Delta Comfort Plus vs. Main Cabin: A Comprehensive Comparison

delta airlines interior main cabin view of seats and overhead bins

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Delta Comfort Plus and Main Cabin are two of the most popular Delta fare options. Both offer distinct benefits and unique features, so the choice can often depend on your preferences and needs.

Delta Comfort Plus is a premium economy offering, offering more legroom, priority boarding, dedicated overhead bin space, complimentary alcoholic beverages and snacks, meals on certain routes, and an amenity kit on longer flights. On the other hand, Delta Main Cabin, the standard economy fare, provides basic in-flight amenities and flexibility without additional comfort features.

Choosing between these two largely depends on several factors, including your travel budget, flight duration, destination, and personal comfort preferences. If cost-saving is your priority, Main Cabin can be a practical choice. However, Comfort Plus might be worth the extra expenditure if you’re looking for a more comfortable experience, especially on longer flights.

In this article, we will take a comprehensive look at Delta Comfort Plus and Main Cabin, comparing them side by side on all key points. We’ll dig into the nuances and provide clear, helpful information to help you make an informed decision for your next flight.

Delta Comfort Plus vs. Delta Main Cabin: Compared

Let’s compare Delta Comfort Plus and Main Cabin side by side for a clear-cut comparison. Here’s a quick comparison table detailing the primary features and benefits of each:

Delta Comfort PlusDelta Main Cabin
Baggage allowanceFree carry-on; checked bags additional costStandard legroom and recline. Overhead bin space on a first-come, first-served basis.
Check-in and boardingPriority boarding after First Class & Diamond Medallion Members; standard check-inBoarding after Delta Comfort+ and Premium Select passengers; standard check-in
Seat comfort and spaceExtra legroom and recline; dedicated overhead bin.Standard legroom and recline. Overhead bin space on first-come, first-served basis.
Food & BeveragePremium snacks on most 900+ mile routes.Complimentary snacks on flights over 250 miles; additional food items available for purchase on select routes over 900 miles.
Complimentary Beer, Wine & LiquorBeer & wine on 251+ mile routes; Liquor on 500+ mile routes.Available for a cost
AmenitiesPillow, blanket, complimentary earbuds, and amenity kits on DTW-HNL ATL-HNL, MSP-HNL, and long-haul international.None
Fare flexibility and upgrade optionsNo change fees on domestic flights or those originating from North America to another country; Upgrade options available for purchase or with SkyMiles, depending on availability and demand.Same as Comfort Plus
Earnings rates (towards status)Earn 7x base miles per dollar, 100% MQMs, MQSs, and MQDs.Earn 5x base miles per dollar spent, 100% MQMs, and base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges as MQDs. Earn 1 MQS per flight segment.

From this table, you can see that the primary differences boil down to comfort and amenities. Delta Comfort Plus is designed for those who crave extra legroom and more personalized service, while the Main Cabin is geared toward budget-conscious travelers who are satisfied with standard seating and amenities. Of course, the price reflects these differences, with Delta Comfort Plus being more expensive than the Main Cabin fare.

Delta Comfort Plus: A Deeper Look at Its Perks and Features

delta comfort plus lady using seat back tv

Delta Comfort Plus, a premium economy option presented by Delta Air Lines, aims to upgrade your journey with added comfort and personalized services. With Delta Comfort Plus, you get expanded legroom, earlier boarding, reserved overhead bin space, complimentary alcoholic beverages and snacks, meals on select routes, and a handy amenity kit for extended flights.

Baggage Allowance

Passengers flying Delta Comfort Plus can carry on one bag and one personal item at no extra charge. However, if you want to check your bags, be prepared for extra fees unless you have Medallion status, carry a Delta co-branded credit card, or hold an active military status. Each checked bag’s maximum weight and size is 50 lbs (23 kg) and 62 inches (158 cm).

Check-In and Boarding

Delta Comfort Plus takes the stress out of boarding by allowing you to enter the aircraft right after First Class and Diamond Medallion Members have boarded. This early access ensures ample time to stow your carry-on luggage and relax comfortably. Plus, it also lets you exit the plane sooner upon arrival.

Seat Comfort and Space

The comfort aspect of Delta Comfort Plus becomes evident when you experience up to 3 extra inches of legroom compared to a Main Cabin seat. Some aircraft also offer enhanced recline for your seats. Moreover, you’ll have dedicated space in the overhead bins for your carry-on items.

In-Flight Service and Amenities

Long-haul international flights with Delta Comfort Plus offer passengers a pillow, blanket, complimentary earbuds, and a well-appointed amenity kit.

