Here is some additional information on Delta’s Economy Comfort (see further updates on the bottom of this page). In my last post on this subject, I reviewed Delta’s 737, 757, and MD 88 Economy Comfort section (http://patstravelreviews.com/?p=140). This past few months I have flown on Delta in economy on their A319, A320, CRJ 700, CRJ 900, and Embraer E175. Really on two of the flights I was seated in the emergency exit row and the other in the bulkhead. In all four cases these seats are better than the standard Economy Comfort seats.
I flew from SAN to Reno through SLC on A319’s. On both flights I was seated in the exit row (9C & 9D). There is only one exit row on Delta’s 319’s. There is plenty of leg room (more than Economy Comfort) and the seat reclines like any other seat. Plus the armrest raises so the seat feels wider (17.2 inches wide). The flight time to SLC was 1hr 30 min. so I used one of my Medallion coupons for the snack box. On my return trip I was upgraded to First from RNO to SLC and was seated in Economy Comfort from SLC to SAN. The Economy Comfort section on the A319 comprises of three rows (row 4-6). I was seated in 6D. The seat pitch in Economy Comfort is 34″-36″. The bulkhead seat may have an inch or two more room than the other Economy Comfort seats, but the armrest is immovable. My guess is the emergency exit row on this plane has at least 40″ of pitch. The seat was empty on my flight from SLC to SAN which makes for a much more comfortable flight, but the exit row seat on the A319 was better than the Economy Comfort seat.
A few weeks later I flew Economy Comfort from Phoenix to San Diego thru SLC (I only flew this flight because I needed Delta miles and I could only get a ticket on United’s 787 thru IAH to PHX not to SAN. Of course United changed aircraft and I never flew the on the 787. So it was a long day of flying). The flight from PHX to SLC was on a CRJ 700. There are 2 rows (4 & 5) in Economy Comfort on the Canadair CRJ 700. Seating is 2×2. I was seated in the bulkhead behind First Class in seat 4C. I think this row has the most leg room on the plane, including First Class (there is no seat in front of 4B). The armrest between seats in the bulkhead does raise but the armrests on the aisle do not. Still row 4 has more room than row 5, and outside seat 4B there is a seatback pocket in front of each seat (First Class seatback pocket). Considering Delta uses this plane on some longer routes these eight seats in Economy Comfort really do provide more space on a plane that can feel very cramped. Delta’s CRJ 900’s have three rows of Economy Comfort (row’s 5-7) and that same thought applies. I flew from LAX to SFO and was also in the bulkhead. Like the 700, there is plenty of leg room. The one big difference with the 900 I was on to the 700 is that on the CRJ 900 the armrests do not move in the bulkhead. So I felt a little cramped. The fact the seats in front of the bulkhead are First Class helps a little as it allows more room to store your personal items. The two exit rows on the CRJ 900 also have more leg room than standard Economy Comfort seats (not as much as the bulkhead though), however, the armrests are immovable on those seats as well.
I flew the E175 from MSP to STL and was seated in 5C. The bulkhead aisle. There are three rows of Economy Comfort on the E175. Rows 5-7 (E170 rows 4-6). This was one of the more enjoyable Economy Comfort flights I have taken. The E175 and E170’s are a much more comfortable plane to travel on then the CRJ’s. The seats are almost an inch wider than the CRJ 900 (18.25 to 17.3), the overhead space is large enough to fit a smaller carry on rollerboard, and best of all the armrest does raise on the bulkhead seats. The bulkhead also has much more legroom than the other two rows in Economy Comfort (maybe 38″ to 34″) and the seat back pocket is larger as the seat in front of you is a first class seat (not the case on the A&B side as there is only one First Class seat). The E175 and E170 do not have entertainment on board, but they do have WiFi.
We flew an A320 from SLC to SAN. As seems to be the norm lately I was way down the upgrade list and was seated in 10D, the first exit row (11 is also an exit row). Much to my delight not only did the armrest raise the seat also reclined. Normally the second exit row reclines and the first does not, but on this plane both reclined and both armrests raised. Also to my delight there were blankets in the exit row overheads. Like the A319 there are three rows of Economy Comfort on the A320’s, rows 4-6. Likewise, the bulkhead armrest is immovable, and the exit row on the A320 provides more leg room than the Economy Comfort seats. This flight was not very full and the middle seat was free which even made for a more comfortable last leg of my 12 hour 4 leg journey from ORD to SAN (my wife and family think I am nuts). The only downside to Delta’s A320 & A319 (as well and the CRJ’s and Embraer’s) is there is no entertainment on these planes (the Airbus’ are old Northwest planes). I read that Delta was upgrading their fleet and that these planes would receive in-flight entertainment (I assume the same live TV & AVOD that the 757’s and 737’s have) at some point. But that may not be for some time.
While the Exit Row is not considered Economy Comfort it is still Preferred Seating and the same rules apply to booking an Economy Comfort seat as the Exit Row. Free for Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion Members (exit row you can select at time of booking, whereas you must first buy your ticket then change seat for Economy Comfort – This has changed now and you can book Economy Comfort at time of booking), pay full fare coach ticket (the only way to get bonus miles for Economy Comfort, otherwise like the service, it is same as regular Coach), Silver Elite members can get seats at check-in or discount in advance, or buy up to Economy Comfort. There are slightly different rules and benefits for Economy Comfort international flights. It is not free for Gold Members (50% off) but is free for Platinum and Diamond Members.The meal service is the same as the rest of Economy, as is the seat (only a few more inches of leg room and maybe more recline). The one big plus (besides the extra leg room) is that Economy Comfort Int’l passengers receive complimentary spirits and specialty cocktails (beer and wine is free for all International Economy on Delta). On the JFK – LAX and SFO flights the Economy Comfort seats supposedly have more recline. But all that said, I still prefer the exit row on the Airbus’ and the bulkhead’s on the CRJ’s.
