Delta Will Stop Automatically ‘Upgrading’ Elites to Extra Legroom Seats on 7 Routes (‘Temporarily’)

Delta calls moving from regular coach to extra legroom coach (“Comfort+”) seats an ‘upgrade’ the way other airlines call coach to business an upgrade.

When you buy a ticket you don’t just assign yourself an extra legroom seat, your upgrade ‘clears’ into the extra legroom section of the plane. This process is going to create a problem on several routes beginning in March.

According to Delta,

Due to technology updates that will temporarily impact specific Delta aircraft, Medallion Members that book a Main Cabin ticket on the below routes will need to manually select their Complimentary Upgrade to Delta Comfort+ (if available) in the seat map during their normal clearance window.

Here are the routes where extra legroom ‘upgrades’ won’t happen automatically:

  • Atlanta – Tokyo Narita (effective March 1)
  • Minneapolis – Tokyo Haneda (effective March 1)
  • Atlanta – Paris Charles de Gaulle (effective March 1)
  • Minneapolis – Paris Charles de Gaulle (effective March 1)
  • Minneapolis – Seoul Incheon (effective April 1)
  • Los Angeles – Sydney (effective April 5)
  • Paris Charles de Gaulle – Los Angeles (effective May 24) and Los Angeles – Paris Charles de Gaulle (effective May 25)

All of the affected routes are seeing a change in aircraft type. All but Los Angeles – Paris will be getting Boeing 777-200LR (77L) aircraft. The LAX – Paris route will go from an Airbus A330-300 to a Boeing 777-200.

Diamond and Platinum members are normally eligible for extra legroom seats at booking. If they cannot ‘clear’ into Comfort+ at time of booking they will need to keep checking back manually.

Golds will need to start checking manually 72 hours from travel. Silvers will need to start checking 24 hours out. The upside here for Silver and Gold elites is that those who are proactive may have a better shot at the seats than those who don’t pay attention to the need to go back and select extra legroom seats when eligible.

Delta says that moving elites up to extra legroom coach seats will become automatic again later in the year.

(HT: Traveling for Miles)

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. I’m actually glad about this as I hardly find it an “upgrade” to be moved from an aisle seat in Main Cabin to a middle seat in Comfort+. And I hate that it’s automatic unless you otherwise specify. I’m only Silver Medallion with Delta so I’m bound to get hosed by any auto-upgrades. Plus, as I’m only 5’8″ and a 155 lbs, I’m just fine in Main Cabin.

  2. I wonder if they employ the same tech people that Marriott had when they just couldn’t say what the new hotel packages would cost due to technology issues?

  3. I also hate this, as I usually pick exit row over Comfort+ seats that often suck with full recliners in front of me.

  4. Actually, won’t the automatic upgrades stop because these routes will be getting retrofitted planes with premium economy? Doesn’t premium economy replace comfort plus? I thought Delta dropped comfort plus in the retrofitted planes.

  5. I would say this is hilarious but I fear the morons at UA and AA will copy it.

    Fortunately I don’t fly TATL or TPAC economy anymore

  6. @Jr – At Delta’s award prices for business class, pretty much no. 340,000 miles per person for a one way ticket from Asia to the US is too rich for my blood.

  7. This is the way it already works on Alaska. Their Premium Economy seat upgrades don’t process when your upgrade window opens, but the price to upgrade simply drops to $0 if you have adequate status (with no email notice whatsoever, nothing).

    Because of this I always set a reminder for my upgrade window so I can at least be assured of getting that taken care of if I didn’t clear to First.

    Been that way for…maybe 12-18 months now? At least that’s when I noticed it.

    Not sure why AS seems to get a pass on this sort of stuff. They are constantly devaluing MP, but few people seem to notice this death by a thousand cuts (which match everything bad that’s happening in the sector) since all the attention is on the big 3!

  8. DD – Nope, Delta just announced 01/04/2019 that all 777s will be going to ‘ all 4 seating experiences’ starting 03/01/2019 as the entire 777 fleet (including the 4 aircraft that were just redone with D1 and DPS – but without Comfort +) will be retro fitted for 4 seat types – Delta One, Delta Premium Select, Comfort+ and Main Cabin. Curiously, there were silent on the topic of A350s and 4 seat type service.

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