When you travel internationally or on a long-haul flight, you want to fly in comfort. Whether that means being in Delta Premium Select, Delta’s premium economy product, or Delta One, Delta’s lie-flat business class product, you want to know that you’re being taken care of with elevated service and amenities.
There are some important differences between the premium economy and business class services, and this post will summarize these key points, as well as offer tips to help you decide which may be best for your travel needs.
Table of contents
Table of Contents
Delta Classes of Service
Delta Air Lines is one of 2 legacy long-haul U.S. airlines that only operates a business class with no separate international first class (like American Airlines). Because of this, Delta needs to provide an enhanced level of comfort on its flights so customers can better choose which product fits their travel needs.
Before delving into things further, travelers should understand what classes Delta operates and a brief overview of what each includes, as sometimes things can get pretty confusing.
Delta One is Delta’s highest level of service and always features a flat-bed seat. Delta One isn’t just for international flights — you can find it operating many domestic routes, including:
- John F. Kennedy-New York (JFK) to Los Angeles International (LAX)
- Reagan National-Washington, D.C. (DCA) to Los Angeles International (LAX)
Delta often puts the Delta One branding on its most premium routes, and along with a flat-bed seat, you may have lounge access included, a restaurant-style meal onboard, and priority luggage delivery, just to name a few benefits.
Hot Tip: Looking for an in-depth review of a Delta One flight? Read all about Stephen’s flight from Shanghai to Los Angeles in Delta One Suites.
On domestic and local international routes, Delta operates a first class cabin, usually in a 2-2 style format, or 1-2 on smaller regional planes. These recliner seats offer more comfort than economy class but do not convert into a bed.
These flights can feature an onboard meal (depending on the flight length) and always feature complimentary beverages and light snacks. Lounge access is usually not included on these tickets.
Delta Premium Select
Delta Premium Select is Delta’s premium economy product, using seats similar to domestic first class seats, but on wide-body aircraft. The premium economy cabin features small amenity kits and enhanced catering, along with a roomier seat, and falls in-between economy class and business class, both in price and amenities.
If you want a little more legroom, but are still okay sitting in an economy class seat, Delta Comfort+ is the right category for you. These seats are located in preferred areas of the plane, usually by exit rows or bulkheads. Medallion elite members can upgrade to these seats for free, depending on their upgrade windows.
Main Cabin is another term for economy class — the basic, bare-bones seats at the rear of the plane. On Delta, most seats have inflight entertainment, so while these seats may not come with extra frills, they still feature modern amenities.
Basic Economy tickets are Main Cabin seats, with more restrictions and fewer amenities. You won’t be able to upgrade on these tickets, and won’t be able to select seats. Basic Economy is great for price-sensitive travelers but bad for those flying on business or with families.
Hot Tip: A little confused about the differences between Main Cabin and Basic Economy? We have you covered in our in-depth article walking through the difference between these 2 classes of service.
