Of all the domestic airlines, I think Delta Air Lines provides the best economy class experience. It doesn’t matter if you’re flying basic economy or Main Cabin “regular” economy, the in-flight experience is all the same and I think it’s hands-down better than the other airlines. And if you really must fly basic economy, Delta’s basic economy isn’t all that bad (and it’s actually better now during Covid-19).
I have flown Delta’s basic economy a few times during the pandemic and I can honestly say I really appreciate the safety protocols, in-flight experience, and financial savings. Before I get into the benefits of flying Delta’s basic economy during Covid-19, let’s just acknowledge how great Delta is as an airline. Delta’s planes are all clean, well-maintained and (most of them) are equipped with seatback entertainment.
I don’t know about you guys but I much prefer a seatback screen to streaming entertainment on my phone. It’s much better on my neck watching something higher than my tray table and plus, I like doing something else on my phone while watching a movie/show. And with the majority of their fleet also equipped with WiFi (free for T-Mobile customers) and electrical outlets, I can do both at the same time.
I should note that in-flight services have been reduced because of Covid-19 but I actually prefer this new reduced-contact service. Instead of having a drawn-out beverage service, the flight attendants just go down the aisle and hand everyone a simple snack bag containing hand sanitizer, Purell wipes, Biscoff cookies, chips, chocolates and a small water bottle. And on longer flights, they’ll proactively do that twice.
Now, let’s look at the negatives of purchasing Delta’s basic economy fares and how they compare to regular economy fares. Keep in mind that both Delta basic economy and regular economy fares allow you to bring a carry-on bag and a personal item such as a backpack, purse, laptop bag, etc. onboard. You can’t do that on United.
- Basic economy fares do not receive complimentary seat assignments. Your seat(s) will be assigned at check-in.
- The negative aspect to this is that your travel party may be split up and not seated together.
- You will likely end up in a middle seat if you are traveling solo.
- Ticket changes, cancellations and upgrades are not allowed.
- If you have status with Delta/Sky Team, you will not receive a complimentary upgrade (even to Comfort Plus) on a basic economy fare.
- Basic economy passengers board last after everyone else.
- You may lose out of overhead bin space and may be forced to gate-check your carry-on bag. If this happens, it’s not ideal but at least you won’t get charged for gate-checking your bag.
But with Covid, most of these negatives have been canceled out so flying Delta basic economy is as close to flying regular economy as it’s gonna get.
- Don’t worry about not being able to select a seat ahead of time. Delta is the only airline that is still blocking middles seats (until April 30, 2021). Parties of two will most likely be assigned a window and aisle seat in the same row (with the middle seat blocked) and parties of three will most likely be seated together in one row. So even if you don’t get to pick your seat ahead of time, you’re pretty much guaranteed a comfortable seat away from the next passenger.
- Worried about travel uncertainty and concerned you may need to change your plans? Don’t. Delta is still offering their free Coronovirus waiver until March 30, 2021. All tickets purchased up until that date can still be changed or canceled for any reason. You will be on the hook for the fare difference if you change to a more expensive flight but you will also receive a flight credit if your new flight is cheaper. Delta will be implementing a permanent “no change fee” policy effective March 31, 2021, but unfortunately, that new policy won’t apply to basic economy fares.
- Do you like boarding before everyone else? Then basic economy is your friend. Because of Covid, Delta has been boarding their planes from back to front (after elites and premium cabin passengers). This means that when you get assigned your seats, you will board with your seat number and not with your fare class. Basic Economy passengers tend to be seated towards the back of the cabin, which means you will be boarding before everyone else. No gate-checking your carry-on bags here.
Flying Delta Basic Economy During Covid-19 Bottom Line
So as you can see, at least until March 30, 2021, flying Delta’s basic economy fares isn’t all that bad. And even after that date, I would still fly them over a competitor if the price were the same. Delta really is a great airline and I really do appreciate all the positive changes they made for passengers during Covid-19. Let’s hope all these positive changes stay around a little longer after the pandemic.
The other posts in this series include:
- Flying Delta Basic Economy During Covid-19, Los Angeles to Orlando
- DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando
- Tips for Visiting Universal Studios Orlando During Covid-19
- The Club MCO Orlando Airport