With the A350 being introduced into the fleet next year, Delta is to debut a new version of their Delta One business class product that features a closing door thereby making the product an ‘All Suite’ class.
Details of the ‘new’ seat are not available just yet, but initial photos seem to be that of an upgraded version of either their existing staggered product on their B767 fleet or a widebody interpretation of JetBlue’s current Mint product.
Either way, this will be a first for an American based airline and will further enhance the viewpoint that Delta’s premium product is the best out of North America.
Delta’s Chief Marketing Officer Tim Mapes told the press yesterday that:
This product is meant to be as close to a private jet experience as possible and is driven by our customers, who were telling us that they wanted more privacy.”
And Robbie Schafer, Delta’s onboard product manager added:
“Right now, we are focused on what these suites give our passengers, and that’s more privacy and much more personal space”
So it seems that privacy is the word du jour with Delta elites at the moment.
And while that is completely understandable as the industry continues to move towards direct aisle access, staggered or enclosed seating, what does that mean for prices? Well, for passengers flying on the new Delta One, nothing – apparently the airline intends to freeze prices and despite the cabin in some cases being reduced from the original 38 seats to 32.
If this is well and truly the case, I have a bridge to sell you. There is very little chance that Delta would make such a move – anything that decreases cabin density must have higher revenues to offset the lost seats. And this is just that. Its a welcome move but lets just call a spade a spade here – expect higher ticket costs and less award space on flights operated with the new product.
No mention on upgrading Delta’s already impressive soft product, but hardware upgrades to the new Suite standard are also expected on newly delivered 777s. Given that the A350 is meant to be a replacement for the 747-400 fleet, I’d assume Detroit will see the product first, when introduced on flights from the DTW base to Seoul, Tokyo and Shanghai with Seattle and Los Angeles to follow as further A350s frames arrive.