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Delta Air Lines’ quiet, fuel-efficient A220 planes finally take off


Delta and its competitors have aggressively gone after high-paying corporate travelers in a bid to drum up revenue, offering some of its newest planes more perks on board like seats that recline into a small flat bed. In December, Delta said its share of revenue in premium cabins like business class had doubled during the past six years, while the share of revenue from coach class declined. United, for example, recently rolled out its biggest Dreamliner, the Boeing 787-10, for cross-country flights and this week announced plans to increase premium seats across its fleet.

Outfitted with new Pratt and Whitney geared turbofan engines, the A220s have higher fuel efficiency compared with other models, a key selling point for carriers whose second-largest expense after labor is fuel. The planes also feature passenger perks like spacious overhead bins, big windows — even in the bathroom — as well as wider seats. In the A220s coach cabin, the seats are 18.6 inches wide, a 0.1 inch wider than on Delta’s second-widest seats, which are on its Boeing 777s.

“It’s less claustrophobic” compared with small regional planes, said David Krause, a 58-year-old travel manager for singer Dionne Warwick. He added that he likes the shape of the windshield because the aircraft “looks like a little raccoon.”

It’s been a winding and long road to market for the A220-100.

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