The new Delta 752 layout you really want to fly on

Also, the new Delta 752 layout that you are roughly guaranteed to never fly on.

The Delta A319 Charter Layout; not too shabby. And the 752 will likely be similar
The Delta A319 Charter Layout; not too shabby. And the 752 will likely be similar

Delta does big business operating charter aircraft for sports teams and a recent DoT filing has the company taking 11 of its 757-200 aircraft and reconfiguring them for NBA charter operations, replacing the A319 subfleet which served those flights in the past. The new charter fleet will operate primarily for the 27 participating NBA teams and is expected to be fitted with a comparable layout to the A319s which have 54 seats in a 2-2 layout throughout. A similar setup on the 75s should yield closer to 80 seats (or a lot more space at each seat), allowing the typical entourage of media, coaches, players and guests a more comfortable ride.

And it is not like the A319s are a cramped environment. They include a mix of “business class” recliner seats with 59″ pitch, “first class” seats with 40″ pitch and “club seats” which have lower pitch but that’s because they are surrounding a table.

The DoT filing is necessary to allow Planet Service, the administrative company which handles the charter scheduling, to manage the bookings and such and be exempt from the licensing requirements which would otherwise come with effectively operating a small airline for the League. And, as an added bonus, Planet Service and Delta will be able to lease out the planes during the off-season for other operations. There have been a few “special” 757-200 configurations in the past, such as the Abercrombie & Kent tour charter and that will likely remain more luxurious than what the NBA players will get, but having those planes available will open up some interesting new charter options for Delta.

Then again, the 752s are in high demand. It is likely that Delta won’t be moving the ETOPS version of the planes into the charter business – it needs them for international and transcon service – so it will likely be the older planes which get moved. But even those are still somewhat heavily used by the carrier for domestic flights. And swapping 8 A319s back in to the fleet (assuming they are decommitted from the charter operation) represents a reduction of about 1,000 seats in service. To say nothing of the reduced performance the A319s have versus the 752s.

And, while I’d love to get on board the new NBA charter planes one of these days, I’m betting that doesn’t happen. Though if Planet Service or Delta need someone to vet the product before it starts the real work I’m most definitely available.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. DL had already announced a significant reduction in the 752 fleet, and I’ve seen lists of which aircraft are scheduled for retirement, versus those scheduled for reconfiguration into the domestic/Hawaii configuration (the international/transcon reconfigruation is already done, with the exception of five used 752s they’re getting from Shanghai Airlines). The charter 752s are coming out of some of the set that were already accounted for in the previously announced domestic 752 fleet reduction. Much of that loss in seats is made up for by new aircraft coming into the fleet – there are still a bunch of new 739ERs on order, and they’ve got new 321s coming into the fleet in another year or so as well. Both of those have always been claimed to be replacements to the domestic configuration 752s they’re retiring, so the loss in overall seats probably isn’t quite as great. When you also add in the number of seats being added to the entire 319/320 fleet, as well as the remaining 717s they haven’t taken delivery of, and the addition of the E90s that were recently announced, they’re probably making up for those 1,000 seats, just across a variety of different aircraft.

    1. I’ve gotten to walk through the charter A319s… Pretty swanky! Everything down to the carpet is better than your standard A319. And, of course, the seats are amazing.

      As you may know, Delta does occasionally operate the charter A319 as a revenue flight for peak events, primarily the Super Bowl. So that would be about your chance to get on it…

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