Are you more / less happy with the Delta 737-900 vs 757? You better be!

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GearUp Summer2014 Delta OCC magazine

I really enjoyed being on the very first ever revenue flight of Delta’s 737-900ER! Getting to sit in seat 0A and see the heads up display and more was just #AVgeek overload that had my head spinning (and I could not stop smiling for hours)!

I also enjoyed my recent visit to Delta OCC and picked up the summer copy of GearUp by the OCC folks. It was a very interesting read including a piece by a sector operations manager that asked “Can a 737-900 really replace a 757?

photo from Delta GearUp - Summer 2014

photo from Delta GearUp – Summer 2014

The highlights of the article touched on the current routes Delta flies the 737-900 and discussed many factors where the jet shines, such as replacing the 757 on routes where it is “too much airplane“. The neatest part to me was the fuel savings over the life of the plane. A comparison was made that showed on many routes the fuel savings ALONE would just about pay for the cost of the new 737! That is impressive.

Many more 737-900’s are on the way and I really like the business and coach class seats on the jet vs the old 757 that is really showing its age. The IFE is clearly MILES better as well as consistent power throughout the plane. Even though most complain about “slim line” seats, the ones Delta has chosen are quite good.

1st class seats delta 737-900 vs 757 jets

One of the only disappointments I guess from a passenger experience side is the reduction in upgrade opportunities because you are talking 20 first class on the 737 seats vs 22/24/26 seats depending on just what version of the 757 happened to be on whatever route previously. Next time you end up #1 or 2 with ZERO seats open for upgrade on a 737 keep in mind you would have cleared had the 757 been still flying.

I am sure most of you have had the chance to try the new birds. What do you think? Are you happy with them (you better be, we will be flying them for decades). Shout out and tell us/me what you think. – René


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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.


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  1. I am a 757 lover. I like the 737-900, but nothing can replace the over powered and sweet sound of the 757 engines. That said, I will gladly fly the 737 when it replaces my beloved airplane.

  2. More upgrade availability is nicer on the 757. The bigger screen on the 737 IFE is a perk. But, the screen doesn’t tilt on the 737.

    At 6’2″ neither is comfortable in the back or up front, so when it comes to comfort they’re a wash. Plus, with my Bose headphones on both planes sound the same.

  3. I love the 757’s but aren’t the remaining planes are going to get new interiors with a smaller FIrst Class?

  4. I’ve been hearing rumors from unreliable sources lately the Boeing may try to revive the 757 model with more economical engines or whatever. I doubt it but just have heard that some lately.

  5. I am due to fly on Flt. #760 SMF/ATL which is usually a 757. The past few weeks a 737-900 has been flying that route on random days so I have no idea which aircraft I will be on. I am anxious to see what the new 737 is like.
    The downside is that in the last month that flight has been late arriving in ATL many times. I have a tight connection to make and if the flight is several minutes late I won’t make it.

  6. The one thing I don’t like about the 737 is that they took away Live Satellite TV on it! I don’t understand why they would do this.

  7. Hands down the 900 is my preference. If not upgraded I get the exit row with no seat in front and have even more legroom than first class.

  8. I fly the 757 often but have yet to fly on a new 737. I did have a couple of flights on a 717 this week and I sure hope the first class seats on the 737 are better than those. Both myself and the person I was traveling with found them to be extremely uncomfortable. Even though they were old, the seats on the 757 legs were MUCH more comfortable.

  9. Don’t laugh, but my favorite bird is still the EMB-120. There’s something about the graceful whir of the propellers that evokes the golden age of flight from yesteryear.

  10. What’s the difference in the number of bathrooms on the two planes? I’ve always hated the 737 because it has fewer lavatories.

  11. @Michael – that is a downside. I think the 757 has two extra over the 737. Also the 737-900 bathroom is TINY. I mean the smallest I have EVER seen!

  12. I haven’t had the chance to fly on one of Delta’s 739’s, but I can’t wait for the opportunity! While I love the 757, I have flown on some of United’s (don’t hate me! LOL) brand new 739ER’s and they are very, very quiet inside compared to the 757 and silence is one of the things I look for MOST on any aircraft (another reason I love sitting in front of the wing on any of the MadDogs; especially my favorite MD90).

  13. Rene,

    While the 737-900 is definitely a superior aircraft to the 757 family, I must agree that the bathrooms are so small that certain people will simply be unable to use them. That will definitely cause problems. I’m 6’2″ and 265 and it was something of a trick to sit down and stand back up. Maybe these bathrooms should be installed in the executive suites in Delta’s corporate offices!

  14. I like the 739s… but getting upgrades seems like a dream these days. Especially since Delta “thinned the ranks,” by giving away platinum status to tons of non-delta flyers.

  15. I’m delighted finally to join the ranks of Delta 739 alumni. The sky interior definitely is nice. The enhanced overhead bins reduce steamer trunk incidents. The fact that the enhanced IFE comes standard is a plus. I echo the other concerns expressed here about lavatories and inventory of seats in the forward cabin. I’ll add, though, that I’ve flown the A321 many times with US Air and find that it feels a bit more spacious than the Delta 739, albeit with even fewer seats up front.

  16. I think the 737-9 is a huge disappointment. The only positive in my view is the technology platform (nice screens in the seat backs, USB and 120/220V power, etc.) The coach seats are much more uncomfortable and cramped than the 757’s and now the Delta uses these planes for nearly all of the legs to SFO from ATL and vice versa, I am stuck on them all the time. And yes, can I tell you how many times I have been #1 or #2 on the list with zero seats available??? Of course that happened a ton on the old 75’s as well. I love how they have moved almost all of the ATL-LAX legs to 76’s (which used to be the plane of choice for the ATL-SFO route). The galley on the 737-9 is ridiculously small and while the FA’s won’t comment on the record they hate this plane too. The lavatory is a complete joke – you can barely get into it because it’s so tiny. I look for ways to avoid the 737-9 on Delta.

  17. Delta’s really jumped the shark with their 737-900. Seats are literally crammed in there, and the lav is absolutely claustrophobic. I’ll take the old 757-200 any day of the week over this plane. (In fact, I make it a point to check the planes when I fly, I go out of my way to avoid regional jets and the DL 737-900 …)

  18. I just flew from San Diego to Minneapolis on a 737- 900ER in economy and was quite happy with the leg room and I am 6’2″ 265.
    Yes the restrooms are small but managable.

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