MIAMI — On Wednesday morning, Delta announced major plans to improve the passenger experience on board 225 aircraft in its narrowbody fleet, including the Boeing 757-200, 737-800, and Airbus A319/A320. The updates range from the addition of in-seat power for every passenger, to LED lighting and personal in-flight entertainment.
The improvements will begin soon and take through to 2016 to complete, at a cost of about $770 Million dollars. “We’re continuing to make smart long-term investments in our products and services to meet the expectations of our customers,” said Glen Hauenstein, executive vice president – Chief Revenue Officer. “In just six years, we will have made updated to interiors throughout Delta’s fleet giving customers improved comfort and more options to work or relax and be entertained.”
The updates will refresh the interior of the aircraft from nose to tail. Like them or love them, the new slim line-line seats are coming to Delta. Updated lavatories, “more efficient galleys,” and larger overhead bins are are a part of the update. Delta says they will be the first carrier in North America to install a new overhead bin system, which they claim will increase space on 757s by 50%, and a whopping 60% on the airbus fleet.
Many of the aircraft Delta will be updating date back to the Northwest fleet. While some minor updating to the interior has taken place post-merger, the hard product was left roughly the same. With the a refreshed interior and additions such a satellite TV, Delta will position itself to better compete with airlines like JetBlue and Virgin America, who have sported satellite TV since and a modern interior since their inception.
The addition of in-seat entertainment across the narrowbody fleet also shows that Delta does not believe personal IFE is dead, at least not yet. The airline already offers streaming content via the Gogo wireless network on many of its aircraft, but it seems that isn’t enough for the airline. Curiously, while Delta plans to install personal screens on its A319 fleet, it does not plan to do so for the larger A320 fleet.
757-200 Aircraft Improvements
Delta’s modifications to 56 of its 757-200 aircraft will include installing in-seat video, satellite TV and access to power for every passenger, along with new galleys, updated LED cabin lighting, new lavatory designs as well as larger capacity overhead bins. Delta will be the first carrier in North America to install the new bin system which will increase passenger carry-on baggage capacity by more than 50 percent.
The 49 modified domestic aircraft will feature a layout of 20 First Class seats, 29 Economy Comfort seats and 150 Economy seats. The remaining seven 757-200 international aircraft will have a configuration of 18 First Class seats, 28 Economy Comfort seats and 151 Economy seats.
737-800 Aircraft Improvements
The investment in 43 of Delta’s 737-800 aircraft will include the addition of in-seat video with satellite TV, new LED cabin lighting and updated lavatories. The aircraft will be configured with 16 First Class seats, 18 Economy Comfort seats and 126 Economy seats.
When the modifications are complete, Delta’s entire fleet of 73 737-800 aircraft will have in-seat video with access to satellite TV and in-seat power throughout the aircraft.
A319 and A320 Aircraft Improvements
Delta’s 57 A319 and 69 A320 aircraft will receive complete interior updates including new seats in both First Class and Economy cabins with in-seat power throughout the aircraft. The aircraft will also receive new space-saving galleys, new lavatories, new larger-capacity overhead bins with an average increase of 60 percent more carry-on baggage space, updated LED lighting systems and new cabin interiors. Updates to the A319 fleet will also include the installation of in-seat video with satellite TV.
The A319 will include 12 seats in First Class and the A320 will have 16 First Class seats. All Economy seats on both aircraft types will feature wider seats with an increase from the current 17.2 inches to 18 inches for each seat. Both fleets will have 18 Economy Comfort seats with 34 inches of pitch. Economy seats will each have 31 inches of pitch on both aircraft with 102 seats on the A319 and 126 seats on the A320.