Delta Air Lines recently introduced a new class of service, Premium Select. I have been asking and hoping for a cabin class option like this for a decade. So what exactly is it and does it stand up to my expectations?
What is Delta’s Premium Select?
In short, think of Delta’s Premium Select as a domestic first class experience on an international flight, but at a far lower price from their more luxurious first class cabin, Delta One. Premium Select is now available on Delta’s new A350 aircraft, mostly out of Detroit for the time being (as you may know, I live in Atlanta, so I actually flew an extra leg up to Detroit en route to Amsterdam to try this thing out. I know, going to Detroit on purpose? That’s dedication!).
The Premium Select cabin features seats similar to domestic first class seats, with the addition of a slight legrest recliner feature. In my opinion the legrest (not a footrest) is nice, but I didn’t find it all that useful given the limited extension. The seat width is terrific though. For years I’ve been looking for a more economically priced seat offering without going to the full out expense of something like the Delta One cabin (which is fantastic by the way). Premium Select fits the bill. It allows me enough elbow (and shoulder) room to be comfortable for a long flight without completely draining my wallet.
How is it Priced?
Obviously prices vary, but for example, a Premium Select seat on a flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam (yes, connecting in Detroit) in February is currently listed at about $2,100. This is well more than the Main Economy cabin price of $1,015 or the even cheaper Basic Economy price tag of $885. But compare it to the Delta One seat that rings up at about $4,100. By my math that means that the Premium Select cabin is about half the cost of Delta One on this flight (and about double the Main Economy cabin), so you really have good options to determine what kind of flight experience you value. More choices is a good thing.
The In-Seat Monitors Steal the Show
Delta has deviated from other carriers and continued to make large investments in their in-seat entertainment offering. As a frequent traveler I think this is outstanding and the in-seat monitors equipped in Premium Select on the A350 are nothing short of awesome. I didn’t see what seats in the back of the plane were packing because I couldn’t stop enjoying my flight in the mid-level cabin. This screen was nearly as big as my overly large desktop monitor at home, and was crystal clear. The onscreen menu interface functioned quickly and easily, and I found the whole experience to be terrific. I left the iPad and laptop in my bag and didn’t miss either for a moment.
The Surprise of Delta Premium Select
My interest in taking this flight was purely to check out the hardware in Premium Select. The seat, the monitor, the overhead bin size… all great. As much as I loved all of that, what I left remembering most was how Delta’s service level’s actually seem to be getting even better in a world where they already blow the doors off their domestic competition. The food on the flight was not only edible, but actually reasonably delightful. The flight attendants were not only courteous, but took extra steps to make sure I was comfortable and actually having a good time. When’s the last time you took a flight and thought to yourself that it was fun?
Kudos to Delta Air Lines and bravo for Premium Select. Better late than never. I just hope people keep filling the seats so they expand the offering on more aircraft and routes. Maybe then I won’t have to go to Detroit.