10 Reasons To Upgrade: Delta Air Lines Premium Economy Vs Economy


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We compare Delta Air Lines Economy vs. Premium Economy. We review 10 reasons why it’s worth paying for the upgrade. We review the cost, seat, food, check-in, and airport lounge that you will get if you book Delta Premium Economy. Is it worth paying to upgrade your next flight to Premium Economy?

Delta is the oldest airline in the USA and is Delta is the world’s second-largest airline in terms of scheduled passengers carried, revenue per passenger per mile flown, and fleet size (after American Airlines).

Delta’s fleet includes almost 900 aircraft. Delta is known for its policy of generally buying older generation or used aircraft and for continuing to fly aircraft for 20-30 years, much longer than most other major airlines. As such, it has one of the oldest fleets of any American airline, with an average fleet age of 16.3 years. Delta’s Boeing aircraft make up about 57% of its fleet, while its Airbus aircraft makes about 27%, and McDonnell Douglas aircraft makes up about 16%.

More importantly, did you know that Delta is also the largest transatlantic carrier, with more transatlantic flights per day than any other carrier? Yes, it’s true, they fly more flights across from their home in America to various airports across Europe, with particular emphasis on capital cities like London, Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin, Rome, Madrid, and of course, Brussels.

The B767 is the backbone of Delta’s transatlantic fleet, and while a journey onboard Delta’s B767 Business Class (called Delta One) still offers a comfortable ride, the seat feels dated when compared to modern Business Class cabins, including Delta’s own brand new Delta One Suite which is only found on its brand new A350 aircraft only. This means that when you fly transatlantic on Delta, you should always choose to fly on their A350 planes and not any of their other aircraft.

Delta Airlines has Premium Economy seats with 19 inch seat width, 38 inch legroom, 7 inch recline, and free drinks and free food. We like their adjustable leg rests and headrests. The Westin Heavenly® In-Flight Blanket with a pillow. The TUMI amenity kit featuring Malin+Goetz Travel Essentials. The carefully created food was presented with Alessi service ware. The 13.3-inch, high-resolution in-flight entertainment screen, noise-canceling headphones, and in-seat power ports. The Sky Priority service, which includes faster check-in, accelerated security, priority boarding, and expedited baggage service.

Wherever you fly to, book your hotel and flight via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, and free perks at hotels including the Four Seasons, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, InterContinental, and more.

Typically, our free benefits at luxury hotels include:

  • Room upgrade to next category
  • Complimentary breakfast for two per bedroom
  • Complimentary Welcome Gift
  • $100 USD equivalent Hotel experiential credit per room per stay
  • Early check-in / late check-out (subject to availability)
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

1. Economy 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 Economy, if I do manage to nod off, the fact that my head then drops 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 an Economy 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 the 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. Premium Economy is also significantly cheaper than flying in Business Class, usually 65% less expensive than a business class fare.

How much extra is Premium Economy on Delta Airlines? Premium Economy is typically 30%-90% more expensive than flying in Economy. Expect to pay up to double the price to fly in Premium Economy.

2. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Loyalty Program

In terms of loyalty programs, Delta Airlines has a fairly good frequent flyer scheme. Obviously, you get more miles if you fly in Premium Economy because you are spending more money.

3. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Check-in

Delta Premium Select passengers receive Sky Priority® service, which includes accelerated check-in, security, and baggage service. Once it’s time to board, you’re among the first invited on the plane, so you can get comfortable sooner.

4. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Lounges

When flying in Premium Economy, you do not automatically get access to any Delta Airlines lounges. If you have not paid for Business Class or First Class, you can still access lounges at this airport for a fee or for free if you have a Priority Pass. Get an unlimited Priority Pass with the Amex Platinum card, or you can also access most Priority Pass lounges for free using the free American Express Gold with its two free Lounge Club passes. To get extra referral points and advice on these free-lounge-access cards and more, have a read of our best credit cards for luxury travel.

5. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Toilets

Delta isn’t known for its exciting lavatories! Business-class toilets are separate but basic, Economy and Premium Economy passengers share toilets, so this is not a dealbreaker when choosing which class to fly.

6. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Seat

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.

7. 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 service ware 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).

8. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Amenity Kit

You will also get a complimentary and nice amenity kit on Delta if you fly in Premium Economy. It seems to be better than the Premium Economy kits offered in American, being from TUMI and featuring Malin+Goetz Travel Essentials including Le Labo lip balm; Hand sanitizer; A TUMI sleep mask; Toothbrush & toothpaste; Socks; A pen. We also like Westin Heavenly® In-Flight Blanket with a pillow on Delta.

9. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Inflight Entertainment

While seated in Delta Premium Select, you’ll enjoy their best-in-class in-flight entertainment screen, which is larger, to watch Delta Studio® movies and shows during your flight.

10. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Flight Attendants

Delta’s flight attendants are considered the friendliest of all USA airlines. The cabin crew on this flight was very outgoing and enthusiastic. Those serving the Premium Economy cabin have more time for you than those serving in the Delta Airlines Economy cabin, so Premium Economy wins.


I would say that the Delta Airlines Premium Economy is a good product and worth paying the extra if you can afford it. I have flown in Premium Economy and would not hesitate to fly it again.

Below you will find my most recent flight reviews on Delta Airlines in Business Class:

Delta One Business Class & Premium Economy Reviews

Flight Review: Delta Transatlantic To New York In Business Class

In "Reviews"

Delta is the oldest airline in the USA and is the world’s second-largest airline in terms of scheduled passengers carried, revenue per passenger per mile flown, and fleet size (after American Airlines). Read More.

Flight Review: Delta One Business Class Suite A350 Detroit To Tokyo

In "Reviews"

This trip report reviews our flight in a Delta One Business Class Suite on their A350, Detroit To Tokyo. Delta Air Lines first Airbus A350 departed from Detroit, bound for Tokyo-Narita. This inaugural flight of Delta’s new international flagship aircraft… Read More.

Review: Delta Air Lines Business Class Suite

In "Reviews"

Delta Air Lines introduced an all-suite Business Class product in 2017. This Delta One Business Suite is be available on its new Airbus A350 and in this review, I look at what you get in the suite. Read More.

Review: Delta A350 Premium Select

In "Reviews"

In this trip report, I review what is on offer if you fly Delta A350 Premium Select, which is Delta’s Premium Economy in the new A350. Delta Air Lines has now launched its A350, and the new premium economy product… Read More.

Note: All benefits & upgrades subject to availability & Terms & Conditions, enquire for more information. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.