Delta to add premium economy seats on overseas flights

Delta Air Lines will add a premium economy section to its international flights, charging non-elite fliers between $80 to $160 each way for “Economy Comfort” seats that come with extra legroom and more recline.

Delta and SkyTeam frequent-fliers at the Platinum and Diamond level can book the seats at no extra charge, while Gold-level frequent-fliers will have access to the seats at a 50% discount. Silver members can purchase the seats for a 25% discount.

United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Delta SkyTeam partner carriers Air France and KLM already offer a similar program. With business travelers returning to the skies in increasing numbers, Delta is banking on higher fare travelers wanting to further upgrade to the premium coach section. Delta’s announcement didn’t specify if the program is limited to certain markets or not, but it could possibly be implemented on its long-haul international flights from Minneapolis/St. Paul to London, Amsterdam and Paris, all of which fly non-stop daily. Delta utilizes both Boeing 767 and Airbus A330 aircraft from the Twin Cities to Europe.

In a related development, the Atlanta-based carrier announced that it will be installing 34 flat-bed Business Elite seats in its 32 A330 aircraft in the next two years. The plan further calls for the installation of the same seats in all of its 150 wide-body aircraft by 2013. The A330 aircraft were added to the fleet with the Northwest Airlines merger in 2008.

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