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PLANS TO TRAVEL IN YOUR FUTURE?

PLANS TO TRAVEL IN YOUR FUTURE?

Delta Air Lines has quietly begun offering these discounted upgrades from coach to first class during the booking process when you book on its website.

The offer to upgrade pops up while customers are booking economy flights for non-stop domestic flights, though it typically isn't available for the cheapest fares, according to Delta. Since testing began in February, some upgrades have gone for less than $50 but others cost more than $500, depending on factors such as the flight and the fare.

The upgrade to first class ticket is typically less expensive than full first class fares because the more expensive first class fares are refundable, according to Delta spokeswoman Chris Kelly Singley.

Upgrades of various stripes have long been the main path to first class. Last year, only 14 percent of the seats in first class were paid for, according to Glen Hauenstein, Delta's executive vice president of network planning, revenue management and marketing. At an investor conference in December he said one of Delta's's biggest initiatives for 2011 would be the "monetization" of first class.

Pitching upgrade sales online broadens the audience as Delta seeks ways to bring in more revenue. (more)

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Article by KELLY YAMANOUCHI, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Read full article here