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Delta Brings Back the “Class” in Economy Class

Delta Brings Back the “Class” in Economy Class
Jeff Edwards

This week, Delta Air Lines unveiled a series of improvements to international main cabin flights. That is not a typo. The legacy carrier will now offer welcome drinks, hot towel service, bistro-style multi-course dining (with printed menus and choices) and chocolate for the long-suffering passengers in the coach class cabin.

Delta has plans to restore a little of the glamour to air travel – at least for passengers in economy class on international flights. The airline says it will offer new amenities in the main cabin, a few of which haven’t been seen regularly on most North American carriers for a decade or longer.

The new inflight perks, normally reserved for premium cabin passengers, will include a welcome drink (the initial offering will be a peach and sparkling wine Bellini) and hot towel service, both after departure and shortly before landing. The dining options for main cabin international passengers will also have a decidedly premium cabin feel. Travelers will be handed a bistro-style menu and allowed to choose each course of their inflight meal. A separate dessert course and complimentary wine might just help passengers to forget which cabin they are seated in. To end on a sweet note, each passenger will be offered a “fond farewell” chocolate prior to arrival.

“This is about investing in every single customer who chooses Delta, no matter where they sit on the plane,” Delta Senior Vice President of In-Flight Service Allison Ausband said in a release announcing the new service standards. “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.”

According to the airline, the new main cabin experience has received high marks during initial tests on select flights between Portland International Airport (PDX) and Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT). The claim appears to be mostly backed up by a few lucky FlyerTalk members who had a chance to get a sneak peek of the new economy class perks. Delta officials say that relying on cabin crew members to tailor the upgrades to the main cabin experience helped to not only create “wow moments,” but also ensured that the extra service steps were scheduled efficiently during the flight for maximum effect.

“With this service, at the end of the flight I know I’ve made a difference in the customer’s journey,” Delta flight attendant and member of the design team Michael Miller explained. “I know I’ve had the opportunity to not only offer an exceptional onboard experience but also to engage with customers and create special moments for them.”

Is Delta’s new and improved international main cabin experience something to get excited about or is a lie-flat seat and 40 winks worth its weight in hot towels and “fond farewell” chocolates? The definitive point/counterpoint discussion on the subject can be found in the FlyerTalk Delta Sky Miles forum.


[Featured Image: Delta]

View Comments (4)


  1. djjaguar64

    July 3, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    How long will this last?

  2. diver858

    July 3, 2019 at 7:50 pm

    AA and UA were quick to follow Delta in the race to the bottom, reasonable to expect they will be forced to do the same as amenities are re-introduced.

  3. Mitsu Hadeishi

    July 4, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Thank God. An airline bucking the terrible trend towards “Basic Economy”. This alone makes me far more likely to want to book Delta in future, for both international and domestic travel.

  4. am1108

    July 19, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    @diver858 I doubt it… AA & UA need to switch their 777s from 10 -abreast back to 9- abreast and reintroduce these perks. I don’t see this happening unless customers flock to Delta in droves- in other words, Never….

    Now this is only for International flights so I could see AA & UA changing their soft product to slightly match this move.

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