For travelers spending the big bucks to fly in business or first class, these are happy days.
Bigger seats. Three-star meals. Chauffeur-driven Porsche rides.
For the other 99 percent—those relegated to the coach cabin—not so much.
If anything, the overall trend for coach passengers is a negative one. In particular, in their zeal to maximize revenues, the airlines have packed coach seats ever more densely. Over the past two decades, average coach legroom has decreased by around 10 percent. That, combined with load factors that routinely exceed 80 percent, has made for a coach-class experience that can border on the unbearable.
So anything that upgrades coach travel, even minimally, is a welcome step in the right direction.
Delta made such a move this week, with the introduction of amenity kits for coach passengers on its long-haul international flights.
Amenity kits are those branded swag bags, typically reserved for flyers in the expensive seats, with mini-sized bottles of moisturizer, a comb, eye shades, a throw-away razor. Delta’s own business-class amenity kit, introduced last year, features Malin+Goetz’s Neroli Hand & Body Lotion and Lip Moisturizer, a Tumi eye mask, socks, shoe horn, shoe polish, comb, dental kit, tissues, antibacterial wipes, earplugs, and a pen, packed in a Tumi case.
To keep expectations in check, Delta is referring to its new coach offering as a sleep kit, containing as it does just two items: eye shades and ear plugs. They’ll be handed out by flight attendants, on a request basis, “to help customers get better rest when travelling between continents.”
Also new, coach passengers on longer international flights will receive a free bottle of water following the meal service, and “updated snack offerings for morning and afternoon/evening arrivals.”
That such minor upgrades are newsworthy at all shows just how stripped down the coach product has become.
Reader Reality Check
To improve the coach-class travel experience, what should be the airlines’ primary focus?
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.