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Delta is making 2 exciting changes to its newest long-haul routes

Aug. 23, 2022
5 min read
Delta plane
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Last month, Delta Air Lines unveiled three new long-haul routes.

They include two new destinations for the carrier, Cape Town International Airport (CPT) and Faaa International Airport (PPT) in Tahiti, as well as a new route from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) to Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) in Tel Aviv.

While the flights don't take off for a few more months, the Atlanta-based carrier is already making two big adjustments to its previously announced plans, as first seen in Cirium schedules and later confirmed by the carrier.

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Delta will add Premium Select to Tahiti route

When Delta first filed plans to add PPT to its network, the carrier planned to deploy a Boeing 767-300 on the route.

However, Delta has multiple configurations of this Boeing wide-body jet, and it wasn't immediately clear which one the carrier would deploy on the Tahiti route.

When the flights first went on sale, the airline scheduled one of its older configurations that doesn't feature a premium economy cabin.

That has since changed. Delta just upgraded the route to its newest Boeing 767-300 configuration, the 76K variant, which features an 18-seat Premium Select cabin just behind business class.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The airline is now selling premium economy fares on the Tahiti route, which start at about $1,750 or 150,000 SkyMiles round-trip.

The recliners in the premium economy cabin offer considerably more space than the economy seats in a much more intimate three-row cabin. Plus, the 2-2-2 arrangement is great for couples traveling together.

Unfortunately, frequent flyers will likely be disappointed with the addition of a Premium Select cabin on this route. That's because Delta recently rolled out changes to how it processes upgrades for top-tier Medallion members with Global and Regional Upgrade Certificates.

Going forward, these vouchers can only be used to confirm a one-cabin upgrade at the time of booking. So, if you're a top-tier flyer booking a coach ticket, you'll now be upgraded to Premium Select as opposed to Delta One.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

You'll still have a shot at a business-class upgrade, but that'll be determined within 24 hours of the flight when you're placed on a standby waitlist. If you want to confirm a business-class upgrade during booking (assuming there's availability), you'll need to splurge for a premium economy fare.

Delta's new Tahiti flight will connect Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) with Papeete, French Polynesia, beginning Dec. 17 with three-times-weekly service.

Papeete is the main international gateway to French Polynesia. From there, passengers can continue on to nearby destinations, including Moorea and Bora Bora — both just a few miles from PPT.

Delta's new Tel Aviv flight gets a head start

Delta will soon connect its Atlanta megahub with Tel Aviv.

While the plan originally called for three-times-weekly service beginning May 10, 2023, Delta is giving the route a nearly two-month head start.

The airline will now commence operations on this 6,437-mile route on March 26, 2023.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

It seems Delta is happy with the booking curve for its new Israel flight, so it's starting the route earlier than planned. The airline will now be able to capitalize on the busy spring travel period for travelers heading to Israel for the Passover holidays, as well as Israel's Independence Day and Memorial Day.

Of course, the new route will also cover those travelers heading to Israel for Easter and those just looking for some R&R in Tel Aviv during the spring break period.

The Atlanta-to-Tel Aviv route technically marks a resumption for the carrier, as it was last flown between March 2006 and August 2011. The resumption comes at a time when Delta is going all-in on Israel.

The airline recently launched a new flight between Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) and Tel Aviv, and now it'll add Atlanta to the mix as well. Delta already flies between New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Tel Aviv.

The Atlanta route is currently scheduled to operate on one of the "new" Airbus A350-900 aircraft that Delta picked up from LATAM Airlines.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

These jets feature a unique 2-2-2 business-class product that's quite different from the signature Delta One Suites cabin on the airline's flagship A350s.

The ex-LATAM A350 also doesn't feature a premium economy cabin, though it's possible that the airline will adjust its aircraft deployment strategy or begin a retrofit project for these jets before the new Tel Aviv flight launches.

Be sure to stay tuned to TPG for more updates.

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.

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