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Delta Comfort vs First Class: Which Is the Best Plan for Your Travels?

Travelers can all agree on one thing: they want comfort and good service during their flights. If you have a little wriggle room where cost is concerned, there are several options available. Many airlines now offer more than a simple left or right turn when you board the aircraft with more seating and in-flight options than the traditional economy, business, and first-class options.

One such airline is Delta, offering a total of six seating categories: Basic Economy, Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+®, First Class, Delta Premium Select, and Delta One.  Our review takes a deep dive into two of these choices: Delta Comfort and Delta First Class. More specifically, we’re exploring:

  • Who Delta Airlines are
  • Delta Comfort+® at the airport
  • Delta First Class at the airport
  • Delta Comfort+® seating
  • Delta First Class seating
  • Delta Comfort+® in-flight amenities
  • Delta First Class in-flight amenities
  • Their key similarities and differences

That’s a lot of information to get through, so let’s start with the Delta Comfort vs First Class comparison.

Delta Comfort and First Class: Their Key Similarities and Differences

If you just want a rundown of the critical similarities and differences between Comfort+® and First Class, we’ve got you covered: 

Delta Comfort and First Class: Their Key Similarities:

  • Both offer faster check-in and aircraft exit options
  • Both offer meal choices and cater to special dietary requests
  • Both offer passengers a pillow, blanket, and headphones
  • Both offer a USB outlet with each seat
  • Both types of seats are located at the front of the aircraft, although First Class seats are further forward than Comfort+®. 

Delta Comfort and First Class: Their Key Differences:

  • First Class passengers receive priority boarding over Comfort+® passengers
  • First Class passengers can disembark faster than Comfort+® passengers
  • First Class passengers enjoy two checked-in bags for free. Whereas, Comfort+® passengers don’t.
  • First Class passengers are offered accelerated check-in and security. Whereas, Comfort+® customers don’t benefit from this perk.
  • First Class passengers get personal cabin attendant service. Whereas Comfort+® passengers don’t.

About Delta

Delta Comfort vs First Class

Delta flies around 200 million passengers every year. With 75,000 employees, it describes its culture as one of “Honesty, Integrity, Respect, Respect, Perseverance and Servant Leadership – every day, in everything we do.”

Formed in 1928, Delta Airlines flew its first passenger flight from Dallas, Texas, to Jackson, Mississippi, in 1929. It launched its first international routes in 1953 to the Caribbean and Caracas. Fast forward to today, and the airline flies to over 300 destinations across 50 countries and boasts more than 15,000 daily departures. 

That said, let’s take a look at what passengers get for their money with Delta Comfort and Delta First tickets.

Delta Comfort+ Overview and at The Airport

Broadly speaking, Delta describes this seating option as an “upgraded experience.” Overall, passengers get up to 3 inches of extra legroom on domestic flights and up to 4 inches on international flights, with seats allocated toward the front of the plane. 

However, Comfort passengers don’t benefit from free checked baggage allowance. In this regard, Comfort passengers are treated the same as passengers traveling in the main cabin. 

Also on offer is an overhead luggage space that’s dedicated just to you. Passengers also get early boarding and fast exit upon landing. There are also a few other little extras for Comfort passengers that we’ll go into further down in this review.

When you arrive at the airport as a Comfort+® passenger, you’re not the first to board the plane. Still, you’re ahead in the queue after the following passenger categories:

  • Passengers needing assistance
  • Military personnel on active duty who carry their ID
  • Delta One customers
  • First Class or Delta Premium Select customers
  • Customers with strollers and baby car seats

Any passenger who’s a Delta Airlines Medallion® Loyalty Scheme member is eligible for a complimentary upgrade to Delta Comfort +®. However, there are qualifying terms and conditions attached to this, which we encourage you to look into. 

Delta First Class Overview and at The Airport

First Class with Delta is available only on shorter and domestic flights. As you’ve just seen, when it comes to boarding your plane, Delta First Class customers are pretty high up in the queue. 

In addition, passengers are given:

  • Priority check-in
  • Accelerated security at some airports where that option is available
  • You can check in two bags weighing up to 70 pounds each without additional baggage charges. 

The seat allocation is also pretty generous, with up to 8 inches of extra legroom. First Class customers also benefit from other little extras that we’ll go into a bit lower down in this review. 

Delta Comfort vs First Class plans

Delta Comfort+ Seating

You already know that you get up to 4 inches of extra legroom, but what about the other all-important details about Delta Comfort+® seating? 

