Inside the Delta Air Lines A350 – Cockpit, Delta One Suites, Premium Select & Coach seats

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There are few things in life better, when you are an over the top (ok maybe beyond over the top) AVgeek, than when a Delta pilot turns to you and asks you if you would like to come onboard the plane with them (yeah, that just never EVER gets old).

And when you are in the pilot’s seat of Delta’s newest flagship jet, seeing in the windows the reflection of the jet with the countdown clock to takeoff, it honestly becomes completely impossible to pay attention to almost anything 1 of the 4 #DeltaPround captains is telling you about the facts about the new jet.

Don’t get me wrong it was simply amazing to see the modern displays that replaced 1940’s-(ish) analog display dials with digital displays that with the click of a pointer will change from display to display via tabs.

And unlike Boeing that has a yoke in the middle of the seat, the A350 has a control stick to the side and a useful keyboard in the middle (thus allowing you to “drive” with one hand and control thrust with the other).

I could have really stayed in the VERY spacious cockpit all day and flight long but I don’t think they would have let me (I would have suggested 14 hours in the jump seat and never complained one single time). But I was also thinking about what was behind the driver’s seat so…

I sneaked a peek of the D1S (Delta One Suite) on the way in to the really pointy end of the jet but did not see the bits placed on each seat / tray.

Now I know what you are thinking when you look at this next shot. You are saying: Holy cow that is narrow! How will FA s ever work in this crazy tight area? …and… Uh, those doors are like baby gate half doors and not private at all! Plus, will those doors work after thousands of coach passengers have banged them with mega carryon bags?

You know what – you are not the only one thinking this way but I will save my thoughts (that totally agree with you) on this topic until the final post.

For now just say “ohhh ahh” over this new modern upgrade to the business class cabin that will, for now, be on all the flagships and soon modified 777 jets (coming summer 2018).

Just beyond the cathedral-like business class cabin we come to the real reason I booked a trip (and back) on this brand new jet – Delta Premium Select.

Many of you may have seen the Delta PR flight photos of these seats so these shots are nothing ”
new” but let me tell you this is a total – 100% – revolution for Delta Air Lines. THIS, unlike the D1 seats with a cheap plastic door, are THE new game changing product.

After 6 years of blogging trust me I know what I am talking about. THIS is the revolution that will shape Delta (and impact $DAL) for decades to come.

The questions are, that I will address in the last post in this series, are these seats, and service, too darn good or not good enough compared to other airlines?

I can tell you this, that the two middle seats in the 2-4-2 configuration are to be avoided at all costs. The idea of anyone not suffering from a sharp blow to the head, to burn a most valuable Diamond Global Upgrade on a middle PS seat is ridiculous – but more on this later on.

Back to the best and worst of these impressive new seats. The screens. OMGosh they are flat out amazing. They are HUGE. And, wisely, they tilt a lot. This is really important because these PS seats do recline a ton. This is really sweet when you want to sleep but not so much when you are at the receiving end of the recline – clearly this is always a tradeoff for seat designers to consider.

I can tell you that there are any number of flashes of brilliance in these seats. For the limited space (i.e. squeezing all in minimum space) they have done well. Take for example the aisle arm rests. With a simple pull of a simple to reach (but hidden-ish) switch it folds down and makes a tight (compared to other airlines like Virgin Atlantic) seat from narrow to wide.

The seat itself is also comfortable. Padding is good and it is great that the head rest moves and the sides can fold in.

The front row in PS is just the best. A ridiculous amount of leg room and the seats do not really feel any less wide than the rest of the cabin – flat out impressive.

But all is not perfect and in fact far from it. There are so many bits that I am sure have been tested by teams over and over again but wiser minds should have prevailed (long term). Take for example the tray. It is compact but will not last. Even more so on the aisle seats as folks drop the sides when the tray is still out.

