We’re in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, with airlines making all sorts of changes when it comes to onboard services. With the recent changes, as a Delta Platinum Medallion, I’ve been flying Delta basic economy lately and plan to do so through the of end of March.
Granted, most of my flights are around 2-3 hours, so I’m not sure I’d feel the same way on a 5+ hour transcontinental flight, but on flight less then 3 hours, I’ve been pleasantly content in basic economy.
Here’s Why I’ve Been Flying Delta Basic Economy Lately:
I) Delta is Blocking Middle Seats through March 31, 2021: Delta is currently the only remaining US airline to be blocking middle seats in economy on all flights through the end of March. As a Basic Economy flyer, you can’t select your seat at booking, but will be assigned a seat either at check-in or at the gate. With middle seats blocked, you’re guaranteed to get an aisle or exit row. With flights still not full, chances are you may find other seats open once onboard, so I’ve had good success snagging the exit row even.
II) Less First Class Seats for Medallion Upgrades: Following Delta’s blocking middle seats, the airline is also blocking seats in first class on domestic flights. Additionally, depending on the aircraft, additional seats are being blocked for flight attendants as well. As an example on a A320 with 16 seats, Delta is currently blocking 9 seats in the cabin, meaning there are only 7 seats left for sale. Chances are most will be sold, so when it comes to an upgrade, it’s highly unlikely you’d receive that complimentary First Class upgrade even if you purchased a Main Cabin fare.
III) Limited Food and Beverage Catering Onboard: This applies to both First Class and even Comfort +. Delta has drastically reduced its catering offering due to the pandemic, and as a result you’ll only find beer and wine in these cabins. With Delta removing liquor, don’t expect a Woodford on the rocks onboard, and when it comes to food offerings you’re lucky to receive a non-perishable snack box.
I’ve been flying Delta Basic Economy the past several months, and plan to do so until the end of March. Should Delta continue to block middle seats past this date, and not increase the catering onboard flights, I will likely continue this strategy through summer.
I’ve talked with a few Delta Medallions, who have like myself have similar feelings and as a result are also flying Basin Economy and have no real complaints. I feel that I’ve been saving on average $60 per round trip by choosing Basic Economy instead of a Main Cabin fare, but given the reasons above, it’s hard to justify to pay for the Main Cabin.
Again, I’m not necessarily suggesting Delta make changes to the onboard service due to the pandemic, I’m just sharing how my Delta strategy has changed as a result.
See our recent posts: Why Delta Shouldn’t Lower 2021 Medallion Qualifications and How Delta Should Enrich SkyMiles Medallion Program.
What are your thoughts on flying Delta Basic Economy during the pandemic? Feel free to share if you have a similar opinion in the comments below.