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Whatever happened to the old days when aircraft cabins were simply divided into first class and economy? Now, we often find first class, business class, premium economy and basic economy.
It can be difficult to decide where to sit on a plane when it’s divided into multiple classes of service and called a different name on every airline.
If you’re booking your next flight on Delta Air Lines, don’t be intimidated by the industry jargon. We took a look at Delta Comfort Plus versus main cabin — here’s what you can expect flying each class and if it’s worth paying extra.
The main differences between Delta Comfort Plus vs. main cabin
Delta Comfort Plus, which is what Delta calls its premium economy seats, is an improved version of main cabin, the economy class on Delta. The main differences include the order in which you board the plane, how much overhead space you have for a carry-on bag, how much legroom you have and the types of snacks you get on board.
Legroom: When flying Delta Comfort Plus, you get up to three extra inches of legroom over a main cabin seat.
Overhead space: Comfort Plus ticket holders have dedicated overhead compartments for carry-on bags.
Service: Starbucks coffee, beer and wine are offered to Comfort Plus passengers on flights of at least 251 miles, and complimentary liquor is available on flights of at least 500 miles. Delta Comfort Plus flyers also get premium snacks on select flights over 900 miles.
» Learn more: Delta seat selection guide
Delta main cabin
Fare flexibility/ticket changes
All Delta tickets originating in North America booked in main cabin or higher classes of service are eligible for free changes and cancellations. If you choose to cancel your Delta flight, you’ll receive an eCredit for the total amount that you can put toward a future trip booked through Dec. 31, 2023, for travel through 2024.
Baggage and boarding
Passengers with a Delta main cabin ticket typically board in Main Cabin 2, the third to last boarding group. If you purchase your main cabin ticket in fare classes T, V and X, you’ll board in Main Cabin 3, the second to last group before basic economy passengers.
Main cabin ticket holders have to pay $30 to check one bag and $40 to check a second bag on domestic flights. One free carry-on and one personal item are allowed on board.
Main cabin tickets come with one free checked bag on eligible international flights.
Main cabin seats are traditional economy seats located in the back of the plane behind Delta Comfort Plus. Seat selection is included with ticket purchase.
Delta SkyMiles members earn miles based on how much a ticket costs, not the distance flown. Only the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges count toward mileage accrual, and Medallion elite status helps increase earning rates. Delta flyers earn redeemable miles at the following rates.
Elite status level
SkyMiles you earn
5 miles per $1.
Silver Medallion member
7 miles per $1.
Gold Medallion member
8 miles per $1.
Platinum Medallion member
9 miles per $1.
Diamond Medallion member
11 miles per $1.
Delta lets you upgrade domestic flights using cash or SkyMiles (worth 1 cent each in this case). So, if an upgrade to Comfort Plus costs $100, you need 10,000 SkyMiles to upgrade with miles.
» Learn more: The complete guide to redeeming Delta SkyMiles
Delta Comfort Plus
Fare flexibility/ticket changes
Delta implemented flexible ticket changes and cancellations across the board on travel originating in North America (excluding basic economy tickets, which can only be canceled for a fee). The rules that apply to main cabin tickets also apply to Delta Comfort Plus tickets. If you wish to cancel or change your Delta flight, you can do so without paying a fee.
Baggage and boarding
Those with a Comfort Plus ticket board after first-class passengers and before those with Sky Priority boarding privileges, such as Delta Medallion members and other elite flyers of SkyTeam or partner airlines.
Like main cabin passengers, Delta Comfort Plus passengers also have to pay to check bags on domestic flights. However, you get dedicated overhead bin space above your seat, meaning no more fighting for that coveted space even if you board after your group is called.
Delta Comfort Plus seats are located behind first class on domestic flights and behind Delta Premium Select seats on international planes equipped with multiple cabins. Selecting a Comfort Plus seat is free with ticket purchase.
The same miles earning rates with main cabin tickets (listed above) apply to Delta Comfort Plus tickets. As a Delta SkyMiles program member, you’ll earn miles based on the cost of the ticket and your Medallion status.
Comfort Plus tickets can be upgraded to first class on domestic flights and to Delta Premium Select on flights overseas. On eligible flights, you can use money or miles to pay for an upgrade at booking or upgrade your flight when it’s closer to departure in the “My Trips” section of Delta’s website. If you don’t see the option to upgrade with miles, you can contact Delta reservations for assistance.
Credit cards and elite status can improve your overall experience
If you’re a Delta SkyMiles cardholder, you can enhance your flying experience by taking advantage of some of the perks.
For example, those who have the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card or the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card can check one bag for free, avoiding the $30 fee that applies to domestic tickets booked in main cabin and Comfort Plus. Terms apply.
Co-branded Delta cardmembers also receive Main Cabin 1 boarding priority, which helps if you book a main cabin ticket. Comfort Plus passengers board before the Main Cabin 1 group, so holding the card won’t help you improve your boarding position. Terms apply.
If you’re a Medallion member, you can receive some preferential treatment as well. For example, Platinum and Gold Medallion members can board with the Sky Priority group, whereas Silver Medallion members board in Main Cabin 1.
As for baggage allowance, Delta Medallions receive the following number of free checked bags on Delta flights within the U.S. and Canada:
Silver Medallion: One bag.
Gold Medallion: Two bags.
Platinum Medallion: Three bags.
Diamond Medallion: Three bags.
Medallion members also receive one additional bag over the standard checked baggage allowance on international flights at no cost.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
If you’re considering an upgrade to Delta Comfort Plus
So, is Delta Comfort Plus worth it? The answer is entirely up to you. If you value extra legroom, space for your luggage and complimentary booze, then yes, it’s worth spending the extra money. However, if an upgrade costs hundreds of dollars, consider whether the differences between a main cabin seat and a Comfort Plus seat are enough to justify the extra expense.
Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines.
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