a row of seats in an airplane

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…

a row of seats in a planeNo, 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.

a plane flying in the skyThough 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…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. I guess you were so kind to the BA flyertalk guys that you’ve now been banished to Delta? Still waiting for your apology about getting the A350 2nd meal service wrong.

    It’s fine, we’ll wait.

    1. Hahah, yes flyertalk decides who can blog, and about what. It’s a multi-national government conglomerate. The hive of anonymous people (hint, I dare you to prove the godsavethepoints handle on there is me) is an all seeing deity of frequent flying genius, which has never ever been wrong.

      It’s actually been confirmed that I was correct, so I’ll wait 🙄…

  2. Well, as an AA flyer, this is great news for me. Since AA copies DL on almost every innovation, I’ll just have to wait 36 months after these start flying.

  3. Brilliant? The look rather dull and claustrophobic. And the Heyne dept. cushion screams…..ouch.

    Well they will save my neck in case DeNiro and Pesci sit behind and carry a Piano wire.

  4. Looks like it’s 32 inch pitch…in FC? and what if I actually want to, you know, talk to the person sitting next to me? Or if I’m in a window seat, what if I want to look out the window? it also looks like you have to be a contortionist to get into the window seat. And getting out of it mid flight? I guess I’ll just be sure to dehydrate before i get on that plane if im in a window seat.

    But hey. Maybe the 1 inch memory foam will solve everything.

  5. If you look closely at the floor, the new storage space is only good for books, magazines, some smaller items, on your side of it. Between that and the metal seat base bolted to the floor, you have less foot space and storage space for any backpacks, or duffels. That floor storage space juts out into the floor area where the window seat person has to step over that to get to the aisle. There is very little legroom as well, and well, that keeps with what is currently in first class domestically with Delta. Actually AA’s domestic first class has more legroom than Delta’s. I am a DL Diamond, but was living in Charlotte, so I am very familiar with both. These seats look futuristic and gimmicky so we will have to wait for the real thing to come out and flyers’ experiences with it to be sure, but on first glance, it does not look that roomy for anyone over 6′ tall.

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