Delta Economy Comfort Domestic Launch and Tips on How to Get it For Cheap

by on June 5, 2012 · 18 comments

in Delta

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When Delta originally announced their new Economy Comfort product last year, it was initially to be installed on all international flights. I’ve had the opportunity to experience it on several occasions and you can read my experience when I flew JFK-Dublin recently. In summary, it’s the same old economy seat with some more legroom and recline (plus booze). It’s not life changing, but it sure beats a regular coach seat.

Delta Rolls Out Economy Comfort.

As of June 7, 2012, Economy Comfort will now be available on all two-cabin Delta flights, including many regional jets. The actual product on non-international (flights within North America and to the Caribbean and Central America) is that there isn’t 50% more recline (except on JFK- Los Angeles and San Francisco and some Hawaii routes) and no free alcohol. There still is more legroom, zone 1 boarding and Gold Medallions get Economy Comfort for free (vs. a 50% discount on international flights).

Prices for Economy Comfort on Flights within North America and to/from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean range from $9-$99 per segment while all other Delta Flights including International range from $40-$180 per segment.

Ways to Upgrade to Economy Comfort.

How to Upgrade:

Economy Comfort can not be purchased during the check-out process at this time, but possibly in the future it might. Currently to upgrade, customers can go in and view their itinerary online and click on “My Trips,” and from that select Details and the click on Change Seats, and the option to choose and pay for a Economy Comfort seat will be there.

How to Get Economy Comfort For Free (or Cheap):

1) Don’t select a seat if no decent ones aren’t available. If you are faced with all middle row normal coach seats, I’d personally not select a seat in the hopes that the gate agent will assign me a better seat since many premium seats are held back until departure for assignment. Additionally, any Medallions who are upgraded last minute from their Economy Comfort seat to First class will leave an empty seat that can’t be sold. A gate agent’s main priority is to get the flight out on time, so if you play your cards right (and ask nicely) you may just score an EC seat for free. Plus, if a middle regular seat is the worst possible option, why select it when you might be able to get a better seat otherwise?

2) Amex Platinum cardholders get $200 a year in airline fee reimbursements and several TPG readers have reported that Economy Comfort is a reimbursable expense. For more on that benefit, check out this post.

3) Get Elite (Medallion) Status. There are no current non-credit card related Medallion Qualifying Mile bonuses (you generally earn 1 Medallion mile per mile flown, with 50% for premium and first/business class fares), but if you were to get the Delta Reserve card you get 10,000 MQMs with your first purchase and then up to 30,000 more with certain spend thresholds (15,000 MQMs awarded at $30,000 in spend and then another 15,000 at $60,000). The card has a $450 annual fee, but it includes SkyClub access and a companion pass. You can also get MQMs with the Delta Platinum card- see this post for a rundown of all Delta card benefits. Silver Medallion is achieved at 25,000 MQMs and Gold at 50,000, so these cards can catapult you to elite status quickly.

4) Travel with a Medallion friend. When I went to Ireland, I booked tickets for 5 family members and friends who all got Economy Comfort for free since we were all on the same record locator, since as a then Diamond Medallion I got up to 8 guests free Economy Comfort seats as well.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Cchoe1981

    I’m flying Delta in September to Heathrow with a friend. Should we try not selecting a seat or could that backfire and have us not sitting together?

  • thepointsguy

    That could (and probably will) backfire. If you want to sit next to someone I’d recommend confirming that at booking

  • Mario

    How does Delta EC compare to a typical exit-row seat when flying domestically?

  • leeschneider

    I’ve upgraded to Economy Comfort three times now (BOS>BUD, PRG>BOS, MAD>BOS) and have found the only real benefit to be the extra leg room. Since they were international flights, there seemed to be booze available anyway (not sure if that’s the norm or not). That being said, I think it’s a small price to may for increased comfort on overnight or long-haul flights.

