Delta Introduces Comfort+ Upgrade Seat Preferences

Filed Under: Delta

Delta has just rolled out a functionality that a lot of SkyMiles Medallion members will be happy about.

How Delta Comfort+ Upgrades Work

Comfort+ is Delta’s extra legroom economy section, which comes with more legroom and free drinks. They treat this as a separate class of service, meaning that you can pay to book yourself into a Comfort+ seat at the time of booking — this isn’t just an “upgrade” option.

SkyMiles Medallion members receive complimentary upgrades to Comfort+, but they can’t select these seats at the time they book. Rather Medallion members can select those seats after booking, at their upgrade window on a space available basis:

  • Diamond Medallion & Platinum Medallion members can select Comfort+ seats after booking
  • Gold Medallion members can select Comfort+ seats starting 72 hours before departure
  • Silver Medallion members can select Comfort+ seats starting 24 hours before departure

The Cursed Middle Seat Upgrade

One point of frustration among SkyMiles members has been upgrades to middle seats in Comfort+. In other words, you may have a decent window or aisle seat in “regular” economy, and then your upgrade to Comfort+ clears, only to find that you’re now in a middle seat.

Many people would have preferred to opt out of that. While you can sometimes cancel your upgrade and/or Delta has been testing the functionality to opt out of middle seat upgrades, they haven’t implemented it on a widespread basis until now.

A New Way To Set Delta Upgrade Preferences

That brings us to today’s news. Thanks to a new feature, Delta now lets you select your Comfort+ seat preference, either through Delta’s app or website.

In other words, you can now elect to only receive an upgrade to Comfort+ if your preferred type of seat is available, including an aisle, window, or middle (hopefully that’s not your preference).

Here’s how the new system works:

  • Find your reservation in “My Trips” at or in the Delta app
  • Request a Delta Comfort+ upgrade and check the “Upgrade Preferences” box
  • Then, check both boxes for “Request upgrade” and “Only upgrade if my Seat Preferences are available”
  • Select your preference: aisle, middle or window (you can select multiple)
  • If you would like to apply your seat preferences to all segments in your trip, click “Apply to All Segments of the Trip”
  • Confirm your seat preference; once your preference is set, you will be upgraded to Comfort+ only if your selected seat preferences are available

Here are a couple of screenshots showing the process:

For now this is only available when traveling alone on a Delta operated flight. Furthermore, seat preferences can’t be updated or changed once checked in for a flight.

The Functionality I’d Like To See Added

The one thing I’d like to see them still add is to be able to set your upgrade preferences in your account by default. In other words, you need to go into each reservation at the moment and do this, though I feel like this should also be an option that you can save to your account.

For example, Diamond Medallion and Platinum Medallion members get upgraded shortly after booking, so if you want to be upgraded based on your seat preference only then you’ll want to have Comfort+ upgrades disabled by default, and then you’ll want to manually request them after booking.

Bottom Line

This is an awesome change for Medallion members in the Delta SkyMiles program. Many people didn’t want an “upgrade” from a good aisle or window seat to a middle seat in Comfort+, so it’s nice to see that functionality is now live across the board.

I’d still love to see them add the option to set preferences in your profile, rather than having to do it with each reservation.

What do you make of this update to Comfort+ upgrades?

  1. This whole notion of “upgrading” to comfort + is so ridiculous. I feel bad for Delta FF who endure this type of trash. Enjoy your “free drinks and snacks”. What a joke.

  2. This is just another reason I refuse to fly Delta. Treating economy seats with extra legroom as an “upgrade” is a garbage policy that is simply another element of their war on frequent fliers. For all their flaws, I’ll stick with UA and AA (whose miles are still worth something as well).

  3. “(hopefully that’s not your preference)”

    LOL. Doesn’t have to be a preference, some of us will take it if we can get it. I’d probably check and uncheck that box on a case-by-case basis… if I still had status.

    I wonder if this makes complimentary upgrades for non-elites more likely; I’ve taken quite a few free upgrades to Economy Plus middle seats on United (never had status, don’t fly them much).

  4. I just hit this on Wednesday night when selecting my upgrade preferences on a flight. Right now there are no C+ seats for my PM upgrade. I grabbed the exit row window on a 737-900 ER — the one without any seat in front of it. I was ecstatic they’ve finally done this right!

  5. AA is certainly not perfect, however as someone who is flying from ORD to the west coast at least once a month, the most beneficial part of being a Plat is being able to pick MCE seats at booking. I very rarely am not able to get a window or aisle and when that happens it’s because I had to book last minute so I can’t really be picky.

    At times, I’ve thought about switching to Delta, but I just can’t imagine having to play this stupid game.

    And don’t @ me about “I always get cleared..blah blah blah”. As a business traveler, all I care about is booking and not having to think about it.

  6. Took long enough!
    Have been a Delta Silver for two years (now Gold) and an “upgrade” to C+ is about as much as we could hope for – occasionally a miracle happened and I got an upgrade to First, but generally it was C+ and there were many times I was “upgraded” to a middle seat. Reversing a middle seat upgrade was always cumbersome which required calling Delta and having a human try to “downgrade” me to a Main Cabin non-middle seat and they frequently could not do that.
    Did you have to wait long to talk to an agent after your flight was cancelled? Well that might’ve been because of low-level Medallions like me flooding the call centers every day trying not to sit in a middle seat on a BOS-LAX flight.

