I have to admit I, well my body, is slightly scared about how it will feel after spending just about 24 hours straight in the new Delta Premium Select (PS) seat as I will be flying the inaugural flight out, and back, on the 30th of October. Delta even on their home page, as you see above, is often featuring the new premium economy seat advertisement vs. the Delta One Suites and I find that very interesting.
But what about the seating choice of 2-4-2 vs. other airlines that choose to use 2-3-2?
Skyteam partner Air France who has had for a while real premium economy seats on the 777 has 2-4-2 configuration but on the 787 they run 2-3-2. Now I know the AF product is very different from the Delta seat:
My point here is we could go back and forth all day long comparing if 2-3-2 vs. 2-4-2 is better or worse and the fact that there is such a mix tells me there is no one best choice to point to. Or is there? The price for the inaugural Delta A350 to buy a PS seat is not cheap and rightly so as it is going to an “event” for Delta. I think the day and the flight will be so much fun. But there is a tiny problem. Have you looked at the seat map for this much advertised first flight?
Yep. The flight from Detroit to Japan currently only has 2 of the seats in the “4” seat middle section sold. What about the return flight from Japan?
Yikes, same thing (as well as most of the rest of the cabin empty as well sad to say). Now before you tell me that one flight does not demonstrate an adequate sample size to draw any conclusions and the day and date of the flight etc. – yes I get that. We need many more jets in service and booking trends before we can say for sure how this layout will be, or not be, embraced.
With that disclaimer we can speculate! 🙂
The first thing that bothers me about the Delta product is the seat size. Singapore PE seat is 19.5″ wide. Air France PE is 19″. But the Delta PS seat is just 18.5″ (the funny thing is the PR says up to 19″ but the FAQ page on Delta.com say 18.5″) Do note 18.5″ is only 1/2 an inch wider than coach. Does so little extra width justify calling the seat premium anything? I guess it is better than Comfort+ that is the exact same width as every other seat in coach so there is that. As one more interesting comparison Lufthansa PE is 2-3-2 on their A350’s but the seat is ONLY 18″ wide i.e. the same as coach on Delta’s A350!
The other big issue for me with 2-4-2 vs. 2-3-2 is service from the flight attendants. In 2-4-2 you are not going to have an FA from either side service both middle seats. Whereas with 2-3-2 you can at least enjoy dual aisle service if you will.
The above also matters when you need to get up. In 2-3-2, when you are stuck in the middle, if either seat mate gets up you have a chance to jump up as well. In 2-4-2 you are always going to end up bugging your aisle seat mate as you are not going to climb over the other way (if the row is full that is).
Lastly, before anyone says something like “great this will mean lots of empty seats” you should think again (despite all the empty seats in the ads you will see). Those empty seats will be filled with folks with a boarding pass that says NRSA that is nonrevenue space available passengers a.k.a. folks who work for Delta (or are related to folks who work for Delta). Also do remember there are no free / complimentary PS upgrades for medallions and I sure would not burn a global upgrade cert for one of these seats vs. a Delta One seat!
I guess I want your input. Did Delta choose the right configurations, density, seat manufacture etc.. for the A350. Should they have gone with a larger seat and gone with 2-3-2 vs. 2-4-2? Would you fly in the middle seat on this jet? Let me, and other readers, know what you think! – René