As for food and drinks, you can indulge in premium snacks on most routes covering over 900 miles. On flights over 251 miles, complimentary beer & wine are served, and routes extending beyond 500 miles also offer free liquor.

Fare Flexibility and Upgrade Options

Delta has implemented no change fees on all fares. If cancellation is unavoidable, you’ll receive an eCredit for the value of your ticket for flights originating from the United States, Canada, and Europe. In addition, Delta Comfort Plus gives you the option to pre-select your seat or upgrade to First Class or Delta Premium Select on qualifying flights, whether you’re paying with cash or miles.

Earnings Rates (Towards Status)

Traveling with Delta Comfort Plus contributes to your SkyMiles Medallion status. You’ll earn 100% of the miles flown as Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs), 100% of the base fare as Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs), and 7 miles per dollar spent as redeemable miles.

Comfort Plus Drawbacks

Though Delta Comfort Plus brings plenty of positives to your travel experience, it’s important to be aware of some drawbacks. These include not offering free checked bags or lounge access, a lack of dedicated flight attendant service, and possible variability in seat comfort and width depending on the aircraft.

Related: Delta Comfort Plus vs. First Class: A Comprehensive Comparison

Delta Main Cabin: An Overview and Its Advantages

delta main cabin two passengers laughing in the aisle

Delta Main Cabin is Delta Air Lines’ standard economy class, available on domestic and international routes. Offering more flexibility and benefits compared to Delta’s most basic fare option, Delta Basic Economy, the Main Cabin experience is designed to bring you comfort and convenience without stretching your budget.

Baggage Allowance

Delta Main Cabin permits passengers to carry one free bag and a personal item on all flights. Additionally, Main Cabin passengers can check one or two bags free of charge on eligible international flights, depending on the destination. However, for most domestic flights, there are additional charges for checked baggage unless you’re a SkyMiles credit card holder or have elite status that waives the fee.

Check-In and Boarding

For Delta Main Cabin passengers, regular security lanes are available, with options to pay extra for TSA PreCheck or CLEAR to expedite the process. Main Cabin passengers board after Delta Comfort Plus and Premium Select passengers but before Basic Economy passengers, with boarding groups 5 to 8 assigned based on seat location.

Seat Comfort and Space

Delta Main Cabin seats typically range between 17 and 18 inches wide, with a pitch of 31 to 32 inches on most aircraft. The seats have adjustable headrests and can recline up to 4 inches. On most aircraft, seats are equipped with power outlets and USB ports. However, Main Cabin passengers have less legroom than Delta Comfort Plus passengers and no dedicated overhead bin space. If the bins are full, carry-on bags may need to be checked at the gate.

In-Flight Service and Amenities

Main Cabin passengers receive shared service from flight attendants and can request special assistance or accommodations if needed. Complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are provided on all flights over 250 miles. For select flights over 900 miles, beer, wine, spirits, and snack boxes are available for purchase.

On long-haul international flights, Main Cabin passengers enjoy complimentary meals and alcoholic beverages. In-flight entertainment via Delta Studio, including movies, TV shows, music, podcasts, games, and live TV, is available on most planes. Most planes provide free earbuds and free Wi-Fi for Delta SkyMiles members. However, amenity kits, pillows, and blankets are usually not provided on most flights unless they’re traveling on long-haul international flights or upon request from the flight attendants.

Fare Flexibility and Upgrade Options

Delta Main Cabin passengers can change or cancel their flights without a change fee for tickets originating in North America or Europe. If you need to cancel or change your flight, the value of your ticket can be applied to a new flight, though a fare difference may apply if the new flight is more expensive. If the trip is canceled, passengers can receive an eCredit for the value of their ticket.

Main Cabin passengers can purchase an upgrade to a preferred seat, Delta Comfort Plus, or a premium cabin at the time of booking, during check-in, or at the gate, depending on availability and demand. Upgrades using SkyMiles or Medallion certificates are also possible, subject to availability and eligibility. Complimentary upgrades to First Class or Delta One on select routes are only available for passengers with elite status.

Earnings Rates (Towards Status)

Main Cabin passengers earn 5 SkyMiles per dollar spent on their ticket, plus any bonuses from their elite status or credit cards. They also earn 100% of the distance flown as Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) and any bonuses from their elite status or credit cards. Each flight segment counts as 1 Medallion Qualification Segment (MQS), regardless of distance flown. The base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges (excluding taxes and fees) are counted as Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs).

These earnings contribute towards achieving or maintaining a SkyMiles Medallion status. The four tiers of Medallion status—Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond—offer various benefits, such as complimentary upgrades, waived fees, priority services, and more. SkyMiles can also be redeemed for a wide range of rewards, including award flights, seat upgrades, gift cards, merchandise, and unique experiences.

