Delta Adding Up to $1000 Surcharge for Airbus A350 Business Class Tickets

Delta’s Airbus A350 is the first aircraft with their new business class, a Thompson Vantage XL seat with doors added on to make it a suite. The first routes where the plane will operate are Detroit and Atlanta to Seoul.

Credit: Delta

Australian Business Traveller notes a memo Delta sent to travel agents and gets comment from the airline on a surcharge on top of paid business class fares for booking business class on the A350.

According to Delta those who “book the A350-900 with ‘Delta One Suite’, you will be charged a surcharge” in the amount of:

  • $500 each way on discounted I fares
  • $250 each way on C, D and J fare tickets

That’s on top of whatever the filed fare is for the route.

Airbus A350, Credit: Delta

Eventually other aircraft in Delta’s fleet will get the suites as well. They’ll be retrofitting Boeing 777s, but according to Delta “It has not (been) decided yet if the surcharge applies to B777 after upgrading.”

Since Delta charges as many miles as they want for award tickets, and there’s no competitive pressure since SkyMiles aren’t like cash, you cannot spend them wherever you wish (and you can’t spend others’ currencies on award tickets) there’s no need for a surcharge. The award price is the surcharge. There’s no cash co-pay on A350 business class awards (at this point).

Of course that logic doesn’t prevent Delta from adding fuel carrier-imposed surcharges on award tickets originating in Europe or on awards on partners like China Eastern and China Southern despite jacking up the mileage price on partners.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. They need to get a new PR firm. That is the most insane news to promote. I’d go economy and spend the extra $1000 for a few nights at a top hotel at my destination.

  2. Delta Greed is pathetic. You are lucky they don’t anesthetize you on the plane and take one of your kidneys.

  3. This is a bad move by Delta, but I appreciate the lack of ME3/US3 commentary in this article. Thanks for taking a breather on that.

  4. I’m an AS MVPG 75k based out of PDX. I have been deciding between AA and DL for a long haul partner because of the AA/AS split. News like this and the fact that on DL upgrading with miles is almost impossible, is pushing me to AA.

  5. How ridiculous to add surcharges to Thompson Vantage seats.
    Thomson Vantage seats are one of the worst biz class seats out there and DL wants to add a premium for them.
    Only a fool with pay for this product.

  6. Delta knows they can get away with this because most companies pick up the tab for J ticket.

  7. i kinda pity those coughing up this $1000 surcharge for flying the exact same product SAS has been flying for years …. plus a door.

  8. I think the entire concept of carrier imposed charges, fuel surcharges and hotel resort fees are just vehicles to reduce the transparency of pricing in hopes of catching a certain percentage of customers that aren’t paying attention and make their purchase decision based on the wrong price. If you can’t decline the service for which they claim the charge is for, then it shouldn’t be separated, it should have to be included in the price of the thing you can decline to purchase.

  9. @drew – just wait, AA will continue to alienate its customers just as well as DL is. And until planes are flying emptier things won’t change in the US…

  10. Interesting. It looks like DL and AA have filed identical fares WAS-ICN with DL pricing out $500 higher due to the surcharge. While I’d probably pay a bit more to fly DL just for the higher likelihood of being on time, AA flies their 787 which is a perfectly comfortable product (especially if you can get one of the seats that isn’t physically connected to its neighbor). I’m quite certain I wouldn’t pay that much more for DL.

  11. Yet another reason to route through MSP, ATL, PDX, LAX or SEA without the A350. Or even Air France through CDG if going to SIN.

  12. I have been left in the dust trying to understand behavior of US airlines.

    Isn’t installing a better product designed to make your airline MORE competitive? Then, doesn’t adding a huge surcharge for that (supposedly) better product make your airline LESS competitive? This is not even to mention having to connect through Detroit or Atlanta.

    It seems that there must be hundreds of upper-middle managers at airlines running around desperate for “new” ideas to justify their jobs and pump up corporate earnings. Let’s try gold star drink stirrers! No, change to plastic to save money! Eliminate them altogether! Put on a surcharge for stirring the drink! Innovation, yea!

    This stupidity, rigamarole, and customer-oblivious behavior has to end somewhere, but will I live to see the day.

  13. The second comment on the story that Gary links to in the article (comment by “FLX1” on the AUS biz traveler article) is actually rather enlightening in explaining the reason why DL has elected to do this, rather than just bake it into the base fare. Not saying I’m applauding DL, but there is some logic behind it that this post doesn’t capture.

  14. I’m expecting Sessions to unravel the Section 7 violations…..

    Oh, sorry, I was daydreaming.

  15. The first A350 route from DTW goes to NRT not ICN. When I bought a ticket about one month ago CLT -SIN,
    I was surprised to find that flights on the A350 were actually cheaper than business fares on other aircraft.

  16. why Anyone would Pay this Surcharge is ridiculous….. just Fly to One of the Gateways and book Korean/ Asiana/JAL/ANA or Cathay and. E done with it. Any of those Carriers are Wasaasaay better than Delta on Any Given Flight. skypesos are useless anyways

  17. Don’t like it don’t fly it.

    Funny you don’t object to your beloved Starwood or Hyatt charging more for newer, more desirable and better located hotel properties.

    You can’t say DL is being deceptive since its disclosed, and everyone has the opportunity to review fare rules before consummating their ticket purchase.

    Don’t like it, don’t fly it, simple as that. This is the free market Gary, not some leftist everyone fly business class for free utopia you seem to want like in the 2005-2011 days when awards were plentiful and you could mileage run for cheap. DL wants to charge what is germane for the product they offer. Have you ever worked in YM?

  18. This reminds me of the way AA charges extra, be it miles or cash, for flying transcon in a 777-300 instead of a 738, but they just increase the fare/miles and don’t call it a surcharge.

    I was thinking Delta should do the same and just roll it in, but it was explained in the comments in the linked article why they can’t.

  19. All the more reason to only fly airline with transferrable points. The ME3 are totally out of it.

  20. Delta never loses an opportunity to stick it to their best-paying passengers. This is just another example. Delta One is an “OK” but pretty shabby business class experience. Why we should pay extra to be brought up to date is beyond me. Well, at least these seats are better than the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class coffins. One day this boomerang is coming back at both of them.
    AS both Dia on DL and EP on AA, for me the most salutary example of the difference in attitude to good customers between DL and AA is the experience of trying to use Global/Systemwide upgrade certs. In DL’s case it is practically impossible and they block Expert Flyer. AA, OTOH, allows one to use Expert Flyer and the experience is pretty painless.
    Go figure who is getting most of my miles this year…..

  21. I don’t understand why it’s a surcharge. They price flights however they want, based on the route and the demand. Why isn’t the ticket just more?

  22. @Reese~ has your caps key on your keyboard got stuck, or are you just struggling with English language sentence construction?

  23. This seems like greed on the part of DL. And to add insult to injury it being applied on an AirBus. I MIGHT not object if it were on a 787 though.
    Being redundant, this is feeling like Northworst just with another name. Not the DL I knew

  24. Did the do these first routes? Any opinion ?

    “The first routes where the plane will operate are Detroit and Atlanta to Seoul.”

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