Delta takes delivery of first Airbus A350

Delta Air Lines took delivery this week of its and North America's first Airbus A350 (Photo: Delta Air Lines) (click to enlarge)

Last week Delta Air Lines took delivery of the first Airbus A350 for a North American carrier. Just a month ago, this plane emerged from Airbus's paint shop at the factory in Toulouse, France. In a press release, Delta said:

The 306-seat A350-900 redefines the international onboard experience with the award-winning Delta One suite and Delta Premium Select cabin. It’s also the first long-haul aircraft to feature next generation 2Ku internet connectivity, and will fly primarily on routes across the Pacific, initially to Tokyo-Narita, Seoul and Beijing.
— "Delta takes delivery of first flagship Airbus A350-900" - Delta News Hub

Delta Air Lines took delivery this week of its and North America's first Airbus A350 (Photo: Delta Air Lines) (click to enlarge)

The aircraft will be the first to feature the new Delta One suites as well as the airline's new premium economy product, Delta Premium Select. The suites "will offer customers a private, personal experience, with a full-height door at every suite for enhanced privacy and comfort. Every suite offers a full flat-bed seat with direct aisle access well as more personal stowage and large in-flight entertainment screens." Delta Premium Select will provide "more personal space with up to 38 inches of pitch, up to 19 inches of width and up to seven inches of recline along with an adjustable leg rest and headrest."

The new A350 will be the first aircraft to feature the new Delta One suite (Photo: Delta Air Lines) (click to enlarge)

The A350 will feature next generation 2Ku internet connectivity by Gogo Inflight Internet. The technology provides "uninterrupted coverage nearly anywhere in the world, including over oceans [with] faster speeds and bandwidth...allowing for video streaming functionality." I was able to stream Amazon and YouTube video on my laptop on a Delta international flight in May. I was pleasantly surprised at just how smooth the video and sound were. Using free flight passes for Gogo from the American Express OPEN Enhanced Business Platinum Card is a great way to take advantage of this cutting edge technology.

The A350 will initially be used on the Detroit-Tokyo Narita route. (click to enlarge)

Delta will base the A350 out of Detroit. Starting October 30, the aircraft will initially be deployed on the Detroit (DTW)-Tokyo Narita (NRT) route. As exciting as the new plane and hard products are, this is also a sad moment as it means the beginning of the final phase-out of Delta's remaining 747-400s is set to begin. I visited the Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta last month and toured the first 747-400 that served originally with Northwest Airlines. That aircraft is now a museum piece and has a majesty that no aircraft can match, in my opinion. I had long hoped to fly a Delta 747 - after years prior to the acquisition of Northwest when the airline did not operate the type - but given the retirement schedule, that appears destined to be an unfulfilled dream. Nevertheless, the launch of the A350 era is a new dawn for Delta. I look forward to the opportunity to fly to Asia in a Delta One suite on board a cutting-edge Airbus A350!