More Economy Comfort seats on Delta, but not for Virgin passengers

By John Walton, November 2 2011
More Economy Comfort seats on Delta, but not for Virgin passengers

US airline Delta is expanding its extra legroom Economy Comfort section to its US domestic fleet, in a move business travellers will welcome.

The Economy Comfort seats, similar to competitor United's Economy Plus, aren't premium economy as we know it.

They're regular economy seats closer to the front of the plane, with a few inches more legroom, a bit of extra recline in the seat, and priority boarding.

But if you're connecting from a long trans-Pacific flight to another few hours in US economy, you'll appreciate the extra legroom.

By "summer 2012", Delta will have extended Economy Comfort to all its two-class planes, which covers all the flights that are long enough for you to care about legroom.

Delta passengers can book Economy Comfort for $19-$99 in advance or at check-in, and the seats are given out for free to Delta's Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion frequent flyers.

But Virgin Australia passengers (even Premium Economy passengers or top-tier Platinum Velocity Frequent Flyers) won't be able to snag more space unless they fork out the cold hard cash.

Virgin Australia -- which has a trans-Pacific joint venture agreement with Delta -- won't be extending the benefits to its passengers, even people who have stumped up for its V Australia Premium Economy cabin across the Pacific.

Australian Business Traveller asked a Virgin Australia spokesperson why not, but all Virgin could come up with was: "Delta's Economy Comfort is not the direct equivalent of V Australia's Premium Economy cabin. It is more similar to our Blue Zone seating on Pacific Blue that provides extra legroom."

That doesn't explain why Virgin hasn't negotiated with its key trans-Pacific partner to provide extra legroom to its Premium Economy passengers.

Virgin Australia's spokesperson also confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that Economy Comfort "is not available to Velocity Frequent Flyers," but that passengers "are able to purchase an upgrade to Delta's Economy Comfort at the check-in desk, should space be available."

Of course, you'll be last in the queue. Virgin Australia's spokesperson admitted that: "There is no pre-booking option available to Virgin Australia guests at this stage. When on a Virgin Australia codeshare and Delta operated flight, guests will need to check in with Delta Airlines."

That means that you can't buy Economy Comfort in advance, or even in Australia, if you've booked with Virgin Australia. No matter which class you're flying in, Economy Comfort is only available when you check in for your ongoing flight with Delta at LAX.

Flights booked with Delta, however, allow early booking of Economy Comfort seats. So if your corporate travel policy sticks you in Economy but allows extra legroom seats, you may want to book your US flights with Delta instead.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

02 Nov 2011

Total posts 6

I recently used DL Economy Comfort and it was just another economy seat at the front of the plane, no other benefit. 

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