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Why do we accept so few Comfort+ seats on DL planes?

Why do we accept so few Comfort+ seats on DL planes?

Old Jan 12, 18, 6:49 am
  #1  
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Why do we accept so few Comfort+ seats on DL planes?

I am a recent convert to Delta (I live in Atlanta but my previous flying patterns allowed me to fly primarily UA and AA almost exclusively for several years - which is great as it often creates a reverse commute situation meaning low fares and plenty of upgrade space). I knew switching more flying over to Delta would eliminate F upgrades (which was true - I was 1/80 segments as a PM/DM last year on business travel), but I didn't expect that I'd be sitting in the very back of the plane in regular coach 80-90% of the time.

I know that there is some degree of route specificity here - but one thing that has been very troublesome is the astounding lack of Comfort+ seats on most flights. I am a DM and I do not get Comfort+ - and the few times that I do, it is a middle seat so I have to make the hard decision of whether I go back to Y (if there are even any aisle/window seats left).

Even if I want to buy a W seat with cash, I can't. It is universally sold out. I never had this problem with United - even when booking only a few days before departure and from UA hubs during peak travel times (including ORD, IAH, EWR, and SFO).

I don't see many people complaining about this. While one could say this is related to Medallion inflation, I don't think that is the case - it is entirely Delta's fault because of plane configurations. When you compare Delta's configuration to both AA and United, Delta is a clear loser in terms of the number of Comfort+ seats. I don't see how Delta can simultaneously bill themselves as a business airline and then not provide enough W seats that allow people to actually get work done on the plane when the rest of the domestic industry does. I am 6'4". I don't need F to get work done, but I can't work in a seat with a 30" seat pitch as my arms are too long and the laptop screen angle does not work.

Let's look at some of the most common configurations Delta, AA, and United:

737-900
Delta: 21
United (most common configuration): 51 (143% more than Delta)
AA: Does not fly 737-9

757-200
Delta: 21-29, 32 for 753
United: 57 (for 753 - doe not fly 752)
AA: 52

A320
Delta: 18
United: 42
AA: Not configured with dedicated MCE (to be reconfigured soon)

Admittedly some of these are somewhat misleading (e.g., United bills exit rows on their 737/320 planes as W while Delta does not) - and AA hasn't fully converted their fleet yet - but the general trend is clear. 21 C+ seats is simply not enough for planes with 200+ passengers.

Am I just being whiny, or do others see this as a problem too?

Last edited by ethernal; Jan 12, 18 at 7:50 am Reason: Wording
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Old Jan 12, 18, 7:20 am
  #2  
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what routes are you flying where comfort + is fully sold out at booking? Do you buy a lot of last minute fares?
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Old Jan 12, 18, 7:45 am
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Originally Posted by BlueStreak17 View Post
what routes are you flying where comfort + is fully sold out at booking? Do you buy a lot of last minute fares?
Pretty much every route from Atlanta, but definitely any west coast route. I wouldn't consider 10+ days last minute (usually it's sold out at least 3 weeks in advance). ATL->PHX, LAX, SFO, SEA, PDX, SJC (earliest flight). It's the same on return legs.






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Old Jan 12, 18, 7:53 am
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I see this a lot on close in bookings. Itís usually not actually sold out, but the only remaining seats are usually a few middles and the 2 blocked for assignment at the gate. If you really wanted the any seat in C+ over one in the main cabin, Iíd say youíd have a good shot at the upgrade at the gate or even at the 5 day window.

That being said, in answer to your question of ďwhy we accept so few seats,Ē I think most people on here (myself included) would tell you C+ isnít worth much to us, and it certainly isnít worth some of the crazy sums DL wants to charge you for a paid upgrade. Free booze is great, but honestly exit rows can make up for the legroom difference. UA and AA may have more of these types of seats, but that makes seat assignment for those without an upgrade to them a hassle and again, most people on here probably donít notice that much of a difference.
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Old Jan 12, 18, 7:56 am
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Originally Posted by jk88usa View Post
I see this a lot on close in bookings. It’s usually not actually sold out, but the only remaining seats are usually a few middles and the 2 blocked for assignment at the gate. If you really wanted the any seat in C+ over one in the main cabin, I’d say you’d have a good shot at the upgrade at the gate or even at the 5 day window.
I am usually at least 10 down on the upgrade list for C+ at the gate. Sometimes lower, sometimes higher if I'm on an M or B fare. Also, is 10 days really close-in bookings (and practically speaking 3 weeks out given that is usually when it is sold out)? I'd consider that pretty far out.

That being said, in answer to your question of “why we accept so few seats,” I think most people on here (myself included) would tell you C+ isn’t worth much to us, and it certainly isn’t worth some of the crazy sums DL wants to charge you for a paid upgrade. Free booze is great, but honestly exit rows can make up for the legroom difference.
Exit rows are all sold out as well since everyone gets access to those (corp bookings, silver, etc)*. The extra 3-4" of seat pitch makes a huge difference in terms of actually being productive on the plane. I'd consider the jump from a 30" seat pitch -> 34" seat pitch just as important as the jump from C+ -> F. I couldn't care less about free booze, IFE, or "premium" snacks.

Edit:* In addition, due to Delta's choice for exit row config on the 737-9, there are really only 8 exit row seats instead of 12 like on AA/UA. Small but further constrains the "usable seat" selection.

