MIAMI – Delta began selling tickets for its first flight with an A350-900XWB on June 17th. This service is scheduled for October 30th from Detroit to Tokyo-Narita. The carrier will be the first airline in North America to operate the efficient Airbus A350.
With 25 Airbus A350s in order, the aircraft will soon become the backbone of Delta’s long-haul fleet, and it will feature Delta’s highly touted “Delta One Suites” and “Delta Premium Select” cabin.
Delta claims the A350’s Delta One suites have been “designed with an emphasis on exceptional customer comfort and privacy.” By utilizing a sliding door, each suite will be rectangular in shape and have aisle access.
The Delta One suite was designed with space and luxury in mind. Each suite features in-suite, customizable ambient lighting, a contemporary design featuring premium trim and finishes, and an 18-inch, high-resolution in-flight entertainment monitor, among the largest in its class.
Overall, the new Delta One suite is a sizable improvement from Delta’s current generation Delta One product. As followers of the industry know, the first A350 flight for Delta has been an anticipated event. For one Delta customer, being on the inaugural Delta A350 flight was something he could not pass up:
“I booked the Delta One suite the moment it was loaded into the flight schedule,” said Eric Goldmann of Alpharetta, Georgia. “Delta is growing, hiring, and acquiring new aircraft like the A350. I am excited to be one of the first customers to fly on one and to see the new suites.”
As innovative as the Delta One Suite is, Delta is not the first airline in the Untied States to offer a semi-enclosed suite. JetBlue currently offers semi-enclosed suites on their Airbus A321 “Mint” aircraft.
Delta’s newly redesigned Premium Economy class called “Delta Premium Select” is also a major step-up for Delta.
Delta Premium Select offers up to 38” of pitch and features adjustable head and leg rests. Each seat will have a 13.3” in-flight entertainment system that allows customers to stay engaged with Delta’s library of complimentary movies, shows and games, and noise-cancelling headphones.
The Airbus A350 is set to replace the Boeing 747-400 as Delta’s flagship aircraft. The first crew base for the A350 will be Detroit. Delta says the A350 will “continue Delta’s optimization of its Pacific network, operating primarily on long-range routes between the U.S. and Asia.” The aircraft is expected to generate a 20% improvement in operating costs compared to the 747-400.
Both American Airlines and United Airlines have the Airbus A350 on order. In April, American Airlines deferred their A350 order until the year 2020. United Airlines is scheduled to take delivery of the larger A350-1000 in 2018, but there has been speculation that these orders might be cancelled or converted to A330neos or even A320neo family aircraft.
Additional routes the aircraft will fly include Detroit to Seoul beginning on November 16th, and Detroit to Beijing on January 17th. Delta will also roll out the new Delta One suite on its fleet of Boeing 777s at a later date.