Delta Starts Selling Premium Select Between JFK & LAX

Delta Starts Selling Premium Select Between JFK & LAX

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It’s finally happening — Delta will start selling premium economy on its most premium transcontinental route, and it has implications for upgrades.

Delta adds premium economy on transcon route

Delta primarily flies wide body aircraft between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX), given what a competitive market it is. On most frequencies, Delta uses Boeing 767s, which aren’t exactly modern jets, but at least offer a pleasant economy experience.

The Atlanta-based carrier has also been working on installing premium economy (which the airline markets as Premium Select) on these jets. Up until now, the premium economy cabin on these planes has been a treat, since those seats have been sold just like standard Comfort+ seats (which is the name of Delta’s extra legroom economy seating). That has been a great deal, since it has been possible to get a much better seat without paying a lot extra.

Delta Premium Select on the Boeing 767

Unsurprisingly, Delta will finally get around to monetizing this cabin. As of this fall, Delta will begin selling premium economy on flights between New York and Los Angeles:

  • As of September 10, 2024, four of Delta’s 11 daily flights between New York and Los Angeles will have Premium Select for sale
  • As of November 11, 2024, all of Delta’s flights between New York and Los Angeles will have Premium Select for sale
Delta Premium Select seat map between JFK & LAX

I imagine this will evolve over time, but currently it looks like premium economy is running a $400 one-way premium over the standard (non-basic) economy price.

Delta Premium Select pricing between JFK & LAX

While Delta hasn’t formally announced what the soft product product will be like, some people have reported being on test flights in recent weeks, where they were offered full meals, bedding, and amenity kits, so I imagine that will make up part of the premium economy experience. Think of it as almost being like domestic first class, while Delta One (the “real” business class) will get a flat bed.

Here’s how Maurico Parise, Delta’s VP of Brand Experience Design, describes this development:

“Delta Premium Select will bring a new level of comfort, luxury and practicality to one of Delta’s most important routes in the domestic U.S. as we continue to work to deliver more premium experiences to our customers. This product has been a success internationally, especially following the recent investments we’ve made onboard, and we know that customers flying between New York and Los Angeles will enjoy the opportunity to treat themselves to a more spacious seat and premium experience.”  

What does this change mean for upgrades?

With Delta introducing premium economy between New York and Los Angeles, this also has implications for upgrades. So, how will upgrades work for domestic flights with premium economy?

Upgrades from economy to premium economy will clear the same way as domestic first class upgrades clear:

  • Diamond Medallion members will clear at most 120 hours (five days) before departure with priority
  • Platinum Medallion members will clear at most 120 hours (five days) before departure
  • Gold Medallion members will clear at most 72 hours (three days) before departure
  • Silver Medallion members will clear at most 24 hours (one day) before departure

Furthermore, as before, Medallion members will continue to receive space available day-of-departure upgrades to Delta One, regardless of whether or not they’re confirmed in premium economy.

How does it work for those applying Regional Upgrade Certificates (RUCs) and Global Upgrade Certificates (GUCs)?

  • If you purchase an economy ticket and apply a GUC or RUC, you’d be upgraded to Premium Select upon request, and will then be added to the Delta One waitlist, where you can clear up to 24 hours before departure
  • If you purchase a premium economy ticket and apply a GUC or RUC, you’d be upgraded to Delta One, pending upgrade availability

On the plus side, at least that isn’t the worst case scenario when it comes to how upgrades are executed, as double upgrades will still be possible in some cases.

Delta is finally fully monetizing its 767 interiors

Bottom line

As of this fall, Delta will finally start selling premium economy seats on flights between New York and Los Angeles. Up until now, the airline has just treated it the same as extra legroom economy. Soon these seats will cost extra, but will also come with significantly more service. Furthermore, upgrades will be possible to this product.

What do you make of Delta selling Premium Select on transcon flights?

Conversations (34)
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  1. JJ Guest

    IMO crazy pricing when compared to other options like Mint

  2. iamhere Guest

    You are incorrect on this one. Premium economy is comfort+. Premium select is another type of premium economy that is a mix of business class and premium economy. In other words, the seat, food, and services are different from that of comfort+ and basic economy.

  3. Eric Guest

    It seems to me that us airline continue to struggle to reward customers who spend top dollar when it comes to upgrades . They should move to a bidding system like in Europe /South American. They rather seems to incentivize customers with status to simply play their luck to see if they get a free upgrade . That’s terrible business .

  4. BVT New Member

    Paying 3-4x for premium economy on a reasonably short route like JFK-LAX is quite stupid to me.

    1. Brian W Guest

      If you look at the total price, paying $400 extra for a much more enjoyable experience with space and food is reasonable. There are a lot of people with wealth where this is an easy trade off who dont need a layflat bed for a 2200 mile flight.

