My wife and I recently flew Delta round trip from Detroit to Amsterdam. We applied Global Upgrade Certificates (available only to Diamond Medallion elites) in both directions. These certificates now instantly upgrade you from economy to Premium Select, and then you are supposed to be on the upgrade list for Delta One starting 24 hours before the flight. I say “supposed to” because it didn’t work that way in either direction. After many, many hours on the phone with Delta (for both flights!), we got the issue sorted out shortly before boarding each time. On the outbound flight we were upgraded to Delta One. On the return, we weren’t. The one upside to this fiasco was that I could finally review a full flight on Delta Premium Select (vs. my half hour in Premium Select a few years ago).
Delta Premium Select Bottom Line
Compared to regular economy or to Comfort Plus, Premium economy is great. Compared to Delta One business class (which features lie-flat seats), Premium Select isn’t close.
Unlike Delta Comfort Plus, which is barely distinguishable from regular economy, Premium Select is truly a different and better product. With Premium Select, you get plenty of legroom, a footrest, and can recline far enough to be reasonably comfortable for napping. Plus, when the person in front of me leaned far back, I found that I still had plenty of room. My primary gripe is that Premium Select doesn’t offer a wider space than regular economy and there’s almost no space between you and the person next to you. Also, just like regular economy, there’s very little storage space to put your stuff.
If the question is whether it is worth considering a paid upgrade from economy to Premium Select, I’d say yes (if the price difference isn’t astronomical). Conversely, if you are planning to book business class and wondering if Premium Select would be almost as good, I’d say no. With Delta One business class, a single passenger gets as much width-space as two Premium Select passengers. Plus, Delta One passengers get much better food and drink options, and can recline seats to a flat-bed.
Premium select is only worth the extra money for the extra space. Please note the service and food is the same as economy.
Only worth buying if only a few hundred dollars more. Definitely not worth paying more than $500 extra.
When Delta first rolled out premium select the in flight service was much closer to business class: glassware, china, and the meals were a limited selection from the Delta One menu. There were upgraded headphones and I think nicer pillows and blankets but not positive about that. It’s really pathetic that they’ve dropped all of that despite very high prices.
Greg, bear with me on this one. Your GUC was wasted and you paid for your upgrade. Your payment was in the form of your time — the value of your many, many hours. Those are hours of your life you will never get back. When one is young, one can afford to burn the time. When one is (tenured), one can’t afford to burn the time.
I take your point — it applies to most of us. In the specific case, Greg, like others at FM, is doing his job / taking one for the team. When he and the others go through these booking experiences and publish them here, I get information I feed into the hopper in deciding what is and isn’t worth my time.
And the value of time depends on what time it is — within the life cycle, as you note, or within the confines of a trip or even a certain cast of mind. Makes no real sense economically, but having recently gotten crazy statuses with Royal Air Maroc and Volare (whatever the successor to Alitalia) is called, I have been having fun allotting a little extra time to see how far I can push them in getting benefits from partners (AA, AF). Because, let’s face it, a lot of the stuff that is fun when you are young is less available when you are not young.
Excellent point. Many thanks to Greg and the team for what they do for us all.
You don’t need to tell me this. I thought that my ire at Delta and its awful and broken GUC process was clear enough in the post and my comments below.
Understood. Sorry for any offense.
Many a time, I’ve been in your shoes. Like Linus, every year, I’m sitting in the pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin. And, then, my wife says “I hope all that frustration is worth it.” I just thought that some readers might need the “life time vs. cash price” expressly stated.
I get what Biggie F is saying (above) — it’s your job to go through this hell and report on it so that everyone knows what one is getting into. So, we all need to thank you and the team for doing that for us.
Again, sorry for any offense.
No offense taken
I had the same problem after applying GUCs to JFK-AMS. Got upgrade to PS (2 pax). At 24 hours, not showing on upgrade list (5 seats available). Gate agent at BWI said to check when we land at JFK (but could not see that we were eligible for the upgrade to D1). At JFK, same problem. Called Diamond desk (1 hour til departure) – agent said it would take them longer than an hour to reach ticketing and told us to have gate agent call JFK ticketing desk. Seats are starting to disappear. I talked with someone who got an upgrade after going to cust service desk – they were non-rev!! By the time ticketing got to my reservation, only one seat left. It was extremely frustrating and surely will make me not want to ever book it again unless I am happy with PS only.
Yep, that closely mimics my situation, at least for the return flight. Ugh.
This is one of the big issues I have with going for Delta diamond status. You put it in all that work to get diamond, get the upgrade certificates, you use them, only 2 get premium select, gosh I’d have a hard time with that.