Unfortunately, there’s no set answer to this question. The seat measurements vary depending on the size of the aircraft you’re traveling in. However, the seat width tends to range between 17.2” and 18.6”. 

As for the seat’s pitch, again, that varies according to the type of aircraft you’re traveling in. A quick glance tells us that the average seat pitch ranges between 34-35”. 

While Delta Comfort+® seats are available on pretty much all Delta flights, the number of such seats again vary according to the aircraft’s size. The bigger the plane, the more Comfort+® seats there are. The largest number is found on the Airbus A330-990, which has 56 such places, while the lowest number is located on the Embraer E-170 (E70) and Embraer E-175 (E75) with just 12 seats a-piece. 

Delta First-Class Seating

Most First Class seats are 21” wide, with a few exceptions on smaller aircraft falling in around 19.6” wide. Again, it all depends on the type of aircraft you’re traveling on. If you’re interested in seat pitch, the First Class seat pitches average between 36-38.” 

Typically there are always fewer First Class seats compared to other seat categories. Again, this varies according to the size of the aircraft. We found the largest number on the Boeing 757-300 and 757-200, with 24 seats on both. Conversely, the lowest number on the Embraer E-170 (E70) and Bombardier CRJ-700 with just 9 seats each. 

Delta Comfort+ and First Class In-flight Amenities

Travel lovers and frequent flyers often talk about the added extras they receive for paying more for their tickets. While seat comfort is enormously important, so are some of the added benefits that keep you entertained and nourished throughout your journey. 

Let’s take a look at what Comfort+® and First Class tickets offer in this regard:

Comfort+

We’ve already mentioned some of the amenities that Comfort customers enjoy higher up in this review. But here are a few more comfort-related details. For instance, you’ll get a pillow, blanket, amenity kit, and complimentary headset if you’re traveling on a long-haul international flight. 

For snack lovers, Comfort+® passengers are offered fresh fruit and premium snacks on routes over 900 miles when there’s no meal service. Or, on flights over 250 miles, there’s Starbucks coffee, and for over 21s, complimentary beer, wine, and spirits. 

The snacks on offer vary according to your flight times. For example, in the morning, you may be offered a pastry or breakfast bar, and in the afternoon, a cookie, chips, or candy. 

As for onboard meals, these are offered on long-haul, international, and some domestic flights. It isn’t possible to outline precisely what type of meal you’d get, as this varies according to the destination you’re flying to. However, meals are complimentary, and there are options for special dietary requirements. 

Top Tip: It’s wise to order your meal choices in advance when booking your ticket to guarantee your first choice. 

Delta Comfort vs First Class top tips

First Class 

First Class passengers receive a few extra layers of comfort when flying in this category, including a dedicated flight attendant, built-in powered outlets and WiFi on most flights, and a soft pillow, blanket, and ergonomically designed earbuds by Billboard.

First Class passengers are also offered complimentary beverages, including alcoholic ones and snacks. However, they also receive the added luxury of fine in-flight dining. Passengers on medium flights between 900-1,399 miles receive a full chef-curated meal. If you’re flying during the morning until lunchtime, it’s breakfast and lunch, and dinner for departures between 4 pm and 8 pm. 

As for longer flights over 1,500 miles, if you have dietary requirements, including eating  Kosher food or are diabetic, these meal options are available. However, like we just said, it’s always wise to request these at the time of booking.

In-Flight Entertainment

Suppose in-flight entertainment is essential to you for your journey. In that case, you’ll be reassured to read that whichever class you travel in, you have access to 1,000+ hours of complementary entertainment. This includes 12 live satellite TV channels, the latest movies, premium TV series’ from HBO®, Hulu®, and Showtime®, podcasts, playlists, and games.

Movie buffs are offered a choice of 300+ films. At the time of writing, we could find the following movies on the menu: Promising Young Woman, Love and Monsters, and News of the World. As for TV, at the time of writing, the following TV shows appeared on the menu: Schitt’s Creek, Breaking Bad, The Undoing, and Outcry. 

Comfort passengers have access to a personalized screen measuring up to 9”, while First Class passengers’ screens measure up to 11”.

Delta tells us that it’s one of the largest onboard WiFi providers globally. So it’s no surprise that WiFi’s offered on almost all flights with two or more cabins. WiFi can be purchased from as little as $7 for an hour, which is valid for 30 days, or $28 for a global 24-hour pass that’s valid for one year. 

However, suppose you just want to communicate via online messenger apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or iMessage apps on your smartphone. In that case, you can do that for free.

 

FAQs

Question: Tell me more about Delta’s loyalty programs.

