Nation & World

Delta woos economy international passengers

Free cocktails, placemats and chocolate in the offing

Ramp crews load passengers' luggage onto the new Delta A220. (Nicole Neri/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)
Ramp crews load passengers' luggage onto the new Delta A220. (Nicole Neri/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

Everyone loves to complain about air travel — the inedible food, the cramped seats, the fees for everything.

Delta is trying to change some of that. The airline earlier this week announced a sprinkling of free perks on some international flights designed to make economy passengers feel a little classier starting in November.

In a kind of flow-chart-meets-line drawing, the carrier laid out the new experiences meant to “infuse hospitality throughout the flight.”

First, a personal hello at boarding, which seems like a gimme. But the meet-and-greet will have started even before passengers get on the plane because the lead flight attendant will make an introduction in the boarding area.

Spokeswoman Savannah Huddleston described the move in an email as “small touches that we feel go a long way with making connections between crew and customers.”

Shortly after takeoff, passengers will get a free Bellini — sparkling wine mixed with peach puree — as a “welcome aboard cocktail.” The type of drink could change down the line, Huddleston said.

Hot towel service, already offered on international flights, will get a twist: Come November, flight attendants will use stainless steel tongs instead of plastic.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Dinner follows, and Delta is touting new “bistro-style” options, with entrees and appetizers available to choose separately. Appetizers will range from caprese salad to herb-marinated salmon with potato salad to apple, celery and arugula slaw with harissa shrimp.

Recipes, according to the airline, are “inspired by” dishes served in international business class. Dessert will be served after the meal with a choice of coffee, tea or free wine.

The food will be served on “custom-designed dinnerware,” with “upgraded cutlery” on a “place mat.”

The presentation and mix-and-match nature of the food are among the biggest changes to the economy international experience, Huddleston said.

Before landing, passengers will receive another hot towel and, as a kind of party favor, a piece of chocolate as the plane descends.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.