Delta Creatively Adds Comfort+ To Airbus A350s

Filed Under: Delta

Delta is finally adding Comfort+ to its Airbus A350 fleet, though unfortunately it seems to be a zero-sum game.

Delta’s A350s are lacking Comfort+

The Airbus A350 is Delta’s flagship aircraft. The airline started taking delivery of these planes a few years ago, and currently has 15 of them in its fleet, with a further 20 on order (though at least some of those orders have been deferred).

For the most part these planes have a great onboard product. Delta’s A350s have:

  • Delta One Suites in business class, which are Delta’s latest business class seats with doors
  • Delta Premium Select seats in premium economy, which is Delta’s recently introduced premium economy product
  • Economy seats are even relatively comfortable, thanks to the A350 having nine abreast seating, and the plane in general being quiet and comfortable

For frequent flyers, one point of frustration has been the lack of Comfort+ seats. These are Delta’s extra legroom economy seats, which elite members can be upgraded to (meanwhile complimentary upgrades aren’t available to premium economy).

However, unfortunately the A350 wasn’t delivered with Comfort+, as Delta was clearly trying to find the right balance between comfort and maximizing revenue.

Delta’s A350s feature 48 Premium Select seats

Delta is now adding Comfort+ to its A350s

Delta’s recently delivered Airbus A350 features Comfort+, making it the first Delta A350 to feature these extra legroom economy seats. How has Delta’s configuration changed with this adjustment?

Originally Delta’s A350-900s featured a total of 306 seats, including:

  • 32 business class seats
  • 48 premium economy seats
  • 226 economy seats

Delta’s latest A350-900 features a total of 306 seats, including:

  • 32 business class seats
  • 48 premium economy seats
  • 36 extra legroom economy seats
  • 190 economy seats

Delta is adding Comfort+ to its A350 fleet

Wait a second, how is that possible?

Delta adding Comfort+ seats to A350s is great for those willing to pay a little extra over economy for more comfort, and it’s also great for elite members. But how is the airline able to install more spacious economy class seats without reducing the overall seat count on the aircraft?

Let’s compare the before and after seatmaps. Specifically, let’s look at the sections of the plane between the second and third set of doors, since this is where the Comfort+ cabin is, and you can’t move the doors.

Here’s the Delta A350 seatmap without Comfort+:

Here’s the Delta seatmap with Comfort+:

How is Delta able to add four rows of economy seats with extra legroom?

  • The footprint of Premium Select isn’t changing, including the number of seats and the seat pitch
  • The economy section between doors two and three will continue to have a total of 90 seats, spread across 10 rows in a 3-3-3 configuration
  • Therefore the only conclusion is that Delta is redistributing seat pitch between those 10 rows — the first four rows are getting more legroom, while the last six rows are getting less legroom

Delta claims that:

  • In the old configuration, economy seats had 31-33″ of pitch
  • In the new configuration, Comfort+ seats have 34″ of pitch, while economy seats have 31-32″ of pitch

Since Delta never specifically stated which rows had how much legroom, my best guess would have to be that somewhere around 1.5-2″ of legroom are being taken away from the last six rows in the forward economy cabin, to add around 2-3″ of legroom to the first four rows in the forward economy cabin.

For those who don’t have access to Comfort+, going forward you might actually want to be in the second economy cabin, since there may be more legroom there.

Delta is finally adding Comfort+ to its A350 cabins

Will Delta reconfigure existing A350s?

For the time being, Delta is just offering this configuration on newly delivered Airbus A350s. Delta does eventually plan on reconfiguring existing planes, though only time will tell if & when that happens. With the pandemic, airlines are understandably trying to limit their expenses.

Then again, this should be a pretty easy fix, since we’re just talking about moving the same seats around. Personally I wouldn’t be surprised to see this change made sooner rather than later for consistency’s sake.

Bottom line

Delta is finally introducing its Comfort+ product on Airbus A350 aircraft. So far only newly delivered planes feature the extra legroom economy seats, while other planes should eventually be reconfigured.

This is good news for those who have access to Comfort+, though it’s not good news for everyone. Delta is adding this cabin by removing legroom from other passengers in economy. Specifically, six rows will feature less legroom so that four rows can feature more legroom.

