Last updated: 03:32 PM ET, Thu August 18 2016

Delta's New Business Class Shuts the Door on Their Competition

Airlines & Airports | Delta Air Lines | Paul Thompson | August 18, 2016

Delta's New Business Class Shuts the Door on Their Competition

Photo courtesy of Delta

Delta Air Lines on Tuesday announced a brand new Business Class that puts all others to shame, especially in comparison to their U.S.-based competitors. Launching on their first Airbus A350-900s in the Fall of 2017, the newest “Delta One” product will be the world’s first all-suite Business Class.

Take a moment to think about that. Other airlines have suites in First Class. These days, most international airlines are finally installing fully flat seats with aisle access in Business Class, but Delta has flown to the front of the pack with this game-changing announcement. Business Class seats — especially on international flights — are spacious, no doubt. But these new seats will feature one thing missing from most, and that feature is a door you can close for complete privacy.

Privacy doors are so rare, that they can usually only be found in First Class, not Business Class. In comparison to other U.S. airlines, JetBlue is the only carrier on which you can find anything similar to what Delta will have. JetBlue’s Mint class can only be found on their transcontinental Airbus A321 fleet, and it is by far the best seat in which you can cross the country. In fact, Delta’s new seats will be a modified version of the same Thompson Vantage XL seats, as confirmed by cabin product guru Runway Girl Network.

READ MORE: American Announces New Lie-Flat Business Class Seats

Thompson Aero’s website says the Vantage XL seats are 23-24 inches wide, and lie fully flat to make a 79-inch bed. And that width is just the chair itself, not the full suite width. They will be configured 1-2-1 going across the cabin, and Delta’s A350s will have 32 of the seats, making 8 rows. One thing that most people want more than anything else when flying internationally is a decent night’s sleep, and even in the nicest seats, it’s difficult to really feel secluded, but having a privacy door will make all the difference in the world.

“Delta constantly listens to customers and responds with products that deliver what they want. After setting the standard with the introduction of full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access in 2008, Delta is again elevating the international business class experience,” said Tim Mapes, Delta’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.

United Airlines has to be kicking itself, having just announced a new international Business Class of their own, dubbed Polaris. At first glance, I can see a big advantage Delta has over United, even if you remove the doors on Delta’s suites. The Polaris seats come to a point at the head rest. If you’ve got the seat flat to sleep, the head rest area is less than the width of your shoulders, which just makes you feel cramped. The new seats for Delta will be squared off at both the pillow area and the foot rest area, giving passengers a generous space in which to stretch out, in comparison to most competitors.

READ MORE: Are Airlines Moving Beyond A La Carte Pricing?

Delta’s new seats will face directly forward, rather than being angled like most international Business Class seats. The trouble with the angled seats is that most of them have flat panel TV screens that you’re forced to stow for takeoff and landing, which takes away about 1/2 hour of entertainment time. Delta’s seats won’t come with this built-in annoyance.

After debuting on Delta’s new A350s, Delta One will also be retro-fitted to its 777 fleet. Delta will be getting twenty-five A350s, and also has eighteen Boeing 777s. The airline hasn’t confirmed whether Business Class on other aircraft types will receive these upgrades,

This fall, Doha-based Qatar Airways is expected to launch a new “Super Business Class,” which many expect to include a double bed in each suite. However, their CEO Akbar Al Baker has been tight-lipped about details before the big reveal. 

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