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You’ll soon be able to stop excluding Delta from premium economy searches…

Premium economy is all the rage these days, and rightfully so. As many airlines insist upon densifying cabins to maximum effect, removing checked bags and even basics like drinks from economy tickets, premium economy is the new affable long haul flight offering. The cabin offers legroom suitable for passengers of any size, complimentary checked bags and legitimately decent food and beverage offerings, amongst other perks like priority boarding. Unfortunately, Delta is yet to offer a legitimate “premium economy” cabin on more than a handful of routes, but the airline has now announced plans to change that for good…

a plane flying in the skyFleet Wide Rollout

At present, Delta only offers a legitimate premium economy cabin, branded as “Premium Select” aboard the Airbus A350, the airlines newest aircraft. These fantastic new planes presently only serve routes between select Asian cities like Shanghai, Seoul and Tokyo and Detroit, Atlanta and Los Angeles, which leaves many long haul destinations without a bridge between flat beds, and ta tight economy setup. In a recent earnings call to investors, Delta proclaimed a fleet wide Premium Select roll out for wide body aircraft, to be completed by the year 2021. This roll out will include Boeing 767, Airbus A330, Boeing 777 and all Airbus A350 aircraft, and will begin immediately.

an airplane seats with a tv and a monitorWill People Pay?

It could be argued that airlines never truly wanted anyone to book their newest “basic” economy tickets. The offerings are seen as a way to offer consumers more “choice”, “customization” and other millennial buzzwords, while really making the experience so unbearable that anyone who can afford to do so, will *pay* a premium for a more traditional airline experience. In a fascinating article, Seth Miller of Paxex.Aero notes that Delta sees Premium Select as a keen opportunity, and one which hasn’t at all eaten into demand for their priciest business class seats up front. Instead, Delta sees premium economy as an opportunity to lure strict corporate travel policies to book a palatable experience at a solid price, and a way to up sell economy customers tempted by the premise of some some solid sleep.

the tail of an airplaneThe Virgin Game

Delta and Virgin Atlantic continue to intertwine operations and bounce idea, as they strengthen their venerable transatlantic partnership. Virgin Atlantic has long been a leader in the premium economy market, offering one of the five best premium experiences in the sky. It’s now clear that this model has made an impact on Delta. For every action there’s a reaction, and more and more consumers will seek out the best value for their money, and the way airlines are currently pricing premium economy, there’s no better value for money in the skies. Do you want the $500 ticket with no bag, no seat assignment and barely any miles, or the $700 ticket with 6” extra legroom, even more pitch, a free bag and an open bar?

Are you excited to see more Delta Premium Select?

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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  1. “Do you want the $500 ticket with no bag, no seat assignment and barely any miles, or the $700 ticket with 6” extra legroom, even more pitch, a free bag and an open bar?”
    No offense, but knowing Delta the PE seat will be closer to $1500, not $700. I hope I’m wrong.

    1. Geoff, I’d say you are right. When looking at fares for flights between Europe and the US including the segment between Detroit and Amsterdam I find that Premium Select usually prices at 3x the fare for the Main Cabin. So as you said, around 1500 bucks versus 500.
      The same seems to be the case when booking flights via CDG utilizing Air France’s Premium Economy cabin.
      If it were $500 for economy and $700 for premium economy that would be great. And I might be thinking about it. But paying three times the money for economy (not talking basic economy here)? No, not for me. I can’t afford that.

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