Ultimately I can’t really blame Delta for this move, and as long as all seats still have 31″ of pitch, I don’t think we can complain about Delta’s creativity here. It did always seem a bit odd that Delta’s flagship aircraft didn’t feature Comfort+, which is available throughout the rest of the fleet.

What do you make about the way that Delta is adding Comfort+ to its A350s? Is this change good or bad news?

Comments
  1. I don’t think I would call that creative. That is pretty much how airlines always create extra space seats. Reduce the pitch of the other rows in the cabin. This way they have seats to sell at a premium without reducing seat count.

  2. This is all new low bar set by Delta lmao. Fudging with numbers of legroom to generate comfort+ for extra up charges. And please don’t say elite member can get it for free. There is an intrinsic cost to acquire them. In an oligopoly market and with some degree of collusion, we all know this ought to happen lol. Even Delta

  3. Why can’t you move the doors? I assume they aren’t load-bearing doors. Or is moving the doors just very expensive.

    Also, I’m curious why you don’t cover US-domestic travel-related restrictions on your blog. Like California’s new 14-day quarantine.

  4. How do we know that Premium Select pitch isn’t also getting whacked? Obviously that would add more time and cost than just cramming Y seats, but it would spread the pain more subtly.

  5. @Nate nate

    “Why can’t you move the doors? I assume they aren’t load-bearing doors. Or is moving the doors just very expensive.”

    Please tell me this in an attempt at a joke.

  6. “Since Delta never specifically stated which rows had how much legroom, my best guess would have to be that somewhere around 1.5-2″ of legroom are being taken away from the last six rows in the forward economy cabin, to add around 2-3″ of legroom to the first four rows in the forward economy cabin.
    For those who don’t have access to Comfort+, going forward you might actually want to be in the second economy cabin, since there may be more legroom there.”

    Lucky
    Are you sure this makes sense looking at the seat map?
    Premium Economy is 8 across
    Economy is 9 across
    They have taken some space from the last 6 rows of economy and given it to the first 4 rows and called it comfort+
    Telling people to go to the “second” economy cabin without comfort+ lands you in the last 6 rows!

  7. @ffi – there’s an entire cabin further back in the plane, not visible in the images, just like business class isn’t visible.

  8. Three other huge downsizes on the A350:

    1) Significantly FEWER bathrooms than the 747 it replaced. This is especially an issue outside business-class.

    2) The reduced bathrooms on the A350 are not bigger in business-class, which is an issue for those wanting to change clothes.

    3) Aisles are cramped, which flight attendants have complained about.

    4) 2 x 4 x 2 configuration in premium-economy is not industry-leading. In fact, the two middle, middle seats in premium economy are arguably worse than comfort-plus exit or bulkhead seats if you’re seated next to complete strangers. And given that Delta is inferring that middle seats are unsafe by blocking them, who wants to sit in middle seats going forward?

  9. Long overdue. I’m one of what must be many Diamond Medallion members who complained about this situation. And since it’s a simple fix, I would expect them to complete this mod sooner rather than later. Other than labor, the only expense would be for new dress covers for the Comfort + seats.

  10. Will this be when Delta makes their A350 cabins more consistent with cabins of other fleets? The A350 has Recaro economy seats while other new fleets such as the A330NEO and A220 have Pinnacle seats. The A350 lacks the wireless tablet innovation found on the A330NEO and retrofitted 767-400s. Will the comfort+ retrofits be when Delta replaces older IFEs with the new wireless IFEs and replaces the ugly Recaro seats with the sleek Pinnacle seats for the A350s?

  11. @MW
    Ditto… my shitty company pay PE for transatlantic and J for transpacific. But sometimes PE gets filled up quickly and have to be stuck in Y. This is the reason why I tried to fly a330 if not in J as they have Comfort+. I suspect most comfort+ seats will be taken by plat and diamond.

  12. If it’s not Boeing, its not going!
    AA and United’s 777’s and 787’s
    Are superior.
    Built solid!
    No “cracking noises as you climb out”
    The Boeing fleet is far superior!
    DELTA MADE A HUGE MISTAKE ELIMINATING THE 777.
    “Putting lipstick on a pig” is a temporary fix.
    Also, Delta’s 767 and 757’s are tiresome.
    Worn hard.
    Old and outdated.

  13. @John Luffred
    Lol they’re superior just because they’re americans right? Becareful, they’re built it liberal state that you despise.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Reminder: OMAAT comments are changing soon. Register here to save your space.