Although it may not be the most glamorous option to fly, a Delta Air Lines main cabin ticket will get you to your destination with some perks such as in-flight entertainment and snacks. On long-haul international flights, the airline provides meals for main cabin passengers as well as complimentary beer, wine, and spirits.

These perks are also available with Delta’s cheaper basic economy fare. However, a main-cabin ticket offers some valuable benefits if the traveler is willing to pay a bit more. This is everything you need about Delta’s main cabin tickets.

What can you expect from your main cabin flight on Delta

You pay a little more for the Delta main cabin than you would for a basic economy ticket. For the extra money, however, you get some valuable perks on the ground as well as in the air.

What can you expect on the ground

You’re covered if your travel plans change or you have booked a main-cabin ticket. Delta allows main cabin passengers to cancel or change flights with no penalty. Your ticket may also help you to earn frequent flyer status at Delta.

  • Delta does not charge any change fees for a trip change. Rebook your flight and the ticket value will be applied to your new trip. You will have to pay more for your new ticket if it’s more expensive. If the price is lower, an eCredit will be issued.

  • You can cancel your flight with an eCredit. It’s possible. You can get an eCredit for your main cabin ticket. This credit can be used on later flights. Delta currently extends the validity of eCredit through the end 2023, and allows travel through 2024.

  • Confirmed options and same-day standby: Passengers who have main cabin tickets to flights within the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S Virgin Islands are eligible for same day flight changes. All customers are eligible for same-day standby on earlier flights. For elite status members of the Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Medallion tiers, same-day confirmed travel is $75. However, it’s free for them.

  • Mileage credit and credit towards Medallion status: Main-cabin tickets can earn redeemable SkyMiles and Medallion Qualifying Miles. These SkyMiles can be used to purchase Medallion Qualifying Segments, Medallion Qualifying Miles and Medallion Qualifying dollars, which will help you get Delta elite status quicker.

What can you expect from the air

Main cabin ticket holders have the same in-flight experience as basic economy flyers. You can enjoy the same food and beverages as basic economy flyers and the same entertainment. You will need a main cabin ticket if you wish to upgrade or choose your seat.

  • You can choose your seat: If you book a main-cabin ticket, unlike basic economy, you have the option to select a seat ahead of time. Basic economy seats are not assigned until check-in has completed. Parties are not guaranteed seats.

  • Free snacks and beverages on flights over 250 miles: Delta offers a variety of Coca-Cola drinks and snacks for all passengers.

  • International flights: Main cabin passengers are treated to complimentary beer, wine, and spirits on long-haul international flights.

  • Food to purchase: Delta Flight Fuel Boxes are available for purchase on all North American flights over 900 miles.

  • Delta Studio entertainment: Many Delta flights have in-flight entertainment available at all seats. Earbuds are available for free.

  • Upgrade eligibility: Main cabin passengers are eligible to receive complimentary Medallion upgrades, upgraded paid tickets and upgrades via Delta regional or systemwide upgrade certificates.

Book a Main Cabin Ticket with Delta

If you search for main cabin tickets on, it’s easy to book them. When searching for flights, select “Main Cabin” from the dropdown menu. This will allow you to view only main cabin or higher fare classes.

Delta will not show basic economy fares if you choose “Main Cabin” in your search.

To see the fares of main cabin and basic economy, search for “Basic Economy” to find the lowest fares. This will show prices for all fare classes.

When you book an award ticket using your SkyMiles , you will also see main cabin fares.

Get more value from the Delta main cabin

To maximize your miles or dollars, there are three ways you can get more from your Delta main cabin tickets.

Book cheaper flights by using same-day standby

Delta main cabin tickets are available for customers to use the same day standby option at no additional cost. This could help you save money if your plans allow you to be flexible.

Let’s suppose you are looking to book a flight from Minneapolis to Chicago. One flight departs at 5 :55 p.m. and costs $199, while the other departs at 8.20 p.m. and costs $139. The earlier flight is the best, but you can be flexible and fly the later flight if needed.

You can book a main-cabin ticket on the 8:20 p.m. flight, then reserve the earlier flight. This will allow you to take advantage of the cheaper fare. You’ll save $60 if your standby request is granted. If your standby request is not granted, you will be able to board the original flight at 8:20 p.m.

Book tickets for Medallion Status

When redeeming Delta SkyMiles, remember that award tickets booked using miles can earn Medallion Qualifying Miles and Medallion Qualifying Segments.

Book your flights using your SkyMiles to earn Delta Medallion status.

Membership Rewards – Transfer AmEx

NerdWallet estimates that Delta Skymiles can be worth 1.5 cents per each. This is more than what you would get if you were to redeem AmEx points for cash rewards — which usually gives you only 0.6 cent per point.


Membership Rewards transfers to SkyMiles from AmEx will be subject to a $6.00 fee for every 10,000 miles or 6 cents per points, up to a maximum $99.

Delta Main Cabin, recapped

Although the Delta main cabin is slightly more costly than basic economy on most flights, it offers a lot of value. You can choose your seat, cancel or change your flight, use same-day standby domestically, and earn Medallion status for a small price premium.

The majority of travelers will choose main cabin fares when booking an economy-class ticket on Delta.

Photo by Delt Air Lines.

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