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Delta sets Airbus A321neo inaugural, debuting with 4 Boston markets

April 01, 2022
5 min read
Delta sets Airbus A321neo inaugural, debuting with 4 Boston markets
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Delta's Boston hub will be the launch base for the airline's newest domestic workhorse, the Airbus A321neo.

The carrier announced on Friday the initial markets for the new narrow-body jet, just more than a week after taking delivery of its first shiny new plane from the Airbus factory in Hamburg, Germany.

At the outset, the A321neo will be deployed between Boston's Logan International Airport (BOS) and four markets:

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  • Denver (DEN) — starting Aug. 20.
  • San Diego (SAN) — starting Aug. 20.
  • San Francisco (SFO) — starting May 20.
  • Seattle (SEA) — starting Aug. 11.

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The carrier added that the inaugural A321neo flight is scheduled for Friday, May 20, from Boston (BOS) to SFO at 8:29 a.m. local time, currently sold as Delta Flight 1202. As always, note that schedules are subject to change, especially as the airline completes necessary entry-into-service work over the coming weeks.

As of press time, one-way fares start at $199 for basic economy and jump to $854 for first class. Alternatively, you can redeem 20,000 SkyMiles for a coach ticket or 58,000 for a first-class ticket. (The first-class redemption is worth considering, but the 1 cent per point rate on the coach ticket likely isn't worthwhile.)

(Screenshot courtesy of Delta)

If you're interested in flying the inaugural, I'd recommend booking ASAP.

(Photo courtesy of Delta)

Delta will load the Airbus A321neo into its schedule over the weekend, and you'll then be able to see the exact flights that'll be operated by the plane by looking at the aircraft type during the booking process.

The move to base the jet in Boston at the outset shouldn't come as a surprise, as the carrier already announced in October 2021 that it would initially be deployed on transcontinental routes from Boston.

That said, adding its newest and upgraded jet to Boston comes as Delta faces fierce competition in the market. American Airlines’ and JetBlue’s new Northeast Alliance is focused on growth in New York and Boston, and the Atlanta-based carrier could be responding to competitive pressure brought by its rivals.

To date, American and JetBlue have tried to differentiate themselves not only on network, but also on the onboard product. JetBlue took delivery of its first Airbus A220 last year and has since based the plane in Boston to better compete in the market.

Additionally, American and JetBlue have touted their lie-flat premium transcon product as one of the key reasons to fly with them. (Notably, Delta's current A321neos don't feature flat beds, but that could be changing in the future.)

Interestingly, Delta's strategy with its initial A321neo markets seemingly mimics the playbook it used for the Airbus A220, which the carrier added to the fleet back in 2019.

The smaller Airbus (formerly Bombardier) jet also boasts passenger-friendly improvements, and it was initially deployed strategically on routes from New York to some of its competitors' biggest markets, including American's Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) hub and United's Houston (IAH) hub.

(Photo courtesy of Delta)

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.

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

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

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

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

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Delta has a total of 155 A321neos coming to its fleet 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 have just begun (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.

As Delta takes more of these jets, expect them to be deployed on additional routes, both from Boston and from other hubs.

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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  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
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