Guide To Delta Comfort+: Is It Worth It?

Guide To Delta Comfort+: Is It Worth It?

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Airlines are always looking for ways to segment their consumer base, in order to get as much revenue from each passenger as possible. Over the years, we’ve seen just about all major US airlines introduce extra legroom economy seating, intended both as a reward for elite members, and as an ancillary revenue opportunity.

In this post I wanted to take a closer look at Comfort+, which is Delta Air Lines’ extra legroom economy seating. I’ve written about similar products offered by other airlines, including Alaska Premium ClassAmerican Main Cabin Extra, JetBlue Even More Space, and United Economy Plus.

Delta Comfort+ offers extra legroom

Delta Comfort+ offers an average of three extra inches of legroom compared to standard economy seating. Comfort+ is generally located in the first several rows of economy, right behind first or business class. What’s interesting is that Delta doesn’t generally market exit row seats as Comfort+, but rather those are typically marketed as preferred seating, so they come with a different cost and different amenities.

Delta offers Comfort+ throughout its mainline and regional fleet, so you’ll find the cabin on everything from Delta’s shortest domestic flights to Delta’s longest international flights.

With airlines having continued to squeeze more and more seats onto planes over the years, the legroom in “standard” economy has become much more restrictive. As a result, Comfort+ at least provides a more acceptable level of legroom, so that your knees aren’t pushed into the seat back in front of you.

Delta Comfort+ offers extra legroom

Delta Comfort+ includes alcohol, snacks, early boarding

In addition to extra legroom, Delta Comfort+ offers a few additional amenities. The biggest perks you receive include the following:

  • Delta Comfort+ offers complimentary beer, wine, and spirits, on flights of at least 500 miles
  • Delta Comfort+ offers an improved snack selection on flights of at least 900 miles
  • Delta Comfort+ offers priority boarding, behind other premium cabin passengers (first class, Delta One, Premium Select, etc.)
  • Delta Comfort+ offers improved amenities on long haul flights, like an amenity kit

So that’s quite a bit of additional value beyond what economy passengers would ordinarily receive. Obviously if you drink alcohol you’ll potentially get more value out of Comfort+.

Who gets Delta Comfort+ for free

The good news is that Delta SkyMiles Medallion members are eligible for complimentary upgrades to Comfort+. The bad news is that the policies surrounding this are a bit more complicated than at other US airlines, and that’s because Comfort+ technically has a dedicated fare class.

So here’s how upgrade priority works, and in all cases, you’re eligible for an upgrade for yourself and one companion (basic economy fares aren’t eligible for upgrades):

  • Diamond Medallion and Platinum Medallion members can be upgraded to Comfort+ shortly after the time of ticketing
  • Gold Medallion members can be upgraded to Comfort+ within 72 hours of departure
  • Silver Medallion members can be upgraded to Comfort+ within 24 hours of departure

Note that in your SkyMiles profile you can opt out of a complimentary upgrade if you’d like, because otherwise you’ll automatically be listed for an upgrade. Furthermore, you can update your SkyMiles profile to share your preferred seat preference, so that you clear into your preference of an aisle or window seat. That way you can also state that you’d like to reject an upgrade in case you’d only clear into a middle seat.

On some routes, you should have no issues finding a decent Comfort+ seat at the time of booking. However, in some premium markets during peak periods, you may find that it’s tough to actually lock in one of these seats.

Elite members receive Comfort+ upgrades as a perk

The cost to purchase Delta Comfort+

One unique thing about Delta Comfort+ is that it’s a fully separate fare class during the booking process. Just to contrast that, with American Main Cabin Extra, you’d just book a standard economy ticket, and then during the seat selection process, you can choose to assign Main Cabin Extra for an extra fee.

However, with Delta Comfort+ you can either pay outright for the seat at the time of booking, or you can upgrade to the product after your reservation has been ticketed. Because this is a separate fare class, that also means that all Comfort+ seats on a particular flight cost the same, so it’s not that a middle seat will cost you less than an aisle seat, for example.

There are many things that can impact Comfort+ pricing. However, generally I find Comfort+ to be the steepest priced extra legroom economy product of any US airline. For example, taking a random Tampa to Atlanta flight, I see economy priced at $165, and Comfort+ priced at $285. A premium of $120 for extra legroom on such a short flight is super steep.

Delta Comfort+ pricing

Similarly, on a New York to Los Angeles flight, I see economy priced at $329, and Comfort+ priced at $609. A premium of $280 for a few extra inches of legroom is massive.