Answer: Delta’s general loyalty program is called SkyMiles. SkyMiles members who earn enough points through frequent flying can earn Medallion status, which we’ve referred to earlier in this review. 
The program is free to join. Any miles you earn don’t expire after a specific date. You can use them for future flights and treats such as premium drinks, upgrades, or a Delta vacation package. 

If you take out a Delta SkyMiles credit card operated by American Express, you can earn even more miles. Overall, SkyMiles members earn 5 miles for each dollar spent on a Delta flight. The higher-priced ticket you buy, the more miles you earn, with a maximum of 75,000 miles per ticket. Just remember to enter your SkyMiles membership number when you book your flight to ensure you log your miles.
 
Once you have enough qualifying miles, you earn Medallion status, which is split into four tiers: silver, gold, platinum, and diamond. This entitles you to unlimited complimentary upgrades, more miles earned with each Medallion tier, and waived fees such as baggage fees. The Delta SkyMiles section of its website goes into tons of detail about each level and how to attain them. 

Question: How do I book a ticket?

Answer: Booking is simple. You can either book via the Delta website and tick the type of ticket you want. If you’re opting for Delta Comfort+® or First Class, just select either of those in the drop-down menu, pop in your departure dates, and departure and arrival destinations.
This will populate the different types of seats available across all classes and their prices. Suppose your preferred ticket class doesn’t come up for your departure and destination. In that case, that means it isn’t available for that flight, and you’ll have to select a different option. 
Alternatively, you can book through a travel agent or via your favorite travel booking website. We all have our tried and tested methods of booking flights. But, remember to check the booking/amendment/refund conditions on your ticket, particularly with regards to COVID-19 travel restrictions. 

Question: How many US departure points are there? 

Answer: Suppose you’ve decided you’re definitely flying with Delta and are pretty much agreed on your ticket category. You still need to ensure that Delta flies from your chosen departure point. 
Delta flies from the following US airports, and it’s a long list!:
• Atlanta
• Boston
• Chicago
• Cincinnati
• Detroit
• Houston
• Las Vegas
• Los Angeles
• Memphis
• Miami
• Minneapolis – St Paul
• New York
• Orlando
• Philadelphia
• Pittsburgh
• Portland
• Salt Lake City
• San Francisco
• San Jose
• Seattle
• Washington Ronald Reagan
• Washington Dulles 
Suffice to say; there are lots of US departure and arrival points to choose from. As for international trips, there are destinations in Africa, the Middle East, Central, and South America, Asia, Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, and New Zealand. 

Question: Can I upgrade from Delta Comfort+ to First Class?

Answer: Having bought your ticket and then decided you want to upgrade to First Class, is that possible? We’ve already talked about the complimentary upgrades passengers receive if they’re SkyMiles members with Medallion status. Alternatively, you can put your SkyMiles towards an upgrade instead of using hard cash. 
Alternatively, you can pay to upgrade your ticket without using your miles. Just log onto your Delta account via their website and type in your confirmation number, first and last name.
Now, follow the steps to check the availability of First Class tickets and the price you’d have to pay for them.
Alternatively, speak with your travel agent, who can try and make the transaction on your behalf.  
The Delta Help Center tells us you can make this transaction up to three hours before departure (provided there’s availability, of course). Delta treats your upgrade as an add-on product, meaning no new ticket is reissued. You can also use a different payment method from the one you used to make the original booking. 

Our Final Thoughts

Whether you fly First Class with Delta or choose the Delta Comfort+ option, what we can say is that both options are comfier than the seats in the Main Cabin. Why? You receive more legroom, complimentary beverages, faster boarding and disembarkation, and higher quality meals and snacks. 

If, however, all you want is good entertainment, it doesn’t really make any difference which type of ticket you buy. If your wallet can’t stretch to First Class, Delta Comfort+ is a good choice. Also, if you want to work and travel simultaneously, First Class is a much better option. Namely, because you benefit from access to power outlets, bigger screens, and greater privacy, you also won’t go hungry with First Class, especially if you’re on a more extended flight. 

Ultimately whichever option you go for is up to you. Still, it’s a great idea to do some research via the airline’s own website to ensure you know exactly what you get for the money. Have you flown Delta Comfort+ or First Class? Tell us all about your experience in the comments below!

Rosie Greaves

Rosie Greaves is a professional freelance writer and content strategist who specializes in all things lifestyle and business. You can also find here work on Reader's Digest, Cake and Lace, and Love You Tomorrow. Budapest is hands down the favorite place she's traveled to.