Delta Aircraft Changes That May Affect You, Lufthansa Cancels Another Route & Is The Star Wars Plane Coming To The UK?

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A look at some of the airline news that could affect your plans – Delta scheduling equipment changes (check your seat selections), Lufthansa cancelling another service (do you ned to re-book?) and, for a bit of fun, is the ANA 787 decked out in Star Wars livery coming to London?

Delta Announces Aircraft Swaps For 2016


Delta’s latest schedule adjustments have seen a number of aircraft swaps that could potentially impact your plans.

While airlines do their best to re-accommodate passengers as best as possible, it’s worth bearing in mind that different aircraft have very different seating arrangements (e.g. just because you had an aisle seat before doesn’t guarantee you’ll have on on the new aircraft) so it’s worth checking your reservations to make sure you’re seated where you want to be seated.

The first change will be a very welcome one to a lot of Delta fliers as the airline is replacing their 757-200 aircraft with wide-body 767-300ER aircraft on a number of long-haul routes:

New York JFK – Copenhagen (from 26 May 2016)

New York JFK – Malaga (from 26 May 2016)*

New York JFK – Manchester (from 26 May 2016)

New York JFK – Shannon (from 1 May 2016)

  • Does not apply to Friday or Sunday flights out of JFK or Monday and Saturday flights out of Malaga

Delta flys any number of 767-300 variants and they’re not the same on each route but, irrespective of which 767-300 layout you get, it should still be better than the 757-200.

delta-airlines-767Image courtesy of Charlie via Flickr

The next change is a little less drastic with the airline swapping out the 767-300ERs for 767-400s on a number of routes.

Atlanta – Milan MXP (from 1 August 2016)

Atlanta – Venice (from 2 June 2016)

New York JFK – Prague (from 26 May 2016)

The bigger aircraft will have more DeltaOne seats available (possibly good for award travel) and the exit rows are in completely different places on both aircraft so check your seat assignments if you already have a flight booked.

Next, Delta is swapping out the A330-300 for 767-400ER aircraft on two of its long-haul routes:

Atlanta – Barcelona (from 6 September 2016)

New York JFK – Istanbul (from 1 May 2016)

This is a pretty major swap as the number of DeltaOne seats goes up by 6 while the number of Delta Comfort seats goes down by 4. More significantly there are 49 less Economy Class seats on the new aircraft scheduled for these route.

In the exact opposite swap to the one above, Delta is removing the 767-400ERs from two routes and replacing then with A330-300s.

Atlanta – Madrid (from 26 May 2016)

New York JFK – Madrid (from 26 May 2016)

delta-a330-300sImage courtesy of calflier001 via Flickr

The last equipment swap comes on the JFK – Paris route where Delta is replacing its 777-200 aircraft with Airbus A330-300s.

New York JFK – Paris CDG (from 16 May 2016)

This sees the route lose a few DeltaOne and Delta Comfort seats but probably not enough to have an effect on existing bookings as we’re still pretty far out.

Lufthansa Cancels Munich – Dubai Service

With Emirates and Qatar both recently announcing new services to Munich from the Middle East it’s possible that this is Lufthansa raising the white flag.

Currently Lufthansa operates a daily service between Munich and Dubai….

LH638 MUC 22:15 – 06:20+1 day DXB
LH639 DXB 08:25 – 12:55 MUC

….but from 9 April 2016 (10 April for departures from Dubai) Lufthansa is pulling the plug.

lufthansa-a340-300-close-upImage courtesy of Clemens Vasters via Flickr

This is just the latest in a series of cuts to the Gulf States by the Lufthansa Group of airlines following Austrian Airlines’ decision to suspend service between Vienna and Dubai back in August.

Aa mentioned, there will be no shortage of service between Munich and the Gulf States.

From 1 February 2016 Emirates will be adding a 777-300 service between Dubai and Munich taking its schedule up to three flights a day (two of which are serviced by Airbus A380s) and Qatar Airways has recently commenced  twice daily service between Doha and Munich using its latest Airbus A350 aircraft.

With all that in mind it’s not too surprising that Lufthansa is looking to get value elsewhere.

ANA Schedules One-Off 787-9 Service Between Los Angeles & London Gatwick

When ANA decides to schedule a one-off service between Los Angeles and London Gatwick and announces that it will be flying the route with a 787-9 it looks a bit out of place. What possible purpose could the airline have for putting on the flight?

In the absence of any concrete information we’re left to speculate, and the most logical conclusion I can come up with is that it’s a promotional flight to show off  their Star Wars liveried aircraft.

I’ve been following this aircraft (on and off) ever since I found out about it back in April and watching ANA having a bit of fun with their new relationship with Disney (they added the Millennium Falcon to their fleet back in June).

The 787-9 Dreamliner, decked out to look like R2-D2, has been flying real routes since mid-October when it flew between Tokyo Haneda and Vancouver and, since then, it’s been flying quite regularly between Tokyo Narita and San Jose in California.

ana-star-wars-dreamlinerImage courtesy of Yaso Kida via Flickr

But the San Jose flights are due to stop any day now as ANA starts to fly the aircraft to other world cities (Sydney, Paris and Beijing have all been mentioned).

So is London getting a visit in December? is reporting that the Schedule for the mystery 787-9 flight is as follows (although this is yet to appear on the ANA booking page):

NH1977 LAX 13:30 – 08:10+1 day LGW (15 December 2015)
NH1978 LGW 10:10 – 13:00 LAX (18 December 2015)

So, if this flight is really happening, you have to wonder why ANA would keep a perfectly good 787-9 on the ground for 2 days? Well, the UK premier of the latest Star Wars movie is on 17 December and the scheduled stop in London would tie in with that perfectly. Coincidence? Probably not.

The next questions are (a) when will these flights become bookable and (b) do I try to book one of them? 🙂