The new seats – to be called "Economy Comfort" – will feature up to four additional inches of legroom and 50 per cent more...

Delta Air Lines is planning to introduce a premium economy section – to be called “Economy Comfort” – on all long-haul international flights this summer.

The new seats will feature up to four additional inches of legroom and 50 per cent more recline than Delta Air Lines’ standard international Economy-class seats.

Delta’s new premium-economy product, which is similar to upgraded Economy services currently available on flights operated by Delta’s joint-venture partner Air France-KLM, will be installed in the first few rows of the Economy cabins on more than 160 Boeing 747s, 757s, 767s, 777s and Airbus A330s by this summer.

Customers who have purchased an international Economy ticket on Delta will be able to choose Economy Comfort seats for an additional fee of $80 to $160 one-way through, kiosks and Delta reservations beginning in May for travel this summer.

This is how Delta Air Lines' new international Economy Comfort premium-economy seats look

Complimentary access to Economy Comfort seats will be available to all SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallions; up to eight companions traveling in the same reservation with Diamond and Platinum Medallions; and customers purchasing full-fare Economy-class tickets. Gold and Silver Medallions will enjoy 50 and 25 per cent discounts on the Economy Comfort seat fees, respectively.

“Just as Delta is investing in BusinessElite, which is among the industry’s most competitive premium products, it makes sense to offer enhancements to our Economy Class service that provide additional comfort,” says Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s executive vice president – network planning, revenue management and marketing.  “Economy Comfort is one of many elements Delta is committed to delivering to our customers as part of a more-than-$2-billion investment we are making in the air and on the ground to improve the customer experience and position Delta as a leader in customer service.”

In addition to more leg room and seat recline, customers seated in Delta’s Economy Comfort seats will board early and be offered complimentary spirits throughout the flight. These benefits are in addition to Delta’s standard international Economy class amenities, including complimentary meals, beer, wine, entertainment, blankets and pillows.

From 2013, in-seat power will also be available on aircraft equipped with personal entertainment systems, which will come with free HBO programming (as of July 2011 on some aircraft) and other for-fee content. The seats will be designated with a specially designed seat cover.

In addition to investing in its international Economy cabins, Delta now plans to install 34 horizontal flat-bed BusinessElite seats with direct aisle access in each of its 32 Airbus A330s by 2013. The airline is now planning to offer full flat-bed seating in BusinessElite on all international widebody flights, or more than 150 aircraft, by 2013.

The new A330 seat, manufactured by Weber Aircraft LLC, will be 81.7 inches in length and 20.5 inches wide, similar to the flat-bed product currently offered on Delta’s Boeing 777 fleet. It also will feature a 120-volt universal power outlet, USB port, personal LED reading lamp and a 15.4 inch personal video monitor with instant access to 250 new and classic movies, premium programming from HBO and Showtime, other television programming, video games and more than 4,000 digital music tracks.

In addition to adding the Economy Comfort product and offering full-flat bed seats on its entire international widebody fleet, Delta is upgrading its domestic fleet with more First Class seats and in-seat entertainment; adding personal, in-seat entertainment for both BusinessElite and Economy class customers on all long-haul international flights; adding in-flight Wi-Fi service to all domestic aircraft with a First and Economy class cabin; and building new terminal facilities for international customers at its two largest global gateways – Atlanta and New York-JFK.

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