Delta Economy Comfort Domestic Launch and Tips on How to Get it For Cheap
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
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.
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.
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.