  5. digital_notmad Diamond

    Look no one likes to see upgrades become more difficult, but for those of us who are also shareholders, this feels sorely overdue. Management dragged their feet for years and frankly this just feels like too little too late. Better management could have achieved this much earlier, while the domestic premium travel boom was in full swing.

    As always, frustrating to watch the current DL management squander value while coasting entirely on the strategic foresight...

    Look no one likes to see upgrades become more difficult, but for those of us who are also shareholders, this feels sorely overdue. Management dragged their feet for years and frankly this just feels like too little too late. Better management could have achieved this much earlier, while the domestic premium travel boom was in full swing.

    As always, frustrating to watch the current DL management squander value while coasting entirely on the strategic foresight of past generations of management.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      seriously?
      do you have a graph showing the decline of premium economy? Everything I see says it is still selling very well.
      psst. DL's 763ERs - which have flown the majority of JFK-LAX flights - didn't have PS on the entire fleet.
      Once again, DL doesn't sell even ATL-LAX as PS on flights operated by widebodies including the A350. It seems pretty clear that they simply do not want to try to...

      seriously?
      do you have a graph showing the decline of premium economy? Everything I see says it is still selling very well.
      psst. DL's 763ERs - which have flown the majority of JFK-LAX flights - didn't have PS on the entire fleet.
      Once again, DL doesn't sell even ATL-LAX as PS on flights operated by widebodies including the A350. It seems pretty clear that they simply do not want to try to sell domestic and "international" fare structures in the same market.

      btw, you do realize that Delta generated the highest profit among US airlines in 2023 and has the highest market cap among ALL airlines worldwide?

    2. digital_notmad Diamond

      woah hey relax, friend! i am saying they did the right thing, and better late than never, right

      i know people have feelings about different airlines and i certainly don't mean to invalidate those, i was just trying to provide a shareholder perspective.

    3. Tim Dunn Diamond

      and my point is simply that DL has been the best investment IF you invest in airline stocks - and it is possible to make money on airline stocks.

      From an operational perspective, DL clearly sees a market as either "domestic" or "international" with fare products and equipment that are either domestic or international. Feel free to let me know otherwise but I do not know any market on Delta's system that has standard...

      and my point is simply that DL has been the best investment IF you invest in airline stocks - and it is possible to make money on airline stocks.

      From an operational perspective, DL clearly sees a market as either "domestic" or "international" with fare products and equipment that are either domestic or international. Feel free to let me know otherwise but I do not know any market on Delta's system that has standard domestic first class and also Delta One that is sold on nonstop flights with domestic and int'l aircraft.

      Delta One and Premium Select are really international products. NYC-LAX will become a fully "int'l" market from a service and fares perspective by the end of the year - even though some of the aircraft will be widebodies including 763s as well as transcon configured A321NEOs

      DL simply never intended to have all of the service on JFK-LAX operated by any aircraft other than the 763ER; Delta intended to retire the 767-300ER fleet during covid and has given part of that fleet a reprieve until the end of the decade. the 763 fleet is the last widebody fleet to get Premium Select.

      This isn't about feelings but understanding why airlines do what they do.
      Delta's decision to just now add PS fares is rational AND will increase revenue - which is stockholder friendly

    4. Gray Guest

      Just for disclosure on my earlier comments - I'm also a shareholder. So I've got both sides of the equation in hand, if you will.

      [This was a broker recommendation. I've joked that on my own, I only buy a stock if I hate the company - if I hate them, they're probably doing something right from the shareholder side.]

  6. John S Guest

    DL does sell Premium Economy on the Long haul HNL flights: JFK, DTW, MSP, ATL, and later this year, BOS. They also offer it to HND.

  7. DiscoPapa Guest

    You've got an error, Ben. You state: "If you purchase an economy ticket and apply a GUC or RUC, you’d be upgraded to Premium Select upon request, and will then be added to the Delta One waitlist, where you can clear up to 24 hours before departure."

    Only the GUC will clear to DPS upon request. The RUC will still require upgrade inventory into DPS. More info here: https://www.delta.com/us/en/skymiles/medallion-program/medallion-upgrades

  8. Jan Guest

    This is a nerf for the customers, for sure, but something that makes sense. Plats and Diamonds have been getting free PS seats as "Comfort+" on these routes.

    1. Pete Guest

      And cue their interminable moaning about not getting something for free anymore in 3, 2, 1...

    2. Gray Guest

      *moans about it loudly*

      Snark aside, it /is/ a downgrade for customers on the route (especially if anyone is stuck having to burn a GUC for it). Whether it is justifiable or not is more complicated - finding RUC space for a D1 upgrade is exceedingly rare as it is (though I pulled it off last week).