  7. This is still incredibly ridiculous, and I’m surprised you don’t call that out. This is one of the things AA gets right with MCE. It should be treated as a premium seat selection and be first come first served. The change may be positive, but “awesome” is a bit of a stretch considering how silly the whole thing is. Nobody should consider these “upgrades”.

    Also, what about if you’re traveling with somebody? How does that work?

  8. @ David S — If you’re traveling with someone then the system works the same way as before. You can’t opt out of middle seats.

  9. It’s remarkable how far behind American and United Delta is when it comes to website and app functionality. For such a forward thinking, customer-centric company, they really don’t do IT very well at all.

    Maybe once they figure this out, they can figure out how to let Diamonds select GUC’s themselves rather than the guessing game that must be played when you call to apply one and don’t see any change reflected in your reservation.

  10. One problem is a lot of the planes have only 2 seats in the exit row for comfort plus. So, on a 757, I don’t want to opt out of the possibility of getting the “middle” bulk head exit seat because there is no window seat next to me in that row and quite frankly it’s my favorite seat on that plane (just hate the fact that my backpack ends up elsewhere).

    This is definitely a step in the right direction, but what would be even better is if they switched to a lottery system for the first class upgrades. I understand the need to reward your Diamonds, but I flew 46 segments, 75k MQM this year, and got upgraded to first twice (whew I’m lucky!). Once from JFK to TPA and once from SLC to SAN. Comfort Plus definitely does NOT feel like an upgrade (except the exit row on the 757).

  11. Wouldn’t it be easier to simply match like-with-like? For example, if you’re in an aisle seat in Economy, the system should only upgrade you to an aisle seat in Economy+. If none are available, you stay put. You chose an aisle, or window, or whatever, for a reason. This method would allow you to keep that choice intact.

  12. They’ve been testing this for a while. For a second I got excited thinking they were implementing a proper way to select seats, ie at booking. Mine always clear, and I always look for flights based on C+ availability, but it’s stupid and missed how UA allows you to select an E+ seat right away.

  13. @david S
    I disagree, the way delta does it is awesome for people who book a lot of trips close in at high fares, as with AA’s system there are no seats left but with Delta’s system you bump a silver.

  14. For the AA FFs saying “upgrades” are absurd because they get MCE at booking – Delta effectively does the same; as a Platinum or Diamond, you’re “upgraded” into C+ instantly within 5 min of booking.

  15. Comfort plus means close to front of plane, on a 25 to 40 minute connection in Atlanta that can be a big plus.

  16. @sunny how close in are we talking? Typically there are always a couple available close in, especially as elites get upgraded at each upgrade window.

    @tipsy what if you’re placed in a bulkhead row which you don’t prefer? I don’t want to play games and have to go back and pick my seat again. What are the chances they pick the exact seat you want? Also not interested in the five minutes of anxiety, I want to know my seat when I book, not after.

  17. Delta has a problem with the way seating is arranged. I had to pay $559.00 for 2-way ticket to/from Indianapolis/San Diego via Los Angeles Nov.25/Dec. 3 and was assigned to the last seat on the plane from LA to Indianapolis due to Delta’s pathetic system of assigning seats. All this talk about comfort-plus is above my understanding. I am a low-level passenger (not a frequent flier, if that is how one gets to be allowable for comfort-plus?) However there is no choice for me and other non-comfort-plus travelers—we have no choice but to have to wait for a seat assignment until we have to appear before the agent at the gate who takes our ticket so we can get an assigned seat. I arrived at the gate 1 3/4 hours early at the gate so I would have a chance to get a better seat closer to the front. We non-comfort passengers were not able to get seat assignments until all other passengers were already on their way into the plane. I got on the plane as soon as we remaining non-comfort-plus people could get on the plane. We were never ticketed for seating until this time. My seat turned out to be 29F—the last seat in the corner with no window I asked for a seat further up because I knew there were empty seats!! Up front. I was given seat 16D or 16E—both were EMPTY—as well as several others!! Why can’ Us
    non-comfort- plus passengers get our ticket seating prior to getting to the airport or at least when initially checking in before heading to the Gate?? I understood it would be first come/first served but this never happened like I was told. The plane was leaving late so things were crazy. Planes arrive /leave late frequently— that’s not the problem!! The problem is the way Delta seats people!! Surely I am not the only passenger who has made complaints. I deserve my money back.

  18. Sorry what a bunch of spoilt brats here.
    You pay for regular Y, the airline offers you a free seat with extra legroom at no additional costs and enhances this proces with the option to not move to a middle seat if you don’t want to.
    And still people complain?
    If you want to fly J then just buy a J ticket?
    I do not get why people think they are entitled to a J seat when they paid for Y, regardless of elite status?

  19. Agree with what others say about AA and UA being better in this regard. But don’t think for one minute that they don’t want to implement something like this. Anything that can squeeze more money out people, they will do. At least at AA, I imagine the IT is very limited to allow something like this. To all of you delta flyers, enjoy your “upgrades”.

  20. The change is of no use to me since I travel with my spouse. In order for him to be able to book a preferred seat (ie exit row), he has to be on my ticket since I have the status. But if we are both on the same ticket they are making one of us sit in the middle. We always never sit together on planes, as he prefers window and I prefer aisle.

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