Perhaps it’s playing catch-up in anticipation of American’s new fleet of aircraft with lie-flat beds in first and business on transcontinental routes, but Delta announced it plans to begin operating Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft with a full BusinessElite seat overhaul on all flights between New York and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle out of its new Terminal 4 at JFK.
Don’t get exciting just yet, though. The first 767 is not scheduled to begin flying until March 2013 between JFK and LAX and will be timed to connect to the airline’s LAX-Sydney flight in both directions.
Then by June, the airline plans to have four of its seven daily flights between JFK and LAX and one of its five daily flights between JFK and Seattle operating with a 767 widebody with the flat-bed BusinessElite product.
The new BusinessElite cabin on these jets will include only 26 full flat-bed seats, each with direct aisle access in a 1 x 2 x 1 configuration. Note: this is actually how you’ll be able to tell these particular aircraft apart from ones with the older class of service, which will have seats configured in a 2 x 2 x 2 layout.
As is standard with the BusinessElite seats, each will be 21 inches wide and recline to a bed with a full length of 79 inches. Each will have a personal 10.6-inch video monitor.
In addition, these planes will have 29 Economy Comfort seats with 35 inches of pitch and 50% more recline (to maybe about 5 inches!). For those stuck in the back, every seat in Economy will be outfitted with a personal 9-inch video monitor and USB power while Business Elite and Economy Comfort seats will have 110v power outlets.
The entire fleet of widebody Delta planes is scheduled to be complete its reconfiguration by early 2014.
The newly redone 757’s will continue to have 16 BusinessElite seats in a 2 x 2 configuration – and will be 20 inches wide with a length on average of 79 inches when fully reclined. This will be the first time Delta has lie-flats on 757 aircraft and I hope they continue to retrofit their 757 fleet that services Europe. The plane will have 44 seats in Economy Comfort and 108 Economy seats, each of which will have its own video monitor, and every seat will have 110v and USB power ports. By next summer, the transcontinental 757 fleet will have 25 Economy Comfort seats up from 11 today. This is how you’ll be able to single out the newly reconfigured aircraft as they roll off the line – if the Economy Comfort cabin has just 11 or 25 seats, it won’t have the new BusinessElite seats, but if there are 44, you’re golden.
The entire fleet will have in-flight WiFi, on-demand entertainment and the 757’s will have 18 channels of live satellite TV, which will be a nice improvement since currently the transcontinental flights don’t have live satellite TV.
For more details on the upgrade and flight schedules, check out Delta’s announcement page. Overall, this is great news- especially with 767s servicing the route, which means 10 more BusinessElite seats and better chances of Medallion upgrades!