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Will Delta’s Premium Delta One Suite A350 “up-charge” fail due to seat design?

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Photo Credit: Delta News Hub

No one other than Delta people so far have had a chance to try out the new Delta One Suite seats (D1S) in the air. Delta apparently feels they are going to be so amazing that they are willing to toss their Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer under the bus and make him into a liar. Delta apologists will say they have the right to charge whatever they want even though they said they would not up-charge for this Delta One seat.

I like these seats – you?

Delta believes they can get people to over pay for their seat vs. the competition. This is a bold statement of confidence in the D1S seat. I am not so sure. Personally I very much like the similar seat on the 767 jets that is forward facing without the half door making it a suite. But I know scores of other flyers that have nothing but ultra negative things to say about this design and like the reverse herringbone design so much more (maybe you feel the same way and I respect that).

So why do I like the above forward facing seat? First off one of the most important things for me is shoulder width. With the forward seats I have this and on all of the seats in the cabin. They all feel “open” if you will and spacious. Having said that I do tend to, when flying alone, go for the odd numbered seats on either side of the jet. Why? I love the buffer between me and the aisle and there is no risk of my feet being hit by anything (open on the even side). When with my wife in the middle section I give her the seat with buffer on both sides. But what about D1S?

Photo Credit:

All we have so far are Delta PR shots of the seats. They are, I would assume, the best possible art work the airline can push forward to sell the seats. But notice a bit of a problem above? Look at the next shot.

Photo Credit:

Ruh Roh. If you are a person like me that appreciates shoulder space this is not looking good at first glance. In either of these shots I would feel cramped and claustrophobic. Sure the one side is open but on the other you are up against the wall if you will. And as always the models in these shots are not the average sized American who may be a bit larger and taller.

Seats I will avoid on D1S

The result could be the need to avoid a bulk of the available D1S seats that don’t have the door father away from you. Yikes that is a lot of seats to watch out for and surely never ever pay an up-charge for on top of the hefty business class price! I also worry the “good-ish” middle seats may feel much more cramped than the window side of the jet.

We will not have to wait too much longer as we are only about two months away from the inaugural A350 flight that will be the first to fly the D1S seats and will result in tons of feedback as to if this new seat is as amazing as Delta marketing and revenue management thinks it is or if it falls flat and is to be avoided over other Delta One products (side note: Delta has said the 777 will one day also include D1S). A lot is riding on the D1S as well as the new Premium Select or Premium Economy seats.

Yes all of this is just speculation at this point but I am concerned for Delta. What about you? Do you like the old style forward facing Delta One seats or do you avoid those? Do you think the D1S will feel spacious or “coffin like” as some have suggested? Do you think these seats are worth an up-charge over other Delta One routes or the competition? Let me know in the comments below! – Rene


Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. Looks ridiculous. I still wonder what the need for a door is… in business class. So the Flight attendants can more easily annoy you?

    I just flew SQ suites, those have a door but I did not even use it.

    Reverse Herringbone is a far superior product. DL did this to differentiate but unfortunately they just copied the Thompson XL seat and put in a door… FAIL!!

    I will try these out because the A350 is awesome. I think DL really ruined theirs. Also… premium economy is going to be tight! I flew SQ PE 2-4-2 and fund it marginally better than economy. Maybe worth $150 over an ocean. Thats stretching it!

    Flew China Airlines 2-3-2 on the A350 PE and WOW! Kick butt awesome product with loads of space. Me thinks DL should have left a couple seats out and done it right…but this is DL .They think their “stuff” smells like fresh Georgia Peaches (but they are rotten and covered in bugs)

  2. Quite frankly I prefer their A330 TATL. Better layout than their ’67’s.

  3. I worked for Virgin Atlantic right when their first angled lie flat Upper Class seat/beds went into flight. They were a flop from the start and all of us employees knew it. They had to eat crow eventually and put what is currently in there now. But only after tons of negative feedback from their customers. I also worked for Air New Zealand when they put in the Premium Economy Space Seats. As one of the first to try it out on the ground, before it took flight, I was aghast at how little leg room was in-between each row and said something about it. Only when it was a flop in the air and all the negative feedback came in, did they take a few rows out to satisfy their elites. Now we have Delta trying to emulate their Asian and Gulf carrier counterparts by putting a door on an already tight space. You say you like the forward facing seats. I do not. They too, are angled flat beds and are a bit awkward to get out of if you are sitting at the window with the armrest between you and the aisle. I love the reverse herringbone. They are fully flat, have plenty of space, more shoulder room and more privacy. I will take them anyday over the new D1S or the 777’s version’s currently. I am flying on one of the last 747-400’s next week to say goodbye and to fly on the reverse herringbone before it goes away.
    I will not turn down any D1S, but I will not pay extra for it. Nor will I buy their Premium Select seats as they are tight as well.
    I really look forward to your review on the inaugural. It will be a special flight. But then I want to see reviews on regular flights, without all the celebration.

  4. I just recently flew China Airlines A350 biz class and their reverse herringbone is MUCH better than Delta’s. The key part is the footwell is more of a “box” than a narrow “coffin” and it makes a HUGE difference. The overall hardware was nicer too although the food was a step or two below Delta’s.

  5. I’m with the herringbone crowd, too. It provides enough separation if I’m in the center section and traveling alone, or enough connection when traveling with my spouse. Like Rene, I value shoulder space (I once turned down a great deal on a Toyota SUV because the driver’s side window pressed against my shoulder). But like a rude NYC subway rider, I also like some manspread. To me, all the first/business class seats on Delta are so uncomfortable in the “sleep” mode; they feel like coffins. As a result, I never sleep on international flights over Atlantic or Pacific. I do save a lot of money on movie tickets throughout the year, though!

  6. Shatner's Bassoon Reply

    @Sally I’ve never had any problems at all with Virgin’s Herringbone layout in the 15 years I’ve been flying (I even remember the OLD Upper config). Whilst I’m short, I do have wide shoulders and love the space I have, even with the current herringbone pattern on the A330s. I also like the being able to see the cabin infant of me, but also to see outside if I wish.

    And NOT having to clamber over people to get out 🙂

  7. This a/c would not be my first choice in business class. The space for feet and legs looks tight.

    I’m disappointed that delta did not explore some new business class configurations like Japan Airlines 787-9 that is 2-2-2 with all aisle access. That is the best business seat I’ve flown although Qatar A350-900 seats are more opulent.

    I prefer 787s over A350s for the windows alone.

  8. Tom levitan Reply

    Just flew Vietnam Air 787. They use the zodiac cirrus seat. One of the best business class seats I’ve ever flown. Lots of foot room, large tray table that is far enough from the seat, shoulder room. Big television screen, good headphones.
    Wish DL was using these, definitely as good or better than the DL 747 or 330.

  9. They couldn’t engineer a door on a herringbone or reverse herringbone seat? Regardless, I think Delta may realize there are issues because they did defer the second order of A350s. My guess is–let’s hope–they want to see if they need to make improvements. Unless the seats or the doors are really, really bad, they won’t remove them. I just wish they would have put space between the two pairs of middle four seats in premium-economy.

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