Onboard Experience Comparison
Here is a comparison chart of the various classes of service, excluding Delta Comfort+ and Basic Economy:
|Main Cabin||First Class||Delta Premium Select||Delta One|
|Availability||Domestic and International||Domestic and Select International||Select Long-Haul International||Long-Haul International and Select Domestic|
|Recline||Standard, up to 4 inches||Up to 50% more than standard Main Cabin Seat||Up to 75% more than Main Cabin seat||180-degree flat-bed seat|
|Legroom||Standard||Up to 8 inches more||Up to 8 inches more||76-82 inch bed|
|Overhead Bin Space||✔||Dedicated||Dedicated||Dedicated|
|Seat Selection Prior to Check-In||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Amenity/Sleep Kit and Inflight Bedding||Sleep kit on long-haul international||Preset pillow||TUMI amenity kit||TUMI premium kit and Westin Heavenly bedding|
| In-Cabin Service|
|Complimentary Snacks or Meals||Snacks, meals on long-haul international||Fine dining options* *based on flight distance||Fine dining plated on premium flatware||Chef-curated meals and plated fine dining|
|Complimentary Non-Alcoholic Beverages Including Starbucks||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Complimentary Beer, Wine, and Cocktails||Long-haul international flights only||✔||✔||Top shelf liquor and sommelier-selected wine|
|Personalized Service/In-Cabin Flight Attendant||✔||✔||✔|
|Seat-Back Entertainment Screen Varies by Aircraft||Up to 9 inches||Up to 11 inches||Up to 13.3 inches on A350; up to 11 inches on 757||Up to 15.4 inches|
|Complimentary Delta Studio Access||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|In-Seat Power Varies by Aircraft||USB||USB and Plug||USB and Plug||USB and Plug|
|Wi-Fi for Purchase||Available||Available||Available||Available|
|Complimentary Headsets||Long-haul international flights only||Select flights||Available*|
*noise-canceling LSTN headphones on A350
| Airport and Baggage Service|
|SkyPriority Boarding Access||Complimentary, Premium||Complimentary, Premium||Complimentary, Premium|
|SkyPriority Expedited Baggage Handling and Security||✔||✔||✔|
|Concierge Access/Bag Delivery||At select check-in locations|
|Delta Sky Club Access||Complimentary access|
Delta Premium Select
How to Book in Delta Premium Select
There are several ways you can book in Delta Premium Select:
- You can pay the cash price, which is usually double the price of economy class.
- You can use miles to cover the difference in cost, usually at the cost of 1 cent per mile.
- You can request an upgrade using any Global Upgrade Certificates you have available.
Keep in mind, your Global Upgrade Certificates can also be used to go to Delta One, and Delta’s policies require you to select either an upgrade to Delta Premium Select or bypass this cabin in hopes of a Delta One upgrade. Should space not be available in Delta One, you can choose to sit in Delta Premium Select and have the upgrade deducted, or preserve it for a future flight.
Benefits of Delta Premium Select
With a Delta Premium Select seat comes an elevated level of service — a perfect balance between Main Cabin and Delta One.
Probably the biggest differentiator of Delta Premium Select is the seat — it is wider, roomier, and reclines more. The seat is similar to the product you’ll find onboard a narrow-body Delta jet in first class.
Each seat comes with:
- An adjustable footrest and leg rest
- Adjustable headrests
- Deeper recline
- Built-in inflight entertainment
- Power ports at all seats
Hot Tip: If you’re used to flying in Delta’s domestic first class seat, you can expect a very similar seat and level of service in international Premium Select.
These are the seat locations of all Delta Premium Select seats on Delta jets from SeatGuru:
|Delta Premium Select Seat Locations on Delta by Aircraft|
|Airbus A330-900neo (339)||Rows 20-23||A, B, C, D, G, H, J|
|Airbus A350-900 (359)||Rows 20-25||A, B, D, E, F, G, H, J|
|Boeing 767-400ER (764) Layout 2||Rows 20-23||A, B, C, D, F, G|
|Boeing 757-200 (75P)||Rows 1-5|| |
A, B, C, D
|Boeing 757-200 (75S)||Rows 1-4|
These are the seat dimensions and recline capability of all Delta Premium Select seats from SeatGuru:
|Number of Delta Premium Select Seats||Seat Pitch (Inches)||Seat Width (Inches)|
|Airbus A330-900neo (339)||28 recliner seats||38||18.5|
|Airbus A350-900 (359)||48 standard seats||38||18.5|
|Boeing 767-400ER (764) Layout 2||20 recliner seats||38||19|
Delta Premium Select features a dedicated flight attendant serving the cabin, who can help monitor your comfort, offer beverage refills, and more.
Passengers in this cabin also received an enhanced meal service on glassware, similar to a domestic first class meal service. The food and presentation are in-between what’s served in Main Cabin and Delta One, and service also features complimentary wine served with the meal. Meals in Delta Premium Select are larger, have printed menus, and offer more variety and premium flavor.
When you’re checking in for your flight, or boarding, you’ll receive SkyPriority service — a more streamlined airport experience. As you check-in, you’ll notice large SkyPriority signs — these are the priority queues to speak with an agent, so you’ll be able to check your bags faster. When you go through security, follow the SkyPriority lanes for faster processing.
