For years, customers have complained about the increasing discomforts of flying: the ever-shrinking seat size and legroom, lack of food options, and other amenities. One airline even boldly touts that its seats don’t recline! (Actually, that might not be an entirely bad thing, having ridden with people’s seatbacks in our laps before.)
So it’s no surprise that the major carriers are looking to position themselves as being attentive to their passengers’ comfort needs. United recently unveiled its p.s. (premium service) option and now Delta has announced its own Premium Economy program to bring customers more comfort when they travel.
Premium Economy will premiere later this year when the company’s A350 aircrafts are introduced into the fleet. In these new planes, Premium Economy will have 48 seats and will only be available on specific international flights.
The most luxurious of all Delta’s enhanced seat offerings, Premium Economy will have a dedicated cabin and attendants, up to 38 inches of seat pitch, up to 19 inches seat width, and up to nine inches of recline. Currently, according to SeatGuru, the standard economy seat average is between 31 and 34 with a 17- to 18.5-inch width.
The seating will also feature adjustable head and foot rests, as well as name brand amenities, pre-flight drink service, special meal service, and a 13.3-inch seatback entertainment screen. Premium Economy passengers will also have priority security clearance, check-in, boarding, and baggage handling.
We’ve reported here before about the increased use of RFID chips in checked luggage and luggage tags to tilt the odds that your bag will arrive with you at your final destination in your favor. There have been new innovations in the effort to reduce lost bags, this time from Delta. Once you see what they’ve been doing, you may never look at those little paper baggage tags the same again.
This year, Delta has implemented RFID technology into its complimentary baggage tags, eliminating the possibility of a bag being unscanned due to a smudged, wrinkled, torn, or obscured tag. Now, in every airport where Delta operates, its bags only need to be be in proximity to the radio scanners to be accounted for. As with the older tags, fliers can track their checked bags using Delta’s mobile app.
Implementing these kinds of changes can be costly and disruptive because they require infrastructure adjustments. While some airports, such as Las Vegas’ McCarren International Airport, have been using RFID for over a decade, any new tracking system is typically the responsibility of the individual airline.
Delta spent $50 million on the system, which included scanners, printers, and said tags. Widespread use of these types of tags has been slow to come online in the airline industry, according to the International Air Travel Association. But the deadline for all 265 member airlines to be able to fully track and trace all bags is 2018. And the system is expected to work, not only on an airline’s own flights, but also connecting flights with another carrier.
It’s not hard to imagine, and it’s every weary traveler’s worst case scenario. Perhaps this has happened to you. You arrive home from your trip only to find your luggage didn’t make the trip with you. You rummage around and find those little baggage claim stickers from the depths of your carry-on to show an airline customer service representative, but other than that you have no way of knowing where your bags are. It’s an awful beginning or end to any trip.
Currently, there are many bag tracking devices and accompanying apps on the market, but those put the onus on the traveler to make the airline aware that, for example, they’re on a flight to Omaha while their luggage is on its way to London.
Delta is turning this model around, as they have recently announced a $50 million update to their baggage tracking technology system. New RFID scanners, RFID bag tag printer, and RFID pier and claim readers have been installed in 344 stations worldwide. Delta’s investment is the largest outlay by a single airline to date, and has resulted in baggage tracking that is 99.9 percent accurate.
Want to know how the “other half” lives and travels? Delta wants you to, too. This summer, the airline proudly unveiled extensive renovations of Terminal 5 in LAX, the world’s fifth busiest airport. Their renovations were part of an $8 billion overall renovation of LAX.
The refurbishments include upgraded food and beverage offerings, extensive improvements to its Sky Club, new jet bridges, an expanded ticketing lobby, four additional security checkpoints, new baggage claim carousels, and international baggage recheck facilities. But Delta made sure got the most press was its new Delta ONE lounge.
Delta ONE is the airline’s first premium check-in lounge with a dedicated entrance and security accessible from the private lounge.
In other words, it’s paparazzi-proof.
The 3,200-square-foot space boasts high-end furnishings and amenities, such as a refreshment bar, two restrooms, check-in kiosks, two seating areas (with comfortable chairs that aren’t soldered to the chair next to it), and a service desk created by MotoArt and fashioned from the tail of a DC9 jet.
It is expected to service 150 to 200 passengers a day — travelers Delta counts (and there are 360 of them) as its top tier, highest revenue generating customers. Translation: rich and famous folks.
Those who purchase Delta’s VIP Select service will be eligible to use the lounge, which is just the first of such Delta ONE lounges to be constructed in New York, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, and Seattle. Other hub cities are expected to be added to the list. Also available as part of the Select service is the hiring of a Porsche to meet the plane on the tarmac and escort the passenger and his luggage off the airport grounds.
What’s the swankiest airport lounge you’ve ever visited? Have you ever been to a Delta ONE or similar lounge? And will you take us with you next time you go? Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page.
Rollaboard owners rejoice! Boeing is trying to solve the ongoing carry-on luggage problem by adding bigger overhead bins.
According to a new Travel Pulse article, the new bins, called “space bins,” will carry more luggage than the previous bins. This will hopefully ease the stress and strain put on travelers and flight attendants as more people try to sneak larger bags onto flights.
The new bins will also be easier to load and see into, which is helpful since more than one traveler has been hit on the head by people removing heavy bags they didn’t quite realize they couldn’t carry.
One drawback is that it will decrease head space a bit.
It will be interesting to see how Virgin Airlines reacts to the news, given they recently said the interior plane space is actually the most valuable space. They were discussing charging for carry-on bags, and allowing free checked bags. Will this move be a revenue generator for them?
From Boeing’s perspective, they’re likely responding to requests from the airlines, who are hearing from customers. Right now, the airlines want to continue to charge for checked bags and allow carry-ons. Those passengers looking to save some money will be better able to maneuver their carry-ons and fit them into the new large bins.
Meanwhile, we’ve also been hearing some airlines are considering reducing the allowed carry-on sizes to accommodate more passengers using their carry-ons. However, Delta has said they plan to allow carry-on sizes to remain the same as they have been in the past.
We like the idea of the bigger bins. If you could turn your carry-on bag sideways (which is what Boeing is suggesting), you can fit six bags into the space instead of four. The loss of headroom does not seem like a great loss, especially since we’ll all be sitting. We’ll see if that continues to be the case or if headroom will be subject to shrinkage like everything else on the plane.
What are some of your ideas for getting more (or fewer) carry-on bags into the plane? Leave your ideas in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.
Photo credit: Boeing Media Room
One of the worst things about airline travel — other than having the person in front of you lean their seat back on your knees — is waiting for your bag to arrive on the baggage carousel. While we normally encourage people to take carry-on bags, that’s not always an option.
So when Delta Airlines said they would deliver domestic passengers’ bags to the luggage carousel within 20 minutes, we took notice.
Their new policy went into effect in February, and although it was originally just a trial run, they’ve since made it a permanent policy.
The feedback from travelers was positive, and it has been a great way for Delta to differentiate itself among the pack. The established airlines tend to be fairly similar, so this has been a good way for Delta to stand out and get some positive buzz.
Knowing your bags will be delivered within a short, 20 minute window makes the baggage retrieval process a lot more bearable and may encourage more people to check bags, something the airline would prefer as they get more fees and fewer headaches than dealing with the carry-on luggage nightmares.
Plus, it’s a good way to encourage travelers to join Delta’s frequent flier program, because members will get a 2, 500 point bonus if their wait for luggage exceeds the 20 minutes.
It’s an interesting promise, and we definitely like it. We wonder how many bonus miles they’ll hand out, especially in the beginning. It offers security and comfort to passengers who may feel that airlines are mainly out to gouge money out of them through new fees.
Will you take advantage of Delta’s new 20 minute policy? Leave us a comment or head over on our Facebook page and discuss it over there.
Atlantic Luggage Announces its “Win a Delta Vacations Trip for Four to Los Angeles, CA or Washington, DC Sweepstakes”
Sweepstakes runs May 15 through June 15, 2014
Atlantic luggage, part of the Travelpro family of brands and a market leader in affordable, lightweight luggage since 1919, is proud to announce its “Win a Delta Vacations Trip For Four to Los Angeles or Washington, DC Sweepstakes.”
Ideal for families who like to travel, Atlantic is offering the chance for a grand prize winner and three guests to win a fabulous Delta Vacations trip to either Los Angeles or Washington, DC. The winner will receive a certificate valid for roundtrip airfare for four (4) on Delta Air Lines; choice of Delta Vacations hotel accommodations; an activity package; and four (4) Atlantic carry-on sized suitcases.
“Atlantic Luggage has a 95 year history of designing luggage known for its lightweight durability, affordability and style, perfect for families on the go.” said Scott Applebee, Vice President of Marketing for the Travelpro and the Atlantic Luggage brands. “In commemoration of our long standing customers, we are pleased to offer a grand prize winner and three guests the opportunity to visit a city of their choice, either Los Angeles, CA or Washington, DC.”
The Grand Prize Package includes a certificate valid for:
- Round-trip economy airfare for four (4) on Delta Air Lines.
- Choice of Delta Vacations Hotel Accommodations for four (4).
- A Delta Vacations activity package of the winner’s choice.
- Four (4) Atlantic carry-on sized suitcases.
The sweepstakes begins May 15th and ends June 15th, 2014. To enter or view the official sweepstakes rules please visit the Atlantic Luggage sweepstakes site. No purchase or payment is necessary to enter or win.
About Atlantic Brand Luggage
Since 1919, the Atlantic brand has been synonymous with affordable, value-added and lightweight luggage. As a market leader in the lightweight luggage segment, including neatly designed uprights and spinners to trendy and smart garment bags and totes, all Atlantic branded luggage is of superior quality and durability. Whether for business or pleasure, travel is easier with Atlantic luggage, now part of the Travelpro family of brands. Please visit Atlantic Luggage at www.atlanticluggage.com for a list of the latest products available for purchase and the nearest retail locations.
For over 25 years, Travelpro International has prided itself on design innovation and durability in crafting the highest quality luggage for travelers worldwide. Since transforming the ease of modern day travel with The Original Rollaboard wheeled luggage, Travelpro has been the brand of choice for flight crews and frequent travelers worldwide. Travelpro is dedicated to building a lifelong relationship with its customers by consistently understanding and exceeding their needs. Travelpro was honored to receive the New Product Innovation Award from the Travel Goods Association (TGA) in March 2013 for the revolutionary Platinum Magna luggage collection.
About Delta Vacations
Delta Vacations offers convenient one-stop shopping for affordable vacation packages that combine Delta Air Lines or Delta’s codeshare partner flights with hotel stays, rental car, sightseeing and entertainment, escorted tours and more. Delta Vacations, in partnership with Air France Holidays and Alitalia Vacations, originate from more than 220 cities across the United States and Canada; destinations include more than 4,000 world-class hotels and resorts throughout Mexico, Costa Rica, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia. Delta Vacations is managed and marketed by MLT Vacations, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines.