Delta Airbus A321neo: First Routes Revealed

Delta Airbus A321neo: First Routes Revealed

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Last week, Delta took delivery of its first Airbus A321neo, which has some interesting implications for the passenger experience. The airline has now revealed the first routes to get this plane.

Delta gets first of 155 Airbus A321neos

Delta has marked an exciting milestone for its narrow body fleet renewal, as the airline has taken delivery of its very first Airbus A321neo:

  • Delta has ordered a total of 155 Airbus A321neos, in addition to the carrier’s 127 Airbus A321ceos, meaning the carrier’s entire A321 fleet will eventually consist of 282 aircraft
  • Delta expects to take delivery of 26 A321neos in 2022, with all A321neos to be delivered by 2027
  • While Delta has taken delivery of its first A321neo, the jet won’t enter service until May 2022, so it won’t be flying passengers for the next several weeks

For context, the A321neo is exactly the same size as the previous version of the A321. What’s different is that the jet is about 20% more fuel efficient, which also means that the plane has more range. It’s incredible to see the progress that aircraft manufacturers have made with fuel efficiency, which is great for airlines, passengers, and the environment.

This added efficiency is largely thanks to new engines, with the “neo” standing for “new engine option” (while “ceo” stands for “current engine option”).

The A321neo offers much better fuel efficiency

I also find it noteworthy how small the gap is between Delta’s A321ceo deliveries and A321neo deliveries. Delta has been taking delivery of A321ceos all the way through December 2021, which are at this point outdated aircraft (since the A321neo is the same aircraft, just more efficient, and has been in production for several years). Now, a few months later, the airline is taking delivery of the more efficient version of the jet. Delta’s current A321 fleet is an average of just over three years old, so it’s still quite young.

Delta Airbus A321neo passenger experience

What should passengers expect onboard Delta’s Airbus A321neos? The first A321neos that Delta takes delivery of feature 194 seats, which is three more seats than you’ll find on current A321s. Specifically, you can expect:

  • 20 first class seats
  • 42 extra legroom economy seats (Comfort+)
  • 132 economy seats

The planes will have high-speed Viasat Wi-Fi, seatback entertainment, and power at every seat. On top of that, Delta is debuting its new domestic first class seat on the A321neo. This is the first real innovation we’ve seen to domestic first class seats within the United States in a while, and I’m excited to experience this. This looks somewhat similar to Turkish Airlines’ A321neo business class, but not nearly as spacious.

Delta’s new domestic first class seat

Delta is historically known for having nicer cabins on narrow body aircraft than American and United. Delta’s trick is that it puts TVs at every seat and makes the cabins look cool, but from an efficiency standpoint, Delta crams in seats, much like American.

For example, American’s A321neos have 196 seats, so that’s only two more seats than Delta has on these planes. So while Delta has slightly fewer seats than American, the A321neo has more seats than the previous version of the A321.

In the long run, Delta is planning even more innovation for its A321neos. While the timeline remains to be seen, Delta plans to take delivery of 12 very premium A321neos, featuring just 148 seats. This includes:

  • 16 Delta One seats (business class), which will be fully flat and in a 1-1 configuration
  • 12 Delta Premium Select seats (premium economy), which will be in a 2-2 configuration
  • 54 Comfort+ seats (extra legroom economy), which will be in a 3-3 configuration
  • 66 Main Cabin seats (economy), which will be in a 3-3 configuration

Details regarding this are very limited as of now, as I expect it will be a few years before these particular planes are in service. They’re likely to operate on premium transcontinental routes, which are currently served by 757s and 767s.

First Delta Airbus 321neo routes

Delta’s A321neo will enter service in May 2022, and the airline has now revealed the first routes to get the jet. These planes will be based in Boston, and operate the following routes:

  • As of May 20, 2022, the A321neo will fly between Boston (BOS) and San Francisco (SFO) 2x daily; as of September 12, 2022, service will increase to 3x daily
  • As of August 11, 2022, the A321neo will fly between Boston (BOS) and Seattle (SEA) 1x daily; as of September 20, 2022, service will increase to 2x daily, and as of October 20, 2022, service will increase to 3x daily
  • As of August 20, 2022, the A321neo will fly between Boston (BOS) and San Diego (SAN) 1x daily
  • As of August 20, 2022, the A321neo will fly between Boston (BOS) and Denver (DEN) 1x daily
Delta’s first Airbus A321neo routes

Bottom line

Delta has taken delivery of its first of 155 Airbus A321neo aircraft. The A321neo is a fuel efficient plane, and will allow Delta to operate many routes with lower costs.

