"Welcome aboard" bellinis that Delta plans to serve on international flights after takeoff. Source: Delta Air Lines

Delta to add hot towel service, ‘welcome aboard’ cocktails in international economy class

Delta Air Lines is stepping up its service for international passengers in economy class.

The Atlanta-based airline said starting in November, it will serve “welcome aboard” cocktails like bellinis and have hot towel service on international routes 6.5 hours or longer and some other international flights that have business class or premium economy service.

The cocktails will not be pre-departure drinks like in first class, but will be served shortly after departure, according to Delta. Meals and alcoholic beverages are already complimentary on long-haul international flights, including in economy class.

Source: Delta Air Lines

Delta also plans to serve premium appetizers and larger entrees to international passengers sitting in the main cabin, and will hand out chocolates at the end of the flight.

Source: Delta Air Lines

Delta is making the move as U.S. airlines increasingly compete against global carriers, including some that offer more sophisticated service on international flights.

The new Delta international economy service was tested on flights between Portland and Tokyo over the last year and the company said it received positive feedback from customers.

The airline’s lead international flight attendants, called pursers, will also begin giving pre-flight introductions at the gate and personal greetings at the boarding door.

And Delta said it will soon have new ear buds and headsets for passengers on board.

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