Delta Air Lines is the largest operator of the Airbus A220 family in the United States. Flying a host of routes out of major hubs like New York, Detroit, and Salt Lake City, among others, the aircraft is making its way on more routes. Recently, Delta started flying the Airbus A220-100 between San Antonio and Detroit, where Simple Flying got a chance to review the aircraft.
Delta’s A220-100s are configured to seat 109 passengers. There are 12 recliner-style first class seats on this cabin. These seats are different from the older generation of Delta’s recliner-style first class product found on other of its narrowbodies, like the Boeing 757.
The seat itself is similar to that of Delta’s international premium economy product called Premium Select. With first-class in a 2-2 configuration, the configuration is pretty standard for a premium narrowbody product, though these seats are an improvement.
Delta advertises 37 inches of pitch in first class, which is generous and felt just fine for this nearly three-hour flight.
As you can see, there was plenty of seatback storage. The safety card and motion sickness bag are located in a separate pouch, so passengers can put smaller items in the lower seatback pocket. Delta has removed physical inflight magazines due to the ongoing pandemic.
The seat has a simple control in the center armrest that controls the recline. There is another narrow storage area here, which is about big enough for a tablet or smaller laptop when not in use.
The one downside to the seat was the airbag seatbelt. Not all narrowbody products feature the seatbelt, though it was likely required for safety reasons. The belt itself is a little bulky, but it became unnoticeable after a while.
The tray table is located in the outer armrest and is simple to use and plenty big. Delta’s seat offers a bottle holder in the center armrest, which is staggered to ensure both passengers can store a beverage.
Delta is blocking seats in the cabin through the end of April. In first class, that means passengers traveling alone can get both an aisle and window seat to themselves.
Inflight entertainment and power
The inflight entertainment system was one of the highlights of the product. With the largest screens of any Delta first class product, the size of the screen did not lead to a sacrifice in quality or content.
The typical Delta Studio inflight entertainment selection was available onboard this flight. However, for avgeeks, the highlight will certainly be the moving map system that comes with various options for viewing.
Delta offered two systems for power. There was first the USB outlet in the seatback monitor. Between the two seats, there are two outlets that are easy to access. Unlike some other products, having the power available at the back of the armrest of the seats in front of this row made it much easier to use.
Food and beverage
Due to the pandemic, Delta Air Lines has significantly altered its meal service. On a route like this, pre-pandemic, Delta would have offered passengers a full plated meal service with full beverage service. However, since last year, the airline has been offering passengers a pared-back meal and beverage service.
Delta offers a limited alcohol selection for passengers in first class. According to the flight attendants, the airline is reportedly planning to bring back soft drinks later in March or April. If you do not want alcohol, the only other option is bottled water.
On this flight, Delta offered a snack box I had not seen before. There were two options that were different from the options I had on other Delta flights with a “meal” service.
The box was stocked with the following:
The offering was pretty standard for a snack box. Though not exactly premium, it is better than nothing. However, such an offering does serve as a stark reminder of the impact of the pandemic on the airline industry. Hopefully, Delta brings back a full meal service at some point in a post-pandemic world.
The box’s contents included a granola bar, potato chips, crackers, gummy bears, an oreo, a meat stick, cheese spread, and breath mints. There was also a hand wipe and some napkins and utensils in the box. The box itself is also designed to be a self-contained trash option, limiting touchpoints and crew interactions with items handled by passengers.
Special features of the aircraft
The Airbus A220 has a long history, first as a Bombardier aircraft called the CSeries before Airbus took over the jet line and rebranded it. However, entering the aircraft, passengers can still see the CSeries branding.
At the rear of the aircraft, there is a large lavatory that also has a window. It made the lavatory feel much bigger. Some lavatories can traditionally feel very claustrophobic.
The Airbus A220 is a special small aircraft. The plane featured WiFi that was fast, even though Delta has yet to make that amenity free for all passengers. Messaging on certain platforms is allowed for free on Delta. Passengers just need to connect to the WiFi and select that option.
Ultimately, I would go out of my way to fly on the Airbus A220. It felt more comfortable, more modern, and was quieter than other jets. As Delta takes more of the A220s, including both the A220-100s and A220-300s, these aircraft will become more prominent, and more passengers should get to delight in the aircraft’s experience.
Delta is currently flying the A220s, mostly out of its hubs in New York, Detroit, Minneapolis, and Salt Lake City. The A220s are, currently, easily found on routes to some of these hubs out of Texas, including Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. Additional destinations out of Salt Lake City include places like Orange County and Denver.