In this case there’s also a new passenger experience to look forward to. Delta will be introducing new first class seats on the A321neos. On top of that, eventually a subfleet of A321neos should be in a premium configuration, featuring flat beds, premium economy, and more.

We now know that these jets will enter service as of May, flying initially out of Boston.

What do you make of Delta’s new A321neos?

Conversations (30)
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  1. Sergio Guest

    Awesome, comfort plus on the new quit a321neo, can wait to experience it whit my family. I wonder it they would use it for the caribbean?

  2. dander Guest

    Interesting to see how the new version handles with the engine further forward. Before you correct me, I worked by a major airport and can pick out aircraft and see the ones with the engines way forward. Both Manufacturers do this.

  3. Levi Member

    Since the premium configuration has Premium Select, which DL has thus far been steadfast in not selling domestically, doesn't that suggest that the premium configuration will mostly fly internationally?

    BOS would be an ideal base for TATL A321s, especially as DL has moved most widebody departures to terminal E due to only having two widebody capable gates in terminal A.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Delta is not selling premium select on domestic routes because they don't think they have enough aircraft configured w/ it to ensure that it can reliably provide it. They are only offering it on a limited number of transoceanic routes now but the number grows later.

      I am sure Delta will sell premium select on the routes where the A321NEO operates with it - but keep in mind the first batch of A321NEOs will have...

      Delta is not selling premium select on domestic routes because they don't think they have enough aircraft configured w/ it to ensure that it can reliably provide it. They are only offering it on a limited number of transoceanic routes now but the number grows later.

      I am sure Delta will sell premium select on the routes where the A321NEO operates with it - but keep in mind the first batch of A321NEOs will have a standard domestic configuration. The first batch will be equipped for overwater flights in order to use the plane to Hawaii.

      Delta has said they don't believe the economics of the A321NEO work on transatlantic flights over 8 hours where a 3rd pilot is required. There simply is not enough extra passengers to cover the higher pilot costs compared to a widebody. Remember also that widebodies can carry lots of cargo which narrowbodies cannot.

  4. DesertGhost Guest

    Without sounding too much like Tim Dunn, Delta's purchase of both A321ceos and neos was a well-timed and smart capital investment. I'm pretty sure Delta got a very good deal on its new ceos, and the lower acquisition costs should largely offset the neo's operating cost advantage. The fact that Delta and American have virtually the same number of seats on their A321neos also speaks volumes about the lie that American is totally inferior to...

    Without sounding too much like Tim Dunn, Delta's purchase of both A321ceos and neos was a well-timed and smart capital investment. I'm pretty sure Delta got a very good deal on its new ceos, and the lower acquisition costs should largely offset the neo's operating cost advantage. The fact that Delta and American have virtually the same number of seats on their A321neos also speaks volumes about the lie that American is totally inferior to Delta in terms of passenger comfort. I've flown both airlines, and in my experience, there's not a hill of beans worth of difference between the two - except for the TVs. Big deal!

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Yes, Delta probably good a good deal and the NEOs will be used for longhaul domestic flights where it has the range to do full coast to coast including Boston to San Francisco as well as the west coast to Hawaii. Any airline would use its most efficient aircraft on the routes where its efficiency will deliver the best results. IN Delta's case, Boston is still a growing and developing hub and being able to...

      Yes, Delta probably good a good deal and the NEOs will be used for longhaul domestic flights where it has the range to do full coast to coast including Boston to San Francisco as well as the west coast to Hawaii. Any airline would use its most efficient aircraft on the routes where its efficiency will deliver the best results. IN Delta's case, Boston is still a growing and developing hub and being able to use the A321NEO will reduce Delta's costs relative to JetBlue. Delta will use all of its A321NEOs on its domestic system while B6 is using a lot of its NEOs to build a transatlantic route system - while DL along w/ AA and UA are buying new fuel efficient widebodies.

      As for the comfort argument, AA and DL DO NOT have the same configurations. DL has the Airbus Space Flex cabin which puts 2 lavs at the rear of the aircraft which allows more seats or more room between seats. Given that AA and DL have the same number of seats, it is obvious that the result is more space with the same number of seats as a result of putting 2 lavs on the back wall.

      As for the AVOD argument, you need only look at the percentage of people who use seat back AVOD on aircraft that have them including on DL or B6 domestic flights - and the vast majority of people do use it. It is a no-cost amenity that provides something to do. And you can still stream content to your own device so the "I'd prefer to use my own device" argument doesn't work.

    2. DesertGhost Guest

      Tim,

      To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, "There you go again!" Did I write that Delta and American have the same configuration? No. I wrote that they have almost the same number of seats. Facts: 1), There's a difference between what I wrote and what you allege I wrote. And 2), There's only so much available space on a given aircraft type.

