Delta Has Announced Its First Airbus A330-900 Routes

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Update 30 May 2019: Based on the aircraft currently scheduled to operate the Seattle – Shanghai route it would appear as if Delta has pushed back the introduction of the A330-900neo on this route to 15 July 2019 (but this may change).

Delta will soon be taking delivery of its first Airbus A330-900neo aircraft and, from what I can tell, the airline has just announced the first international routes we can expect to see the aircraft fly….although it hasn’t explicitly stated that these will be its first A330-900 routes.

Up until now Delta hasn’t mentioned what routes we can expect to see its soon-to-be-delivered A330 operate but that just changed a little over an hour ago.

Delta will launch international A330-900neo service out of Seattle on 1 July 2019 and the first destination the aircraft will serve is Shanghai. As more aircraft are delivered Delta will add its new aircraft to the Seattle – Seoul route (from 1 August 2019) and Seattle – Tokyo Narita (from 31 August 2019).

a map of the world with red lines

This is what Delta’s President, Glen Hauenstein had to say:

“As Seattle’s largest global airline, Delta will nearly double the premium seat offerings to both local and connecting customers in our top Asian markets by the end of this summer, with additional services to come”

“It’s our latest step as we continually expand and enhance our Seattle hub to provide customers with a world-class experience as they travel”

The Delta A330-900neo will offer the following cabin configuration:

  • 29 Delta One Suites
  • 28 Delta Premium Select (Premium Economy) seats
  • 56 Delta Comfort + seats
  • 168 Main Cabin Economy Class seats

This announcement means that we’ll soon see two more routes (Seattle – Seoul and Seattle – Shanghai) offering Delta’s premium “Delta One” suite as well as its newly introduced Premium Economy product.

a row of seats in a plane
Image courtesy of Delta

The Seattle – Tokyo Narita route will offer Delta One suites and a Premium Economy cabin from tomorrow (1 March 2019) as the airline temporarily moves an Airbus A350 on to this route so the introduction of the A330-900neo to Tokyo Narita in August won’t be quite such a big deal.

All seats on the Delta A330-900 will offer memory foam cushions and each seat will also have power outlets and USB points so charging electronic devices should be easy.

The Delta One suites on the A330-900 are expected to be slightly narrower than their counterparts on the A350 due to the sightly narrower cabin so it will be interesting to see if they’re still as popular as the original.

Still, narrower or not, the Delta One suites will all still offer a full height privacy door, a fully flat bed and large IFE screens on which to watch an upgraded entertainment offering.

The Premium Economy seats will offer up to 38″ of seat pitch (legroom) and will be 18.5″ wide just as we already find on other Delta aircraft equipped with the cabin.

a row of seats in an airplane
Delta Premium Select Boeing 777-200 – Image Delta

Unlike in the Boeing 777-200 (shown above) the Premium Economy cabin on the A330-900 will offer a 2-3-2 seat layout.

Delta Comfort+ seats offer up to 34″ of seat pitch and marginally more recline than regular Economy Class seats but they don’t offer any extra seat width.

Delta says that the Economy Class cabin in its Airbus A330-900 will offer “up to 33 inches of pitch and up to four inches of recline” but it doesn’t go on to say how many of the seats will offer that much legroom (which is very generous for Economy Class).

A major bonus of the A330-900’s Economy Class cabin is that its 2-4-2 layout is great for couples as they get a pair of seats to themselves and, if you’re a solo traveler sitting in the aisle seats on either side of the aircraft, you’ll only ever have one person wishing to clamber over you during the flight.

Here’s what else Delta thinks you need to know about its Airbus A330-900neo:

“The aircraft will be the first Delta widebody to feature the new wireless IFE system developed by Delta Flight Products, the airline’s wholly owned cabin interior start-up. The aircraft is also equipped with high-speed 2Ku internet connectivity and customers will have access to free mobile messaging while on board through iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.”

“The A330-900neo aircraft also reduces the travel carbon footprint, with increased fuel efficiency per seat of more than 20 percent when compared with previous generation aircraft.”

a plane on the runway
Delta’s first A330-900neo exiting the paint shop – Image courtesy of Airbus

Bottom Line

It’s a good time to be a Delta loyalist if you’re a transpacific flyer as the airline seems to be focusing on offering as many Delta One suites as possible across the world’s largest ocean.

Delta looks to be making concerted moves to shore up it’s Seattle hub (renovated lounge, new immigration/customs facilities on the way, A220 flights and now service from it’s latest wide-body aircraft) so it’s also a good time to be a Delta loyalist based in Seattle.

Right now I’m most interested to see what the Delta One suites in the new A330-900 will be like (too tight or ok?) but, whatever the answer turns out to be, it will still be nice to have more Premium Economy availability out of Seattle and to have an option of 2-4-2 seating in an Economy Class cabin on routes to China, South Korea and Japan.


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