      More frustrating is likely to be how this interacts with connecting legs, which /is/ a problem at a...

      *moans about it loudly*

      Snark aside, it /is/ a downgrade for customers on the route (especially if anyone is stuck having to burn a GUC for it). Whether it is justifiable or not is more complicated - finding RUC space for a D1 upgrade is exceedingly rare as it is (though I pulled it off last week).

      More frustrating is likely to be how this interacts with connecting legs, which /is/ a problem at a lot of airlines. AA won't book F on e.g. LAX-JFK-ORF (though they will LAX-JFK-DCA), DL won't even list a bunch of connections via JFK, and pre-pandemic B6 was a dumpster fire in getting Mint fares to "play nice" with any connecting legs (you always got stuck with a bare-bones Blue fare for the attached leg, so whether you could check a bag for free or not could be a fight at one end or the other - and the system wouldn't let you upgrade the fare). So a situation where the effect of this is "Why can't I book D1 coming from X?" isn't hard to imagine.

      Having said that, this probably makes the most sense in the context of the incoming D1 lounges.

    3. Tim Dunn Diamond

      The majority of aircraft on JFK-LAX have not had PS; that will change.
      The policy made sense at the time.

      And the same thing happens on other domestic flights such as ATL-LAX when PS equipped aircraft such as the A350 operate there.

    4. Anthony Diamond

      Tim - any update on the Hawaii routes (which were supposed to be the first to get domestic PS)?

    5. ImmortalSynn Guest

      "The majority of aircraft on JFK-LAX have not had PS; that will change.
      The policy made sense at the time."

      Did it thought? Because from 2020 through early 2023, they had the 764s on the route equally (and at some points higher) to the amount of 763s, and those all had Premium Select, that (just as the other poster said) was basically just going to Diamonds and Platinums at booking.

      Very surprised they didn't...

      "The majority of aircraft on JFK-LAX have not had PS; that will change.
      The policy made sense at the time."

      Did it thought? Because from 2020 through early 2023, they had the 764s on the route equally (and at some points higher) to the amount of 763s, and those all had Premium Select, that (just as the other poster said) was basically just going to Diamonds and Platinums at booking.

      Very surprised they didn't do it back then, since they're showing willingness to sell on some flights not others.

    6. Tim Dunn Diamond

      during the pandemic period and as far as into 2023, many international markets were locked down and Delta along w/ AA and UA used widebodies extensively on their domestic networks.
      Ben just did an article on why that doesn't make sense.

      As has been noted, the 767 is the only widebody that was designed for domestic markets but has the range for transatlantic markets.

      DL never intended to use the 764s on transcon...

      during the pandemic period and as far as into 2023, many international markets were locked down and Delta along w/ AA and UA used widebodies extensively on their domestic networks.
      Ben just did an article on why that doesn't make sense.

      As has been noted, the 767 is the only widebody that was designed for domestic markets but has the range for transatlantic markets.

      DL never intended to use the 764s on transcon routes and those aircraft went back to int'l routes as soon as demand returned.

      now that the 763s - which are better sized for transcon routes - have been configured to have PS, DL is selling it.

  9. Bossman Guest

    This aligns with what UA is doing LAX-EWR where they have several wide body frequencies daily and sell the Premium Plus seats. Double upgrades from economy to Polaris with Plus Points are nearly impossible but upgrades from PP to Polaris are often possible using plus pts.

    1. UA-NYC Diamond

      Wow UA figured this out years ago on premium 3-cabin TCONs. Delta was giving these away the whole time? Quite unsophisticated missing out on the marginal revenue…signs of a less premium airline.

    2. Rene Guest

      UANYC... Hard for DL to sell the 3 cabins when they didn't even exist on 763s until recently...

  10. Tim Dunn Diamond

    Delta is the largest airline in the NYC-LAX market and they did it by using widebodies that had a consistent product.
    The 767 was designed and optimized for domestic flights; while it does not have a cabin wide enough for modern transoceanic business class, it does work well on transcons. Given that other airlines heavily use narrowbodies, perception of what is better differs a whole lot between people.
    When Delta made the decision...

    Delta is the largest airline in the NYC-LAX market and they did it by using widebodies that had a consistent product.
    The 767 was designed and optimized for domestic flights; while it does not have a cabin wide enough for modern transoceanic business class, it does work well on transcons. Given that other airlines heavily use narrowbodies, perception of what is better differs a whole lot between people.
    When Delta made the decision to retrofit the 767-300ERs with a Premium Select cabin, they used those planes first to Europe. Although DL is retiring some 763s, the airplanes they intend to keep until the end of the decade when the fleet will be retired will have PS.
    It now makes sense to sell PS eventually on all flights as the widebodies that operate NYC-LAX become all PS.