The next part i.e. the seat and IFE controls I could write a book about and I am just stupefied that so many parts made it out of beta testing and quality control. Wait to you fly it you will see! But for now let me illustrate a few. The power port on the best row of seats is in a horrid place that will hit you in the leg over and over and over. The recline button is the same as the 2 leg rest controls and that is bad. Plus, it takes effort to fully adjust the leg rest to the best position (unless you are over 5 foot 9 then it is never in a good place (ugh for all you tall folks).

Lastly the video control hand divice. What a stupid location to put it and second that it even exists at all is just ridiculous. It is all but impossible to get out and then all but pointless when such a perfect touch screen is close at hand (and really so when the passenger in front of you fully reclines – not kidding)!

Now the windows – back to the OMGosh. They are HUGE and amazing. Plus, and if you get nothing else out of this post, the jet is so quiet it is almost like you are on the ground. It is a total game changer. Yeah, it is that good. But enough of PS. Let’s touch on a few more bits!

I did not spend a great deal of time in coach but there are some seats to consider. There are two sets of bulkhead / exit row seats that have a bunch of extra leg room

While not pictured the second set of these has a 2 seat choice that would be very good for a couple traveling together.

Last tip is Delta One Suites. Take a look at the space between the table and front of the suite. Next take a look at the foot well below.

If you are in 2A (or on the other side front  seat) you are going to get a number of inches of more leg room and a much bigger foot well to enjoy. These two are clearly the best single person suites to try to grab.

Overall these are some very interesting seats from tip to tail. While I still have a ton to say about them I will save that for the final post. Up next, the Premium Select experience itself. Just how good or bad is it really? That will have to wait for another day! – Rene

 

 

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5 comments

  1. Having travelled on the same flight but in a window seat in premium select I have to admit that it was not the nirvana I expected. Although I usually choose aisle seats I thought that there would be more room in the window seat in these upgraded seats. Both of the arm rests are fixed and allow restricted movement like the exit row seats of older planes. I guess I should loose more weight and get down to 185 lbs for this to be bearable. The small container of carmex in my pocket continually pressed against the seat back control causing it to go up and down. All of the points that you mention are true Rene including ample leg room!

  2. I am fortunately do not know if I was on the same flight is Renée and Finicky Bob but I took the Tuesday afternoon A350 flight from Detroit to Tokyo Narita and when I booked it I didn’t even know it was the inaugural flight for that particular A350 for Delta. After reading Renée’s column for the years I took ihis advice and called twice to use global upgrade in the business seating suites. Those two calls lasted a combined two hours working with several agents and finally the manager that was knowledgeable enough to work his magic. Although I will not going into to much detail here but I was not all that impressed with the product. The business suites as they are called now are sort of too maximum space deigned. Those are the words one Delta employee used, I would have said cramped and slightly claustraphobic. The walls and the door can make your space especially with the side area that contains the storage space, your table as well as the foot well for the person behind you a little claustrophobic. Now the video screen was very nice . I know Renée likes to take and show you pictures of his wonderful meals when he flies especially first class on national flights, however, Idon’t think I’ll be taking pictures or writing anything on the two meals offered on the that days flights, under impressed. The meat entree for the mail meal, that I have ordered, was overcooked and therefore slightly tasteless and tough. And the breakfast they served prior to landing in Tokyo had scrambled eggs that were extraordinarily dry. However, the breakfast croissant was very nice, tiny but nice. Renée the new headphones that you have written about made me long for my Bose that I left at home, they did not do an adequate job of jet noise reduction. All the Delta personal on the flight, the pilot and the flight attendants as well others I think were airbus or Delta service people on the flight mentioned about how proud they wanted this was the inaugural flight for this particular A350. I thought that since it was the inaugural flight Delta might have something to commemorate the flight available to give to the passengers, here it lost a great PR opportunity but nothing happened. I will try and provide more after my return flight.

  3. Great first looks! However, am I reading the seating chart incorrectly? It looks like there is no seat 1A or 1D (windows). Instead, there is a 1B /1C (middle of plane) followed behind by 2A window, 2B /2C middle seats, and then 2D window. Are the seats you show in this blog post actually located in row 2?

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