Delta receives flagship Airbus A350 with Delta One Suites and Premium Economy, first flying Asian Routes!

Delta Airlines has one of the oldest fleets in the industry with an average age of 16.9 years – but last week, finally, Delta took delivery of their first Airbus A350 in Toulouse, France. It features their new business class, Delta One Suites with fully enclosed flat-bed seats as well as their new Premium Economy product, Delta Premium Select! The new A350 will first be used on routes from the US to Asia, sorely needed to compete with some of the best airlines in the business!

Delta has one of the oldest fleets in the business at 16.9 years with a staggering variety of types and interiors as a result of acquisitions, delayed purchases and cost cutting. On a business class trip from the US to Asia, I experienced four different seats, resulting in a very inconsistent experience. That left Delta uncompetitive on routes also served by 5-Star Airlines like Singapore Airlines, Asiana or ANA and I’d never spend my money to fly Delta again!

This new Airbus A350 can change that drastically: It will feature Delta’s new business class product, a modified Thompson Advantage XL seat with a sliding door for each suite made possible by the extra width of the A350. While other carriers like Singapore Airlines, offer suites with full doors in First Class, only a few, like Qatar, offer doors in Business Class. Granted, Delta doesn’t have a First Class, but this looks like a stand-out business class offer for anybody looking for extra privacy!

Delta One Suite, photo courtesy of Delta

Delta’s A350 will have 32 of these Suites in a 1-2-1 layout, giving each passenger direct aisle access. You’ll also get a big 18in screen, power and USB ports and customizable lighting! Interestingly enough, Delta manages to squeeze 6 more seats into the nose of the A350 than Singapore Airlines, so you while you get a door, you don’t really get more space than on other airlines!

DL A350 SeatMap

And if you don’t want to splurge on a Business Class ticket, you can still travel in comfort on these new A350: Delta is also installing their new Premium Economy product. And, no, that’s not their miserable Comfort+ you might have seen on domestic flights with offering you an economy seat with a little extra leg room. This is a true Premium Economy seat with extra width, more legroom and recline! It’s closer to a domestic First Class seat than an Economy seat! Delta will fit 8 seats across in a 2-4-2 layout (compared to a 3-3-3 layout in regular economy class), with a seat width of 18.5in and a pitch of 38in. While that’s still a long way from a flat bed in business class, it can be significantly more comfortable than economy class and I wouldn’t mind flying that on a daytime flight!

DL Premium Select, photo courtesy of Delta

And, great news for anybody traveling to Asia, these new planes are scheduled to start on routes between the US and Asia. The current plan is to use them on routes from Detroit to Tokyo (starting October 30), Seoul (November 16) and Beijing (January 17, 2018)!
Interestingly, Delta is targeting routes that they don’t have any non-stop competition, so expect prices to be sky-high! I found fares that are 3-4x what I would expect to pay for a business class ticket across the Pacific!

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