Delta Quietly Takes Delivery of Its First Airbus A350
Delta's first Airbus A350 is coming! Oh, no, wait... it's here? Yup — yesterday, with absolutely no fanfare, the first US carrier to operate Airbus' latest wide-body jet took possession of its first aircraft in Toulouse, France.
When Singapore Airlines took delivery of an A350-900 at TLS last year, airline executives, partners, crew members and journalists flew in, including TPG and myself, with some journeying from as far as Australia. There were several days of tours and events, culminating in a nonstop flight to Singapore (SIN) on the factory-fresh plane.
Now, granted, a good deal of that excitement centered around Airbus' 10,000th delivery, but even Iran Air has celebrated recent Airbus milestones, celebrating with partners and welcoming journalists on board for a tour. Delta, however, has been entirely mum — without so much as a tweet to celebrate the occasion, with the exception of one photo from a product development manager who apparently managed to be one of the lucky few present this week in Toulouse:
Why did Delta opt to avoid celebrating one of its most significant aircraft deliveries to date? That's not entirely clear, though the plane's busy schedule may have something to do with it — according to A350Blog, this particular plane is getting outfitted with Gogo's new 2Ku Wi-Fi before it finally makes its journey to the US on August 4. So perhaps Delta will show off its new A350 once it arrives in Atlanta, instead.
Even though Delta's not making a fuss, we're pretty excited about this plane. It'll be the first in the airline's fleet to feature the new all-suite business-class cabin (with a closing door at each seat, a la Qatar Qsuite and JetBlue Mint).
The A350 has 32 Delta One suites arranged in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration, in addition to 48 Premium Select (premium economy) seats and 226 seats in the main cabin.
While the A350 may be used for domestic service at first, it's expected to launch international service between Detroit (DTW) and Tokyo (NRT) on October 30, followed by DTW to Seoul (ICN) on November 18 and DTW to Beijing (PEK) on January 17, 2018.
Delta's ordered a total of 25 Airbus A350s, so we should expect more destinations to be announced soon, though 10 of those orders were deferred in May. You can now book some of these initial routes with cash or SkyMiles today.
Are you planning to fly Delta's A350 soon?