Delta Airlines has announced plans to update their fleet of 16 Boeing 747-400 aircraft. The planes, originally delivered to Northwest Airlines, have not seen an interior revamp in quite some time. The plan, part of a $1 billion commitment to improve the product through the next three years, will see conversions beginning around summer 2011 with the entire fleet converted in about a year.
The new interior will include a much improved IFE experience, including AVOD at every seat. In the coach cabin the screens will be 9” while the BusinessElite cabin will see 15.4” screens. The coach cabin will also feature new, Slimline seats. While the actual spacing between the seats will not change, it is expected that customers will feel approximately 1-1.5” of additional pitch because of the thinner seats. The airline also benefits as the seats are rather lighter meaning lower fuel burn.
The BusinessElite cabin will have new, fully-flat beds installed, similar to those on the Boeing 777-200LR that Delta flies. This should lead to rather improved passenger comfort however it also means significantly fewer premium seats due to their larger footprint. The 744s will see a decrease from 65 BusinessElite seats on each plane to only 48. It is going to be a bit harder to find award seats or upgrades on the new fleet.
More details about the new product can be found on the Delta Blog here.
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Was it ever easy to find award seats on Delta? 😉
I don’t think these changes are going to make a difference in terms of Skypeso redemption!
It was easy once upon a time. And even now there are diamonds in the rough. Culling 25% of the premium lift to Tokyo is really going to hurt, especially given the limited other options either on DL or partner metal.
Should be interesting to see if UA is going to send their 747s back for another retrofit (this time economy) to make them more competitive/contemporary.
It would be interesting for the UA birds to go back into the shop. My recollection of them is that the Y seats do not really have sufficient space between the tray and the top to put a monitor so they’d probably have to fully replace the seats rather than just re-fit like Continental has done with the other parts of their fleet that got upgrades. That said, with the 744s in the UA fleet for 10ish years still, the ROI on such an upgrade is probably reasonable. Just a matter of the new management team deciding to make it happen once the crazy from the merger starts to die down.
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