Delta aims to bring in more cash from extras

If you want extra amenities while flying, Delta Air Lines and other carriers increasingly want you to pay extra — or to buy a higher-priced seat.

A Delta executive, speaking at investor conference Thursday, said the Atlanta airline wants to boost the revenue it collects from selling amenities to customers to $15 on average, up from about $8.30 per passenger now.

The carrier aims to do that in part by more clearly dividing the different levels of service it offers, selling varying tiers of fares like “Comfort+” and “Main Cabin” and “Basic Economy” — and by offering additional services for extra fees.

Part of that effort includes actual physical dividers on planes: Over the next several years Delta plans to install dividers between the main cabin and the higher-priced Comfort+ seats — usually the first several rows of coach — to emphasize the difference between them. That would be in addition to the divider for first-class.

Delta says the “optional services” revenue category includes fees for things like first class, Comfort+ seats with extra legroom, Sky Club, priority boarding, on-board purchases, trip insurance and hotel/rental car packages.

It doesn’t include baggage fees, the add-on most fliers are familiar with, because that isn’t considered an amenity.

“There are so many ways to get (to the $15 per passenger goal),” Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s executive vice president of network planning and revenue management, said at the conference.

As part of the increased segmentation of customers, Delta continues to expand its basic economy fare which does not allow advanced seat reservations, changes or upgrades. Delta offers the bare-bones fare in about 450 markets, and manages to upsell customers to a higher fare 50 to 60 percent of the time.

Delta plans to expand the basic economy fare to all flights by the end of 2016.

Also at the investor presentation, Delta executives discussed plans to invest about $750 million in Grupo Aeromexico and increase its ownership stake in its Mexican airline partner to 49 percent.

CEO Richard Anderson also disclosed that Delta has signed a deal to buy a used Boeing 777-200 jet for just $7.7 million, renewing talk of a glut of wide-body jets.

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