Delta Comfort+ pricing

As I mentioned above, many exit row seats on Delta aren’t considered Comfort+, but rather are considered preferred seats. These have a different pricing structure, and are always cheaper. If it’s just extra legroom you’re after, that could be a great option, as you’ll get a lot more space at a lower cost.

Is Delta Comfort+ worth it?

Obviously if you’re eligible for complimentary upgrades to Delta Comfort+, you should absolutely take advantage of that, since it’s not costing you anything extra. But what about for those who have to pay for upgrades?

Personally I find the cost to upgrade to Comfort+ to be kind of absurd. Other US airlines have what I’d consider to be a reasonable upcharge for extra legroom economy seating, while I find Delta Comfort+ to consistently be the most costly extra legroom seating of any carrier.

Maybe there are some situations where the premium is reasonable, but they’re few and far between, in my opinion. Personally I’d generally recommend taking one of two strategies:

  • If it’s extra legroom you’re after, consider paying for a preferred seat in an exit row, which will offer more legroom at a lower cost
  • If you want an all-around better experience, consider paying for first class, since Delta often charges a reasonable premium for first class
Keep an eye out for cheap first class upgrades

Bottom line

Delta Comfort+ offers an average of three extra inches of legroom, and it can certainly help make an economy flight more tolerable, given the limited pitch in “regular” economy. If you’re an elite member eligible for an upgrade, you should definitely take advantage of that.

However, Comfort+ generally comes with very steep pricing if paying cash, much more expensive than comparable products with other US airlines. So just keep that in mind if you do value extra legroom. I think the better value on Delta would be paying extra for a preferred seat in an exit row, where you get the most legroom at a lower cost.

What has your experience been with Delta Comfort+?

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  1. Yves Abel Guest

    Just fly a European airline if flying internationally. Wine in beer in all classes, and economy plus much better than "comfort" which is the equivalent of a European coach seat. Delta: corporates don't give a damn about you, European airlines: there's still a modicum of respect...

  2. PW Guest

    Beer and wine is complimentary on flights greater than 250 miles. The article says its 500miles plus. That's only booze.

  3. Endlos Guest

    Don't AF Platinums also get complimentary access to Comfort+ seats at booking?

  4. KFG Guest

    Last August I took DL flights from EWR to ATL with an $350 E-credit, with Main cabin that still leave about $70 balance. Noticed Comfort+ available with only $30 on top of my E-Credit. I snatched it without hesitation. Not sure if do it again without E-credit.

  5. Cds Guest

    Well, I recently flew from PHL with just a 44-minute layover slated in always busy ATL. So I was happy to pay $53 extra to deplane ahead of at least 200 others. The free gin & tonic was a nice bonus.

  6. Levi Diamond

    It's also worth noting that starting in January 2024, the new complimentary upgrade priority considers purchased Comfort+ higher priority for complimentary upgrades over any elite at the same level who purchased Main Cabin: a Diamond who pays for C+ will get upgraded to F or Delta One before the Diamond sitting next to them who took complimentary C+. So, especially on JFK-LAX, part of the Comfort+ upcharge is a bet that you clear to an...

    It's also worth noting that starting in January 2024, the new complimentary upgrade priority considers purchased Comfort+ higher priority for complimentary upgrades over any elite at the same level who purchased Main Cabin: a Diamond who pays for C+ will get upgraded to F or Delta One before the Diamond sitting next to them who took complimentary C+. So, especially on JFK-LAX, part of the Comfort+ upcharge is a bet that you clear to an aisle-access lie-flat.

    I also didn't see it noted that on most domestic flights operated by widebodies, if the plane has Premium Select seats (i.e. domestic F seats), rather than selling a Premium Select class of service, those seats are sold as Comfort+. We're likely to see more flights offer Premium Select domestically: for those flights, buying Comfort+ improves the chances of an upgrade to PS (and infinitesimally improves the chances of a double upgrade to D1).

    1. Will Guest

      It sorts of beating the purpose of providing complimentary access to C+ for being a Platinum/Diamond elite. Those elites will have to think twice if they are willing to pay a premium for a “better” chance to skip the line to score domestic First upgrade. Spoiler alert: They might not score one. I would be pissed if I have complimentary access to C+ but opted in to pay for it and yet not clearing the...

      It sorts of beating the purpose of providing complimentary access to C+ for being a Platinum/Diamond elite. Those elites will have to think twice if they are willing to pay a premium for a “better” chance to skip the line to score domestic First upgrade. Spoiler alert: They might not score one. I would be pissed if I have complimentary access to C+ but opted in to pay for it and yet not clearing the upgrade due to excessive of Diamond elites also opted in to buy out supposed to be free C+. Being a Delta elite is much worse than being one with AA, Alaska or United right now. For God’s sake, they don’t even get SkyClub access when flying internationally without booking a Premium Economy Class while other sky team elite plus could. Credit card access doesn’t count, it doesn’t even give you 1 companion access like other alliance elite does.

