Skip to content

Inside Delta's retrofitted Airbus A330 with fancy cabin upgrades

Oct. 14, 2021
10 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

When you're ready to cross the pond again, you might find yourself on a newly retrofitted Delta jet.

Earlier this year, the Atlanta-based carrier embarked on a two-year-long cabin modification program for the backbone of its transatlantic fleet, its 42 Airbus A330-200 and -300s. The onboard upgrades include a new premium economy cabin, along with some other passenger-friendly enhancements to the biz and coach cabins. (Delta's newer A330-900neos already feature a premium economy cabin and aren't included in this retrofit program.)

The A330 retrofits are the second major upgrade coming to Delta's wide-body fleet in the coming months, joining a similar project for the airline's Boeing 767-300s.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Thus far, only a handful of Airbus A330s have been retrofitted, with fleetwide completion still on track for mid-2022. Ever since the first A330 was upgraded this summer, I've been eager to see the improvements in person.

That opportunity came on Tuesday, Oct. 12, when an Airbus A330-300, registered N829NW, was parked in Atlanta overnight between long-haul flights. With some aircraft downtime, I quickly flew down to the carrier's mega-hub for an exclusive one-hour tour.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

And here's what it's like inside.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

Premium Select shines on the A330

Delta's take on premium economy, Premium Select, is now being added to the Airbus A330-200 and -300 fleets.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

You'll find the new Premium Select cabin spread across three rows, 20 to 22, in a 2-3-2 configuration.

Sign up for our daily newsletter
(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The seats themselves will likely look familiar to anyone who's flown in Delta's premium economy cabin before. Delta uses the same hard product across its fleet, though this 21-seat layout is one of the most intimate and private in the sky.

Plus, with curtains separating the cabin from biz and a bulkhead behind the last row, flying in Premium Select on the Airbus A330 should offer a much quieter environment than in coach. Additionally, with just one middle seat per row, odds are that you'll end up in a window or aisle.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The premium economy recliners largely resemble the airline's domestic first-class product, with a few additional bells and whistles for added comfort during a long-haul flight.

According to Ashley Garris, Delta's manager of onboard brand experience, "the approach of one-size-fits-all doesn't really work when people are traveling. Customers do want different things in their experience, and Delta Premium Select gives them another option... a nice comfortable experience that's still elevated and still truly Delta."

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Garris continued to describe many of the additional amenities when booking premium economy.

Each seat — including those at the bulkhead row 20 — features a leg rest and footrest. With seven inches of recline, I had no trouble getting comfortable for a few minutes during my tour.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

There's a storage compartment built into the armrest of each seat, perfect for keeping a small iPad, cellphone or book. In addition, you'll find a water bottle holder right next to the manual seat controls.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Seats measure 18.5 inches wide and offer 38 inches of pitch, and each offers a universal power outlet and USB-A port.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Bi-fold tray tables are built into the armrest and measure 16.5 inches wide and ten inches long, large enough to quickly fit my 13-inch MacBook Pro.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Each Premium Select recliner is equipped with a 13.3-inch high-definition seat-back monitor powered by Delta Studio, the airline's inflight entertainment software. The monitor swivels up and down, giving you a perfect viewing angle regardless of whether you're reclined.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

All in all, the Premium Select cabin is a welcome upgrade to the A330 fleet. Priced between coach and Delta One, it could definitely make sense to splurge for the bump on shorter international routes.

Coach is getting more comfortable

The new Premium Select cabin is largely coming at the expense of extra-legroom Comfort+ seats. In the previous cabin configuration, Delta had 40 Comfort+ seats on the A330-300. That's down to just 24 after the retrofits.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Including premium economy, the number of premium seats on the aircraft isn't decreasing, but if you're a Medallion entitled to complimentary Comfort+ upgrades, this change in distribution might sting.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Asked about the move, Garris explained that "we've had great feedback [about Premium Select], and that's why we're committed to rolling out four cabins on all our international widebodies."

Either way, there's some welcome news for non-elites in coach. From nose to tail, the airline installed new seat cushions in all cabins, and they're especially noticeable in the economy section.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

These new cushions are much more comfortable than the slimline seats you’ll find on many other airlines. While I only had a few minutes to put it to the test, it was immediately clear that there was much more padding at each seat.

In fact, these are similar seat cushions to the ones you'll now find on the retrofitted Boeing 767-300 — hopefully, this means Delta will continue investing in the economy product, instead of copying its competitors' transition to slimline seats.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Coach seats measure 18 inches wide, offer four inches of recline and feature 31 to 32 inches of pitch.

There's juice for everyone

In addition to upgraded seat cushions, Delta is giving every economy passenger access to a power port. Previously, most coach seats only had access to USB charging ports.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

In the main cabin, there's now one power outlet for each of two seats along the sides of the plane and two outlets in the center section of each row. Plus, each seat has access to a USB-A port located underneath the nine-inch seat-back screen.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

These universal outlets accept plugs from most countries.

Relaxing in Delta One will be better than ever

Delta's Airbus A330-200s and -300s don't feature the airline's top-notch Delta One Suites cabin in the pointy end of the plane.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Instead, they're outfitted with reverse herringbone seats, arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration with direct aisle access for each passenger. Though these pods aren't as private as the Suites on the A350 and A330-900neo, they're still quite comfortable and much better than the outdated product you'll find on the 767s.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

While the A330 retrofit program leaves the "bones" of the cabin intact, the airline added new seat cushions to the business-class pods. They've been updated in the latest Delta pattern and will offer more padding for relaxing and sleeping.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Combined with the Westin Heavenly bedding that Delta provisions for each biz passenger, catching some shut-eye in Delta One on the A330 shouldn't be too hard.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Additionally, when it's time to wake up in Delta One, you'll enjoy a revamped selection of caffeinated drinks thanks to the new espresso machine the airline installed during the retrofits.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Otherwise, the hard product remains unchanged. Tray tables measure 20 inches wide and 11 inches long and seat measures nearly 20 inches wide.

Lights, camera, action

In addition to new amenities across all four of the plane's cabins, several other enhancements were packaged into the latest retrofit program.

Perhaps most noticeable is the LED mood lights that Delta added to the A330. With unique scenes for various phases of flight — including meal service, cruise, overnight and wake up — the carrier's goal is to use the lighting to help ease jetlag and boost comfort. I only had a few minutes to play with the overhead lights, but the carrier confirmed that the A330 will have the same color spectrum as what you'll find on the retrofitted Boeing 767-300.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Additionally, the carrier revamped all eight lavatories on this jet. They now all feature one-touch sinks, along with modernized wall paneling and flooring.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

You'll also find Purell hand sanitizing dispensers outside each bank of restrooms.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

And finally, as you enter and exit the plane, your eyes may be drawn to the new welcome area next to Door 2L.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The blue diamond-shaped pattern on the wall helps make the shiny metal Delta logo stand out.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

From the moment you step on board, you'll instantly notice the slew of improvements that Delta installed on its retrofitted Airbus A330s.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Headlining the interior upgrade program is the new Premium Select cabin. With 21 recliners that feature leg rests and footrests, premium economy is bound to be a popular option for those looking for more comfort without breaking the bank for a lie-flat upgrade.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Coach seats and Delta One pods get new cushions, providing more comfort when it's time to sleep or cozy up with a movie.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

All in all, along with the other interior enhancements like refreshed lavatories and new mood lighting, you're bound to enjoy your next flight on Delta's Airbus A330 as much as I enjoyed my tour.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
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.

TPG featured card

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
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
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.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

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
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
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
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    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.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

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.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

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