Delta set to bring Airbus A350 onto Sydney-Los Angeles flights

With Delta's Boeing 777s all heading for retirement, the airline's flights to Australia are in for an upgrade.

By Chris Chamberlin, May 15 2020
Delta set to bring Airbus A350 onto Sydney-Los Angeles flights

Delta Air Lines is poised to fly its modern Airbus A350s on Sydney-Los Angeles flights by the end of 2020, as its 18-strong fleet of Boeing 777s face retirement.

Like the Boeing 777s they replace, the A350s sport the carrier’s prized Delta One Suites in business class, offering not only fully-flat beds and direct aisle access for every passenger, but also a closing privacy door to help maximise rest on those transpacific treks.

ET review: Delta One Suites, Sydney-Los Angeles

Premium economy, branded as Delta Premium Select, also appears on the A350s, providing a comfortable reclining seat with a sturdy leg-rest, ample legroom, high definition inflight entertainment and more, as well as complimentary inflight messaging via Delta WiFi.

ET review: Delta Premium Select, Los Angeles-Sydney

“We’re making strategic, cost-effective changes to our fleet to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while also ensuring Delta is well-positioned for the recovery on the backside of the crisis,” says Delta COO Gil West.

“Retiring a fleet as iconic as the 777 is not an easy decision,” adds Delta CEO Ed Bastian, in an internal memorandum to the airline’s staff sighted by Executive Traveller.

“Our A330s and A350-900s, which are more fuel-efficient and cost-effective, will perform long-haul flying as international demand returns,” Bastian adds.

As even the most fuel-efficient A330s in Delta’s fleet, the A330-900neos, don’t have the legs to fly between Sydney and Los Angeles – at least, in the way Delta has configured them – this route will be one for the Airbus A350s.

But when will Delta be back?

What’s less clear is when Delta will return to Australia, as its sole route Down Under remains suspended since March 18.

Delta is currently selling three return flights per week between Sydney and Los Angeles from June 6 2020, but with various travel bans likely to remain in place well beyond that date – including on most foreign visitors to Australia, and on Australian residents jetting abroad – that date may change.

Arch rival and Qantas partner American Airlines isn’t planning to resume flights to Australia and New Zealand until at least October 2020, while fellow opponent United Airlines is only running flights between Sydney and San Francisco, for now.

Virgin Australia continues to fly between Brisbane and Los Angeles once per week on behalf of the Australian Government – while Qantas is similarly flying weekly between Melbourne and Los Angeles.

Read: Qantas and Virgin to continue flights to Los Angeles

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

04 Apr 2018

Total posts 6

Sad to see the 777 retire, they'd improved the service greatly in recent years. But it'll be great to experience the A350 on the route.


03 May 2013

Total posts 627

Good riddance I say. HORRIBLE plane to fly in long and ultra long haul, in fact the worst plane to be in. Give me an Airbus A380/A350 any day for my money. Thank God one airline has seen the light and killed off the loud, cramped and poor atmospherics 777. It should stick to what it does best-cargo.

24 Sep 2021

Total posts 1

Couldn't agree more.. also cannot trust Boeing these days. Not scared one of their jets will go down. Just disgusting how they treated the whole court case regarding the 737max. Airbus will take over one day big time. Now that there are no 747s really being built, boeing is gone.

yes & it means Virgins 4 x boeing 777-300s are worth even less, if they did try to sell them.

Think flights LAX/SYD will start well before October. You must remember that OZ economy is stuffed, so all govts are trying to get Australians to holiday at home.

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 194

I would be astounded to see USA flights before 2021. We have barely started relaxing local restrictions and many state borders remain closed. We probably won't see that 'Pacific Bubble' to NZ and other nearby islands until Q3. I think our travel will favour countries that are easily and effectively isolated, Singapore and Taiwan and South Korea for example once they all have COVID-19 under control. But I would rule out the the Americas and Europe until next year.

I'd bet 3 houses, that we'll see unrestricted flights to USA from various Australian ports by October at absolute latest.

21 May 2020

Total posts 2

Hi regular flyer. Curious as to whether your prediction of flights to USA by October is just a guess or based on some information you've received?

13 Apr 2020

Total posts 4

I think Delta may have been hoping for Virgin metal on this route going forward. They don't have a limitless supply of A350s and with their 777s gone they'll need to make some tough decisions about the routes they continue to fly using their A350s. Not sure it is a given that SYD will necessarily qualify..

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

04 Apr 2018

Total posts 6

No way it'll still be a daily service. But without Virgin on the route, it'll be a chance for them to pick up their business. I'll be interested to see where they go with their involvement in the Velocity program. I'm sure that's at the bottom of the to do list right now.

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

14 Apr 2013

Total posts 334

Does the A350-900 have the range to do SYD - LAX - SYD? I though it was just to long to stretch the planes legs.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Jun 2011

Total posts 80

Range of a standard A350-900 is 15,000km. LAX-SYD is just over 12,000km.

29 Jan 2020

Total posts 29

Currently as I understand it, most if not all overseas travel insurance policies classify Covid as a pandemic, and you are not covered?

I certainly won't be going to the USA, with its high death toll from Covid, massive hospital costs, until such time as affordable travel insurance covers you for covid related medical costs!

travel insurance companies want your business. Prices may rise slightly, big deal. It's not like corona is something new. It's just a new version of Sars etc.


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1368

Regular yes it is like SARS and the common cold for that matter but far more infectious than SARS and deadlier than the common cold and there is no vaccine for either. If a vaccine is tested and found worthwhile this year then another year for it to be commonplace. We shall see.

you've forgotten about all the drugs being retasked & tested. There may never be a vaccine.

08 Feb 2018

Total posts 125

travel insurers will happily take your premium yes, but whether they'll pay your claim is a different issue entirely


02 May 2016

Total posts 59

As economies open up, business travel will rebound far before leisure travel, at some point the AUST Govt won't want to be road locking a business recovery, and I'm sure QF will start agitating if QR and others are taking revenue, I suspect flights between USA and Australia will gradually ramp from July/Aug onwards. Leisure travel won't move until insurance companies lift pandemic coverage restrictions, less of an issue with company and business travelers. What will be interesting is the traditional Christmas peak of people from USA, EU and Asia heading back to Oz for Xmas.....I would assume airlines will be wanting to capture this traffic.

airfares to USA from BNE, SYD, MEL for depart early Jan under $800 return for adults & $600 for kids !!! These are the lowest, low season prices, not what is normally the peak of peak season.

Many will probably fly to Canada via USA & put up with the inconvenience, as nonstops are around $3k last time I looked.

airlines are trying very hard to attract leisure travellers for xmas to usa. Fly after Xmas day to la for under $800 return is incredible, when consider that is peak season. Must be loss leaders, but guess they figure they aren't going to fill those widebodies, although did see the other day, that a B738/A320 can do east coast Australia to west coast USA in 2 stops & if stops quick, only adds a couple of hours cf. a nonstop.

here we go, the latest on vaccines & drugs to control corona ... from the age yesterday

One shot to change the world

Don't believe the doubters. In labs around the country, Australian scientists are confident that a vaccine for COVID-19 can be found – and sooner than we think.

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Delta set to bring Airbus A350 onto Sydney-Los Angeles flights