Delta Wants You for the Long-Haul: International Main Cabin Now Includes Free Cocktails (and More)

Has the time come to no longer hate flying coach?
Updated April 11, 2024
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Delta Airlines International Main Cabin Announcement

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A few weeks have passed since Delta rolled out its new SkyMiles Select program, giving Delta flyers a year’s worth of Priority Boarding and eight drink vouchers for $59 — and the airline has now officially revamped its main cabin experience for long-haul international flights as well.

Earlier this week, on Nov. 5, 2019, Delta introduced a “reinvented” international main cabin experience that includes a welcome cocktail, hot-towel service, and bistro-style dining.

Crucial in the revamping of the main cabin experience was a design team comprised of 24 flight attendants. These attendants spent more than a year testing and refining the experience to get it just right. After testing the new main cabin service on more than 1,200 flights, Delta is now extending the service to include all international flights scheduled for 6.5 hours or longer (plus some shorter international flights that offer Delta One or Delta Premium Select).

International Main Cabin service takes flight

Passengers in Delta’s international main cabin will receive a few new enhancements on their long-haul flight.

“We want every customer, no matter where they sit on the flight, to know how much they’re appreciated,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s senior vice president of in-flight service. “How we make every customer feel across their travel journey is extremely important to us.”

Delta international main cabin features

The appreciation starts shortly after takeoff when customers will be treated to a complimentary welcome cocktail and hot towel. Later, during meal service, customers will be able to mix and match from a selection of “upgraded” appetizers and larger entrees. The upgrades even extend to the plating and cutlery, featuring less plastic wrapping and more bio-based materials. The main meal is followed by dessert, as well as coffee, tea, water, or complimentary wine.

Additionally, Delta is debuting an “anytime” snack basket that will be available on-demand after meal service. Customers will have their choice of Cheez-It crackers, Tillamook cheese, OREOs, KIND Bars, and the airline’s signature Biscoff cookies. Prior to arrival, customers will be treated to a second hot-towel service and chocolates as a token of gratitude for flying Delta.

Should you now choose Delta for international travel?

As one Quora user put it, “[A]irlines in the US are in the cargo business while others are in the hospitality business.” But after decades of cuts and squeezes, some airlines are beginning to take steps to improve the cabin experience.

The Wall Street Journal notes that Delta is fully aware of its straggling main cabin service. “We have not changed our service in 20 years in the main cabin,” says Ausband. “This is just a glaring opportunity for us.”

While it might not put the airline into perfect alignment with well-regarded overseas carriers, Delta’s significant upgrade to the international economy experience is a step in the right direction.

Bottom line

We all know a little more comfort goes a long way on a long flight. Loyal Delta flyers and SkyMiles members now have more reasons to stick with the airline when it comes to long-haul travel. And non-Delta loyalists might now consider it an international option.

If you want to rack up some Delta SkyMiles to make your next international flight even more rewarding, there are a handful of Delta credit cards that come with some lucrative travel perks.  You can compare those options to find the best airline credit card for your needs. 

Take the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, for instance. This card has a generous welcome bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first 6 months. You’ll also get priority boarding and one free checked bag for a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $150 per year thereafter annual fee.

#promove: Delta credit cards aren’t the only way to rack up SkyMiles. Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to Delta as well and these are some of the best travel credit cards for the airline when it comes to transfer value. And if you’ve got Chase Ultimate Rewards points collecting dust, transfer them to Marriott and then transfer those to Delta.

Great Welcome Offer and Continuing Rewards


Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Current Offer

Earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first 6 months

Annual Fee

$0 intro annual fee for the first year, $150 per year thereafter

Rewards Rate

2X miles on qualifying Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S supermarkets; and 1X miles per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Matt Miczulski Matt Miczulski is a personal finance writer specializing in financial news, budget travel, banking, and debt. His interest in personal finance took off after eliminating $30,000 in debt in just over a year, and his goal is to help others learn how to get ahead with better money management strategies. A lover of history, Matt hopes to use his passion for storytelling to shine a new light on how people think about money. His work has also been featured on MoneyDoneRight and

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