      I read that American's lavs being placed away from the rear galley was suggested...

      Tim,

      To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, "There you go again!" Did I write that Delta and American have the same configuration? No. I wrote that they have almost the same number of seats. Facts: 1), There's a difference between what I wrote and what you allege I wrote. And 2), There's only so much available space on a given aircraft type.

      I read that American's lavs being placed away from the rear galley was suggested by American's flight attendants. I've seen complaints on various airline blogs and threads that American *never* listens to employee feedback. So much for that notion.

      In my opinion, and in my experience, Delta and American's coach seats are uncomfortable, so are Southwest and United's. I don't have any control over the comfort of airline seats or the other onboard aspects of a particular flight, so I remember that my main objective when I fly (and the main reason airlines are in business) is to get me where I'm going - not provide me with food and entertainment.

      Like the vast majority of people I know, I look at the schedule and the fare first, then make decisions about which available choices I want to pay extra for on a particular flight. I can put up with almost anything on an hour-long flight. But when it stretches to 3 to 4 hours or more ... Basically, my butt means more to me than a TV. But that's my priority. I personally don't concern myself with minutiae like a wee bit more space in extra legroom seats or what percentage of people onboard a flight use the TV just to have a talking point on an airline blog. I make my choices based on the particular circumstances when I have to get somewhere. That's all.

      Finally, what do you mean when you write that the "I bring my own entertainment" argument "doesn't work"? Who made you the "thought police"? We all have the right to an opinion - and to spend our money as we see fit. We don't have a right to deliberately misrepresent what others write on an airline blog. If I inadvertently misrepresent or misinterpret what you write, I appreciate the correction.

    3. Tim Dunn Diamond

      I'm not sure why it is so difficult to understand but Airbus delivers A321s to AA and DL with the exact same amount of floor space - with the only difference the exit configurations which have changed. DL's A321CEOs have 4 sets of doors while the A321NEOs will have 2 sets of doors and 4 overwing exits. The 321NEO seat map can be seen if you do a booking on delta.com.

      ON the CEOs, Delta...

      I'm not sure why it is so difficult to understand but Airbus delivers A321s to AA and DL with the exact same amount of floor space - with the only difference the exit configurations which have changed. DL's A321CEOs have 4 sets of doors while the A321NEOs will have 2 sets of doors and 4 overwing exits. The 321NEO seat map can be seen if you do a booking on delta.com.

      ON the CEOs, Delta has 2 lavs in the rear of the aircraft while AA does not. It isn't rocket science to realize that Delta has more floor space between the galleys for seats and that is why seat guru plus Delta.com says that Delta's 321CEOs have 30-31 inches of pitch while American's have 30.

      As for the AVOD discussion, my point is that there is no ARGUMENT that AVOD doesn't matter if you (or anyone) wants to watch entertainment on your own device. If you want to stream Delta's content on your device you can do that PLUS you can watch it on their seatback screen. You can only do the former on AA. The point is not about which anyone should choose but that you have a choice on DL and other carriers that have seatback AVOD but don't on AA or WN or most of UA's domestic fleet.

    4. Eskimo Guest

      LOL, great talking points.

      Never In Doubt

      LOL

  5. Tim Dunn Diamond

    The real significance is that Delta is one of the last large jet US airlines to take a new generation aircraft from the Airbus 320NEO family or the Boeing 737 MAX family.
    Delta has a fleet of 50 plus A220 aircraft but those were designed by and ordered from Bombardier - even though it uses the same new generation engine.
    With the possibility of a MAX order, Delta could end up with 3 new generation powered narrowbody families.

  6. Mr. Obvious Guest

    This is cool and all - but dang I wish Delta would get a boat load of A220's to replace those horrible CRJ 200's. Hate those planes!

    1. DCA J Guest

      At least they’re down to only about 80 left. Don’t check out the United Express fleet if you think that’s a lot!

    2. DesertGhost Guest

      Delta plans to retire its CRJ200 aircraft by December 2023. Without stealing Tim Dunn's thunder, Delta has far fewer regional aircraft than either United or American.

    3. Sergio Guest

      Why, because of the seat configuration? Noce, small?

