Delta Airlines Premium Economy Vs Coach. Is It Worth Upgrading?


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When flying on Delta Airlines, is it worth paying to upgrade to Premium Economy from Coach seats on long-haul flights?

Business Class is clearly better than even the best Premium Economy seats, but it is also more expensive. If you do not want to spend a huge amount on your flight, the happy medium of Premium Economy may well be just the ticket.

Coach vs. Premium Economy: Price

If the price is your biggest factor when making the decision on which class to fly in, you should probably choose to fly Economy. After all, the entire plane will get to its destination, whichever class you are sitting in.

Having said that, particularly for overnight flights, being stuffed in a sardine-tin, with little space to move and next-to-no recline, means that sleep is difficult. Certainly, when I have flown in Coach, if I do manage to nod off, the fact that my head then droops to one side because of the lack of seat recline means that I almost always wake myself up.

The result is that you can feel pretty grotty after a Coach class flight when you get to your destination. This means that you are potentially ruining the first day of your trip because you have not spent the extra on upgrading your flight.

So even if price IS your biggest factor, Premium Economy can mean that you avoid wasting a day of your holiday, which may ultimately be worth more than the price difference.

Delta Airlines Premium Economy: Delta Premium Select

What you get: 19 inch seat width, 38 inch legroom, 7 inch recline, plus adjustable leg rests and headrests, free drinks (including alcohol), free food. 13.3 inch, high-resolution in-flight entertainment screen & noise-canceling headphones.

Coach vs. Premium Economy: Check-in

There is a Sky Priority service for Premium Economy passengers, which includes faster check-in, accelerated security, priority boarding, and expedited baggage service.

Economy vs. Premium Economy: Baggage

You get 2 hold suitcases when traveling in Premium Economy (vs. one in Economy), which is a big bonus.

Economy vs. Premium Economy: Lounges

When flying in Premium Economy, you do not get access to any lounges (unless you have premium airline status).

Economy vs. Premium Economy: Space

While you’ll find varying Business Class products on Delta Airlines’ aircraft, the carrier is pretty consistent with its Premium Economy seating.

When flying in the Premium Economy seat, you get a wider seat (19 inches compared to 17 inches in Coach) with additional pitch (38 inches).

The 7 inch recline is 1 inch more than the American Airlines version of Premium Economy, making Delta an excellent choice. The extra recline helps to enable sleep for a short period, a crucial reason to choose to fly Premium Economy, although the recline is not amazing and could not be compared to a flatbed seat.

The extra elbow room in the Premium Economy seats enables you to work more comfortably on my laptop. The legroom gives you more space to move about, and the extendable foot and headrests make the journey more pleasant.

Finally, there is also a useful universal power outlet and USB between the seats.

Economy vs. Premium Economy: Food & Drink

A big bonus for traveling on Delta in Premium Economy is that you get a really decent meal with free beer, wine, and spirits.

The Delta Premium Economy food is described as “a fresh, seasonal menu will be presented with Alessi serviceware designed exclusively for Delta”. It is a classier experience than that in Economy.

Depending on the length of the flight, if it is overnight, you will probably get breakfast served. On shorter flights, you just get a drink and something like a panini sandwich (or similar).

Economy vs. Premium Economy: Amenity Kit

You will also get a complimentary and nice amenity kit on Delta. It seems to be better than the kits offered in American, being from TUMI and featuring Malin+Goetz Travel Essentials. We also like Westin Heavenly® In-Flight Blanket with a pillow on Delta.

Economy vs. Premium Economy: Conclusion

I would say that the Delta Airlines Premium Economy is a good product and worth paying the extra if you can afford it and particularly if you are big or tall, which makes the equivalent Coach experience pretty miserable.

It is in fact the Delta’s PremiuM Economy comes out on top in my comparison of the best Premium Economy; American vs. Delta vs. United Airlines. It also beats British Airways Premium Economy.

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