Yesterday in my monthly news roundup the very first story highlighted was the fact that Delta Air Lines will soon fly 130 of the Boeing 737-900ERs. Having had 24 hours to think about this it bothers me more and more. Why?
While I was on the very first ever revenue flight for the 737-900ER on November 1st 2013, and had a positive review at the time, now having flown it so much for 3+ years that initial feeling has truly soured. Why? There are just too many seats crammed onto this jet. 180 means this:
6 of the 20 seats in 1st class are to be avoided. The leg room in row 1 is so bad that it can make coach on other jets feel spacious. Also, row 5 on the CD side you have limited recline into the coat closet wall installed mid aircraft.
Only 2.5 good seats in coach. Why 2.5? If you are not a 5′ tall person I think leg room in coach matters to you. Thus 21 A and F are the only really good seats on the entire jet in coach and they are window seats. I prefer the aisle. Thus the only “half” good seat is 11 D where you can sorta stretch your feet into the area in front of the coat closet. But this seat also has an unmovable arm rest.
Next we have the lavatories. Ugh. They are so small they make a CJR200 look like a luxury liner. If you have not been in one, just don’t go. I really could go on and on how crews hate the 737-900ER due to lack of space in the galley and pilots are no fans because they are so under powered and “dumbed” down” to make Southwest that only buys 737s happy.
Personally, whenever I book Delta flights, I look at what routes have the 737-900ER and then try to book another flight. I would rather be on just about anything Delta flies over this jet even in 1st class. And I am not the only one. Notice what some Delta flyers are saying in a FlyerTalk thread about the 737-900ER expansion:
“I book away from the horrible things for any flights over 90 minutes. If I’m not the only one, that will have an impact on the fares they get.” – FT user Mother
“You’re not the only one.” – FT user CW
” UGH! DL’s 739 configuration is the WORST! Cramped cabins and F is a total joke. I can’t even get my laptop in a comfortable working position if the person in front of me reclines… Looks like there are more routings I’ll be avoiding.” – FT user SOBE ER DOC
If I were in Delta revenue management I would be frightened about statements like these. We are not talking SkyMiles or other things that weekly high paying customers really don’t care much about. No, we are talking choices that could have a real financial impact on Delta over time.
With 130 jets on the books now it will be very hard to not end up on one of these as it will replace the 757 on routes it has the “legs” to fly. Even the ETOPS rated jets will fly to Hawaii from the west coast. I cannot dream of the “joy” of flying a this jet that far to or from the islands. Could you?
So you tell me. Will this have any impact on your choice to fly Delta? Do you look at what aircraft will be flown on each flight of your itinerary or does this just not matter at all to you? – René