Atlanta based Delta Airlines has delivery of their first Airbus A350-900 early this morning at their biggest hub at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson Airport. Delta 9959 took off from Airbus’s widebody assembly plant in Toulouse (TLS) just before 23:00 local time and arrived in Atlanta (ATL) just before 02:00 local time.

The flight path can be viewed here.

The aircraft delivered was N501DN, the 115th A350 built, and the first delivered to a North American Airline. It is the first of 25 A350-900s that Delta will take through 2022. These will go into service to replace the 747-400 and likely become the backbone of Delta’s trans-pacific fleet.

The arrival of Delta’s newest type warranted a traditional water cannon salute. (Photo: Chris Rank)

The first assignment for Delta’s A350 will begin October 30th on the Detroit (DTW) to Tokyo Narita (NRT) route, replacing the 747-400. This will be a decrease of 70 seats on each flight. Next, the A350 will take over for the 747-400 on alternating days, beginning November 18th, on the Detroit to Seoul Incheon (ICN) route, turning into daily service from December 16th. Delta will then put its A350 into service on the Detroit to Beijing (PEK) route on January 17th, 2018 on alternating days and going daily on February 23rd.

In between, Delta will deploy the A350 on its special flights to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The A350 will fly from Las Vegas to Seoul Incheon on January 8th and 13th, and make its return flights on the same days.

Recently, Delta announced that it would operate the A350 from its Atlanta hub beginning March 24th to Seoul Incheon to replace the 777-200LR. The times of this flight will also shift from an early afternoon departure from Atlanta and a late afternoon arrival in Seoul to a midnight departure from Atlanta and an early morning arrival in Seoul. The return flight does not shift, as it will likely be flown by the aircraft that came inbound from Detroit.

The economy cabin aboard the A350 will look like this, with personal TV’s and cabin mood lighting. (Photo: James Snyder via Flickr)

Delta deploying its A350 to Seoul and shifting its Atlanta flight to better accommodate connections in Seoul are a reflection of its strengthening relationship with Korean Air, as a joint venture was agreed to on June 23rd.

The A350-900 will feature 32 Delta One seats, 48 Premium Select seats, and 226 main cabin seats for a total of 306 seats. Notably absent from this configuration is Delta’s comfort plus, an economy seating section with additional legroom and free alcoholic drinks. It is replaced by Delta’s premium economy section deemed Premium Select.

Premium Select will be a 2-4-2 configuration, meaning the seats will be 18.5 inches wide compared to 18 inches in the main cabin. The Premium Select seats will feature an integrated leg rest as well as 13.3 inch screen.

An example of the “Premium Select” seat that will make it’s debut on the A350. (Photo: Delta Air Lines)

To read more about Delta’s new flagship, read our overview of the routes, seats, and service onboard the widget A350 here.

Featured photo from Chris Rank, Rank Studios.

Categories: Industry Talk