Delta News: Automatic Check-In, Pre-Select Meals In Delta One & Improvements To International Economy Class Service

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Over the past few days Delta has come out with a series of announcements to let us all know about the improvements it’s introducing to make travel less stressful and more pleasant for its customers. Sadly none of the announcements tell us that the airline will be giving us all more legroom which, let’s face it, is what most people would probably put at the top of their wish-list, but some of the improvements do look good.

Delta Will Roll Out Pre-Flight Meal Selection For Delta One Customers

We don’t have a specific date for this yet but Delta is saying that, in “early 2018”, it will begin to offer Delta One passengers a chance to pre-order their main meal on select flights out of Atlanta and New York JFK.

Following the initial launch the airline plans to roll out this option across all of its international network (for both outbound and inbound flights).

a man sitting in a chair and pouring a drink into a glassImage Courtesy of Delta

The first routes to get this service will be:

Atlanta to:

  • Amsterdam
  • Düsseldorf
  • Frankfurt
  • London Heathrow
  • Madrid
  • Munich
  • Paris CDG
  • Rome
  • Stuart

New York JFK to:

  • Amsterdam
  • Brussels
  • Dublin
  • Frankfurt
  • London Heathrow
  • Paris CDG
  • Rome
  • Zurich

The service that Delta is simply calling “pre-select” will allow Delta One customers to choose their meal up to 6 days before their flight to help make sure they get their first choice onboard.

Customers eligible to participate in pre-select will receive an email communication six days prior to their flight asking them to select their meal.

It looks like this may be coming to domestic flights too.

Per Delta:

By the end of 2018, Delta plans to continue to expand pre-select, offering the technology in both First Class and Delta Premium Select.

Ok, so this is clearly a nice improvement for Delta One flyers but, as someone who almost never flys with Delta, I’m very surprised this hasn’t been done before.

American Airlines (which is hardly a premium Airline) has allowed me to pre-select my meals on international flights for years so why has it taken Delta so long to catch up?

Delta Introduces Auto Check-In On The Delta App

a hand holding a phone with a screen on itImage Courtesy of Delta

If you have the latest version of the Delta iOS app you now have some new functionality to play around with…and it seems pretty simple:

[T]he latest version of the app, automatically checks in eligible customers 24 hours prior to their scheduled departure.

Customers receive an alert via email or push notification, open the app, acknowledge the federal government mandate for restricted items, and their boarding pass is there along with all the tools needed for their trip.

Once inside the app, customers can add checked bags, change seats and purchase upgrades – all from the “Today” mode.

For the time being auto check-in will only be available for passengers with itineraries that involve domestic segments only and only passengers who already have a seat assignment or who are assigned a seat upon check-in will be checked in.

If you’re a traveler who needs special assistance (e.g unaccompanied minors or those traveling with a pet in the cabin) you will not be able to use this new service – you will have to check-in with an agent as usual.

If you’re wondering if you have the latest version of the app you should be working with version 4.6. Versions before this do not have auto check-in functionality.

This new functionality only appears to kick in if you open the Delta app within the 24 hour window so, if you don’t want to be checked in for any reason, don’t open the app.

I realise that not opening the app could introduce a whole bunch of limitations for passengers who are away from their laptops/desktops but, as far as I can tell, avoiding the app once you’re within 24 hours of your flight is the only way not to be automatically checked-in.

Delta Is Improving International Main Cabin Dining & Amenities

Delta claims that it’s “reinventing the international Main Cabin dining experience with a series of thoughtful investments that will enhance the way customers spend their time on some of Delta’s longest flights

a red bag with white text on itImage Courtesy of Delta

The improvements will be rolled out in stages:

  • From November Delta will introduce menu cards in its international Main Cabin (Economy Class) which will include details of what meals are on offer, what drinks will be served and when passengers can expect food & beverage services.
  • In December Delta will launch new and improved cutlery in its international Main Cabin.
  • Moving on into 2018 and Delta will add “newly designed trays and upgraded rotable serviceware that will complement investments in meal quality to provide customers a restaurant-style dining experience“.

It’s not just the in-flight dining that’s getting a makeover – the amenities on offer are being improved too.

In 2018 Delta will upgrade its Comfort+ and Main Cabin pillows as well as offering the already announced sleep kits and upgraded blankets.

a white pillow with a red packet on topImage Courtesy of Delta

I’m not entirely sure how Delta plans on offering a “restaurant-style dining experience” in Economy Class so let’s just say I’ll wait to see what the offering actually looks like before I judge…but I do like the idea of improved pillows and blankets.

The pillows and blankets you generally get in Economy Class (across most airlines) are pretty pathetic so improvements to these will definitely be welcome….but with the menu cards Delta is just copying Virgin Atlantic so that’s not so much an innovation as a blatant copy from a partner airline.

Still, if Delta is going to stick to copying good things from other airlines I’m sure no one is going to complain.

Featured image: Delta A330-300 courtesy of Nicky Boogaard via Flickr