The seats give 4 inches more pitch, and the recline increases from 20 degrees to 30 degrees, or an extra 50%.
Delta Air Lines is to introduce premium economy seating - of a kind - on some of its long haul routes. However make no mistake, this is not the kind of half way house between economy and business that passengers have grown used to since British Airways introduced the concept, and which normally includes a much wider more comfortable seat and uprated meal service.
Instead, Delta are simply moving a few of their economy seats 4 inches further apart, giving 4 inches more pitch, this means the recline increases from 20 degrees to 30 degrees, or an extra 50%. Width is the same, the seats are the same, as are meals, but you get free spirits onboard, instead of having to pay for them. The new seating is branded Delta Economy Comfort, which does tend to imply that the rest of the cabin is an Economy Non-Comfort zone.
Reflecting its status as in effect economy with a bit more legroom, economy comfort will only cost an extra US$160 ($80 for some shorter routes), and will be available for purchase and booking in May 2011 for travel beginning in Summer 2011, from Delta.com. It will also be heavily promoted at airport check in kiosks.
Delta's Economy Comfort will be available for free for customers who purchase a full fare International Economy ticket (in Y, B, or M class), however this is actually a downgrade of the current benefit, whereby full fare economy tickets to an international destination will automatically upgrade into Business Class. Delta are reported to have been eyeing up most other airlines upgrade strategy, whereby free upgrades are not offered, and the consequent rise in revenue for premium classes.
Economy Comfort on Delta is also offered to SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallion level members who purchase an International Economy ticket on Delta. Gold and Silver Medallions who purchase an International Economy ticket on Delta will receive a 50% and 25% discount on the Economy Comfort seat fee.
The airline, a major carrier in the US, has recently abandoned its flagship London Gatwick to New York service, but still continues flying to Atlanta and Cincinnati, and has also started flying to Australia.