Delta Premium Select passengers board immediately after Group 1, and before all other elite passengers, and those seated in the Main Cabin.
This is the boarding order per Delta:
|First Class or Delta Premium Select|
|Main Cabin 1|
|Main Cabin 2|
|Main Cabin 3|
Larger Inflight Entertainment
When you’re on a long flight, entertainment is very important. You don’t want to be bored, especially during the daylight hours. Delta Premium Select seats feature much larger seatback inflight entertainment screens than in economy class.
Tumi Amenity Kit
On Delta Premium Select flights, you’ll receive a Tumi Amenity kit stocked with all the basics to make your flight more enjoyable. Inside you’ll find a Malin+Goetz lip moisturizer, sleep mask, toothbrush, and more. These Tumi amenity kits are also perfect for storing your chargers or other gadgets in after your flight.
Delta Premium Select Checked Baggage Inclusions
Delta Premium Select passengers can check up to 2 bags, at 70 pounds each.
If you’re a Medallion member and are allowed to check more bags, you can check your Medallion limit and don’t have to follow the more restrictive Delta Premium Select quantity.
Hot Tip: At select airports, such as LAX and JFK, there is a dedicated Delta One check-in area, so if you’re checking in bags, be sure to head to this private entrance.
Cancellation and Refunds
Most Delta Premium Select seats will be non-refundable. Only the most expensive Delta Premium Select tickets will be refundable, and the ticket terms are stated when you purchase the ticket, either on the phone or on Delta.com.
Standing By and Changing Flights
Delta Premium Select usually operates on international flights, where complimentary standby and changes aren’t allowed. If you wish to change tickets, you can do so for Delta’s normal $200 change penalty.
Delta One Benefits
The Delta One experience is the highest level of service Delta offers and is featured on key domestic routes and all long-haul international flights.
How to Book in Delta One
There are several ways you can book in Delta One:
- On certain domestic routes that feature Delta One, such as from Washington, D.C. (DCA) to Los Angeles (LAX), elite members of the Medallion program can request a complimentary upgrade.
- If you have Global Upgrade Certificates, you can use them to upgrade on all routes, no matter the length.
- You can use miles to pay the difference in fare, though traditionally Delta will charge you at the rate of 1 cent per mile to cover the difference between Main Cabin or Delta Premium Select and Delta One.
To improve your chances of getting upgraded into Delta One, try booking your flight on days where fewer people are traveling, like Saturdays.
Benefits of Delta One
Probably the biggest difference of Delta One over other cabins is the flat-bed seat. This is the real reason you want to upgrade to business class — to get a good night of sleep or be productive in a relaxing environment.
As these seats transform into beds, each passenger is provided Westin Heavenly bedding — a combination of a comforter and pillow to help enhance the sleep experience.
Here are the seat locations of all Delta One seats per SeatGuru:
|Delta One Seat Locations on Delta by Aircraft|
|Airbus A330-200 (332)||Rows 1-9||A, C, G, J|
|Airbus A330-300 (333)||Rows 1-9|
|Airbus A330-900neo (339)||Rows 1-8|
|Airbus A350-900 (359)||Rows 1-9||A, B, C, D|
|Boeing 767-300ER (76H/76Z) Layout 3||Rows 1-7|
|Boeing 767-300ER (76L) Layout 2||Rows 1-9|
|Boeing 767-300ER (76T/76W) Layout 1||Rows 1-9|
|Boeing 767-300ER (76Z) Layout 4||Rows 1-7|
|Boeing 767-400ER (764) Layout 2||Rows 1-9|
|Boeing 767-400ER (76D) Layout 1||Rows 1-10|
|Boeing 757-200 (75P)||Rows 1-5|| |
A, B, C, D
|Boeing 757-200 (75S)||Rows 1-4|
SkyPriority means you can check-in faster, go through security faster, and, in the case of Delta One, board first. SkyPriority is Delta’s premium passenger queue for select passengers that allows them to see an agent faster, check a bag faster, beat the long lines of security, and be among the first folks to settle in on the plane.
