Delta is looking to make long-haul economy class travel just a wee bit more comfortable. The carrier is now offering sleep kits to coach passengers on long-haul international flights. The kits include an eye mask and ear plugs to help “our customers arrive at their destination rested, entertained and refreshed,” according to Joanne Smith, Delta’s senior vice president – In-flight Service in a statement released yesterday.
In addition to the sleep kits a limited number of flights will also realize upgraded meal service. Trans-Atlantic flights shorter than 3,850 miles (essentially JFK-UK/France/Spain) will be the first to have the new service levels in place. They include individual water bottles for each passenger in economy class presented after the dinner service eastbound and upgraded arrival meals. For the westbound flights the upgraded service includes an ice cream offering mid-flight. The rest of Delta’s long-haul operations will see the upgraded meal options later this summer.
The new service moves Delta closer to their European partners and distances them from the US-based competition. Not a huge shift – these aren’t tremendous changes to the offerings – but it is a small nod to the fact that customers want to be a bit more comfortable and that the airlines can help in some ways. And it is definitely a good thing to see an airline adding services back rather than cutting more. Will small changes like these be enough to drive yields higher and sell more seats? Time will tell. If not, expect the benefits to be short-lived.
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