Drawbacks of Delta Main Cabin

Despite the advantages of Delta Main Cabin, there are certain trade-offs. These include less legroom and overhead bin space compared to Delta Comfort Plus or premium cabins, later boarding and deplaning compared to higher fare classes, and limited snack and beverage options onboard compared to higher fare classes. Additionally, most domestic flights do not include complimentary checked baggage unless you hold a qualifying Delta credit card or elite status. Similarly, access to priority check-in, security, and baggage handling is not included unless you have a qualifying credit card or elite status.

How to Choose Between Delta Comfort Plus and Delta Main Cabin

When selecting between Delta Comfort Plus and Delta Main Cabin, it’s essential to consider the nuances that set them apart. Both fare classes offer more than the basics but diverge significantly in terms of amenities, comfort, service, and cost.

Delta Comfort Plus offers more legroom, priority boarding, dedicated overhead bin space, complimentary alcoholic beverages, snacks, meals on certain routes, and an amenity kit on longer flights. Earnings towards Medallion status are higher, and there are also more upgrade options.

Delta Main Cabin provides standard amenities, including access to in-flight entertainment, the ability to choose your seat at booking, and complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic beverages on flights over 250 miles. There’s less legroom compared to Comfort Plus, and the boarding process is slower.

Here are some tips and factors to consider when choosing between these two:

Budget and Travel Goals

Your budget is an essential factor. Delta Comfort Plus costs more than Delta Main Cabin, so if keeping costs down is your top priority, Delta Main Cabin is the obvious choice. However, if you have a little more flexibility with your budget and value a more comfortable flight experience, Delta Comfort Plus might be worth the additional cost.

Flight Length and Destination

The length and destination of your flight are also crucial. For a short domestic flight, the extra benefits Delta Comfort Plus offers may not seem as valuable. However, the extra legroom and added comfort can make a significant difference for long-haul flights or red-eyes.

SkyMiles Status and Upgrade Options

If you’re a SkyMiles member, consider your status and upgrade options. If you’re close to reaching the next level of Medallion status, booking Delta Comfort Plus can help you achieve that goal faster. On the other hand, if you have elite status and are confident in your chances of getting a complimentary upgrade, you might prefer to save money by booking Delta Main Cabin.

Personal Preferences

Lastly, your personal preferences play a crucial role. If you prefer more personal space, faster boarding, or complimentary alcoholic beverages, Delta Comfort Plus would be your best bet. However, Delta Main Cabin should suffice if these perks don’t matter as much to you and you just want a basic, cost-effective flight.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Delta Comfort Plus and Main Cabin?

Delta Comfort Plus is a premium economy offering with additional legroom, priority boarding, dedicated overhead bin space, complimentary alcoholic beverages, snacks, meals on select routes, and an amenity kit on longer flights. Delta Main Cabin is a standard economy class offering with basic amenities, including a carry-on bag, in-flight entertainment, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages.

How much does it cost to upgrade to Delta Comfort Plus from Main Cabin?

The cost to upgrade from Main Cabin to Delta Comfort Plus can vary significantly based on the flight route, duration, and booking demand.

What kind of snacks and drinks are included with Delta Comfort Plus?

Delta Comfort Plus offers complimentary premium snacks on most routes over 900 miles, free alcoholic beverages (beer and wine) on routes over 251 miles, and spirits on routes over 500 miles.

How much legroom and overhead bin space do I get with Delta Comfort Plus?

Delta Comfort Plus offers up to 3 more inches of legroom than a standard Main Cabin seat and dedicated overhead bin space for your carry-on items.

How do I get a complimentary upgrade to Delta Comfort Plus?

Complimentary upgrades to Delta Comfort Plus are primarily offered to Delta’s Medallion Members based on their tier and fare class.

Bottom Line

Delta Comfort Plus and Delta Main Cabin offer distinct experiences tailored to different travel needs. Comfort Plus gives passengers an enhanced comfort level with extra legroom, priority boarding, dedicated overhead bin space, and complimentary refreshments. On the other hand, Main Cabin offers a more budget-friendly option with basic amenities.

Choosing between the two comes down to various factors, including your budget, the length and destination of your flight, your SkyMiles status, and your personal preferences for comfort, service, and amenities. If cost is a major consideration, Main Cabin is a practical choice. However, Comfort Plus could be worth the extra cost for longer flights or those valuing a bit more comfort and convenience.

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Joe Morelli

Joe Morelli, an avid travel enthusiast and founder of Modern Miles, has mastered the art of earning and redeeming millions of points and miles annually. Accompanied by his wife and two children, he explores the world's wonders, inspiring others with his expertise and unquenchable thirst for adventure.

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