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RUMOR: Delta Converting Some Planes to ALL Delta One!

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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.


We’ve learned that Delta Air Lines is considering converting some of its aircraft to all an-Delta One seating configuration for some overseas routes.

This information comes to Rene’s Points from a reliable and well-placed source.

We don’t yet know exactly which or how many planes and routes would be affected. Nor do we know exactly when this would take place. But the timing is certainly interesting, given that Delta announced they’re retiring the carrier’s entire 777 fleet.

When reached for comment, a Delta spokesperson told us, “We have not made an announcement about a conversion.”

Why Would Delta Convert Planes to All Delta One?

Off the top of my head, here are several reasons this could work well for Delta.

Social Distancing

Because of their size, Delta One seats and suites allow passengers to be physically distanced from each other. If Delta is going to pack a plane, the optics certainly look better with passengers separated by walls or other partitions.

Revenue

We don’t yet know how much airfares in the all-Delta One planes would cost. But for this project to work, they would have to be cheaper than their standard prices.

That being said, Delta could make a nice chunk of money with this “exclusive” experience.

Streamlined Service and Reduced Crew Members

If Delta One service is offered throughout the entire plane, there’s no need to have Delta One meals and international coach meals, as there are now.

Because the all-Delta One configuration would reduce how many passengers can fit onto a plane, there’d possibly be less need for as many cabin crew members, as well.

Repurpose the 777’s Delta One Suites

Delta has about 550 Delta One Suites that will need new homes next year.

More Incentive for Passengers to Choose Delta

This will make Delta a very attractive option for international travelers. Plus, I think it brings more prestige to the airline.

Some Questions, Though

Delta runs a risk of pricing out some consumers who can’t afford premium experiences. Granted, if the conversion rumors are true, I guess there’s a chance that all-Delta One planes could be an experiment or limited-time product.

I wonder if there’d be a tiered product offered — i.e. full Delta One and then maybe another with standard coach service. (That’d be fine with me!)

What Do You Think?

Is this is good idea? Bad idea? Please tell us your thoughts in the below Comments section!

— Chris

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.


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30 Comments

  1. Barry Graham Reply

    If it’s affordable for both Delta and us it’s a great idea.

  2. It’s really just a math question. If they convert to all DeltaOne, how many seats would be on the plane? And how does that change the operating costs (less fuel, fewer crew, standard meal service, possibly more room to supplement cargo shipments, etc…). Why not offer a more standard premium seating arrangement that any passenger would like and perhaps all meals are just pre-ordered and paid for separately. The catering process for airlines could be way more efficient and the tech is available to do it. If the average ticket price goes down, someone who wants the ‘full premium experience’ can pay for a better meal, like Vegas restaurant prices and the would still be spending less than a ticket purchased pre-covid. Even entertainment, you have to pay for it on the aircraft (many people bring their own devices anyway). I just don’t know enough about the numbers on the airline’s side and what they would actually have to charge for seats.

  3. I generally only book Delta (paid J) when going overseas. But, what is the benefit to me?

    I mean, I want a bed and to be left alone.
    I don’t see how this helps me in anyway? What’s the benefit?

    Slightly cheaper fares? Do people really care?
    If the price is $3500 normally and now $3000. Do I really care? I mean, $500 is nice, but, it sure doesn’t change my behavior.

    I also think ‘social distancing’ is the most absurd, fad idea in history. I refuse to have anything to do with it, and there is no way an airline as big and smart as Delta is going to reconfigure their planes for such a flash in the pan cultural idea.

    No way are they that silly.

    • Barry Graham Reply

      I agree that while social distancing is important now, it will not always be and it would be foolish to base the whole future of Delta on a temporary measure. Of course we don’t know right now how temporary it is.

  4. Delta already vastly overprices premium seats on most routes. Service and overall experience is meh. So many foreign carriers have much better business class products at much lower prices…sometimes 1/3 of what delta charges. I’m a delta platinum but mostly fly partner airlines when traveling overseas. Simply too expensive and better options out there are much lower prices.

  5. Do you think it would make a plane lighter so it could fly farther? Since the 777s are going away? Thus extending certain planes abilities? I literally have no idea what I”m talking about but I would think it would need less fuel no? And feel free to say NO. 🙂

    But I think it would be a very cool idea if somewhat affordable. Nicely exclusive.

  6. I’m not sure an all-J aircraft makes sense, except possibly JFK to a couple very select European business capitals, and maybe one west coast-Asia rotation per day (or one from SEA and one from LAX).

    What might be a big help would be Delta taking a few rows out of the middle and back sections of A330s and A350s. At least for a couple of years. As demand and covid dictate, seat blocking can be used, but I’d surely also appreciate being more like 36″ away from the person in front/behind. 31″ pitch for 8-10 hours of people breathing? Nope.

    The A350 with 3-3-3 is already somewhat ‘good’ with middles blocked. Space the rows wider and make us feel less ‘at risk’ even if it’s partly window dressing. Call it an all ‘Comfort+’ main cabin for the duration, so people understand that some day, regular 31″ pitch Y is coming back.

