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Booking KLM Economy Comfort Seats as a Delta Platinum Medallion

by on August 22, 2013 · 12 comments

in Delta, KLM

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I went to South Africa for the first time back in January, and I loved the country so much that I decided spur-of-the-moment to book another quick trip there in a few weeks for a visit to Cape Town. Though last time I flew non-stop from JFK-Johannesburg and then on to Cape Town on South African Airways in business class using 110,000 US Airways miles roundtrip.

I’m in the midst of elite status requalification strategizing, though, so this time around, not only did I want to try another airline option, but I wanted to score as many elite-qualifying miles as possible, so I booked a roundtrip ticket from New York to Cape Town via Amsterdam on KLM, which should net me 19,280 MQM’s on Delta roundtrip, almost a third of the required miles to requalify for Platinum Medallion.

KLM Economy Comfort Seats when I flew a few years ago to Copenhagen.

The one thing I’m dreading, though, is flying about 20 hours in economy! As you all probably know by now, I’m 6’7″ and coach seats are just not a real possibility for me. I depend on miles and status for upgrades. However, one of the reasons I booked KLM is specifically because of their Economy Comfort seats, which I fit into quite well, actually, and some of which don’t have seats in front of them, meaning I can stretch out my legs.

While I was buying the ticket through Delta.com, I tried to select an Economy Comfort seat online during the seat selection process, but I was having trouble. It would only let me select regular economy seats, even though I was logged into my account as a Platinum Medallion.

Not wanting to commit to the ticket until I figured out if I could snag one of the preferred seats, I decided to call Delta’s Medallion desk and see what they could do for me.

I talked to a really friendly agent who was able to find my itinerary quickly and while I was on the phone with her, she was able to assign me a KLM Economy Comfort seat at no extra charge – and better yet, since I’ll be flying on KLM’s 777-300 and 777-200, there are a few Economy Comfort seats with no seat in front of them and she was able to get me one of them on all four flights, so I’ll have plenty of room.

Even better – each of those flights between New York and Amsterdam would have cost me $120 per segment to upgrade to Economy Comfort, and the flights between Amsterdam and Cape Town would have been $213, so altogether I am saving $666.

I’ve heard in the past that Platinum and Diamond Medallions receive this benefit, but it’s been a while since the last time I booked on KLM, was when I booked the $130 fare to Copenhagen and I got Economy Comfort automatically.

KLM Economy Comfort Discounts.

KLM Economy Comfort Discounts.

Delta’s current policy in regards to Economy Comfort on KLM is as follows:

  • You can select 90 days to 48 hrs prior to departure on KLM’s site or by calling up Delta
  • If it’s 48 hours or prior to departure you can select through online check-in, at an airport kiosk, or by calling up a phone representative
  • You’ll receive 4 more inches of legroom and up to a 100% increase in recline

KLM Economy Comfort Pricing Discounts:

  • Free for Diamond/ Platinum Medallion
  • 50% off for Gold Medallion
  • 25% off for Silver Medallion
  • Also worth mentioning that free for Flying Blue Platinum and 50% off for Flying Blue Gold and SkyTeam Elite Plus

Another way to get these seats, is by logging into KLM using your record locator, and as long as your Platinum or Diamond Medallion status is indicated on the record, you should be able to select your seat free of charge, though I found it was easier just to call up Delta directly.

KLM’s Economy Comfort mini-cabin has a private feel.

Although I had to go through a little bit of a process to secure my Economy Comfort seats, I think it will be well worth it, and being able to select them for free is actually a great benefit for Medallion members, since upgrading can cost hundreds of dollars per segment.

Plus, for me, being able to get a seat assignment in Economy Comfort at the time of booking made the difference between actually booking the flight or looking for other options since I couldn’t take the chance that I’d have to sit through the whole itinerary in Economy (which is a nice product on KLM, I just don’t fit in the seat!). I’m also crossing fingers for an operational upgrade (if coach is oversold) or the chance to buy upgrades- my friend just flew Amsterdam-Capetown on KLM and was offered a business class upgrade for $400- I’m pretty sure I’d pay that to have business class for 10 hours!

All in all, I’m happy with my booking, and since this is such a nice benefit, I hope that Delta doesn’t decide to devalue this one, such as only letting Medallions select these seats at check-in as opposed to at time of booking.

