe, just maybe, this will stop the race to the bottom by AA and UA.

  3. That race has already been won by Snr Cruz’s approach to running BA…
    Less pitch than low cost carriers, no IFE, no recline, no included catering (some limited choice available for purchase if your “lucky” enough to be in a part of the cabin served early), no included drinks at all inc water and all for a premium fare plus seat choice and baggage surcharges. Expensive and insultingly poor quality service in ultra cramped conditions.
    A decade ago the US carriers had issues but still delivered a better experience than BA in 2019.

  4. Why W does my previous replies need moderator . I’ve stated how I’m looking forward to travelling delta economy, perhaps therefore I can save money with the new economy upgrades by not travelling delta comfort

  5. Just did Delta Main Cabin to JFK then back to LHR on Virgin Economy. The Delta experience was much better in terms of food, service and general atmosphere. It was so good that next time I’ll try Delta both ways.

    1. That’s awesome to hear. We never take favourites with airlines, but are always fans of any one of them trying to raise the offering to customers.

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