Delta Removing Business Class on Three Routes to Europe

Nov 19, 2017

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On Saturday we reported that Delta will be adding Delta One seats and service to six additional US domestic routes in April and May, including two flights to and from Hawaii. However, aircraft with flat-bed international configurations have to come from somewhere.

Well, now we know where Delta is getting those 757-200s. At roughly the same time the airline is adding Delta One service domestically, it will pull its premium cabin from the following three routes between the US and Europe:

  • New York (JFK) and Reykjavik, Iceland (KEF)
  • New York (JFK) and Shannon, Ireland (SNN) — seasonal from May 3 to October 1
  • New York (JFK) and Ponta Delgada, Portugal (PDL) — seasonal from May 24 to September 2

To replace the aircraft, Delta will add domestically configured 757-200s on those routes. And unfortunately domestic 757s don’t have flat-bed seats, Instead, the planes employ far less luxurious first class recliners that can’t in good faith be called international first class or even business class.

So rather than sell these seats as business class, Delta is instead selling them as “Premium Select”:

Premium Select is the same term Delta uses for its brand new premium economy product on the A350. But this is not the same seat on these European routes. The 757s seats that will be flying up front to Europe are simply domestic first class recliners.

It makes sense that Delta would choose to take the international 757s from these particular routes, which undoubtedly get less high-value traffic than other European destinations such as London (LHR) and Paris (CDG). Delta and the other legacy airlines are competing heavily against European low-cost carriers such as WOW and Icelandair, which both fly nonstop to cities like Reykjavik.

These low-cost airlines have business class product that are more like US domestic first class anyway. So this is a logical move for Delta to swap in similar “first class” products. That said, the current price offerings for Premium Select will likely have to come down significantly for Delta to remain competitive on these routes.

Still, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting when you purchase or redeem miles for an international ticket, so make sure you’re aware of this change if you’re booking on one of these three routes starting in late March and beyond.

H/T: Points, Miles & Martinis

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