Two days after one its oldest aircraft gave passengers an inflight scare, Delta Air Lines launched its newest plane on Flight DL589 from Seattle to Shanghai.
Delta is the first North American airline to operate the fuel-efficient A330-900neo and says the launch nearly doubles the premium seat offerings from Seattle to top Asian markets.
The airline will also use the aircraft for flights connecting Seattle with Seoul beginning Oct. 1 and Tokyo-Narita beginning Oct. 27.
It plans to add 25 A330-900neos to its fleet as part of a fleet renewal program aimed at improving fuel efficiency and replacing about 35 percent of its fleet by 2023.
The A330neos, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, reduce fuel burnby25percent compared to older aircraft.
The US carrier estimates 80 new aircraft due to arrive in 2019 will improve fuel efficiency by two percent.
The new A330s come with 29 Delta One Suites, the airline’s fully flat-bed business class offering, and 28 Delta Premium Select seats.
Premium Select offers up to 38-inches of seat pitch and an 18.5-inch wide seat with seven inches of recline.
There are also 56 Delta Comfort+ seats with 34-inches of pitch and five-inch recline, as well as 168 main Cabin seats with up to 33 inches of pitch and slightly less recline.
The aircraft is the airline’s first widebody to feature the new wireless IFE system that combines state-of-the-art tablet products fixed to the back of seats.
The system, developed by Delta Flight Products, aims to deliver a more interactive and cost-effective inflight entertainment platform.
It saves the airline more than one pound (454gms) of wiring per seat and helps reduce carbon emissions.
The A330neo is 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.
Other enhancements available in all cabins include memory foam cushions, in-seat power ports, full-spectrum LED ambient lighting, spacious, easy-to-access overhead bins, and thousands of hours of free entertainment.
Customers later this year will also enjoy Delta’s new bistro-style main cabin experience.
“We’re transforming the airline customer experience on a global scale and this new aircraft is the latest example of our commitment to our international customers,” said Delta executive Steve Sear.
“This state-of-the-art aircraft will provide the latest amenities, entertainment and technology to our customers as they journey to destinations worldwide on Delta’s expanding global network.”
Delta has recorded five percent growth in Seattle his summer, primarily through the use of larger aircraft on existing routes.
It launched Seattle-Osaka, its fifth destination in Asia, in April and recently received tentative approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation to add service from Seattle to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.