For more about my last trip to South Africa, you can read the series of posts I wrote as I traveled, which include the following: Come Along With Me To South Africa!Flight Review: South African Airways Business Class JFK-JNBHotel Review: Westin Cape TownTrip Report: Watching African Penguins at Boulders Beach and the Cape of Good HopeCape Town Dining; Hotel Review: Hilton Cape TownHotel Review: 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa Luxury RoomTrekking Up Table Mountain In Cape TownHotel Review: Hyatt Regency JohannesburgTrip Report: South Africa Safari at Savanna Lodge in Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve; Safari Highlights at Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa.

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  • tpup

    I flew to Istanbul last january delta codeshare on KLM. from ORD. I selected seats in economy comfort for the whole family (4) I am platinum, wife silver, kids non-elite. Anyway, when I arrived at ORD to check it, we were all put in regular coach. I didn’t want to raise a stink, but when I asked the agent, she said that only I could sit in EC, while everyone else would have to sit in coach. So I sat with everyone.

  • Keith

    From doing Delta/KLM US-AMS-DAR several times a year, I’ve learned that often the easiest thing is to leave the seat assignment blank when booking on Delta.com and then contact KLM directly (e.g. over twitter or head their office in Adam) to assign the AMS-Africa seat. Even if Delta.com shows the seat confirmed, when Delta assigns the seats, they often don’t take–you can see this by logging into KLM.com and whether the info matches. Sometimes even using KLM.com, it might prompt to pay for the EC seat even though you are eligible but they seem to be able to sort it out if within an hour or two if you DM them w/ twitter.

  • Celine

    I’d rather fly KLM than Delta. Two reasons:
    1. KLM would rather sell World Business seats than give them out to non-revs.
    2. KLM uses updated airplanes on long haul flights. I have yet to encounter a KLM bird on TATL that didn’t have PTVs in economy.

  • Devin

    So your status saved you over $600, but this is a trip with the sole purpose of maintaining status? You’ve got yourself on the hamster wheel…

  • thepointsguy

    Who said this was a mileage run? I’m visiting friends

  • Devin

    This entire paragraph, maybe? Just a guess…

    “I’m in the midst of elite status requalification strategizing,
    though, so this time around, not only did I want to try another airline option, but I wanted to score as many elite-qualifying miles as possible, so I booked a roundtrip ticket from New York to Cape Town via Amsterdam on KLM, which should net me 19,280 MQM’s on Delta roundtrip, almost a third of the required miles to requalify for Platinum Medallion.”

  • dcjimmy

    I’m happy to hear this, I had two not-so-great experiences in 2012 as a PM, bought KL tickets and could not get confirmed EC seats no matter who I talked to (KLM, DL, DeltaAssist, and even escalated as a complaint), their systems just were not allowing them to assign EC in advance (only 36 hours before the flight or some such garbage); so I have stayed away since then. Sounds like they fixed the problem……

  • Vlad Klenikov

    looks like you do what you are told and don’t kick up a fuss and stand up for your family. i mean, what’s new, that we have not heard before? whats the point of your story?

  • Pingback: My Mind Numbing Experience Trying to Book KLM Economy Comfort with Delta | The Points Guy

  • Femaletraveler

    Don’t relax just yet. I had the same problems. The systems actually allowed me to book the EC seats. All went well traveling to Capetown, but on the way back KLM assigned me a seat at the back of the plane with no notice. When I called, they said I had no right to the EC seat. I ended up paying to get an exit row because all the EC seats were gone by then. Delta and KLM both said “sorry” there’s no rights. I’m a DL Platinum. That being said, I’ve had several other flights on KLM with no problems.

  • Pingback: Flight Review: New York JFK -Amsterdam – Cape Town in KLM Economy Comfort | The Points Guy

  • Delta Fann

    I fly KLM and Air France once a month internationally. I’m a DL Platinum just now and looking forward to it. From reading all of you folks with more experience, I’ve assimilated (like the borg, LOL) all of your info to use. Thanks, but I will say that even as a Gold once in Paris the pretty Air France lady at the lounge upgraded me to a better upstairs seat for free. How did this happen? Just politely tell them how much I loved Air France and how great they are. After a few minutes of small talk, voila.. Now, it could have been luck, but certainly a few kind words doesn’t hurt either.

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