  • thepointsguy

    Beer and wine is free on international flights, so free liquor is the benefit for Economy Comfort. Agree that it’s nice, but not really that amazing

  • thepointsguy

    Honestly I’d prefer Exit Row since the row in front can’t recline

  • Mark

    Depending on the equipment, the EC seats get you a seat comparable to an exit row but at the front of the cabin (easier on/off, first for beverage service, etc).

  • Justin

    Is there any option to pay with SkyMiles? If so, that might be an attractive option for those of us struggling to figure out how to use them. I don’t have enough to do anything special, but too many to let them waste away (~80k)

  • Bryce

    Just “ran into” this today when booking a flight:

    I am a Gold Medallion, so I get Economy Comfort seats for free when flying domestic. Even so, it will not allow me to choose an EC seat an until after I have paid. Not really a big, just kind of annoying.

  • Sheb77

    1 small benefit to economy comfort that you didn’t mention is that you also get free entertainment like pay per view movies on flights that have the personal tv screen

  • Tls

    The bad thing is that medallion silver members used to be able to sit in the front of the plane for free. Now they have to pay for it! Shame on you Delta! I, at least, will be rethinking my airline loyalty, and I hope others do too!

  • W K

    Flying my first LAX-HNL since Jun 7 next week on Delta. (I had to fly HAL last month due to cost: bummer).

    So I snared a Economy Comfort Seat on 3 of the 4 legs. I still worry about legroom on the 757 return so picked my standby infinite legroom seat 40C exit row on the 757 return, but will let you know what I think of the EC seats on the 2 regional legs (although I normally will get upgraded there) and on the 767 outbound.

  • Richbebiz

    If you are silver, fly to asia once and you should get to gold. It’s only $1000 round trip. There has to be some distinction. I still think Delta offers the best perks and service at this time. Probably the worst transition is Gold->Platinum. Even Gold members have to pay for international economy comfort. But be careful changing airlines as a lot of them are adopting this comfort seating policy.

  • Karizona

    I just booked reasonable round-trip flights for Thanksgiving on Delta, PHX to DTW ($410 round trip each) and bought Economy Comfort for both of us headed there (so $118) as it’s a midnight flight and for myself on the way back ($59) as hubby said he’d take a regular economy aisle seat. If Economy Comfort’s tiny bit of legroom (and sometimes more recline) helps my bad spine travel a bit better I won’t have to “buy down” the cost of First Class with miles (doing the combo miles + $ with the Skymiles card.

  • AirLama

    One other way to get an EC set for free (at least domestically):

    If you are Silver Medallion, you have to pay for an EC seat (at a discounted rate). For my flight tomorrow morning, that meant $29.50. Although the flight had plenty of EC seats available, I had an exit row seat so didn’t feel the need to go EC (since exit row seats have more legroom than EC, at least on 757s and A320s MSP-SFO and MD-90s to SJC).

    However, as I went to check in this morning I noticed that there were still plenty of EC seats available (which, I note, is unusual). Now, however the EC seats were available at no cost. Not sure if that’s ’cause I’m Silver Medallion or if that’s for all customers 24 hours before the flight.

    Even still, for me, why switch? My exit row seat has more legroom and the seat in front (as thepointsguy pointed out) does not recline.

    One other thing about EC. If you are 5′ 5″ or less, the extra legroom in EC does not make much difference in terms of knee room or being able to stretch your legs. This according to my short wife.

  • Thedalai Lamahimself

    Oops. Delete this. I can’t, apparently.

  • BjosephE

    I just spoke with a Delta CS person. They said that if the flight is a KLM co-share (such as JFK-AMS) that Economy receives only one free beer/wine drink with the meal service (no spirits) and this is only if it is co-share. Is this true? Or is it available throughout the entire flight? Or is this only in Economy Comfort? (Not that I will drink the cost of an upgrade – but it is one reason!).

  • Tony G

    Be careful what you ask for. I flew Atlanta – London yesterday in “Comfort” on a new Boeing 747 300ER. The comfort seat was a joke – no soft cushion! – like a plastic-covered park bench. Worse still we were on the exit row which was freezing. A disgrace to Boeing for building it and for Delta for specifying it.

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