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No Economy Comfort or Seat Upgrade if Booking Delta but flying on Air France (code share)

Hey fellow travelers,

Just an fyi based on my recent experience. I booked tickets on Delta from Portland, OR to Paris, France with a connection in Minneapolis. The Minneapolis to Paris flight was on Air France via code share with Delta. I always pay the extra when available on long haul for economy comfort (helps to have that bit of extra space, especially with arthritis pain). No matter how I tried; on-line at both Delta and Air France sites, calling both, etc..... I could NOT upgrade my seat (there were plenty of these seats showing available on-line) for the Minneapolis to Paris leg via Air France.

The Air France rep told me that they do not allow anyone who books on another site (Delta in my case) to upgrade unless there is something left when you ARRIVE at the airport. He explained this was due to Air France wanting to save those seats for their own customers. I confirmed this by calling Delta a second time and it is true. Funny thing is I usually always fly direct to Amsterdam and then take a hopper from there but my son convinced me to try connecting in the US this time. Oh, well. Lesson learned. I realize it isn't the end of the world and bottom line, we will just be happy to get there but I was totally surprised and just wanted to share for those who care about this issue. The Air France rep also told me if I had booked with them direct instead of Delta, I could have chosen and paid for the upgraded seat.

Thanks to all on this site for the wonderful advice, looking forward to our trip. Happy Travels!

Posted by
11916 posts

Oh, that is very interesting. I like to fly the SEA -> AMS flight and then, like you said, take a short hop to the European destination. I was just looking at flights for Sept and was eyeing the CDG -> SLC flight on the way home, but I will check to see if it is operated by Delta or Air France. I can skip Economy Comfort or whatever they are calling it these days on the domestic flights (and laughing, as the Bombardier out of N. Idaho is all one class) but not willing to do that on an International leg.

I've done MSP to LHR but that is a Delta plane so no problem with upgrades.

Thanks for the heads up.

Posted by
1951 posts

On March 29 2015 I booked roundtrip Columbus to Paris on Delta (Air France) and spent hours trying to arrange for Comfort Plus seats on the international legs. I posted my sob story in the Transportation thread that Roberto authored. We were able to purchase these seats eventually but it was an ordeal. My notes are a mess, but you might try 800 221 1212. Try to reach a Joint Venture specialist. Leslie worked hard to secure our seats and waived the fee for phone reservations. I have two locator for Delta and one for Air France. On Air France it appears they are called Seat Plus. Good luck.

Posted by
795 posts

This is why we always choose First Class or Business Class to begin with on all legs of every flight. That must have been uncomfortable on such a long haul with your arthritis.

Posted by
9441 posts

Here's the deal: it's not an add-on, but a totally upgraded class of service and about $700 more round trip, not the $200 or so on Delta for some leg room. It's not just seat pitch, but the width of the seat, meal, beverages, possibly some priorities (I just don't remember for sure). So AF has four classes of service instead of the two on Delta: economy, premium economy, business, and first. For real service in first you are driven out to the plane in a limo and have your own lounge that you don't have to share with the riff raff in business class ;)

It's true that it's harder to align your Delta ticket with the Air France classes of service, since Delta has only two.
If you are calling Air France and Delta, it's the same call center that handles KLM/Air France/ Delta.

Posted by
9441 posts

Normally the emergency rows seats with more leg room are up for grabs 24-hours before the flight. You can grab these for $50 each if you are fast. These, or some other kind of priority seat, may be what Denny was able to obtain early through his perseverance.

Posted by
1994 posts

It sounds like extra caution is warranted with Delta alliance codeshares. I flew a Delta codeshare serviced by KLM. I was called by KLM several hours before departure and bumped because they overbooked the flight (vs the normal practice of asking for volunteers and bumping those who show up last).

When I finally got on a flight, a Delta flight attendant said she was seeing a pattern of KLM bumping Delta passengers and allowing those who booked through KLM to board.

Because of this and a couple of other experiences, I decided not to fly Delta or its partners again... I paid a premium for a short flight time to California, and it was the better part of 24 hours before I made it home.

Posted by
2921 posts

Terri Lynn, that is nice for you but not everyone can afford to fly business class or first class. In fact very few of us can.

Delta economy comfort is a good deal because it is not a separate class you book into, it is a seat selection choice you pay a bit extra for. It's not much---like $80 when my boss did it on the flight to Paris from Seattle. But that was on a Delta. It sounds like if you book on the delta website but get air France "metal" as they say, you cannot do this without a lot of hassle ( read Denny's story about this).

