Delta Air Lines recently upgraded their Economy Comfort cabin for trancontiental flights from New York to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. I recently had a trip from JFK to SEA and decided to give the upgrade a shot.
The big changes? The addition of pillows, blankets, sleep kits, Luvo snack wraps, free adult beverages, and frozen yogurt bars.
“Delta continues to invest in Economy Comfort with upgraded amenities for customers when they fly one of our transcontinental routes from New York to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle,” said Jeff Robertson, Vice President – Product Development, Sky Clubs and Marketing Communications. “Adding pillows and blankets for comfort as well as Luvo wraps and mid-flight snack offerings improves the travel experience for our premium economy customers so they arrive at their destination rested and refreshed.”
These come with the standard upgrades that all Economy Comfort seats give passengers: up to 4″ additional legroom and ideal location for boarding/de-planing.
The big question – is $100 worth the additional extras you get with Economy Comfort? Although I was quite tired during this flight (this was the fourth and final leg of a four day, 15,000 mile journey), I was willing to find out.
When I was offered the upgrade the Economy Comfort, I ran into a dilemma. I had a regular economy seat on the aisle – was it worth moving to a middle seat for Economy Comfort? At first, I wasn’t so sure. But I figured it would be a good comparison to see if it might be worth the move. I was hesitant, because at 6’1″ and 250lbs, being in the middle seat generally is not one of my favorite things in the world.
I ended up in seat 20E. Although not really at an exit, it is still considered an exit row (there were only two seats in front of us that were at the exit). I ended up between two women who mostly gave me my space.
The first thing I noticed when getting to my seat was a blanket and pillow. I hadn’t seen those on a seat in the back of the plane in quite sometime. Although I am not a big blanket user, I did find the pillow to be quite comfy during my three hour nap.
But before I could get to my nap, I knew I needed to stay awake to check out the wrap. While waiting for the food service, I decided to browse the in-flight entertainment system. I had left my headphones in my bag and being in the middle seat, I wasn’t looking forward to disturbing my seatmate. But no worries – Delta provided a headset for free.
The IFE offers movies, TV shows, live TV, games and a few other odds and ends. One of the benefits of Economy Plus is that all the IFE choices are free. Passengers in the back need to pay per movie or TV show that they were watching.
I was a little disappointed in the selection in the IFE system. There were only 30 movies and not many TV shows. I tried the live TV a few times, but each time the signal was bad or not there, so it was pretty much worthless.
Before the meal service came, I decided to try something that I have never been able to successfully do before; working on my laptop while sitting in a middle seat. But amazingly, even in the middle seat, I had plenty of room to maneuver my laptop and type without having to contort myself. Those few extra inches really helped out. I wasn’t on my laptop long, since I realized that I was taking notes about the flights and noticed that my seat neighbor was reading them which was a bit awkward.
Soon the drink and meal service was started. I have to say that I was quite impressed with the chicken wrap that was offered for free as part of my upgrade. Pre-packaged airline food seems to be hit and miss, but the wrap was moist and a generous portion. And it is always a nice touch when an airline gives you the full can of soda without having to ask for it.
After the meal, it was time for me to get some rest. I think I slept through getting the amenity kit, but I didn’t see anyone else around me with one either. I didn’t think to ask and really I wouldn’t have used anything in it anyhow. Although, I still think it is a cool option.
I also ended up sleeping through my yogurt. I wanted to give it a try, but the call of sleep was just too powerful.
Okay, let’s break down this flight by the costs and see if it makes sense. On my trip, it was about $100 to upgrade to Economy Comfort. Let’s look at what I would have spent flying in economy:
Movies: $6, let’s say you watch two, so $12
TV Shows: $1, let’s say you just watch one, so $1
Alcohol: $6 per beer and $8 per spirit or wine. Let’s say two drinks at $14 total [my flight was in the morning, so I didn’t actually drink anything, but let’s pretend this is in the afternoon]
Food: Wrap is $10
So that means you are paying $63 for the extra benefits… is it worth it? Well, I think that totally depends on who you are and what is important to you. For me, I am a cheapskate when it comes to buying my own tickets – I typically will not pay extra for anything (Although I have to say that as I am getting older, I am more willing to look at spending a bit more for some additional benefits).
Now, if I was stuck in a middle seat in the back of the plane and there was a window seat in Economy Comfort that $63 extra (or even $100 extra) is sounding like a much better deal. If I had to get some work done during my flight and could use the extra room, I think it would be worth the upgrade. But if I had an aisle or window seat in economy, would it be worth the extra money to upgrade for a middle seat? No, in my opinion.
The Economy Comfort upgrades are not the only thing Delta has planned for these trans-con routes. By summer 2015, they plan to have all their flights from JFK to LAX/SFO/SEA to offer full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite. That is quite the upgrade to the standard First Class seats that were in my Boeing 757.
Disclaimer: Delta upgraded my economy ticket to Economy Comfort at no charge to do this story. All opinions are my own.