Delta Air Lines Sets Boston For Airbus A321neo Debut Amid Broader Moves

Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) is one of Delta’s fastest-growing hubs. Next year, as it expects demand to continue rocketing back, the Atlanta-based airline is growing to its largest Boston schedule and capacity compared to its pre-crisis height. On top of all the new routes, Delta is set to debut the Airbus A321neo at the airport next spring and is looking to continue to upgrade the passenger experience from Boston to stay competitive.

Delta A321neo
Delta Air Lines will be bringing the Airbus A321neo to Boston first. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Delta plans Airbus A321neo debut in Boston

Delta Air Lines has revealed that it will debut the Airbus A321neo from Boston in spring 2022. These planes are part of the backbone of Delta’s fleet renewal plan and offer better fuel efficiency than the A321ceo, of which Delta is a major operator.

Beyond this, the 194-seat aircraft will have an upgraded customer experience compared to older aircraft in Delta’s fleet. This includes a new domestic first class seat with winged headrests for more privacy and a sturdier tray table. The overhead bins are also larger throughout the aircraft, and the planes also feature a HEPA cabin air filtration system.

Delta Air Lines Sets Boston For Airbus A321neo Debut Amid Broader Moves
The new domestic first class seat will debut on the A321neos. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Lastly, Delta will offer its customers access to on-demand seatback entertainment via a wireless system at every seat. This is the same in-house system passengers will find on the Airbus A220 and A330-900neo. All customers will also have access to high-speed WiFi and power outlets.

As Delta gets up to 155 Airbus A321neos, the planes will circulate throughout Delta’s network. However, the aircraft will initially be deployed on transcontinental markets from Boston. While Delta did not name specific markets, there are several likely contenders for the aircraft, such as Seattle or San Diego. San Francisco or Los Angeles could also receive the aircraft if Delta decides it does not need to have a lie-flat business class product in the market.

The first A321neo is expected to arrive in early 2022. These will be the first aircraft in Delta’s fleet to feature the new domestic first class seat. The 194-seat cabin will be split between 20 domestic first class seats, 42 extra-legroom economy seats, and 132 standard economy seats.

Delta Air Lines Sets Boston For Airbus A321neo Debut Amid Broader Moves
Delta has not yet taken delivery of its first A321neo. Photo: Delta Air Lines

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Expanding the Airbus A220’s presence

Delta will also be doubling the number of Airbus A220 departures from Boston. The aircraft is already flying from Boston to Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Cincinnati, New York City, and Chicago this fall. Next year, more cities like Nashville and Raleigh-Durham will receive A220 services from Delta heading to and from Boston.

Delta flies both the Airbus A220-100 and larger A220-300. The A220-100 in Delta’s fleet seats 109 passengers, split across 12 domestic first class seats, 15 extra-legroom economy seats, and 82 standard economy seats. The larger A220-300 seats 130 passengers, split across 12 in first class, 30 in extra-legroom economy, and 88 in standard economy.

Delta Air Lines Sets Boston For Airbus A321neo Debut Amid Broader Moves
The Airbus A220 is coming to more routes out of Boston. Photo: Airbus

These aircraft have been used on routes where Delta might otherwise fly a regional jet like a CRJ900 or E175. Compared to those jets, the A220 is a huge upgrade. With wider economy seats, fewer middle seats than other mainline jets, higher-capacity overhead bins, larger windows, and seatback entertainment, the planes have a lot for passengers to like.

Growing flights

Delta Air Lines will launch new thrice-weekly service to Tel Aviv (TLV) and Athens (ATH) next year. As Delta rolls out its retrofitted Airbus A330-300s, the route from Boston to Athens is expected to receive service from a retrofitted A330ceo featuring Delta’s Premium Select product, which is the carrier’s international premium economy offering. The A330-900neo features the same cabin, but unlike the A330-300, it offers the Delta One Suite, which is the carrier’s flagship international business class product.

It will also be launching flights to more domestic destinations. This includes Baltimore (BWI), Denver (DEN), and San Diego (SAN). Delta will also be moving ahead with new flights to Charlotte (CLT) and Dallas (DFW) in just a few days.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 737
Delta is also adding new short- and medium-haul routes out of Boston. Photo: Getty Images.

Next summer, Delta will fly up to 160 daily nonstop flights from Boston to 55 destinations. This is equivalent to a greater than 20% increase in capacity than Delta’s pre-pandemic height in October 2019. Delta’s partners will also offer additional international connectivity.

Joe Esposito, Delta’s SVP – Network Planning, stated the following:

“We’ve strengthened our Boston hub as demand has accelerated, adding about 3,800 more seats a day by next summer than our last peak in 2019. Boston is a fast-growing market with a booming economy, and we’re committed to offering customers significant choice and better convenience when making their travel plans, in addition to Delta’s superior products and experience.”

In addition, Delta will also be adding more leisure services. This winter, Delta is adding more seasonal services from Boston to Aruba (AUA), Montego Bay (MBJ), Nassau (NAS), Punta Cana (PUJ), and St. Thomas (STT).

Goaded into action

Pre-crisis, there was little impetus for Delta to spring into action in Boston. The airline had a steady growth trajectory planned and focused on its key markets, adding new flights and bringing its partners to the airport, like Korean Air.

In July 2020, everything in Boston changed with American and JetBlue’s announcement of a Northeastern Alliance. JetBlue holds a solid position in Boston, but it cannot fly passengers to destinations far away. American has that capability, and together, Boston is likely to see more nonstop routes to places like Europe or the Middle East between these two airlines.

Delta Airbus A330
Delta is not looking to cede its share in Boston. Photo: Getty Images

Delta previously had this segment of the market all to itself out of Boston, and it had a slower pace of new long-haul additions from he airport. This is not to say that Delta did not have plans to grow in Boston or that it did not have the ability to grow. However, this growth is coming as American and JetBlue prepare to challenge Delta in this important market coming out of the crisis.

More is expected to come from both JetBlue/American and Delta Air Lines. But, for now, Delta is showing that it will not be ceding ground in Boston without a fight. These new additions are a testament to that.

Are you excited to see Delta add more flying out of Boston? Let us know in the comments!

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