Delta Adds More Lie-Flat Internationally, First Class in Regional Jets

Delta may have lost over $1 billion in 2009, but that’s not stopping them from pushing forward on improving their product offerings. In fact, the day before they announced earnings, they also announced a slew of onboard improvements. I’m glad to see it, but there is still one glaring omission here.

Delta is now committing to putting lie flat seats on all 777, 767, and 747 aircraft that fly internationally. That’s great news, because right now it’s a crapshoot on some of these fleets. The 777 LR aircraft have flat beds but the ERs don’t. The 767-400s have some with flat beds but others don’t and the 767-300s don’t. Now all 777s will have the same flat bed while all the 767s will have an alternate flat bed. I think it’s time to break out my old chart, updated with this news:

Delta's New Plan for First Class

The big question (literally) is what they’ll put on the 747. They haven’t picked which seat they’ll use, but I’m sure it’ll be completely different from the 767 and 777 just to make things confusing. After all, the cabin width dictated that they use different beds in the 777 than the 767, so I don’t see why that wouldn’t impact the 747 decision as well.

The A330s will apparently still have the old Northwest WorldBusiness seats, and the 757s will keep the old Delta Biz Elite seats. But what about those CRJ-700s?

Ok, so those likely won’t be the exact seats, but Delta is installing First Class on 66 CRJ-700 aircraft operated by Connection carriers. This is undoubtedly meant to compete with United’s ExPlus and American’s recent decision to do the same on its CRJ-700s. These planes are flying more and more longer, former mainline routes so they need something to reward the elites, I suppose.

But what are they doing for the back of the bus? First and most importantly, the 747s and the 767-300s will have audio/video on demand installed at each seat. I assume this is a cost savings, because it gets expensive to pay for the monkeys that actually sit in the projector and run the movie on the big screen today. There is already AVOD in coach on the rest of the international fleet, so that will now be standard.

They’ll also be putting Delta’s blue leather seats on the Northwest fleet (eh, I like cloth) in coach, and more importantly, they’ll be installing the bigger overhead bins on Northwest’s 757s so you can fit rollerbags straight in.

Anything else? Yeah, they’re going to renovate the SkyClub at LAX and open new clubs in Seattle, Philly, and Indianapolis. The Philly one surprises me, but the Indy and Seattle ones don’t. This will be the only lounge in Indy, so that’s nice, and it’s a sign that they aren’t planning on abandoning the city as a little Heartland focus operation. With in-laws in Indy, I’m happy about that.

What’s the one big piece that I said they were missing at the beginning of this post? No word on JFK terminal upgrades. Seriously, this needs to happen. I shot off a question to Delta after seeing nothing regarding New York and they assured me that I’ll be notified as soon as something is ready to announce. You’ll know as soon as I do.

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