Major Change in Domestic Flights Aimed at Boosting Profit

Delta Air Lines has announced that it will be introducing its premium economy service on flights between Los Angeles and New York City starting in September. This move marks the first time the airline will offer seats that are priced higher than standard economy on transcontinental flights. While premium economy has been a longstanding feature on European airlines’ long-haul routes, it is a relatively new concept for U.S. airlines.

The premium economy service by Delta will include “elevated dining” options and increased legroom, with the cost being roughly double that of a standard economy ticket. The airline’s decision to offer this service on transcontinental routes is part of its strategy to attract customers willing to pay more for additional benefits.

With a focus on targeting customers who are willing to spend more on travel, major U.S. airlines are racing to enhance their aircraft with more premium seats and promote rewards cards. This trend has already shown positive results for Delta, as the airline saw a 4 percent increase in main cabin ticket revenue and a 10 percent increase in premium product revenue in the first quarter of this year compared to the previous year.

Delta’s Premium Select, introduced in 2017, is currently available on most transpacific and transatlantic flights, as well as select routes to Latin America. The airline plans to start selling Premium Select on flights between New York JFK and Los Angeles International Airport from September 10. Mauricio Parise, the vice president of brand experience design at Delta, highlighted that customers flying between these major cities will have the opportunity to enjoy a more spacious seat and a premium experience.

The starting price for Delta’s Premium Select seats is around 0 for one-way transcontinental flights, while regular economy seats for the same route typically cost around 0. Positioned as a middle ground between Delta One’s business class and standard economy, Premium Select seats offer extra space to stretch out, increased recline, and adjustable foot and leg rests.

Additional amenities for Premium Select passengers include a memory foam pillow, noise-cancelling headphones, a recycled materials “plush blanket,” a travel essentials kit, and the option to pre-select their desired meal. Meals will be served on board on china plates with linen crockery and napkins, silver cutlery, and glassware.

Delta has also announced that members of its Medallion loyalty program will have the opportunity for free upgrades to premium seats based on availability, although some Medallion members may need to pay extra cash or airline miles for these seats due to the new configuration. This move is part of Delta’s efforts to expand its presence in the premium segment and compete with other airlines like United Airlines, which has long offered premium economy on select routes.

As Delta continues to enhance its offerings and cater to customers seeking a higher level of comfort and service, the introduction of premium economy on transcontinental flights is a significant step forward for the airline in meeting the evolving needs and preferences of travelers.

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