Here's why you'll love Delta's brand-new Airbus A220-300
Of the narrow-body planes crisscrossing the U.S., there's one in particular that scores rave reviews from flyers.
The Airbus A220.
In February 2019, Delta became the North American launch customer of the Airbus A220-100. This plane instantly became a fan favorite thanks to its large windows, expanded overhead compartments, spacious 2-3 coach configuration and more.
Well, there's great news for Delta flyers. Despite the pandemic, the Atlanta-based carrier is inaugurating its latest jet — the larger version of the A220 — the -300 variant.
Building on the success of the "baby" A220, the A220-300 will open up new markets for this single-aisle jet thanks to its increased range. With 50 of the -300s on order, you'll start seeing more of these jets popping up in cities nationwide.
The inaugural flight isn't just monumental for Delta.
Airbus is also celebrating the launch of this particular A220. That's because Delta's first A220-300 — N302DU — is also the first U.S.-built A220. It was manufactured in Mobile, Alabama, following a trade dispute between Boeing and Bombardier that led to a decision by Airbus to open a new plant there.
On Monday, I had the opportunity to check out the shiny new plane before its maiden flight from Salt Lake City to Houston on Tuesday. Read on for my first impressions, and stay tuned for a story about what happened when the inaugural didn't go as planned.
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Delta's A220-300 seats 130 passengers, split across three cabins — first class, Comfort+ and coach.
This represents a boost of 21 seats compared to the shorter -100 variant. However, the added capacity is unfortunate news for Medallion elites looking for first-class upgrades.
That's because Delta added 15 Comfort+ seats and six coach seats to the -300, all while keeping the forward cabin at the same capacity as the -100. This means that those looking to score complimentary upgrades will likely have more competition.
The upside, however, is that it should be significantly easier for elites to clear into Comfort+. After all, the -300 has double the amount of extra-legroom seating.
The cabins themselves feature Delta's latest onboard product — snazzy recliners in first, textured leather seats in Comfort+ and well-padded coach seats as well.
Upon entering the plane, flyers are greeted by a new rectangular Delta sign that's reminiscent of the entryway on the carrier's wide-body jets like the retrofitted Boeing 767.
Notably missing, however, is the Bombardier C Series placard at the foot of the boarding door.
First class on the Delta A220-300
Like most of Delta's narrow-body fleet, first class on the A220-300 is arranged in a 2-2 configuration. The 12 seats are spread across three rows.
Each seat features 37 inches of pitch and a pretty generous recline, making for a comfortable ride while hopping around the country.
In addition, each recliner has a 13.3-inch personal entertainment monitor, as well as a power outlet and USB port. Delta didn't elect to install USB-C ports that you'll find on Air Canada's A220s.
Seats have plenty of storage. In addition to the seatback pocket, the inner armrest has some space for an iPad or book. There's also a bottle holder in between both seats — a nifty addition for those prone to spilling drinks.
The bi-fold tray table extends from the outer armrest. When fully extended, the table measures 18 inches by 10.5 inches.
Every seat on the plane, including first class, has a winged headrest designed to provide neck support when sleeping.
All in all, Delta's first-class product is one of the nicest in the U.S.
Comfort+ on the Delta A220-300
The A220-300 has a massive Comfort+ section.
Spanning six rows, flyers looking for a little extra legroom (and an improved inflight food and beverage offering) should definitely try securing one of these upfront seats.
Like the rest of coach, Comfort+ is arranged in 2-3 configuration. Note that the A220 has one less middle seat per row than the A320 or Boeing 737 — one of the many reasons why flyers love it so much.
The seat themselves are quite comfortable. At 20 inches wide and with 35 inches of pitch, I'd be happy to sit here for three or more hours.
Each seat has a moveable tray table that measures 16.5 inches wide and 8.5 inches long. While it was large enough for my 13-inch MacBook Pro, you might prefer using an iPad or smaller computer when seated in the back.
Each row of three seats shares two universal power outlets, and each of the two-seaters has one power outlet to share.
Economy on the Delta A220-300
Most flyers will inevitably end up sitting in coach — and that's not necessarily a bad thing when flying this new Delta jet.
For one, the seats aren't patently uncomfortable like the slimline ones you'll find on some competitors.
Additionally, Delta has outfitted all its coach cabins with a plethora of technology. Like Comfort+, coach flyers can enjoy a 10.1-inch personal entertainment screen, a USB port and a (shared) power outlet.
At 31 inches of pitch, the coach seats aren't necessarily roomy. They were just fine for my 5-foot, 11-inch frame, but anyone larger might prefer an extra-legroom seat.
Best seats on the Delta A220-300
As they say, not all seats are created equal.
The best news is that there's at least one window in every row, so regardless of where you sit, you won't miss out on "Wingview Wednesday."
In first class, flyers should try avoiding the bulkhead. Without a designated cut out under the closets, there's simply less legroom in the first row.
Otherwise, rows 2 and 3 are practically the same. My personal preference is always the window in the last row, so if you see seat 3D reserved, there's a chance I'm flying with you.
The bulkhead in Comfort+ — row 10 — offers some of the most legroom of any seat on the plane. That's because there's no wall between first class and Comfort+.
Some might be tempted by all the extra foot space... but beware: the bulkhead armrests are immovable. Plus, the inflight entertainment screens are stored in your seat, so they need to be stowed for taxi, takeoff and landing.
In my book, the best coach seats are the windows in row 18, since they're missing a seat in front of them. With limitless legroom, I'll try assigning one of these seats the next time I'm seated in the back.
The exit row is interesting. It has just one single seat on the port side of the aircraft and two seats on the starboard side.
If the windows in row 18 are taken, I'd likely try to snag the single seat — 17B — when I'm flying the A220-300. To me, the biggest downside to the exit row is the significantly smaller windows.
Amenities and IFE
Delta's A220 is a fan favorite for a reason. And that's in part due to the abundance of amenities.
Since the introduction of the A220-100, aviation enthusiasts have appreciated that Delta chose to install a window in the rear lavatory on the port side. Good news: the -300 also has one too.
There are two other lavatories onboard (sans windows) — a smaller one on the starboard side at the rear and a larger one at the front that's usually reserved for first class.
Those traveling with full-sized carry-ons will also appreciate the A220's oversized overhead bins. If you're flying on the A220-300, there's a much slimmer chance that you'll need to gate check your bag.
Another reason to love the A220 is the large windows — each measures 11 inches wide and 16.5 inches long.
As mentioned, each seat has a personal entertainment screen, a dedicated USB port and a shared power outlet. The IFE systems are preloaded with tons of content, including the latest movies, TV shows, live television and more.
In addition, the A220-300 features GoGo high-speed 2Ku Wi-Fi. I didn't have a chance to run a speed test, but my past experiences with Delta's onboard internet have all been overwhelmingly positive.
Delta's A220-300 is the newest jet for the Atlanta-based carrier.
The "larger" Airbus plane offers all the conveniences and improvements flyers love about Delta's A220-100, including oversized windows and overhead bins, spacious cabins, technology enhancements and more.
Plus, the -300 has a 100% larger Comfort+ cabin, offering even more room to spread out. The only downside is that Medallion first-class bumps will be harder to come by on the new A220-300.
For everyone else, this new jet is a major upgrade.
All photos by Zach Griff/The Points Guy