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Save with Basic Economy, but please remember refunds and upgrades are not available at any time. Basic Economy is best for those traveling by themselves with firm travel plans. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the restrictions so you know if Basic Economy is right for you.
Keep in Mind, Basic Economy is Just the Basics
With Basic Economy, you'll enjoy:
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Know the Details on Basic Economy
Other limitations, seat assignment.
*Ticket changes or refunds not allowed after the Risk-Free Cancellation period.
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We purchased Basic Economy seats from PHL to CUN with a stop in ATL. We understood that our seats would be assigned at the gate. If that was the case, and we were not seated together we could understand. The problem was that for the PHL to ATL portion, we checked in 23 hours ahead of time and were THEN, at check in, assigned 3 separate middle seats.
When we got to the PHL gate 2+ hrs ahead of time there were many, many people who were still not assigned seats and were assigned them at the gate. It appears that Delta went out of their way to assign us bad seats 23 hours ahead of time. wtf?
What exactly is the nature of your complaint? You bought a ticket and got a seat - those are the terms when you purchase BE. What difference does it make what happened to other pax? You don't know what they bought or what their circumstances are. You got what you paid for so I don't understand your posting at all.
Getting a middle seat is one of the "perks" of buying the cheapest fare. They can be assigned at check-in or at the gate.
I would hazard a guess that the OP hoped by waiting until last minute, Delta might have assigned all the cheap seats and the OP would get a better seat. But in this scenario, Delta will preemptively move a Medallion flyer or Main cabin fare holder to a better seat before they will move a BE
Excellent service from Delta.
If you wanted anything other than “take what you’re given” you should have booked Main Cabin.
Your issue is that they should not have assigned you available seats when you checked in? Why do you think that waiting would have resulted in better seats than what you got?
As you discovered Delta has a dual system for BE seat assignments. Some get it at olci and some at the gate. As per their website:
So for some reason you were assigned after checkin and not at the gate. If your question is curiosity as to the algorithm used, I don't know. If you're complaining about 3 random middle seats then indeed next time purchase main cabin seats or comfort+
I'm quite happy that they give the people who buy the cheapest tickets the worst seats.
I can see jeff101d's point. If post seven is accurate, and I've no reason to doubt that it is, then Delta seem to have a bit of a two tier system for assigning seats to BE pax, wheher at OLCI or at the gate.
But that may mean the BE pax who will have used OLCI won't have the same choice of seats which the airline will have deemed appropriate for BE pax as those assigned at the gate; by that I mean there may be 'better' options by that time depending on other parameters.
Depending on the number of pax booking BE tickets, waiting to assign seats at the gate could be messy, but again it does seem a bit skewed with the current process. If it's the case that a first tranche of pax who check in online for their flight will be given the choice of what's available at the time, perhaps DL could indicate that as one of the expectations that will come with the purchase of a BE ticket.
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Table of Contents
How Delta seat selection works
Delta seat selection fee, ticket types and seat selection rules, delta air lines seats for elite members, delta plane seating chart, how to pick seats on delta, final thoughts on selecting a seat on delta air lines.
Booking a Delta Air Lines flight and wondering about Delta’s seat selection? It’s no wonder — with differing benefits for elite members and strict restrictions on basic economy tickets, figuring out how and when to choose your Delta seat can quickly become overwhelming.
Here's a look at Delta seat assignments, how Delta Air Lines’ seating system works and the costs of choosing a seat.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards
Delta operates a variety of cabin classes on its aircraft, including economy, Premium Select, first class and Delta One seats.
Like most airlines, Delta will allow you to select your seat when booking, though the cost to do so and any upcharges will vary depending on the flight you’re taking. Those flying with families and wondering “does Delta seat families together?” are in luck. Delta does its best to seat families together, even after check-in.
» Learn more: Delta vs. United, which is best for you?
According to an analysis of airline fees by NerdWallet, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines charge the least for seat selection, while budget airlines Frontier and Spirit charge the most.
Delta sits in the middle, charging an average of $15-plus for each flight that you'd like to select a seat for. The cost will vary depending on the type of ticket you book with the airline — which we'll discuss next.
