Delta eyes Sydney for new Airbus A350 and its business class suites

By David Flynn, January 3 2017
Delta eyes Sydney for new Airbus A350 and its business class suites

Delta will look to add Sydney to its nascent Airbus A350 network once the advanced jets begin flying in late 2017, bringing the airline's new Delta One private business class suites onto the highly competitive trans-Pacific route.

The Virgin Australia partner will take delivery of the first of 25 Airbus A350-900 planes in September 2017, each of which will sport 32 suites with full-height privacy doors, lie-flat beds and direct aisle access.

An upgrade of Delta's Boeing 777 fleet, which currently includes Sydney, will follow through to 2020.

A spokeswoman for Delta Air Lines confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that the Airbus A350s "will be used on some Asia Pacific routes."

Delta's current direct routes to Asia include its regional hub of Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul.

Delta is also said to continue running the numbers on launching a direct Melbourne-Los Angeles service.

Read more: Delta reveals private business class suites for Airbus A350

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

05 Dec 2013

Total posts 36

Would love to see Delta launch direct flights to Melbourne. If they decide to, I wonder whether they would deploy the A350 with the Delta One product as well?

03 Aug 2015

Total posts 59

It will be interesting, prior to the decision on AA/QF it appeared that AA would be looking towards MEL in the near future, now that is in doubt (although we are now seeing QF 6 weekly on the 787 and VA return) I wonde if Delta will be more interested. Personally I would rather see UA on MEL-SFO. 

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

Per actual DL fleet plan and normal airline fleet planning logic for a brand new type, all 359 x25 for DL will hv DL One product in exception. 

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

02 Sep 2014

Total posts 17

Looking forward to seeing this head over this way! Will really throw the J class product into a new direction...

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

Agree, DL One is the 1st ever J product worldwide to include a privacy door.  Relative to the much more tame/minor J redesign done by CX and SQ recently, DL One represents a far more  significant hard product design change for the J segment in yrs.  

I'm betting that feature will become a trend for others to copy....including CX and SQ which are ironically supposed to be the leaders in J product innovations in the minds of many premium pax....

21 Oct 2013

Total posts 15

Makes BA's suggested upgrade look what it is-Awful. Just a shoe box in comparison.  When I travel business class, I always check that its 4 across-then I know that the airline is thinking about me.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

If I travel medium-haul in J on a narrowbody(Not that rare these days and will become even more common with the advent of MAX/NEO) and the layout is 4 across, I'll probably believe that the airline may NOT be thinking about me.

May be I'm already spoiled by the J layout on narrowbodies such as Mint by JetBlue....

27 Jan 2016

Total posts 54

I wonder if they will operate on alternate days when VA is not to make it daily between the two.

18 Mar 2014

Total posts 95

Aren't VA starting MEL-LAX back up again at that start of April?!?!

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1264

Yes indeed they are

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 132

if delta did that, qantas would have to refurbish the interiors of their A380's to match the competition

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jun 2011

Total posts 153

They compete pretty well revenue wise against competition on SYD-LAX without having a refurbished product (and this goes up the rev herringbone of AA and VA). QF will also have the suite on their 787, which is the same seat type as DL's on their A350, sans doors 

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2568

It'd definitely increase the already-mounting pressure, that's for sure... Virgin Australia and Delta would both have latest-gen business class seats out of Sydney.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

I believe QF understand their mkt well that they know they don't have to refurbish J cabin of 380 to match the [email protected] least not in any real hurry.

This is fundamentally because QF understand the competition cannot remotely match them in other aspects unrelated to seat design....especially for the AU point-of-sales.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2014

Total posts 178

Yes please! Happily pay to fly in Delta's 'suite' (or partner VA's reverse herringbone seats).

And can Air NZ take the hint from Delta that the herringbone seats are old hat (since they are just not private). 

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1021

Part of the unconfirmed scuttle-butt I heard regarding the break-up between NZ and VA was that Luxon was unimpressed that VA's new J class was so impressive and NZ didn't have a hard product that would compete against it having already locked in the J product for its 787s and 77Ws.

18 Mar 2014

Total posts 95

That's a bit of a stretch!!! Firstly, they are still alliance partners just as much as VA/DL, it was purely a financial decision to step away from the equity investment. Secondly, I'm pretty sure airline CEO's wouldn't chuck a tanty because of a partner having a better product! NZ have the far superior Tasman offering and arguably a better PY long haul product, so I don't see the J class product being the main reason for such a massive business decision.

15 Jan 2015

Total posts 4

Has Aus Bt forgotten that virgin is restarting the MEL-LAX route again in a few months. An article they wrote themselves.... 


23 May 2014

Total posts 129

Hard product looks great. My hesitation with US airlines is still the soft product - food, wines, and quality + consistency of the service delivered by the crew. 


03 May 2013

Total posts 653

Would people stop making excuses for the A380 Business Class seating on Qantas. Its simply outdated otherwise why didn't Qantas use the same seat on its newly refurbed A330's or soon to be 787's? If Qantas had any brains they'd have a killer service to LHR and LAX with the new J seats along with the fine soft product. Oh one other negative with Qantas are the surly cabin crew on some flights...horrible attitudes.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jun 2011

Total posts 153

I for one actually don't mind the sky beds. It's flat, plenty of legroom and I don't have a problem stepping over the aisle person. If you've seen the DoT finding rejecting their AA JV, QF get a huge premium over DL and VA. 

It'd be great if J were updated but QF make plenty of money on the exisiting seat and there isn't an immediate need to update. In saying that though, I'm sure we will see some sort of update in the near future. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 169

I was a fan of the SkyBed MkII but the last couple of times I flew they were noticeably sagging and nothing close to flat - by sagging I mean the end of the bed was hitting the floor for most people in the cabin. Having said that, reasonably harsh calling QF staff surly - I've never encountered that and others report only sporadic poor encounters, as you get in any company! QF still my top choice but I would love to see a J refresh along the lines of Delta's suite, it would really see it enhance its dominance on the Kangaroo Route as well as AU - US.


16 Nov 2011

Total posts 620

Yes it is now getting outdated, but simple fact is you cannot simply change seats every time something new comes along. 

The oldest A380 in the Qantas fleet is just over 8 years old and the youngest 5 years old. So now is when they should (and probably are) thinking of a refurbishment and new seats for the A380's.


02 May 2016

Total posts 60

As an Australian living in Minneapolis (DL hub) and Diamond with Delta, and Emerald with OneWorld I can assure you after many Delta One flights that regardless of hard product, DL is light years behind QF, CX, SQ and even VA in terms of soft product, food, wines, ambience, cabin crew, customer service etc....they have improved but really no comparison.

13 May 2016

Total posts 32

As a regular SYD to LAX traveler, this is welcome news! I usually travel with Delta as they have better connections, however I find their current J product is far less attractive than VA or QF. I'm looking forward to the Delta One product.

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