Delta Announces A Refresh Of International Economy Class Service


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Delta has made a rather bold announcement. Apparently, starting in November this year, “customers can expect to be impressed” onboard select international routes on which the airline will be introducing it’s “industry-leading” Main Cabin experience.

From hot-towel service to bistro-style dining Delta says it will be refreshing how passengers view its Economy Class product.

Delta Main Cabin (Economy Class) Boeing 777-200 – Image Delta

Delta’s New Main Cabin Experience

On international flights of 6.5 hours or longer as well as on shorter international flights where Delta One or Delta Premium Select is offered Main Cabin (Economy Class) passengers can expect the following:

  • A pre-boarding welcome from the purser of the lead flight attendant
  • A personal greeting at the boarding door
  • “Welcome Aboard” cocktails (Bellinis will be the first cocktails to be served)
  • A hot towel service
  • A bistro-style meal with upgraded appetizers and entrées as well as improved dinnerware
Image courtesy of Delta
  • Second hot towel service before arrival
  • Thank you for flying Delta” chocolates during descent

Delta is very keen to stress that this isn’t the same service it started to trial a little over 12 months ago but is a complete refresh following “nearly 14,000 hours of flight time, information from over 1,800 customer surveys, robust crew feedback and input from a design team made up of 24 flight attendants”.

The welcome cocktails will be made from sparkling wine and ‘infused’ peach puree, the entrées on offer will be larger and will feature new recipes inspired by dishes already served in the Delta One (Business Class cabin), the dinnerware will be “custom-designed” and will come with upgraded cutlery and a placemat and, just as in most premium cabins, dessert will be served separately and after the remnants of the appetizers and entrées have been removed.

Delta has issued a pictogram showing what passengers can expect (click to enlarge):

Thoughts

Well, I have to admit that this does all sound like a nice step up from the soul-destroying experience that most international Economy Class cabins generally offer.

This isn’t going to make up for the cramped cabins that you’ll find on a lot of Delta’s aircraft but it will go some way to feeling like you’re on an airline that’s actually making an effort to offer a decent service.

Naturally, it’s a little early to be congratulating Delta on making significant improvements to its Main Cabin offering (on select international routes) as we haven’t had a chance to try out the new meals or to see the new service in action….but at least this shows some willingness on the part of a legacy airline to make genuine improvements to its service in the entry-level cabin.

All in all, this is an interesting move by Delta as, let’s face it, there isn’t exactly a long line of competitors looking to improve their Economy Class product and yet management clearly sees value in investing in the Main Cabin offering.

One could argue that the SkyMiles program is so bad (and therefore costs Delta nothing to run) so the airline has money to spare to invest in projects like this…but that would be a little harsh.

The American Airlines AAdvantage program is a shadow of its former self and contributes essentially all of American’s profits and United’s MileagePlus program is devaluing rapidly (while making its airline a staggering amount of money) and yet I don’t see either of these airlines seriously revamping their long-haul Economy Class cabin.

Delta should, at the very least, be applauded for taking the lead here.

Delta Main Cabin (Economy Class) Boeing 777-200 – Image Delta

Bottom Line

If Delta manages to actually deliver what it’s promising then this will be an impressive move and will see Delta’s long-haul Economy Class offering move a noticeable step up above what a lot of other airlines currently offer.

I started this post saying that Delta has made a bold announcement by claiming that passengers should expect to be impressed with its new Main Cabin service but I have to admit the airline may have a point – this service will be impressive if Delta delivers on its promises.

Despite being predominantly a oneworld flyer, I’d definitely consider Delta for my Economy Class needs going forward. The airline’s Economy Class cabins are no worse than those of its competitors (some are actually better) and now the Main Cabin service looks like it’s going to be a step above what is available elsewhere so why not give Delta a try? It’s not like I’d be giving up very much.

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