Yes, I’m here to join the bandwagon in lauding Delta for its upcoming upgrades to international economy class service. I see no downside to this customer-friendly news.
I’m no Delta cheerleader. Not because I have anything against Delta, but because I’m not in a position to be. I rarely fly Delta and the couple times I have over the last few years (Honolulu to Los Angeles and London to New York, both on a 767-300 in business class) the hard and soft product was decent, but hardly memorable.
But Delta will introduce the following upgrades to its international economy class product on flights over 6.5 hours:
- Personal greetings in the gate area and while boarding
- “Welcome aboard” Bellini cocktails (one of my favorite drinks)
- Hot towels
- Placemats for meals
- Mix-and-match appetizers and entrees
- Larger entrees
- New cutlery
- Separate dessert course
- Pre-arrival chocolates
Delta has trialed this upgraded service on its Portland to Tokyo flights for the last year. Now, the new upgrades will kick in effective November 01st.
Allison Ausband, Delta’s SVP of Inflight Service, offers one key to this initiative:
This is about investing in every single customer who chooses Delta, no matter where they sit on the plane. The thoughtful touches we’re investing in throughout the new Main Cabin experience were designed by flight attendants with one goal in mind — delivering an exceptional experience that our customers will rave about and one that our team, the best in the business, is proud to deliver.
Did you catch it? That “our team” is proud to deliver. That’s the key. See, I think most flight attendants (no matter the airline) would be happy to provide better service to economy class customers. The fact that Delta FAs have this opportunity is a win-win. When customers are happy, the job of a FA becomes easier. Everyone is happy. Check out this video:
It just makes me smile and think this is exactly how it should be. But life is not a marketing video…let’s wait and see how it turns out in practice.
Despite having a generally lousy loyalty program, Delta’s product investments (including complimentary and high speed internet, seat back TVs, and now an upgraded economy class experience) create an image of professionalism and make the case that by investing in its customers, it is investing in itself.