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Delta welcomes its 1st Airbus A321neo, launches a new era for domestic travel

March 23, 2022
4 min read
Delta welcomes its 1st Airbus A321neo, launches a new era for domestic travel
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Delta Air Lines is upgrading the domestic travel experience with the delivery of its first Airbus A321neo jet.

The Atlanta-based carrier received its first A321neo, or "new engine option," from Airbus' production facility in Hamburg, Germany, on Wednesday. The aircraft, registered N501DA, will take off from the Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport (XFW) on Wednesday afternoon and fly to Bangor International Airport (BGR) in Maine, where it will stop for refueling before continuing on to the airline's megahub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).

The aircraft will undergo some additional modifications and technical work in Atlanta before it enters service in May.

While the A321neo might look like a standard domestic jet on the outside, it's loaded with enhancements on the inside, including a brand-new first-class product with extra privacy, the airline’s fastest Wi-Fi connection and power outlets throughout.

In fact, TPG recently received an exclusive tour of the new first-class recliners that are debuting on the A321neo fleet. These seats offer unparalleled privacy relative to other domestic first-class products.

Related: First look at the new seats on Delta's A321neo

While privacy headlines the upgrades, other additions include redesigned storage compartments, enhanced connectivity, winged headrests and more.

(Photo courtesy of Delta)

These jets will feature 20 first-class recliners arranged in a 2-2 configuration spread across five rows. They'll also feature 42 extra-legroom Comfort+ seats and 132 standard coach ones, bringing the total capacity of the jet to 194. The Comfort+ and economy cabins will be arranged in a 3-3 configuration.

Delta's A321neos will also feature the oversized Airspace XL overhead bins, which can hold 60% more luggage than previous-generation storage compartments.

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Airspace XL bins on a JetBlue Airbus A321neo. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Delta has a total of 155 A321neos on order after increasing its order with the European planemaker twice last year. In April, the airline added 25 A321neos to its order book, along with adding an additional 25 options. Then, in August, Delta placed firm orders for 30 additional jets, converting the 25 options it added in April into firm orders.

While deliveries are just beginning in March 2022 (following a nearly year-and-a-half delay due to supply chain constraints), they'll continue through 2027. Delta expects to receive 26 A321neos in 2022.

(Photo courtesy of Delta)

In October 2021, Delta announced that the plane will initially be based in its Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) hub and will fly on transcontinental routes from the airport starting in May. The airline expects to update its schedule in the coming days to reflect the A321neo inaugural from Boston, and as Delta takes more of these jets, expect them to be deployed on additional routes, both from Boston and from other hubs.

We'll be sure to follow up with inaugural flight details when Delta makes them available.

The Airbus A321neo has proven to be a popular option for airlines looking for large-gauge single-aisle aircraft. In the U.S., Alaska, American and JetBlue all operate the A321neo.

(Photo courtesy of Delta)

Delta's version will be powered by Pratt & Whitney engines, which offer improved fuel efficiency of nearly 12% on a per-seat basis compared to Delta's A321ceo (current engine option) performance, the airline said.

This investment will also help toward Delta's goal of reducing its footprint with a lower-emissions fleet.

During the pandemic, Delta retired the aging MD-88 and MD-90 fleets, while also announcing plans to bid farewell to the Boeing 717 by mid-decade.

These single-aisle jets were once the backbone of Delta's domestic fleet, but have since been replaced with more modern and fuel-efficient airliners from Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier.

The latest move — adding its first Airbus A321neo — ushers in a new chapter for Delta's fleet, bringing a plane loaded with passenger experience improvements and better economics to the skies for the first time.

Featured image by Stefan Kruijer
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
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    670-850
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Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees