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.


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

  1. Andrew says:

    “…and more importantly, they’ll be installing the bigger overhead bins on Northwest’s 757s so you can fit rollerbags straight in.”

    THANK YOU, GOD. That’ll cut the load time on those 757’s in half once people no longer have that aisle-clogging perplexed look come across their face when the case juts out beyond the lip of the bin, no matter how much brute force they put into trying to shove it back farther.

  2. A says:

    What about all those old NWA 320’s? Are they getting AVOD like the Delta 737’s? Leather seating? Retirement? And what about the prehistoric DC-9’s from NWA. Still see plenty of them in the skies. Guess this is also a sign that the 747’s will not see retirement for a while longer.

  3. Chris says:

    Actually SEA has a club, they are renovating there and in PHL, there was one until they moved terminals recently.

    A JFK solution is “in place” according to their last investor day presenation (I believe Hank Halter mentioned this).

    For 747 seats, I would tend to believe that they will go with either the Contour suites used i the 747 or the Thompson suites but think it’ll be the Contour suites.

    As for the CR7’s, I expect this is as much appeasing elites as it is trying to keep premium traffic on DL. When you face 2+ hours in Y on a $$ Intl J fare you find another way to go.

  4. em says:

    DL actually had a SkyClub in PHL until 1/19/2010, when it was closed in conjunction with the move from Terminal A East to Terminal D/E. So the club in PHL won’t eb new, exactly, simply re-located.

  5. John B. says:

    “The Philly one surprises me”

    Why? Might it have something to due with there recent terminal switch?

  6. oldiesfan6479 says:

    Love the wicker chairs in Delta’s Ford Tri-Motors…er, CR7s! Is DL flying the Fords to Monroe, LA? Or are they just for crop dusting? ;-)

  7. Columbo says:

    @ oldiesfan6479:
    The way their over all Customer Service has deteriorated they might as well go back to Crop Dusting and start all over. Mr Wollman is rolling over in his grave when he sees how far his STAR has fallen.

  8. CF says:

    A wrote:

    What about all those old NWA 320’s? Are they getting AVOD like the Delta 737’s? Leather seating? Retirement? And what about the prehistoric DC-9’s from NWA. Still see plenty of them in the skies. Guess this is also a sign that the 747’s will not see retirement for a while longer.

    The 320s are getting wifi, but I don’t believe they’ve said anything about AVOD yet. No plans to retire those airplanes. The DC-9s, as I understand, will be down to only the DC-9-50 by the end of the year, but those will soldier on. And no, if they’re doing this, there’s no way the 747s are being retired anytime soon.

    Chris wrote:

    Actually SEA has a club, they are renovating there and in PHL, there was one until they moved terminals recently.

    Ah, thanks for clarifying for me. I missed that. I still don’t see why they bother to have one in Philly.

  9. David says:

    If they are doing so hard in providing the best services whats the reason for this huge loss?

  10. shawn says:

    Doesn’t matter what Delta does they will still have bad customer service and crapy product. Will never fly them again they are the the worst airline.

  11. Ron says:

    CF wrote:

    Ah, thanks for clarifying for me. I missed that. I still don’t see why they bother to have one in Philly.

    I think it’s just that Philly is a big city with a substantial business base, and they want this traffic. In addition to hub flying, Delta also has a flight to Paris and Northwest used to have a flight to Amsterdam from Philly.

  12. A says:

    CF wrote:

    The 320s are getting wifi, but I don’t believe they’ve said anything about AVOD yet. No plans to retire those airplanes. The DC-9s, as I understand, will be down to only the DC-9-50 by the end of the year, but those will soldier on. And no, if they’re doing this, there’s no way the 747s are being retired anytime soon.

    One thing to remember, NWA (now Delta) is the US launch customer of the 787. I’m sure it’s still another year or so before delivery but won’t that begin the phase out of the 767’s? Can an airline like Delta justify the upgrades on an older aircraft even if it’s only going to be around for another couple years? Likewise the 320’s from NWA. I know you claim they aren’t going anywhere, yet I’ve seen plenty of so-called insiders claim on Airliners.net that Delta is eager to dump them and streamline the domestic fleet.

  13. CF says:

    David wrote:

    If they are doing so hard in providing the best services whats the reason for this huge loss?

    A lot of these loss numbers aren’t indicative of how the business is doing on an operational basis. For the fourth quarter of 2009, net loss ex special items was only about $25 million – that’s pretty small. But they still have work to do, obviously.

    A wrote:

    One thing to remember, NWA (now Delta) is the US launch customer of the 787. I’m sure it’s still another year or so before delivery but won’t that begin the phase out of the 767’s? Can an airline like Delta justify the upgrades on an older aircraft even if it’s only going to be around for another couple years? Likewise the 320’s from NWA. I know you claim they aren’t going anywhere, yet I’ve seen plenty of so-called insiders claim on Airliners.net that Delta is eager to dump them and streamline the domestic fleet.

    Delta has only 18 787s on order with options for a lot more. That’s a fraction of the 767s in the fleet. While the 787s may start to replace the 767s, it will be a very long time before the 767 completely leaves the fleet.

    I take most things I read on airliners.net with a grain of salt. The 320 may duplicate the 737-800 for the most part, but the 319 fills a big hole at Delta for smaller, medium haul aircraft. Delta has a couple 737-700s that do it but that’s it. So while it wouldn’t surprise me to know that Delta would like to standardize around the 737, they would need a LOT of new planes to do that and I just don’t see it being worth it.

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