Last edited by ethernal; Jan 12, 18 at 8:10 am
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Old Jan 12, 18, 8:09 am
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Originally Posted by ethernal View Post
I am usually at least 10 down on the upgrade list for C+ at the gate. Sometimes lower, sometimes higher if I'm on an M or B fare. Also, is 10 days really close-in bookings? I'd consider that pretty far out.
Wow, thatís certainly bad luck (more properly, ATL luck) right there. Are you requesting the upgrade immediately when booking? Iím guessing you are but if you were waiting until check in youíre going to be behind others because of the ďupgrade request timeĒ tiebreaker.

The other factor too is that even if youíre 10+ on the list, a lot of folks may have opted in for the aisle or window only option when checking in, so you may still clear when the agent looks at the list if youíre ok taking a middle seat (keyword: may). Also remember some C+ seats will likely open up as DMs and others get upgrades to F.

That being said, I can understand a lot better why you are frustrated. Even as a silver im usually never that far down the C+ list, even when Iím in and out of ATL and Iím on cheap coach fares. What days and times are you flying out of curiosity? Obviously busy routes at all times but Iíd imagine that could be a factor
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Old Jan 12, 18, 8:11 am
  #7  
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Who is "we"? DL is doing just fine and while that does not mean that consumers absolutely accept the C+ allocation, it is a sign that overall, consumers are purchasing DL seats at DL fares.

The problem here is that OP wants C+ for free and expects DL to expand its C+ "cabin" accordingly. That is highly unlikely to happen. If there were a market for C+, e.g., a true premium economy product, DL would likely move that direction on its standard domestic routes. But, as a giveaway of a product which has the built-in problem of taking more space, that is dreaming.
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Old Jan 12, 18, 8:16 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Who is "we"? DL is doing just fine and while that does not mean that consumers absolutely accept the C+ allocation, it is a sign that overall, consumers are purchasing DL seats at DL fares.

The problem here is that OP wants C+ for free and expects DL to expand its C+ "cabin" accordingly. That is highly unlikely to happen. If there were a market for C+, e.g., a true premium economy product, DL would likely move that direction on its standard domestic routes. But, as a giveaway of a product which has the built-in problem of taking more space, that is dreaming.
I don't even have the option to purchase a W fare so that in and of itself is an issue. I wouldn't complain as much if the option was at least there.

And you're right, we shouldn't "expect" it - but other US airlines are doing it, so on a comparison basis, Delta is failing here. I will definitely go back to UA or AA whenever my travel allows it because of this.
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Old Jan 12, 18, 8:17 am
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Originally Posted by ethernal View Post
737-900
Delta: 21
There'z no such thing as a comfortable seat on a B739 - - - even in F.

<Ask Bubba>
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Old Jan 12, 18, 8:17 am
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Also to note that the 738 has an absurd number of comfort+ seats, and majorty of the time (at least for my flights), a lot of those seats are empty.
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Old Jan 12, 18, 8:19 am
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Originally Posted by davetravels View Post
There'z no such thing as a comfortable seat on a B739 - - - even in F.
Off topic a bit here but I flew on one of DLs few 737-700s for the first time the other day (in the very back) but my god it was even worse than the -900!
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Old Jan 12, 18, 8:20 am
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Originally Posted by Crossinator View Post
Also to note that the 738 has an absurd number of comfort+ seats, and majorty of the time (at least for my flights), a lot of those seats are empty.
And the only reason the SJC route has seats available on the later flights in the AM is because they fly 737-800's on that route. It's funny you call that an "absurd" number because the 737-800 is the only plane in Delta's domestic fleet that matches UA and MCE-equipped AA flights.
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Old Jan 12, 18, 8:20 am
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I almost always get it and if I don't a grab an exit row and I DO NOT standby for it.

But I usually buy my tickets weeks out.

I care about F.

C+ is marginally better than Y, and exit row aisle are arguably better anyway. Don't see why anyone would pay for it.
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Old Jan 12, 18, 8:22 am
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Originally Posted by ethernal View Post
Pretty much every route from Atlanta, but definitely any west coast route. I wouldn't consider 10+ days last minute (usually it's sold out at least 3 weeks in advance). ATL->PHX, LAX, SFO, SEA, PDX, SJC (earliest flight). It's the same on return legs.
You're looking at peak business travel times/days (i.e. Monday morning, Thursday evening) out of hubs. Look at a Saturday morning flight 10 days out and I'd bet Comfort+ is half empty.

Should Delta optimize the number of Comfort+ seats so that they have no service failures at all (e.g. there's always a Comfort+ seat available when an eligible elite ones one) on peak flights? The result would be fewer seats available on planes and lost revenue for Delta.
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Old Jan 12, 18, 8:25 am
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Originally Posted by ethernal View Post

1) other US airlines are doing it

Delta doesn't really seem to care what other airlines are doing.

2) Delta is failing here

They're making TONS of money. How can you possibly say they're failing?

3) I will definitely go back to UA or AA whenever my travel allows it because of this.

I wish I had a quarter for every FlyerTalk poster who said they're gonna leave Delta. There's almost nowhere else to go, and, when someone leaves DL, there are plenty of other pax coming to DL who are defecting from elsewhere.
*****AND . . . . . I am NOT known on here as a Delta apologist!!!
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