RUMOR: Delta Premium Economy Announcement Coming Shortly

Filed Under: Delta

Last night I posted about the rumor of AmericanĀ introducing premium economy very shortly. This morning American announced that they’ll be introducing premium economy starting in 2016. šŸ˜‰


Here’s another “rumor.” American may not be the only airline announcing a new premium economy product this week. Rumor has it thatĀ Delta will be announcing a premium economy product as well, as early as the end of this week.

Before American’s premium economy announcement earlier today, no US airline offered a true premium economy product. That being said, Delta has sort of led the way when it comes to “innovating” extra legroom economy seating with their Comfort+ cabin:

Delta-One-London - 10
Delta’s Comfort+ cabin on the 767

If Delta does indeed introduce premium economy, my feelings are the same as with American’s announcement — ultimately it’s probably a smart business decision and allows them to try to maximize revenue per passenger as much as possible. The terrible news is that upgrade instruments will likely only be valid for one class of service, meaning you can probably only upgrade from economy to premium economy, or from premium economy to business class. And as I outlined in the post about American’s premium economy, those fares typically aren’t cheap.

If Delta does indeed make this announcement, you can’t help butĀ wonder whether there’s really any competition left. We’ve gone from the “big six” carriers to the “big three,” and they seem to be matching one another tit-for-tat. If two airlines announce the exact same “innovation” within a week, how much “competition” is really left?

Like I said, it’s just a rumor, but I’d keep your eyes peeled for the next couple of days…

How do you feel about the possibilityĀ of Delta introducing premium economy?

  1. Not sure if I like or dislike this. On one hand we can redeem miles for premium economy but on the other we might not be able to upgrade.

    American did say something on Twitter that “premium economy still had economy in the name” when referring to SWUs, so maybe there’s hope?

  2. Probably the secret of the Comfort+ ticketing change, just a new seat for the international fleet, and Domestic stays the same.

  3. The rumor has been that American was rushing their announcement out to get ahead of Delta. And that American didn’t have anything to say about what theirs would mean for upgrades both because it was rushed and because they’re waiting to see what Delta would do…

  4. I’m fine with Delta adding premium economy. As for AA, I’m more interested in whether it’s possible to redeem AAdvantage miles for premium economy seats on CX, QF, or JL! šŸ˜‰

  5. I paid for a Comfort + upgrade from JFK-CDG in September before the changes. It was OK, but not really much benefits to justify the $90 cost. I would never pay for this type of seat again. How can delta in their right mind justify this as an additional fare class? Unless there are some serious changes/improvements to the seating, customers are not going to be happy for the “upgrade” international flight.

  6. Gary Leff makes a good and believable point. Like you’ve said Lucky, Delta has always been the leader and the other two have always played catch up. It seems like Delta has been positioning itself to unveil a premium economy product with the fare class change being the most convincing step.

    Ultimately if this pans out, I’ll be surprised but not shocked. It’s all just sad. Here we have the ME3 upgrading their premium products and lounge experiences in such a way that they are actually differentiating themselves in the global airline community. While we have the Big 3 adding in premium economy and acting like the people who it would appeal to have been living under a rock for the last decade.

  7. Lucky says:

    “If Delta does indeed make this announcement, you canā€™t help but wonder whether thereā€™s really any competition left. ”

    and, the conspiracy theorist Paul declares:

    “Anybody out there still under the impression that the big 3 arenā€™t in collusion with one another?”

    Why not the unremarkable inference that one carrier matching the offerings of another carrier identifies robust competition, as it suggest that they are looking over their shoulder to see what the competition is doing? Claims of collusion implicate violations of antitrust law – you know, ones that people go to jail for. Claiming collusion based on similarity in service provided, without a shred of affirmative evidence of coordinated activity is rather reckless.

  8. It occurred to me this morning that I’m actually not sure how Delta’s Regional Upgrades are supposed to work once Comfort+ is a separate cabin domestically next year. And despite having the longest, most confusing FAQ page ever for the change, I don’t think Delta has addressed it.

  9. So now UA can just rename Business Class on S-UA 777 with 8 across as premium economy and rename Global first as Business with 0 cost šŸ™‚

  10. To add an economist’s perspective… Just because both AA and DL announced premium economy in the same week doesn’t mean collusion. It could mean that competition is working well enough that they feel a need to offer the same product to keep customers. As an example, 4 different gas stations at the same intersection all probably charge the same for gas — not collusion at all, but competition such that one cannot charge more than another without going out of business. In fact, differentiation in product is an effort to move away from perfect competition and so enable charging a premium over competitors.

  11. @ Andy 11235 — Right, but it takes minutes to change gas prices. It takes months (maybe over a year?) to develop a premium economy product. This isn’t something Delta started working on yesterday, after American’s announcement.

  12. As I’ve mentioned before, DL needs to add P.E. in my opinion not because of AA, but because folks like me are not really willing to fly Y- any more, and with the devaluations impacting access to C+, as well as just the general degradation of the big 3 FF programs, I am not the only one who is looking at European carriers for 2016 Atlantic flying.
    Of course, this is also in part because of Delta and the rest of the big 3 devaluing their FF programs. If I still felt being DL Gold or Silver had that much to offer, I’d be in less of a hurry to sample the international carriers. At this point I don’t really care if I renew as a GM in 2017.
    If DL de-emphasizing SkyMiles ends up meaning they have to up their mid-cabin game, that’s not the worst unintended consequence.

  13. Interesting. There exists a “Deluxe Economy” at Vietnam Airlines on long haul flights: Same seat, extra legroom, and better tableware and service, and W class code. Meanwhile Air France discontinued short/medium haul premium economy altogether, replacing with flex fare.

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