» Learn more: How to navigate costly airline seat selection fees
How much is seat selection on Delta Air Lines? That will depend on the ticket type you’re purchasing, be it basic economy, main cabin, Premium Select (premium economy), first class or Delta One.
Basic economy tickets have the most restrictions of any Delta ticket, and this extends to seat selection. Those who book basic economy tickets won't be able to select seats; instead, a seat will be randomly assigned to each passenger after check-in. This includes families and groups who are traveling together — expect to be split up when booking a basic economy ticket.
If you reserve a basic economy ticket, it’s possible to purchase a specific seat starting seven days before departure. Pricing for this varies by trip and is priced by segment.
Main cabin seating, also known as regular economy, includes complimentary seat selection. As a main cabin customer, you also have the option to purchase an upgrade to preferred or Delta Comfort Plus seats while remaining an economy class passenger.
You can also book upgraded economy tickets with additional seat selection perks:
Main Cabin Preferred: Main Cabin Preferred seats are functionally the same as regular main cabin seats. The difference lies in the seat location; Main Cabin Preferred seats are typically window and aisle seats nearer to the front of the plane, plus exit rows. These are the least expensive upgrades from standard economy seating.
Comfort Plus: When available, a Delta Comfort Plus ticket can be purchased directly while booking and the price will include seat selection. The cost to upgrade is higher than for a preferred seat in main cabin. Comfort Plus features more legroom than main cabin and offers passengers dedicated overhead bins. In addition, Comfort Plus guests will receive complimentary beer and wine on all domestic and short-haul international flights.
Main cabin passengers can also choose to upgrade to a Comfort Plus seat either before or after purchasing their ticket.
Premium Select is Delta’s version of premium economy, with larger seats and better recline, two free checked bags, earlier boarding and premium extras. Those who book Premium Select can choose any seat within the cabin for no additional fee.
Delta One and first class
Both first class and Delta One ticket holders can choose any seat within their cabin for free. These spacious seats come with two free checked bags, premium snacks and meals, priority boarding, and a dedicated flight attendant.
Those who have joined the Delta SkyMiles program and flown enough to earn Medallion elite status will receive seating benefits on their flights.
Main Cabin Preferred
When booking main cabin tickets, all four tiers of elite status members can select main cabin preferred seats for no additional charge.
» Learn more: The NerdWallet guide to earning Delta SkyMiles
Platinum and Diamond level elite members (the two highest tiers) can choose Comfort Plus seats shortly after ticketing for free. Mid-tier Gold members, meanwhile, will be able to select these seats starting 72 hours prior to departure, and low-level Silver members can pick from available Comfort Plus seats starting 24 hours before departure.
Delta elite members will also receive upgrades on select first class and Delta One flights depending on their elite status.
You can find Delta Air Lines seating without needing to book a flight. To do so, you’ll want to first search for your preferred route on Delta’s website. On the search results page, you’ll find a variety of flights from which to choose.
Each flight presents a seat map, which you can preview by selecting "Seats."
Once you’ve picked "Seats," you’ll be taken to a new page that shows a live preview of your aircraft’s seats.
You’ll also be able to view the seat map during the booking process. Once you’ve selected your flight, you’ll be taken to another page prompting you to pick a seat.
How do I choose my seat on Delta?
The process for reserving a Delta seat is fairly simple. As we mentioned above, you’ll be able to pick seats when booking your flights on the website; Delta will automatically prompt you to do so before checkout.
You may not be able to select seats on codeshare flights, which are operated by Delta’s partners . In this case, you’ll want to go directly to the other airlines’ webpage to manage your seat selection.
If you need to choose or alter your seat after you’ve booked your flight, go to "My Trips" on the Delta homepage.
If you’re logged in already, you’ll be able to view all the trips you have booked with Delta. You’ll find seat selection options by going down to the "Passenger Information" section.
» Learn more: 6 ways to save on Delta flights
Delta has a variety of ticketing options available for every type of passenger. This includes the highly restrictive basic economy class ticket as well as main cabin tickets for those who prefer certainty with their seats.
Upgrading to Main Cabin Preferred and Comfort Plus seats offers better benefits for those in economy. Loyal members of Delta’s SkyMiles program can also expect to receive complimentary access to these seats and upgrades to higher classes depending on their level of status.
Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines.
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August 14, 2023 | Travel Pedia
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Why does Delta often assign Basic Economy passengers a seat the gate, instead of during check-in?
One of the answers to a related question mentioned that Delta often puts a lot of passengers on the "awaiting seat assignment" list because these are Basic Economy passengers who only get a seat at the gate. I've personally faced this issue at least 3 times while flying with Delta.
But why is this the case? How does assigning seats so late benefit Delta's operations?
- Not an answer because I have no source or reference for this, but they might be keeping a few seats aside for families, people requiring special assistance, etc. It may be better to assign seats at the last minute rather than assign a seat and then change it. – jcaron Sep 23, 2019 at 20:00
- 1 @jcaron No, Delta doesn't do that. It's not certain seats that aren't assigned or that are blocked off. It's just whichever ones people haven't selected yet. Anyone who already has a confirmed seat assignment can change to any of them at will. It's mostly just so that frequent flyers making last-minute changes or bookings aren't as likely to get stuck in a middle seat in the back. A significant portion of the seats left at the end tend to be the 'preferred' ones that are reserved for Medallions. If some are left at boarding, the unassigned BE pax will be placed there. – reirab Sep 23, 2019 at 21:44
2 Answers 2
This happens when the flight is nearly full. Waiting to assign seats to people on Basic Economy fares allows frequent flyers booking last-minute fares and/or using Same-Day Confirmed or Same-Day Standby changes to the flight to get the better remaining seats, rather than being stuck in a middle seat in the back of the plane on a nearly-full flight.
On flights that are not near capacity, Basic Economy passengers will be able to choose any available normal economy seat when they check in (which they can do up to 24 hours in advance of the flight.)
Basically, Delta (like nearly all full-service airlines) wants to prioritize the experience of their high-revenue frequent flyers over that of infrequent leisure passengers on the cheapest fares. Also, the frequent business flyers are often operating on tighter schedules than the leisure passengers who are usually booking Basic Economy fares, so they try to do their best to keep seats closer to the front of the aircraft for those passengers.
I would say for operations it doesn't matter at all. The reason for Basic Economy fares was to offer the fare as cheap as possible, with additional fees for additional services. Seat reservation is one of those services. Many people booking BE probably don't care at all, but for those who care, the later they would get the seat assignment, the more likely it is they book a seat assignment for an additional fee (or specifically in Deltas case to book Main cabin instead of Basic Economy the next time).
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Delta Airlines Seat Assignment | Pick a Seat on Delta
- Passengers with primary economy tickets cannot select seats, but Delta decides which seats to assign depending on availability. Besides, if your boarding pass doesn't have a seat number, you will get that at the gate before boarding.
- If you purchase the main cabin, comfort plus, you have more flexibility to make the desired seat selection in advance.
- The seat selection cost keeps on increasing as the departure comes closer.
- Delta Airlines allows you to select a seat during booking, after booking, and at the time of check-in. You will be assigned a free seat after check-in if you don't select any seat.
- You can reserve your seat at least seven days before departure to avoid hassle and have a better experience.
- Ensure you pay the seat selection fee when choosing the desired seat because the seat selection cost increases daily depending on the flight route.
How do I select seats for my Delta flight?
- Browse Delta Airlines' official website and look for the My Trip section to retrieve your booking details on the homepage.
- Now under the Manage my booking option, provide a confirmation number and last name and access the booking details.
- Select the reservation you want to make a seat selection for and click on change flight button
- Then opt for the seat selection button from the list on the screen.
- A seat map will appear on the screen, where you must choose your preferred seat.
- Once you are done with the selection, go to the payment page and clear the payment.
- Follow the self-explanatory instructions on the screen, and you can successfully choose the desired seat.
- After completing the process, you will soon get a confirmation email from Delta Airlines.
How much does it cost to pick a seat on Delta?
Can you pick your seats on delta in advance , why can't i pick my seat on delta, what are the seat options on delta.
- Basic economy.
- Mail cabin.
- Delta comfort+.
- First class.
- Delta premium.
How to get free preferred seating on Delta?
Why has delta not assigned me a seat , can you pick your seat with delta comfort plus, customer review, leave your review, leave your review, recent blog.
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