This is very good to know for people who are planning to fly Delta.

Posted by
506 posts

Not sure I would waste the money. We flew San Francisco to Paris, on Air France. Paid the upgrade for their "economy plus" and let me tell you they were smaller than economy on an International flight on United without an upgrade. So you just maybe better off to leave it alone save your money and pick a different airline next time around.

Posted by
1221 posts

My only KLM experience was pretty uneventful. But then it was an IRROPS rebooking and the Delta agent issuing us a new ticket recoded our fare class to Y (usually $$$ fully refundable coach) in order to force the ticket through the system, and even if it's a partner booking, an airline isn't likely to mess with someone flying on one of those tickets.

Posted by
2014 posts

Pam, we booked what we thought was round trip with Delta for the first time last fall. SEA-AMS-BCN return MAD-AMS-SEA. It was am amazing fare for business class ( husband can't fly long distance any more folded up, so we usually do points on American OneWorld). Six weeks later I got an e-mail notice from Delta telling me that our return was now a 6am departure out of Madrid and we would be flying coach all the way back. Several customer service calls later I finally got us coming back through Atlanta, but I had never heard of that happening before. I mention this because of your comment about coming back CDG-SLC. If this happened again, I would check to see all my flight options before I talked to customer service cause I still prefer the long haul Europe to WA. I was so desperate I just took the first thing they offered.

Posted by
11916 posts

Thanks Patty. Good point. Yes, I usually try to know what alternative options there are in case there is a problem. Last year as I was finishing a RS tour in Paris, the departure day for most was the 1st day of the Air traffic controllers strike so lots of people were messed up. I have also been held up in SLC with weather in my home airport, so need alternatives, but I know those by heart anyway as there are so few. The really good thing about Delta is that last Dec after 2 days of weather delays, they actually put on an extra flight to get everyone in to Lewiston and to get those who had been fogged in, out.

Interesting about KLM bumping Delta passengers as well. Last year we booked thru KLM to force a flight from Pullman WA to SEA for the SEA AMS flight instead of leaving from the other nearby airport. The flight out of Pullman is Alaska/Horizon codeshare and the gate agent was kind of ticked off that we had booked thru KLM and told us in a very snotty tone that if it had been winter and the flight had been cancelled it would have been days before he got us on a flight to SEA. His point was that we should book thru Alaska or Horizon. I said, well if that's the case we will just fly Delta out of the neighboring airport next time.

Posted by
213 posts

Hey there,

I see I am not alone in this problem. Denny, sorry I missed reading your experience before starting my own similar one! I also spent hours on the phone trying to figure out why I couldn't get the seats. I appreciate your advice, but at this point I'm just going with what I've got. At least the crammed in portion is only 8 hours or so and not 11 or 12 as when we fly direct to AMS.

Pam, interestingly, I did call Delta and try to change my flight but the one I usually take direct to AMS had no economy comfort seats left (September departure by the way!) AND the SLC connection you mentioned is a Delta flight and they DID have the economy comfort seats BUT would cost another 400.00+ for EACH of us due to change fees and higher fare - too much for us.

Terry Lynn, you are SO lucky to have the ability to choose business or first class! Wish we could do that but the cost is just too prohibitive for our budget.

Bets, the Air France rep told me that even 24 hours before the flight I would not have the ability to upgrade, ONLY at the airport he said and we all know that just won't happen. Even so, I will be closely checking on-line again 24 hours before just in case it would somehow happen but not counting on it.

Judy, thanks, maybe I am not missing anything by missing out on the "Seats Plus" upgrade after all!

I appreciate everyone's input. As for flying Delta, we have had good experience flying international with them (non-code share flights). In the future I will not book international on Delta unless I verify it truly is a Delta flight and not a code share. Lesson learned.

Happy Travels everyone!! :0)

Posted by
1064 posts

The Delta website says so when a flight is by a codeshare airline like Air France or KLM. If you don't want to fly on these airlines, choose a different flight.

Posted by
1221 posts

If an airline is US-based or the flight in question touches US soil, US DOT rules require that the airline discloses all codeshares and operating airlines prior to booking. You just have to look somewhat carefully at the flight options to see that. Example- a search for VPS-EDI on Delta's web site will clearly state:


ATL-LHR- DL4357-
LHR-EDI- DL4414*

- Operated by Virgin Atlantic
- Operated by Aer Lingus for Virgin Atlantic

Option #2-
AMS-EDI- DL9632*

*-Operated by KLM

Option #3-

- Operated by Air France
- HOP DBA Air France

Option #4

*- Operated by KLM CityHopper