    • If that much distance is your concern, the aisle is a lot less than 36″ wide

  7. Bridget Haven Reply

    I welcome any measures that DAL Inc. could take to increase the ability of “Non Rev” employees to enjoy the “J” experience in greater numbers.
    I, for one, was both happy and proud to see DAL Inc. payout a record $1.6 Billion Dollar profit sharing pool for its employees! I, also was happy to hear when Ed Bastian announce that those same Delta Airlines employees would be sharing NO LESS next year as the “Pandemic “ was no fault of the employees! This is WHY I will continue to fly Delta Airlines for a long time.
    Lastly, like all of us, we’re happy to hear that DAL Inc. received the $5.4 Billion payroll assistance through the “Cares Act” with another $5.5 Billion in general airline assistance in round 2.
    So, overall, it’s good to see that the employees haven’t been forgotten and there are still short terms measures that DAL Inc. could take to allowing “Non-Rev’s” to feel more valued, something simple as allowing “Non Rev’s” to be allowed to fill “J” cabins domestically before Medallion upgrades.

    • Why would Delta EVER upgrade a non-revenue customer before a revenue-generating customer? “Non-rev” is an employee benefit that costs the business money, rather than generate business to pay those employee’s salaries. Upgrading a customer who paid nothing over a customer who potentially paid thousands can only decrease the loyalty of customers who bring business to the airline.

  8. Interestingly, this will be similar to what SQ was doing back in the 2000’s when they flew non-stop from SIN to LAX and EWR in an all business configuration on A340. The flip side of this all business class configuration is there is no upgrade, since there are no coach seats to be purchased.

    • Barry Graham Reply

      No upgrade could be an improvement, because it would mean there is no disappointment when you don’t get one, no need to hang around waiting until the last minute to see if you are going to get the last upgrade is you are close to the top of the list. I wonder whether they would consider offering upgrades to someone on a regular flight to a seat on the all business class flight if they can’t sell all the seats.

    • If the seating configuration is all-business class, how could there be an upgrade? Am I missing something here?

  9. How will they clean/disinfect the air. Most planes mix outside air with inside cabin recirculated air. That’s why a new system needs to be developed on a plane

    • Barry Graham Reply

      The existing air circulation in a plane already does that. As a result masks add little value in terms of preventing spread of germs other than making people feel safer, in fact IATA said that at first although they have now changed their policy on that. Furthermore the threat from this virus would most likely be long gone by the time a new system would be designed and deployed. This was written just a few weeks ago, before COVID-19 was a known threat. https://www.cnet.com/health/how-to-avoid-getting-sick-on-planes/

  10. Robert Bowling Reply

    Awesome Idea! It would be interesting to see how the numbers pan out regarding fares. As a Million Miler on Delta I’ve flown in every seat imaginable. I’d throw a few extra bucks at Delta for the bed and the privacy, covid19 aside. I’d even like to see a plane full of standard Business class seats on trans oceanic flights.

    • Barry Graham Reply

      You must have had a really bad experience. Delta turned me from a die-hard American Airlines fan into a die-hard Delta fan and I wasn’t looking for reasons to leave American at the time.

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  13. TeriyakiBoy Reply

    Great idea. And I’m sure Delta will do well. I can picture long Asia route to be the good candidate…there are business “commuters” fly between the CONUS and Japan on delta one, I am sure these guys will love that option because their complain is lack of delta one aviliability to commute on weekly bases.

  14. The travelling public is only interested in the cheapest fare. This fact has been proven many times over.
    Delta is making a mistake if it goes this route.

  15. Well, Delta has been big on percentage of premium seats filled with PAYING pax… so key is , if any routes can support that many paid premium pax (not upgrades/award tickets). Possibly JFK-LHR? Depends what equipment would become all DL ONE, too. I think they’d be better off emulating what UA did with their “High-J” 763s – a premium-heavy setup – but not all premium. Also note UA used to have a heavy premium version of their 744s pre-9/11 that had 100+ business class seats; was used on NRT flights. Other examples are the AA A321T, UA’s old p.s. transcon 757s etc.

  16. This sounds a-mazing! I really hope it’s true!

    Look, if ever there was a time to experiment, it’s now to see how the marketplace will respond one way or the other.

    A lot of upside if it’s received well and priced correctly

  17. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this idea has been tried multiple times with the same result: trial of all (F/C/Business Class/Not Steerage) seating gets terminated within a 12 month period.
    Reason 1: The economics just don’t work. When flying that plane from LAX to SYD, you are not going to be full every time after the novelty wears off, and the typical premium frequent flyer begins expecting free amenities of some sort (“What do you mean all I get is a First Class seat. I have 3 million miles with this cheapskate airline!) AND, AND…it still takes pretty much the same amount of fuel to fly that distance whether or not some of the seats are empty.

    Years ago, I worked as a Computer Systems Analyst for a major U.S. oil company. When I traveled on company business it was almost always in First Class. Stockholder objection to that practice brought an end to “the good ole days.” Does Delta have a secret stash of business travel customers who get to fly F/C? Most of the people I met in my travels were like me–traveling coach.

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