We seem to have bad luck using GUC’s esp on Partner airlines like KLM.. Impossible
This has been my go to use for them. I’ve been able to use them “relatively” smoothly. I look for Z class on my flights, call up DM, get transferred a few times, and finally someone can book it. I was able to do this on IAH-AMS-CPT RT tickets for 2 of us later this year. Really good value on $975 economy tickets. Only downside is the planes are currently A330 and 777 so 2-2-2. At least we’re traveling together.
Greg, there is no comparison between lie flat and the others.
Agree Greg. We flew DTW-CDG both ways in PS after paying for the upgrade from Y. We had bulkhead seats which were fantastic. Yes, the seats are rather narrow but the bigger problem is that the meal was the same as econ. If I’m paying cash, I’d opt for PS. With miles, Delta One obviously. But this is a great alternative.
Yep. I wish they’d go back to more Delta One-ish catering for PS, but for me the seat comfort is a bigger factor and it was significantly better than economy.
Two questions: on the DeltaOne not-clearing issue, was it actually full or they didn’t ‘release inventory’ ; and would you say the PS is similar to Domestic First Class or slightly better?
1) It was a problem with Delta’s tech. The ticket wasn’t issued correctly, or something like that. In recent months I’ve had the same exact issue with RUCs. It’s crazy frustrating.
2) I thought that PS was better than Domestic First Class with respect to legroom and recline, but I think that domestic first often has more room width-wise. I prefer PS for a long flight because the recline and footrest makes it more practical to sleep a little.
Thanks. On #1, I’ve had lots of issues with RUCs (like in your reply to LXF — I sing that song in my dreams :-)), but I was wondering, at the gate if you were still #1 on list, they claimed no GUC space, but seats empty? (I’ve seen in-person and in reports that non-revs get placed into empty DL1 seats internationally, so empty seats appear to fill up last minute). On #2 – SeatGuru claims 19″ for PS seats vs 18.1″ for C+, so too bad they didn’t expand it to the ~20″ width that domestic first has…
1) They claimed that Delta One was full, but I didn’t try to verify that
2) Thanks. I didn’t realize that PS had slightly wider seats than C+ but you’re right. Looking at the A350 seat map, PS has 8 seats across (2 x 4 x 2) but C+ and regular economy have 9 across (3 x 3 x 3). Seems like they could have made the seats really wide and plush if they had done PS as 2 x 3 x 2.
I’d randomly looked at the 767-400 map, which has 2-3-2 with 19″ wide seats vs the A350 2-4-2… probably a good-to-know if that’s an option to pick. In terms of bottom line, without knowing specific flights and fares, what might you say it would be worth to buy-up to PS and confirm DL1 at purchase? e.g. in your particular flight, if the PS1 was $300 or $500 more (one-way) with DL1 confirmable, would you have considered it? [‘Depends/Maybe’ is fine as an answer since it would depend on flight length, time of day, routing, etc. :-)]
Probably yes for outbound to Europe, not sure for the return. For overnight flights, I highly value the ability to lie flat and to have some privacy. For the return, PS was good enough for my needs. If I had a lot of work to do on the plane, though, Delta One is much better because there’s room to have your laptop out even when they bring food around. With PS or below, it’s one or the other.
Note that buying up to PS and applying a GUC only guarantees Deta One if there is advanced upgrade space available. Otherwise, you may spend more for the same PS experience that I got.
Delta might be capturing that sentiment — “overnight DL1 very nice, daytime not-as-important.” 🙂 At least for one random flight I looked at far out next April direct jfk<->cdg with confirmable DL1 space: $1129 Main round-trip, $3800 DL1, PS: outbound (overnight) $600 buy-up from main, return only $300 buy-up from main. (for award tickets same flights, 49K to buy up to PS outbound, only 17k on return daytime flight).
Thanks for the review of Premium Select. I might be in the same situation in the fall and want to hear more about your Delta One/ global upgrade certificate issue with Delta
They never seem to be able to handle the GUCs correctly (or RUCs, in my recent experience). When I go to check in for a flight with an upgrade cert applied, the system won’t let me check in. I call and then end up on the phone for endless hours while they sort things out. See my reply to LFX below for more.
When you need to call Delta to be added to the Delta One upgrade list in the 24 hour window, what’s the process like? Do you have a conversation guide, or secret words to make the light bulb go off with the agent?
Here’s the process:
I recently took that same route in Economy Comfort. Yes, it was the exact same meal.
Thanks for confirming.
According to a Reddit thread from an employee at a management Town Hall recently, PS is supposed to return to pre-pandemic service “by June” – looking for reports on whether that’s the case or not for an upcoming AMS-SEA flight on an A339 in June.
Thanks for the review. Oh man, it’s still so hard to say no to Delta One, but the prices are NUTS. I will keep PS in mind? Ha, I don’t know.