Delta has announced its international premium economy product which will launch in fall 2017 with its the arrival of its Airbus A350s. This is, basically, domestic first class with foot rests.
When American became the first US airline to announce international premium economy a year ago it seemed rushed, with speculation that they were trying to get out ahead of Delta. American has now already rolled out premium economy on their new Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
Now Delta has unveiled not just that they are doing premium economy, but details of the product.
Delta’s A350s will have 32 business class, 48 premium economy, and 226 economy seats. Delta 777s will be retrofit with premium economy starting next year.
Premium economy will offer:
- Up to 38 inches of pitch and 19 inch width with up to 7 inches of recline. (This will vary based on aircraft, but the Airbus A350 is wider than the Boeing 787-9 which is what American launched their premium economy on. 19 inch width though may just be on the Boeing 777.)
- Westin Heavenly blanket with a pillow and Tumi amenity kit
- Pre-departure beverage, and meal presented on Alessi serviceware
- 13.3″ in-flight entertainment screen and noise-cancelling headphones (American only offers noise reducing headphones)
- Seat power
- Priority check-in, security, boarding and baggage
Perhaps most striking in its difference from the American Airlines product, there will be an actual leg rest at each seat not a foot bar (American has leg rests only at the bulkhead).
For those who don’t care about miles, this appears as though it could be the marginally better product and certainly competitive transatlantic although not in the league of airlines like Singapore.
Of course, the introduction of premium economy likely spells doom for reasonable coach to business class upgrades but those are nearly impossible on Delta anyway (and could be coming to an end on Delta domestically as well).