Most major airlines have started offering a premium economy option on domestic flights. For a few extra bucks (or with a complimentary elite upgrade) you can enjoy extra legroom, priority boarding, and a complimentary alcoholic beverage. But what if the airline runs out of premium economy seats? Delta has the answer.
You can now pay $59 a year for a SkyMiles Select membership. That gets you Main Cabin 1 boarding priority, 8 free drink coupons, and a fancy bag tag. That’s it.
Assuming you have any kind of elite status or a Delta credit card, which you probably will if you take eight flights a year, then you should already have priority boarding. Maybe even higher priority. (Main Cabin 1 includes Silver Medallion and all partner elite tiers).
What’s left is an upfront payment for booze at a cost of around $7.50 per mini. The bag tag allows you to advertise to other people that you are the kind of person who prefers to pre-pay for alcohol when you fly.
I’m not really sure why Delta created this product. I already mentioned it as a substitute when the premium economy seats are full. You don’t get the legroom, but you do get some priority and your drink. It could also be an attempt at further pricing granularity in the economy cabin for those who are unwilling to pay the premium for premium economy or the annual fee on a Delta credit card.
What Delta has now are essentially four types of economy class seats, plus business class. These are:
- Basic Economy, with no perks and the lowest prices. These customers probably aren’t going to shell out $59 for a Select membership if they’re already price-sensitive.
- Main Cabin, with regular prices and regular perks (although they do tend to be industry-leading in comfort).
- Main Cabin with SkyMiles Select. For the semi-frequent traveler who’s still living on a budget.
- Comfort+, with extra legroom and more perks at a premium price.
Remember when we just paid for a ticket, got a seat with decent legroom, and were treated like a guest instead of cattle? When did flying become so complicated? This constant up-selling is almost as bad as taking a cruise.