  7. John Guest

    I will also mention that on the regional fleet (i.e. E-175), passengers in Comfort+ also get power outlets. Economy passengers don't get this amenity.

  8. Johhny Guest

    Ben, you raise a good point. Why should someone pay the same for a middle seat in C+ as an aisle or window?

    1. neogucky Member

      Because no other seat is empty or they travel with someone and want to sit next to each other? There are middle seats in J for some airlines that do not cost less.

  9. polarbear Gold

    "That way you can also state that you’d like to reject an upgrade in case you’d only clear into a middle seat."

    this comes with a catch. Apparently setting the preference only works for automatic in-advance upgrades - but not for upgrades at the gate.
    On a recent flight from SLC I was "upgraded" at the gate from a beautiful aisle exit row to a middle seat in W - despite the preference being...

    "That way you can also state that you’d like to reject an upgrade in case you’d only clear into a middle seat."

    this comes with a catch. Apparently setting the preference only works for automatic in-advance upgrades - but not for upgrades at the gate.
    On a recent flight from SLC I was "upgraded" at the gate from a beautiful aisle exit row to a middle seat in W - despite the preference being set.
    I did write Delta - and got a response stating exactly that: gate agents do not follow preference. If you did not get upgraded in advance, take yourself off the list.

  10. KG Guest

    I fly DL a lot out of MSP. The premium quite often depends on the when and where. Sometimes it’s a lot, mostly i’ve found it reasonable. Only $200 more fore RT to SJU during holidays was totally worth it. But, yes, sometimes for another $150 you can snag first.

  11. pstm91 Diamond

    I just flew JFK-PHX. No status on DL and I had booked an economy ticket. It was $95 to upgrade to comfort+, or a ridiculous ~$1,000 for first class. It ended up being one of those brand new A321NEO and comfort+ was worth every penny. Free beer, seats were spacious, and the plane in general is a joy to fly domestically. First class was also very nice despite not being lie-flat.

  12. Jim Guest

    I've recently stopped purchase W on DL, because the premium has gotten so insane. On a recent purchase, it was close to double (!) the regular economy fare. For all of three extra inches of space.

    Look, DL, very much to Ben's point: I can be sold. But that's not how to do it.

  13. Simon Guest

    One benefit of Comfort Plus is you can sit together with your significant other without a random third person next to you like you would have in economy. Not on the 737's but it is a great benefit on a longer flight on an A220 for example. Plus lots of good overhead bin space vs economy. But Ben is right about going up to first class. I just booked a domestic first class that was only a little more than Comfort+ pricing.

    1. neogucky Member

      I was under the impression this is just a normal 3 - 3 row with all three seats being marketed, how does comfort+ preventing a random third person to sit with you?

    2. TMagee New Member

      The A220 is 3-2 in economy.

    3. TMagee New Member

      The A220 is 3-2 in economy.

    4. Simon Guest

      yes, the smaller jets are setup 3-2 and the A220 is super to fly. So you could book the 2 seats out of the 3-2. The 737's are 3-3 so no benefit there.

  14. A_Japanese Gold

    In TPAC market, JV partner Korean air offers 33-34 inch seat pitch for ordinary economy class seat, while Delta only offers 34 inch seat pitch for Comfort+. So it would be a no-brainer to choose flight operated by Korean air if flying in economy, IMO. Random search suggests DL-KE JV is pretty metal-neutral in terms of pricing, still Delta Comfort+ charge not insignificant premium.

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polarbear Gold

"That way you can also state that you’d like to reject an upgrade in case you’d only clear into a middle seat." this comes with a catch. Apparently setting the preference only works for automatic in-advance upgrades - but not for upgrades at the gate. On a recent flight from SLC I was "upgraded" at the gate from a beautiful aisle exit row to a middle seat in W - despite the preference being set. I did write Delta - and got a response stating exactly that: gate agents do not follow preference. If you did not get upgraded in advance, take yourself off the list.

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Yves Abel Guest

Just fly a European airline if flying internationally. Wine in beer in all classes, and economy plus much better than "comfort" which is the equivalent of a European coach seat. Delta: corporates don't give a damn about you, European airlines: there's still a modicum of respect...

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PW Guest

Beer and wine is complimentary on flights greater than 250 miles. The article says its 500miles plus. That's only booze.

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