Delta has confirmed with me they are, over the next 6 months, making major changes to the CJR700 fleet that is run by their partner airlines (they are all painted to look like Delta jets).
First let’s start with all the details shared with RenesPoints from Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant about the coming changes:
“Delta is adding four additional seats to CRJ-700 aircraft in concert with regional partners GoJet, ExpressJet and SkyWest. This same modification also expands Comfort+ seating. All 82 aircraft are scheduled to be completed before next summer. Also, these four additional seats come as the aircraft’s aft cargo hold was modified to allow for the space and are located in the aft section of the main cabin. While two aircraft of 82 have been completed, these four seats won’t be available for customer use for the next several months. While there will be less capacity for total cargo weight on the aircraft, there will still be ample room for checked bags. The new modification will call for nine seats in First Class, 16 seats in Comfort+ and 44 seats in the main cabin. The four additional seats in the rear of the aircraft will have the same amount of pitch as most of the other seats. However, some seat pitch will decline in rows prior to the exit row of the aircraft behind Comfort+ seating.”
That is a lot to take in. I have attempted to take the official Delta CRJ700 information page and update the jet with the confirmed changes described above. Take a look:
Boiling it all down, Comfort+ will double in size form 8 to 16 seats and now even surpasses the 12 Comfort+ seats on the larger CRJ900 while 1st class will remain at 9.
The main cabin will increase by 4 seats with the addition of a row 18 for a total of 44 main cabin seats that includes one exit row. I was told crew space will NOT be impacted by this change.
Now some other interesting comparisons and musings about these changes. The similarity between the CRJ700 and CRJ900 are striking. You are talking 69 seats vs 76 seats and only about 100 miles less range for the smaller aircraft thus the two will basically fulfill the same role.
I further asked if there will be any adjustments to the routes planned for these upgraded aircraft and if they will have any impact on the reduction of CRJ200 aircraft now in service but was told it was too soon to consider that information.
The only thing about this change that concerns me is the decreased pitch in main cabin coach in front of the exit row to accommodate the “extra” recline for the larger Comfort+ seats. This will mean you are much better off, if you value recline, behind the exit row than in front of the exit row. Maybe a minor issue but if this is on a long duration flight that can make a huge difference in comfort.
Personally I would rather have seen them add another row of first class, match the Comfort+ like the CRJ900 with 12 and thus the two aircraft, from a 1st class and Comfort+ arrangement would be interchangeable.
What do you think of these BIG changes on the way to the CRJ700 partner fleet? – Rene