    4. Tim Dunn Diamond

      new generation mainline aircraft are more fuel efficient and, as the pilot shortage deepens, airlines have a better chance of staffing mainline aircraft than regional aircraft.
      Delta saw this trend starting 10 years ago with their acquisition of the 717s from Southwest and AirTran which resulted in the retirement of about 200 CRJs. Although Delta planned to start retiring the 717s, they seem to be bringing them back - again because they can staff...

      new generation mainline aircraft are more fuel efficient and, as the pilot shortage deepens, airlines have a better chance of staffing mainline aircraft than regional aircraft.
      Delta saw this trend starting 10 years ago with their acquisition of the 717s from Southwest and AirTran which resulted in the retirement of about 200 CRJs. Although Delta planned to start retiring the 717s, they seem to be bringing them back - again because they can staff 717s while their regional airline contractors struggle to staff regional jets. United is at the opposite end of the industry with 50% of their domestic departures on regional jet pre-covid and will face significant revenue shortfalls as they try to maintain their operation.
      Large mainline aircraft w/ new generation aircraft like the MAX9 and A321NEO are so much more efficient than any other domestic aircraft; efficiency matters more than ever for US airlines.

  7. David Pilgrim Guest

    Could they switch engines overtime using the A321neo on the older A321’s?

  8. Flyerperson Guest

    I think you missed the point here:
    You said that the A321Neo has more seats than the previous version.
    The A321Neo has more allowable space for seats. Unlike the previous version, the A321Neo does not have 2 floor level exits in the middle of the cabin. Instead, the A321Neo has 2 window exits over the wings - thus, reducing the need of wasted space.
    To put this in perspective, Delta is going...

    I think you missed the point here:
    You said that the A321Neo has more seats than the previous version.
    The A321Neo has more allowable space for seats. Unlike the previous version, the A321Neo does not have 2 floor level exits in the middle of the cabin. Instead, the A321Neo has 2 window exits over the wings - thus, reducing the need of wasted space.
    To put this in perspective, Delta is going from 191 to 194 seats while taking out 2 floor level exits in the middle of the aircraft. Increasing the number of Comfort+ seats from 29 to 42 (more space).

    1. Sergio Guest

      Well that means good news right?

  9. tipsyinmadras Guest

    When writing about a plane literally named afer a new engine option isn't it worth noting what the actual new engine is? And that it's the same engine family as the A220 which simplifies maintenance costs?

    1. Frank B Member

      If we're going down that route , aren't they all current engine options? It's not like these engines have not been flying for years already.

    2. tipsyinmadras Gold

      That’s Airbus branding and differentiates from the previous V2500/CFM56 powered version

  10. Never In Doubt Guest

    In before Tim Dunn tells us what a genius move this is, as always, for Delta.

    1. Jan Guest

      In comparison to Oasis, yeah this is five-head genius.

    2. XPL Guest

      I appreciate Tim Dunn's industry perspective. I'd like to read more industry perspective, and less vapid negativism like this.

    3. DesertGhost Guest

      While I don't always agree with Tim, he usually makes valid points, even if he does go a bit overboard at times in defense of his perfect airline.

    1. Jetiquette Guest

      I found the Boeing fan!

    2. Sergio Guest

      Probably he's is referring to to flying Delta ( not the type of plane)

  11. Maxpower Guest

    That first class seat looks SOO tight on legroom and the seat itself looks like a thin piece of cardboard. I'm curious to see your review of it, Lucky.

    1. Sergio Guest

      For a big guy, probably. This Seats look awesome for me.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Tim Dunn Diamond

Yes, Delta probably good a good deal and the NEOs will be used for longhaul domestic flights where it has the range to do full coast to coast including Boston to San Francisco as well as the west coast to Hawaii. Any airline would use its most efficient aircraft on the routes where its efficiency will deliver the best results. IN Delta's case, Boston is still a growing and developing hub and being able to use the A321NEO will reduce Delta's costs relative to JetBlue. Delta will use all of its A321NEOs on its domestic system while B6 is using a lot of its NEOs to build a transatlantic route system - while DL along w/ AA and UA are buying new fuel efficient widebodies. As for the comfort argument, AA and DL DO NOT have the same configurations. DL has the Airbus Space Flex cabin which puts 2 lavs at the rear of the aircraft which allows more seats or more room between seats. Given that AA and DL have the same number of seats, it is obvious that the result is more space with the same number of seats as a result of putting 2 lavs on the back wall. As for the AVOD argument, you need only look at the percentage of people who use seat back AVOD on aircraft that have them including on DL or B6 domestic flights - and the vast majority of people do use it. It is a no-cost amenity that provides something to do. And you can still stream content to your own device so the "I'd prefer to use my own device" argument doesn't work.

2
DesertGhost Guest

While I don't always agree with Tim, he usually makes valid points, even if he does go a bit overboard at times in defense of his perfect airline.

2
XPL Guest

I appreciate Tim Dunn's industry perspective. I'd like to read more industry perspective, and less vapid negativism like this.

2
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