Delta’s inferior ‘new’ A350s are coming sooner than expected — and to a 3rd route
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Delta Air Lines is gearing up to take delivery of some additional Airbus A350s — and they’ll be flying sooner than initially expected.
Right now, the airline has 19 of these jets in its fleet, but that number will shortly grow to 28, as Delta adds nine used A350s to its fleet.
At the outset, Delta had originally planned to deploy the first batch of these additional jets on two long-haul routes beginning with Atlanta (ATL) to Santiago, Chile (SCL), on July 1, followed by ATL to Dublin, Ireland (DUB), on Aug. 1.
Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter.
However, the airline is now accelerating its plans to bring these used jets into service. The carrier will start flying its first used A350 to Santiago beginning on June 7 — three weeks earlier than initially planned — as first seen in Cirium schedules and later confirmed by the carrier.
Furthermore, the airline will deploy the jet on a third route. This one, however, is a transcontinental hop from ATL to Los Angeles (LAX). Delta now plans to fly its latest A350 once daily on the 1,946-mile route from July 1 through Sept. 5.
While additional aircraft deliveries don’t always make news, this one is noteworthy since Delta’s “new” Airbus A350s are going to be a big downgrade for many customers from a passenger experience perspective.
When the carrier retired the Boeing 777 fleet during the pandemic, it dubbed the A350 its flagship aircraft. After all, the swanky Airbus jets feature the carrier’s fanciest all-suite business-class cabin and Premium Select recliners, too.
But, this latest batch of A350s won’t sport the sleek Delta cabins — at least not at first. Instead, these widebodies are being picked up from LATAM, the South American mega-carrier which is now partially owned by Delta. (LATAM is in bankruptcy protection and is retiring its A350 fleet.)
Delta says these planes will eventually be updated with its new interiors, though the carrier has not given a timeline for that. Instead, putting these planes into service now allows the airline to capitalize on quicker-than-expected return of travel demand in the U.S.
While the additional A350s will enable Delta to grow its long-haul network (especially without the 777s), the carrier has opted to keep the legacy outdated LATAM cabins in the interim, as first reported by TPG last month.
These A350s feature a total of 339 seats spread across 30 business-class pods, 63 extra-legroom coach seats and 246 standard coach ones. The one possible upside for passengers is that these planes will have nearly twice as many Comfort+ seats as compared to Delta’s other A350s.
Still, this sub-fleet of jets, internally called the “35L,” will be the only widebodies in the fleet to not feature direct aisle access for every Delta One passenger. Plus, the planes won’t have a Premium Select cabin.
While Delta isn’t changing the product on these A350s, it will repaint the jets in Delta livery, and add its logo and other branding elements, including Delta seat covers and inflight entertainment systems, throughout the planes.
TPG reached out to Delta to ask about the schedule changes related to the LATAM A350s and was provided with the same statement that was first communicated last month.
This summer, Delta will incorporate the first three of nine pre-owned Airbus A350 aircraft into our global network. The aircraft feature a temporary seating configuration pending further modification to one consistent with the A350 aircraft currently in our fleet. The integration of these aircraft into our fleet will allow for an important increase to our flying capacity to help get our customers where they want to go this summer and beyond.
Unfortunately, the carrier still doesn’t have a retrofit timeline to share as to when these jets will ultimately be converted into Delta’s far superior cabins.
Until then, business-class flyers are going to need to keep an eye on their upcoming reservations to watch out for the ex-LATAM Airbus A350.
Delta is now marketing the forward cabin on this jet as “Delta One” (not “Delta One Suites”), and taking a look at the seat map should quickly help confirm whether you’ll experience Delta’s top-notch product or the outdated 2-2-2 LATAM business class.
Interestingly, Delta is selling the cabin as “first class” on the domestic hop between Atlanta and Los Angeles, though flyers will need to beware that there’s currently no Wi-Fi on these jets — a big drawback to flying this plane for nearly five hours during the business day.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S. and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees