Updated: Jan 29
Some Delta customers can expect to find a new domestic First Class later this year. As the airline’s first A321neo is set to be delivered in 2020, Delta plans to introduce a brand new design for their premium domestic seats, with better privacy, more space and other improvements to increase the overall passenger experience, something that the company has been very keen about in recent years. This is just one of the reasons why they were ranked as the best U.S. Airline for the third year in a row from the Wall Street Journal’s survey.
The new cabin design is also on the short-list for a Crystal Cabin Award. The winners for the award will be announced at a ceremony in Hamburg in April 2020.
The new seats were designed in partnership with companies Factory Design and Recaro utilizing a clean-sheet design, and building on constructive criticism and complements from passenger feedback among other emerging trends that Delta has recognized in the industry. One such example would be airline traveler’s unanimous distaste for American Airlines' revived first class, dubbed the Oasis project, due to the decreased seat pitches, or lateral space from the back of one seat to the back of another seat, amongst other discrepancies that have given the brand a notoriously bad reputation.
Among the elements included in the design revamp, include increased privacy without reducing seat width and a larger tray table for both working and dining (Delta has said a 25% increase in working space over previous seats). As well as a dramatic increase in storage compared to current A321seats, the new design features a power port that are more easily accessible for travelers. Finally, the design also has innovations such as memory foam cushioning for increased comfort.
Also key to these new seats will be Delta‘s already fantastic in-flight entertainment system. The screens are supplied by a wireless data connection rather than having a physical connection. This helps to reduce aircraft weight and overall system complexity. A similar product first flew on their A220s back in early 2019. The A330neo deliveries and 767-400ER retrofits also include the “evolved” and improved version of the system.
Extending this to their new A321neo fleet furthers Delta’s efforts to streamline more and more aircraft with the newest IFE system to help enhance the passenger experience across an ever increasing array of aircraft in the fleet. Delta has not specified a measured screen size, but the design photos show a generous offering for passengers.
In-flight connectivity will be provided by the Gogo 2Ku platform, the preferred on board WIFI system in line with the rest of the Delta fleet.
Delta’s order book includes 100 firm orders for Airbus’ A321neo planes and options for 100 more aircraft as well.
The current delivery schedule dates for Delta’s first neos face some uncertainty as Airbus continues to work through some production bottlenecks. Other carriers that have ordered the aircraft, such as JetBlue, Aer Lingus, and American Airlines saw they expect fewer deliveries. Delivery expectations are more likely to be watered down knowing these challenges continue.