As an update to this review. Delta announced today (May 2, 2013) that on flights between JFK – SFO & LAX that Economy Comfort passengers will receive free beer, wine, and spirits, a free premium snack, blanket & pillow, and a complimentary newspaper. These transcontinental flights are usually flown on 757’s and occasionally 767’s, and 737’s. With these new upgrades to Economy Comfort on these two routes I would choose Economy Comfort over the exit row, because of the upgraded services. However, on all other routes I still prefer the exit row (does not apply to 767 as I have not flown in the exit row on that plane).
As a further update, Delta now (May 2014) includes Seattle with their upgraded Transcontinental routes. They now fly International 767’s and 757’s between JFK and LAX/SFO/SEA. They, along with United and American (only JFK to LAX/SFO), have International Business Class on these routes (some Delta flights to SEA may still be flying old First Class) as well as Economy Comfort. On the down side Delta no longer issue’s complimentary Medallion upgrades on these routes. You can however, upgrade with miles (I think K class or higher). I actually have never flown Economy Comfort on their Transcontinental routes, but a friend of mine does quite frequently. He told me that if the flight is a continuation of an International flight the entertainment will be free for all Economy. If it has a flight number that is only between JFK & SEA/SFO/LAX than you must pay for the IFE. He also said they have elevated the IFE as well as the snack for Economy Comfort passengers on these flights. Passengers in Economy Comfort receive a Luvo sandwich wrap and a frozen yogurt bar. In addition, all EC seats on these routes have a personal power outlet.
Lastly, there is a difference between Economy Comfort and preferred seating with Delta. Outside the exit row (which is considered preferred seating) the only advantage of preferred seats is they are closer to the front of the plane. They have the same seat pitch and width as the rest of economy.
As an additional update, a lot has happened or will happen with Delta. I recently took several flights with Delta in Economy Comfort on A319 & A320’s. The same still applies to difference between Economy Comfort and the exit row. Here is a picture of a non-bulkhead Economy Comfort seat. Extra leg room, but not as much as the exit row. One difference with the A320’s and A319’s (as well as other Delta planes) is the introduction of entertainment. They have not equipped the old Northwest jets with seatback nor overhead entertainment, rather, streaming entertainment called Delta Studio. You can watch a large selection of movies and TV shows on your own personal device through GoGo internet connection. Now, on all flights I took, I was unable to access Delta Studio with either my mobile phone nor my laptop. In both cases they were not compatible with Delta Studio. So while it is a nice entertainment option, it seems you need an Apple or Samsung product to access their programming. Another bit of information that you may want to consider when choosing between an exit row seat and an Economy Comfort seat is Delta Studio is only free for First Class and Economy Comfort passengers.
The other update is a bit of a bombshell and honestly one change I can not see sticking, as I believe there will be a revolt with their Elite members. Delta has introduced three levels of Economy. Starting in February or March of 2015 it appears Delta will change the name of Economy Comfort to “Delta Comfort +”. I am not sure if they will add any seats to the current layout of Economy Comfort, but they have increased the service and overhead space with Delta Comfort Plus. Premium snacks (I would think similar snack on LAX/SEA/SFO to JFK flights) will be served on longer flights as well as complimentary beer, wine and spirits on all flights. So this is a very positive change. What isn’t so positive is Delta will also introduce two other levels of Economy; “Main Cabin” and “Basic Economy”. Both are the same seats (non Delta Comfort +) and will receive the same service – Free soft drinks & snack as well as access to Delta’s IFE for a fee, whether it is through Delta Studio or seat-back AVOD. The only difference is with Basic Economy fares (lowest fare) you will not be able to select your seat in advance. They will be issued at check-in (online or at the airport). In addition, Medallion members will only have limited benefits when purchasing a Basic Economy ticket. They will still get priority check-in, free baggage, and priority boarding. However, they will not be eligible to upgrade to First Class nor Delta Economy +. Nor will they be able to select their seat in advance. This applies to all levels. Silver to Diamond. This is a big risk for Delta. I already read where Gold Medallion members no longer received Economy Comfort seats at time of booking and had to wait until 72 hours before departure. This was reason enough to think about leaving Delta, but not to be eligible at all, I don’t see this sitting to well with their core customers. Now, from what I read, these Basic fares will not be in all markets and then the current rules will still apply. Also, if you purchase a Main Cabin fare then you are eligible for the full Medallion benefits. All this falls in line with Delta trying to get people to pay more money for a seat. If it is a few more dollars for Main Cabin over Basic Economy then it may work. If not, I can not see a Diamond Medallion member happy to be in the last row of Economy.
A few additional updates (Feb 2017). It seems that the “Basic Economy” will stick as United and American will also introduce the same Basic Economy fares that will have the same restrictions. But it appears these fares are only on a few routes where they compete with Spirit, Sun Country, or any airline that has the same low-fare model. Also Delta now publishes Comfort + fares. So you don’t need to pay extra for Comfort+ seat. You just purchase it for a price that is higher than the “Main Cabin” fare (I have seen anywhere from $20 more to $100 more depending on route and distance). I could not find these fares on any of Delta’s international flights. Delta has also increased the food offerings for Comfort+. Now most flights will receive an upgraded snack and food option (on longer flights a wrap and frozen yogurt bar. On shorter flights basket service that would be similar to the First Class basket served on non meal flights). Lastly, Comfort plus, like First Class, used to receive free in-flight entertainment. Now it is free throughout the entire plane. All classes, regardless of fare. Whether it is through seatback IFE or on your personal device through gogo inflight and Delta Studio.