Delta ups their game on transcon service from JFK

Competition does strange things, like making the airlines offer better products to attract customers. Hard to say that’s a bad thing, right?? Delta is adding some new benefits for passengers in their Economy Comfort seats on flights on their main transcon routes. For flights between New York City‘s JFK and either Los Angeles or San Francisco customers in the Economy Comfort (extra legroom/recline) seats will now include free drinks, a free "premium snack" and free newspapers.


Like many things in the airline industry this seems to be a case of things coming full circle, with complimentary snacks and drinks returning to the coach cabin in the name of competition. Virgin America already has free snacks/drinks in their comparable offering (Main Cabin Select). American Airlines is going to be competing with frequencies, upping to roughly hourly shuttle service in the coming year as they get their new A321 planes with fewer seats. United is also pushing new configurations out in the market, though no other special features noted.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. The biggest issue with Delta’s options are the lack of adequate Economy Comfort seating. Because these are elite heavy routes there are often no seats left for elites or anyone else to book within a week or so of the flight. It is an issue I have had my customers complain about on numerous occasions.

  2. Also, on full flights where people no show or get moved up to first from Economy Comfort…passengers with unassigned seats that end up in EC will get the benefits for free, I assume.

  3. Too bad that only few airports in the US have those levels of competition.

  4. Yes, there are challenges booking economy comfort seats within a week of flights, but that is to be expected. These routes are very elite heavy, and the flights are usually completely sold out. One thing to keep in mind though is that many of the EC seats are filled with Diamonds and Platinums who are hoping for upgrades. As their upgrades clear, you will see EC seats open up within 30-60 minutes of departure. I would encourage you to set up a seat alert on to notify you when these seats become available. Also, if you don’t mind flying in a middle seat, those EC seats often stay vacant until the flight.

  5. @WanderingAramean Are you sure about that Seth? I have no Delta status but I recently booked a trip to New Orleans and added my Flying Blue Gold number after booking. I was suddenly able to select Economy Comfort seats for free, and my booking changed from “not upgrade eligible” to “upgrade eligible” (though I’m not holding my breath on that)

  6. I think you got lucky, zeffer. The Delta site doesn’t say anything about ST E+ getting it for free. A post from The Points Guy from a year ago says that FB Platinums do get it for free, but not FB Gold. And the FAQ on FlyerTalk also suggests FB Gold only get 50% off, not free.

    The thought that Delta (or any airline, really) managed to not properly implement a technology project does not leave me surprised in any way. 🙂

  7. DL only has 16 seats on the 757 going transcon, and offers free upgrade on this route, which means there is a large number of unhappy elites. While they have a few 767 running this route, I suspect this is temporary until they converted all the sub fleet 757 to lay flat seats.

    Still, offering free drink (1) and snack (1) in EC is basically (almost) matching AA EXP benefits. (EXPs get any food item, not just snacks)

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