Delta Brings Cocktails, Hot Towels and Better Food to International Economy
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
The long overlooked economy traveler is finally getting some of the hospitality usually reserved for the front of the plane: drinks, hot towels and better food.
Beginning this November, coach passengers on many of Delta’s international flights will notice a marked change in the onboard experience — particularly when compared to rival US carriers. Long overlooked, the hundreds who fill the rear of the cabin will soon be treated to gratis cocktails and hot towels shortly after takeoff. Plus, the airline is promising a major upgrade on the food front, with mix-and-match options for premium appetizers and larger entrees.
TPG reviewed a flight between Tokyo and Portland where this upgraded economy experience was being tested last year. After some 14,000 hours of flight time, Delta is fine-tuning the process using more than 1,800 customer surveys as well as crew feedback for a system-wide rollout later this year. For example, rather than serving Bellinis from a vanilla beverage cart, they’ll be served from a tray.
Per our conversation with Delta, minors and those who prefer non-alcoholic beverages will be served as usual during meal service.
“The thoughtful touches we’re investing in throughout the new Main Cabin experience were designed by flight attendants with one goal in mind: delivering an exceptional experience that our customers will rave about and one that our team, the best in the business, is proud to deliver,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s senior vice president of inflight service.
Welcome Bellinis, bolstered amenity kits and meals you won’t turn your nose up at are the kinds of things that we’ve come to expect on certain carriers like Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines and Emirates. It has long been understood, however, that legacy US carriers simply weren’t willing to compete with international carriers when it comes to impressing coach passengers on long-haul flights.
The aforementioned perks will come to Comfort+ passengers alongside Main Cabin clients, though a Delta representative informed us that there are no plans to implement a separate version of this for those seated in the Premium Select cabin.
Delta sees that as an opportunity to further differentiate itself from the other carriers. Although it’s glamorous to hop oceans in business or first class, it’s not always practical. In fact, some — like TPG Points and Miles Backpacker Brian Biros — prefer to fly economy in order to squeeze more trips out of their miles. We’d prefer that Delta also add legroom and pitch to make the economy experience better, but touches like these are appreciated.
For international flights 6.5 hours or longer (as well as select shorter flights where Delta One and Premium Select are offered), you’ll also see pursers make preflight introductions in the gatehouse and personal greetings at the boarding door. Delta hopes to build bonds between passengers and the flight crew by adding a layer of warmth and hospitality.
Featured image by the author.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, please click here.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees