Delta Airlines is launching a five-tiered seating system on March 1. At the bottom of this mountain of options is “Basic Economy,” which will be the least expensive, but won’t allow for seat selection, seat changes or refunds. Next will be “Main Cabin,” which will offer customers the opportunity to choose a seat and change their flight under certain circumstances. On international flights, it will also include a sleep kit, an alcoholic beverage and a meal.
Next is “Delta Comfort+,” which will offer priority boarding, reserved bin space, more leg room, better snacks and entertainment, and fancy seats.
“First Class” will now be split with “Delta One.” The latter will have flat beds and a chef, for instance, as well as access to Delta Sky Clubs.
All of this is, of course, about money. These “a la carte” travel options are the latest thing in air travel, and it’s making airlines tons of cash. Passenger fees for checked bags and flight changes profited the industry $1.67 billion last year. Delta made the most off of these fees, according to CNN, with $1.67 billion last year.
And while passengers have resigned themselves to being nickel-and-dimed and herded onto and off of uncomfortable flights lacking in what used to be basic amenities, this new system might be so blatant as to backfire.