With Delta introducing lie flat premium cabin seats on New York JFK – Seattle and New York JFK – San Diego effective April 1 and New York JFK – Las Vegas May 1 current rules are that those flights will not be eligible for elite upgrades. (They’re getting the planes by flying domestic equipment transatlantic from New York to Ponta Delgada, Portugal; Reykjavik, Iceland; and Shannon, Ireland.)
Zach Honig reports that Delta intends to introduce day of departure elite upgrades for domestic flights with lie flat business class marketed as ‘Delta One’ effective April 1. That will include New York JFK – Los Angeles and San Francisco as well.
Upgrades won’t be processed at the ‘elite upgrade window’ instead they will be day of departure (unclear if that means “within 24 hours of departure” or literally same calendar day).
Here are the Delta lie flat premium routes where this policy should apply:
Upgrades are determined by:
- Elite status
- Fare class
- Whether the passenger is a Delta Reserve (premium co-brand) American Express cardholder
- Whether a corporate designator is on the ticket
- Whether the customer has spent $25,000 on a co-brand credit card for the year
- Date and time of upgrade request
Offering upgrades on premium cross country flights is a return to something they were doing in 2014 but expanded to a broader scale (automated, and now across more flights).
One the other hand it further entrenches the idea that Delta doesn’t want to give away premium seats 120 hours, 72 hours, or 48 hours prior to flight. They think holding back seats will mean selling seats instead of upgrading elites. Although holding back upgrade inventory didn’t help American sell more premium seats, they still gave away as many upgrades just closer to departure.