9   +   2   =  

For as long as I’ve been alive, all domestic “first class” seats within the United States have looked pretty “samey”. They’re wide, look incredibly padded and pretty much offer nothing else of note, or interest. You could take footage from Friends in the 90’s and transpose it to 2020, and it would be just about accurate. That’s why I’m actually really excited by renderings of Delta’s latest domestic first class seat, due to debut this year on the Airbus A321neo. Here’s what’s in store…

No, it’s not the flat bed aisle access seats you’ll find on transcontinental flights, but these new short haul first class seats from Delta look really promising. They’re scheduled to debut this year on the Airbus A321neo, and out of the blocks, Paxex.aero notes a few things which make them intriguing…

  • 25% more table space – aka laptop and meal may comfortably fit. 
  • easy access power ports – no fidgeting around, they’re in front of you.
  • more storage space – more places to stash your items in flight. 
  • memory foam padding – with any hope, these will be more comfortable.
  • PRIVACY – pardon the caps lock, but there’s finally eye level partitions.

These new first class seats are said to have retained all the dimensions customers enjoy, without sacrificing virtually anything. If that sounds too good to be true, don’t be so sure. Delta has been a frontrunner in developing technology for wireless in-flight entertainment systems, which cut out the “weeds” of wires and bulky boxes that take up room below and around the seats.

Airlines love this, because it makes screens easier to swap out quickly before future service issues occur, while also cutting weight out of the cabin with clunky boxes and wires.

Though the seats look “thin” in the back padding, memory foam tends to do more with less, so I’ll actually remain optimistic there as well. It may be firmer at first touch, but once it contours, the foam tends to do wonders. Perhaps I’m just biased, because I sleep on a memory foam mattress and use a memory foam pillow as well.

Regardless, it’s great to see an airline elevating the domestic first class experience, particularly as others look at removing in flight entertainment entirely. Delta has 100 of these A321neo single aisle planes on order which will absolutely feature the seat, and it just remains to be seen whether Delta will go to the expense to fit these new seats onto other planes which will remain in service.

The airline announced some fascinating passenger experience elements in recent weeks, so this could be quite a big year for Delta. Popcorn is at the ready…

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