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 Class, American Main Cabin Extra, JetBlue Even More Space, and United Economy Plus.
In this post:
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+ 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.
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.
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.
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
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+?