Big news from Delta: they just opened booking for the first 3 routes that will use their new Airbus A350. Not only will Delta be launching their new aircraft, but their much-anticipated Delta One Suite will be introduced as well.
Delta already offers direct aisle access and lie-flat seats in Delta One (a cross between business and first class), but they’re trying to take this premium product to the next level with fully-enclosed suites. This announcement comes on the heels of Qatar Airways’ announcement of their first route with the new QSuite business class seat, which is also fully enclosed.
It’s certainly interesting to see both Qatar Airways and Delta Air Lines, two of the airline industry’s fiercest rivals, launching competing products this year. We wouldn’t be surprised if the lingering fight over the Open Skies Agreement with Qatar (which allows Qatar Airways to fly into the U.S.) has played a part in motivating each of them.
The first route to feature Delta’s A350 will be between Detroit and Tokyo-Narita. The first flight will depart Detroit on October 30 of this year, and it will operate daily after that.
Yesterday, Routes Online reported that Delta now has 2 more routes open for booking. These routes will also be trans-Pacific flights from Detroit, with one going to Seoul-Incheon and the other heading to Beijing.
The Detroit to Seoul-Incheon route will operate on alternating days starting November 18, 2017, but will begin daily service almost a month later on December 16, 2017. The Detroit-Beijing flight will launch on January 17, 2018, and will also operate on alternating days before switching to daily service on February 23, 2018.
We haven’t seen any saver level award availability on these 3 routes for Delta One suites. Unfortunately, this means it would cost 160,000 Delta SkyMiles to book an award ticket, which is double the saver level mileage cost of 80,000 miles.
For information on booking the new Delta One product, you can refer to this guide.
Even with so many ways to earn SkyMiles, we can’t justify spending so many miles on this flight quite yet. The initial award cost isn’t surprising given that it’s the first flight with a new product, but we hope Delta will start to release some saver level award seats to make redeeming SkyMiles worth it.
Delta is also rolling out its new Premium Select cabin, which is a premium economy product. You can find Premium Select award space for 99,000 SkyMiles on these flights if your dates are right.
Currently, booking this new product also gives you access to domestic first class on your connections to and from Detroit. This is bound to upset some Delta frequent flyers who look forward to upgrades on these domestic flights.
Premium Select passengers will have up to 7 inches more legroom than main cabin passengers (up to 38 inches compared to 31 inches), up to 7 inches of seat recline, and a seat width up to 19 inches. Additionally, seats will come with adjustable headrests and footrests.
Passengers will also receive a TUMI amenity kit with products provided by Malin+Goetz. Delta will also offer pre-departure beverages during boarding for those seated in Premium Select. Finally, passengers will receive Sky Priority service, which includes expedited check-in, security, boarding, and baggage service.
With 2 new products (especially the Delta One suite) and a brand new Airbus A350, Delta is certainly pushing forward its in-flight product. While United Airlines has upgraded its business class to the new Polaris product, Delta has outdone them with these private suites.
We’ll be interested to see how United responds and whether American Airlines decides to follow suit by upgrading their business class product as well.