Delta’s seats in Delta One are arranged in a format where all seats have direct aisle access, allowing passengers to get to the bathroom faster or reach into the overhead bin without having to jump over another passenger. On select flights on Delta aircraft, particularly those on the A350 and A339, passengers will be seated in Delta One Suites that have closing doors and raised privacy dividers installed in the center seats.
Here are the seat dimensions of all Delta One seats per SeatGuru:
|Number of Delta One Seats||Seat Pitch (Inches)||Seat Width (Inches)|
|Airbus A330-200 (332)||34 flat-bed seats||80||21|
|Airbus A330-300 (333)||34 flat-bed seats||80||21|
|Airbus A330-900neo (339)||29 closed suites||45-46/76||23.3|
|Airbus A350-900 (359)||32 closed suites||76-81/76||22-24|
|Boeing 767-300ER (76H/76Z) Layout 3||26 flat-bed seats||77-81||21|
|Boeing 767-300ER (76L) Layout 2||36 flat-bed seats||77-81||21|
|Boeing 767-300ER (76T/76W) Layout 1||36 flat-bed seats||77-81||21|
|Boeing 767-300ER (76Z) Layout 4||26 flat-bed seats||76.5-81.4||21|
|Boeing 767-400ER (764) Layout 2||34 open suites||77/77||21|
|Boeing 767-400ER (76D) Layout 1||40 flat-bed seats||77-81||21|
|Boeing 757-200 (75P)||20 recliner seats||36-37||21|
|Boeing 757-200 (75S)||16 flat-bed seats||76||22.2|
Tumi Amenity Kit
All passengers in Delta One get a Tumi amenity kit that is stocked with amenities to help enhance the flight experience — a pen, socks, sleep mask, LE LABO lotion and lip balm, dental kit, and more.
Complimentary Access to the Sky Club
In Delta One, you get access to any Delta Sky Club along the way in your journey. Delta Sky Clubs feature comfortable seating, plentiful power outlets, agent assistance, and an open bar with a buffet of small snacks and nibbles. In some clubs, there are outdoor viewing areas, showers, and other enhanced amenities.
Before your flight, you can relax in the Sky Club and get work done, charge up, or fill up on food before boarding.
Elevated Dining On Board
On board, you’ll receive a premium dining experience with appetizers, entrees, and desserts, served in separate courses, which is far different than the experience in Delta Premium Select or Main Cabin. Some meals are designed by celebrity chefs, and the menus offer multiple options, traditionally offering a vegetarian course and 2 protein options.
For wines, you can choose regional selections chosen by a master sommelier to pair with your meal, or, if you’re not feeling wine, there are plenty of options to choose from from the bar.
On long-haul flights, you’ll usually be served 2 meals — 1 right after takeoff and 1 before landing — and on very long flights, there will be a mid-flight snack served.
Delta One Checked Baggage Inclusions
Delta One passengers can check 2 bags weighing 70 pounds each, the same as first class and Delta Premium Select. SkyMiles Medallion members, as well as SkyTeam Elite and Elite Plus members, may be able to check additional bags.
Cancellation and Refunds
Contrary to popular belief, most Delta One tickets aren’t fully refundable. Only full fare “J” fare tickets are refundable — any other type of ticket type still has a change fee of $200 or a cancellation penalty.
Standing By and Changing Flights
Usually, international flights are not eligible for complimentary standby or a same-day change. If you’re on a domestic Delta One flight, you can standby for free or change flights, so long as the original fare class is available.
If you wish to change flights fully on an international itinerary, you can change your flight for a $200 change penalty.
Delta Premium Select and Delta One are 2 of Delta’s most comfortable products, so if you’re on a long-haul flight, you’re sure to be more comfortable than sitting in economy class.
In summary, Delta One is Delta’s business class, featuring lie-flat seats, perfect for the traveler who needs rest. Delta Premium Select is an upgraded version of economy, with more amenities and better legroom — a happy medium between the cramped seats in the back and the more expensive business class seats up front. No matter which cabin you choose to sit in, Delta will take good care of you, as it does with all of its premium cabin passengers.