Delta Air Lines has revealed the seating configuration for its retrofitted Airbus A330-300s. While the aircraft will come with a brand new premium economy cabin, this comes at the expense of extra-legroom economy class seats, and business class still maintains the older reverse herringbone product.
Delta’s retrofitted Airbus A330-300 seat map
Delta has put up the seat map for the four-class Airbus A330-300 on its website. The retrofitted aircraft will have room for 282 passengers in the following configuration:
- 34 Delta One reverse herringbone seats
- 21 Premium Select recliner-style premium economy seats
- 24 Delta Comfort+ extra-legroom economy seats
- 203 Main Cabin standard economy seats
You can see the seat map below:
The new premium select cabin is just behind the second set of doors and is outfitted in a 2-3-2 configuration. Behind this comes just 24 extra-legroom economy seats in a 2-4-2 configuration, followed by 203 standard economy seats.
All seats will feature access to inflight entertainment via seatback screens. WiFi is also available on the aircraft in all cabins. If you choose to use your personal device on the flight, Delta has USB ports and standard power outlets at all seats. It is unclear if Delta will put its new entertainment screens at every seat, but it will likely load up the latest software. The new screens are available onboard aircraft like the Boeing 767-400ER.
Rough for complimentary upgrades
Delta Air Lines gives its elites complimentary upgrades. If you are a top-tier Diamond or Platinum Medallion holder, you can get a complimentary upgrade to the Comfort+ cabin shortly after booking. Gold Medallion members will start to see their upgrades clear 72 hours before departure, while Silver Medallion upgrades clear only 24 hours before departure.
All of these upgrades are subject to space availability. This is the real issue with the retrofitted A330-300s. Delta’s unretrofitted jets feature 40 seats, meaning more opportunities for complimentary upgrades. This could become especially tight on some of Delta’s transatlantic routes from its hubs, where there are usually a higher number of elite customers and premium travelers who have paid outright for a seat in Comfort+.
Maintaining the reverse herringbones
Delta Air Lines will maintain the 34 reverse herringbone seats at the front of the plane. These seats will likely end up getting a refresh of the leather and the accents. However, the carrier is not putting its Delta One Suites onboard the aircraft. The Airbus A330-900neos feature those cabins.
Since there is no change in either the seat count or footprint, the Delta One cabin fits entirely between doors one and two on the A330-300. On the A330-300, the main galley for servicing Delta One is located at door two.
Compared to the Airbus A330-900neos
The next-generation Airbus A330-900neos that Delta is continuing to take delivery of are outfitted with the following cabins:
- 29 Delta One Suites
- 28 Premium Select seats
- 56 Delta Comfort+ seats
- 168 Main Cabin seats
The A330-900neos seat 281 passengers. This is one seat less than what the retrofitted Airbus A330-300s provide, but if you have a choice, the A330neos are the way to go.
First and foremost, the Delta One Suites are far superior to the reverse herringbone seats. The Suites come with a door and offer more privacy than the reverse herringbone seats. There is also a little more storage at the seat in the Suites compared to the reverse herringbone seats.
In the center seats of the reverse herringbone cabin, if you are traveling alone, you will find that there is not much privacy. Meanwhile, the Delta One Suites have a partition that can be raised to give you more privacy at your seat. Privacy is becoming more important in business class products, and many seat manufacturers are working to offer seats that feature more privacy.
Lastly, the A330-900neos are just better for upgrades. With 56 extra-legroom seats, there should be plenty of room for those who want to buy up for a few extra inches for their feet and leave some room for elite customers to gain a complimentary upgrade on a long-haul flight.
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What to make of the retrofit
Delta Air Lines announced retrofits to the Airbus A330 and Boeing 767-300ERs at the same time. With the 767-300ERs expected to exit the fleet by 2025, though that may be delayed, it made some sense for Delta to only do a refresh of the accents in the business class cabin and save some money on the retrofits. With the A330s, the calculus is a little different.
With the A330s, Delta has not announced a retirement date for these transatlantic workhorses. According to Delta’s latest filings, the A330-300s are, on average, only 12.5 years old. Diving in a little deeper, according to data from ch-aviation.com, the oldest A330-300 in Delta’s fleet is just over 18.5 years old.
Delta does fly some widebodies that are over 25 years old. So, thinking from a fleet perspective, if the economics work out, the carrier could hang onto these jets for another seven or so years at least and may be able to push them closer to 30 years before it has to retire them.
The decision not to upgrade the business class cabin on the A330s can be interpreted in one of two ways. First, it could be that Delta does not plan on keeping the A330s around for too long. Given how the youngest A330-300 in Delta’s fleet is only four years old, this would certainly be an eyebrow-raising decision. Given that only three of Delta’s A330-300s are leased, it also does not seem that Delta has the flexibility to also retire the 10 of the younger A330s alongside the older ones without taking a hit on withdrawing younger jets.
Second, it could be that Delta is trying to reduce the costs of the retrofit. The airline is not out of the woods just yet on its financial status, but it is making some excellent progress on that front, barring any major changes to the demand environment. This would make some sense, though it only ensures that Delta will continue to operate an inconsistent international long-haul business class product while other airlines make strides towards consistency.
What do you make of the retrofitted Airbus A330-300 seat maps? Let us know in the comments!