Skip to content

Delta is improving the economy experience to get passengers to pay more

Nov. 07, 2019
3 min read
Delta Air Lines plane in flight
Delta is improving the economy experience to get passengers to pay more
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.

Delta Air Lines sees a revenue opportunity in its rollout of long-haul economy class service improvements that it announced earlier this week.

While traveler comfort was a part of the reason for making the investment, Delta CFO Paul Jacobson told investors Thursday that there is a direct line from more comfortable passengers to higher fares and, in turn, better profits.

“Our net promoter scores have translated in direct correlation to the revenue premium we’re able to achieve over the industry," he said at the Baird Global Industrial Conference. In test markets, Delta has seen a 5-point improvement in its net promoter scores -- a measure of customer's loyalty to a brand and willingness to recommend it to others -- from the economy class improvements.

Put more simply, Delta says it is able to charge more for seats on its flights when people are more satisfied with the service.

Related: Delta's long-haul economy service has been upgraded

Welcome cocktails are no longer reserved for business class (Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines)
Welcome cocktails are no longer reserved for business class. (Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

Delta made the changes to its economy service on flights of 6.5 hours or longer. Elements include a complimentary Bellini and hot-towel service shortly after takeoff, more meal choices with larger portions, snacks available throughout the flight and a goodbye chocolate before landing.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Jacobson called the improvements "relatively unprecedented" in the U.S. airline industry.

Delta is already the most financially successful of the big three U.S. network carriers. The airline is rated investment grade -- a metric that gives investors confidence in the company and lowers its cost of debt -- and is known for innovative moves, from developing its own wireless inflight entertainment system to leading the industry on replacing cramped regional jets with larger models like the Airbus A220.

To date, neither American Airlines nor United Airlines have announced similar changes to their long-haul economy service.

Related: Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more travel tips!

Featured image by NURPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers