Delta’s BizElite Seat Lottery – Which One Will You Get?


It’s been in the planning stages for awhile, and now Delta has finally started to firm up details for the new BusinessElite (premium cabin) seats going forward. They had already announced they’d be using the Virgin Atlantic/Air New Zealand-style diagonal 6 foot, 3 inch beds (picture)for their brand new 777-200LRs, but they hadn’t said a word about the rest of the fleet.

Now we know that the 767-400s will have a completely different type of seat (picture), but it will still be flat. This one will be 77 inches (they can’t even standardize their units of measurement, that’s 6 foot, 5 inches.) But wait, there’s more.

The 757s will have a different seat still. These will be cradle seats that might be like the current BizElite seat. Confusing? Here’s a handy chart for you to keep in your pocket so you can figure out exactly what type of seat you might have.

08_02_07 dlbizelite

Notice those question marks. They already have three different seat types planned for the fleet, but they still don’t know what they’re doing on the 767-300 and the regular 777-200. I thought it was interesting that they carefully worded the press release to say “Eventually, all of Delta’s international Boeing 767 aircraft will feature a full-flat seat.” Notice it says “a” full-flat seat, and not “this” full-flat seat.

With that in mind, I sent a note to a contact at Delta’s PR firm, and she promised to get a response for me quickly. She did, but it was pretty cryptic. “At this time, Delta is still evaluating all opportunities and suppliers to retrofit the rest of its international fleet with a full-flat seat product.”

There’s that “a full-flat” wording again. You’d think that with 3 different seat types already, they would have had plenty of opportunity to evaluate every seat under the sun, but I guess not.

Why are they doing this? Well, it’s probably all about how things fit on the plane. Each cabin has a different width and length, so they’re apparently going to pick the one that fits best on each fleet.

So as a Delta passenger, you do know that once this conversion is done, you can be assured of getting “a” fully flat seat in BizElite unless you’re on a 757. Got it?

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5 comments on “Delta’s BizElite Seat Lottery – Which One Will You Get?

  1. Classic DC-3 insert! It is to laugh.

    So while the seats are different they all are ‘flat’ and lengthy (good for us 6 foot plus types). My question is will there be the same entertainment system across all types ? And for that matter for both cabins? When you take TG on their ultra-long-haul routes (BKK-LAX/JFK) you may have a smaller screen size in Y/Y+ but you still get the same amount of choices as is offered in C (no First available).

  2. Nice DC-3 cameo. :-)

    I had a question, slightly off-topic, perhaps CF could answer: Is it inaccurate to say that coach class seats subsidize the existence of 1st/biz class sections? I have pondered this quesiton a long time, and when I did the math, multiplying what I paid for my SFO-AMS (klm) or SFO-DUB (lingus) coach seats on non-stop flights last year, the airlines earned much more from my row than they earned from a row of 1st/biz class seats. The bankruptcy of the all biz-class MaxJet and poor financials of all biz-class SilverJet confirm my suspicion. What do you think? Are we (coach class majority) subsidizing rich, luxury travel?

  3. I think this actually shows a very wise move on the part of Delta. Instead of just grabbing the cheapest seat for all their planes, they are evaluating how well the seat will work with each of the planes in their fleet. A much better way to operate when you have different aircraft than trying to shoehorn a single style seat into every aircraft.

  4. Jeff K – I know that the 757s will have full AVOD throughout the aircraft. I believe the 777s will have the same. As for the 767s, it’s less clear. Up front, however, they should all have AVOD.

    Bryan – It tends to be the opposite, actually, for much of the year. Outside of the summer, transatlantic revenue in the back of the plane is pretty tough to find. That’s why you see some aggressive sale fares, especially in the winter. But during those times, business class demand is strong, and those expensive seats help them get through hard times, especially at an airline that doesn’t have free upgrades like BA, for example.

    During the summer, there’s less demand for business travel, but demand for leisure travel skyrockets. Then those fares tend to contribute more than their fair share.

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