Delta is Discounting First Class for the Holidays: Here’s Why

Delta is pitching cheap first class upgrades for the holidays.

They’re advertising,


My first thought, of course, was Tens of Dollars upgrades.. is Delta managing by doing what United does?

Then of course I realized, the holidays, they’re simply saying ‘demand for our premium cabins falls when business travel dries up over Thanksgiving’ so let’s pitch first class to leisure travelers and recognize that the spread in pricing between coach and first class may shrink during that period.

The way you maximize your chances of an upgrade is to fly when business travelers aren’t flying — avoiding Monday morning and Thursday and Friday evenings especially. But that also includes, just fly over the holidays. Unless of course Delta manages to sell all the seats.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The usual price difference between economy and first is out of reach for 99% of the public, so I think this is a smart move! Although I can see Medallions may not be happy if they really find in practice that upgrades are reduced. It would also be interesting to see if prompted for a resonable upgrade charge how many people take Delta up on it? I was recently prompted for BOS LGA and prompted to pay $75 so I declined. I like also that Amtrak tends to price business and first class a little bit more, but not several times more than an economy ticket.

  2. Huh. This is a “book now” option. Is it possible to purchase cheapish upgrades on tickets you already bought for Thanksgiving week? Flying Monday SFO-RDU then Friday RDU-SFO. Guess I’ll have to call the Medallion line and check.

  3. I was just looking at ATL-MSO, and the F price was $120 more than Y. It’s a no brainer for those without Delta status who want to work on a flight.

  4. I was just offered LAX to DFW return for $79 (cheaper than the $49 each way in ads), so I took it (T & L to G & A). Traveling Sat & Sun.

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