    And remember that multiple airlines are adding PS and lie flat seats on A321NEOs. DL is doing it on premium configured basic A321NEOs that are supposed to enter service later this year while AA and UA will use A321XLR that are also delayed but won't be far behind DL's premium transcon A321s.

    DL will likely operate JFK-LAX with a mix of widebodies and transcon A321NEOs and will get better fleet utilization by being able to rotate widebodies better between its international and transcon routes.

    1. Extraordinary1 Member

      I'm not a UA fan, but EWR is an NYC airport and UA is the biggest airline in LAX-NYC.

    2. Stanley C Diamond

      As much as EWR would like to be a part of NYC, it really is a part of New Jersey. Though, I do get it. Who would want to claim NJ when you can try to claim NYC, haha. I had a colleague who is from NJ but he keeps telling everyone that he is from NYC.

    3. Biglaw V10 Partner Guest

      Stanley C, your colleague gets 40x as much puss as you do and his manhood is at least 1.5 inches larger in girth than yours. Cheap shots at New Jersey are the way real New Yorkers identify transplant poseurs who are trying too hard to fit in. The entire NYC metro area, like every other metro area, is a coherent community. Jersey City is as expensive to live in as LIC (Queens).

      Anybody ragging on...

      Stanley C, your colleague gets 40x as much puss as you do and his manhood is at least 1.5 inches larger in girth than yours. Cheap shots at New Jersey are the way real New Yorkers identify transplant poseurs who are trying too hard to fit in. The entire NYC metro area, like every other metro area, is a coherent community. Jersey City is as expensive to live in as LIC (Queens).

      Anybody ragging on New Jersey in the context of defining the boundaries of NYC is a moron who couldn't score higher than 120 on the LSAT.

      Many top law firms in NYC are closer to EWR than any other NYC area airport.

      You can get d!ck enlargement surgery if you are really bothered by your small endowment.

    4. Stanley C Diamond

      You really need to get your head examined. The only thing you are good for on this site is a pitiful laugh. You are a loser who gets so defensive about everything. You are a lawyer? You got no class. Is that how you talk to your clients? You only how to get by in life by spitting out cuss words. That speaks a lot about where you are from. You bringing up about size matters? Only insecure jerks that pretend to know everything like you have got size issues.

  11. Rene Guest

    As long as there's no shortage of foolish DM's paying for what they once got for free via UG's the price creep upward for FC will not stop.

    1. JustinB Member

      How dare Delta charge people for something they are willing to pay for

  12. CSR 2.0 Guest

    Pricing is crazy. D1 used to start at $599 one way on this route. Now to charge $899 for premium select is wild. We'll see how it does. Delta has officially made me a free agent.

    1. DWT Guest

      With the exception of during the depths of COVID, $599 one way transcon fares between LAX and JFK haven't been seen in years.

    2. Gray Guest

      "Used to" - uh, when? Thanksgiving Friday 2018?

      Lowest I think I recall seeing was $799, and that's been a while. $599 was probably a "starter promotion" rate when D1 first came out?

    3. Brian W Guest

      DL is going to charge what the market is willing to pay. Every airline is out to maximize its revenue. If you want cheap fares, fly Frontier or Spirit. The high price reflects the wealth in the two metro areas and business contracts.

    4. CSR 2.0 Guest

      lol. I recall seeing $599 as recently as 2022, which yes, is a while ago. My larger point stands - as recently as last year, starting price for D1 transcon was $799-$999. Now looking at the price calendar, the lowest price one way on DL is $1299. Meanwhile, AA sells one way business starting as low as $659 and it's routinely available - I booked it four times for this year including Christmas week. Yes...

      lol. I recall seeing $599 as recently as 2022, which yes, is a while ago. My larger point stands - as recently as last year, starting price for D1 transcon was $799-$999. Now looking at the price calendar, the lowest price one way on DL is $1299. Meanwhile, AA sells one way business starting as low as $659 and it's routinely available - I booked it four times for this year including Christmas week. Yes it's 2x2, but I typically fly with my husband and enjoy that set up.

      We'll see if PS sells at this price, but it certainly won't to me.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Extraordinary1 Member

I'm not a UA fan, but EWR is an NYC airport and UA is the biggest airline in LAX-NYC.

3
digital_notmad Diamond

Look no one likes to see upgrades become more difficult, but for those of us who are also shareholders, this feels sorely overdue. Management dragged their feet for years and frankly this just feels like too little too late. Better management could have achieved this much earlier, while the domestic premium travel boom was in full swing. As always, frustrating to watch the current DL management squander value while coasting entirely on the strategic foresight of past generations of management.

1
Rene Guest

UANYC... Hard for DL to sell the 3 cabins when they didn't even exist on 763s until recently...

1
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