Delta will now sell Premium Select on domestic flights, starting with Hawaii
Update (5/5/2023): Delta has finally started to sell domestic Premium Select fares in two markets: Atlanta and Detroit to Honolulu. More routes are expected to be added in the coming months.
Update (9/19/2022): Delta is postponing the winter launch of domestic Premium Select "to ensure we deliver the consistent experience our customers expect," the airline said in a statement.
"We remain committed to expanding DPS to more routes and destinations in the months and years ahead. We apologize to impacted customers and are reaching out to them to make things right," it added.
In recent years, Delta has been perhaps the most aggressive of the U.S. airlines at chasing premium revenue.
This includes offering discounted day-of-departure upgrades for those looking for more space onboard, turning its extra-legroom economy seats into a separate cabin and changing how it processes Global and Regional Upgrade Certificates.
Now, the airline is going to formally start selling the premium economy cabin on domestic routes. Delta announced on Friday that it'll start marketing the Premium Select cabin as a separate fare for select routes to Hawaii.
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This includes soon-to-launch service from Atlanta (ATL) to Maui (OGG) and New York-JFK to Honolulu (HNL), both of which are routes that were previously announced in February and commence on Nov. 19 and Dec. 17, respectively. Premium Select will also be available for purchase on the Salt Lake City (SLC) to Maui (OGG) route.
The new fare buckets will load over the weekend, and we'll report back with our findings on how many SkyMiles the airline will charge for premium economy on these Hawaii routes.
“We continue to see unparalleled demand for our premium products, so we’re giving our customers access to nearly 330,000 premium seats to Hawaii this winter,” said Joe Esposito, senior vice president of network planning for Delta.
Many of these planes have already been retrofitted, so the airline is now able to reliably offer a consistent product on a certain route. The route from Atlanta to Maui will be flown by a newly retrofitted Airbus A330-300. The JFK to Honolulu and the Salt Lake City to Maui flights will be operated by jets that already feature a Premium Select cabin: the Boeing 767-400ER and Airbus A330-900neo, respectively.
Previously, when Delta operated a wide-body equipped with a premium economy cabin on a domestic route, the airline marketed these recliners as Comfort+. Savvy flyers and those with Medallion elite status could select one of these spacious seats simply by purchasing or getting upgraded to an extra-legroom economy product.
Going forward, that'll no longer be the case. If you already booked one of these flights and selected a premium economy seat, you'll be moved into your originally ticketed cabin, a Delta spokesperson confirmed to TPG. You'll be able to purchase an upgrade to Premium Select once the fares are loaded.
Additionally, the move to sell Premium Select as its own cabin may have some implications for the upgrade process. Until now, Medallion elites on domestic flights could receive a complimentary upgrade to Delta One, subject to availability. But, it's possible that Delta will limit that to a one-cabin bump going forward, similar to what it recently did with Global and Regional Upgrade Certificates.
For now, Delta isn't spilling the beans. An airline spokesperson shared that "more information to come once we are closer to our ready-to-fly dates."
Delta Premium Select is the airline's take on the popular premium economy cabin. In terms of passenger experience, expect leather recliners that largely resemble a domestic first-class product with additional bells and whistles, such as a leg rest and footrest.
The seat-back TV is also larger in Premium Select and each recliner offers its own universal AC outlet and USB port. Other hard-product improvements include a larger tray table, additional storage areas and a smaller, quieter cabin.
The food and beverage offerings are also supposed to be elevated, but recent reports suggest that the airline's premium economy catering has been quite similar to what you'd find in the economy cabin.
For its part, Delta teases that it "will continue to evolve the Delta Premium Select experience, with onboard enhancements... in the months ahead."
Delta is the last of the "Big 3" U.S. airlines to sell the premium economy cabin on its long-haul Hawaii routes. Both American and United already market the cabin as a distinct product between coach and business on Hawaii routes operated by wide-body jets.