I flew on Delta's newest jet, the controversial Airbus A220-300, and it's my new favorite airliner in the US

Thomas Pallini
·10 min read
Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider
  • Delta Air Lines is the first and only US airline to fly passengers on the Airbus A220-300.

  • The 130-seat cabin features a 12-seat first class cabin and 30 extra legroom Delta Comfort+ seats.

  • Other amenities include seat-back entertainment systems, in-flight WiFi, and mood lighting.

  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Airbus' A220-300 is among the newest passenger aircraft in American skies, and it just started flying passengers for Delta in November.

The pandemic masked the aircraft's arrival but Delta has already taken delivery of six planes that offer an impressive passenger experience with in-flight entertainment and mood lighting among them.

On the technical side, the A220-300 boasts an impressive transcontinental range of around 3,400 nautical miles and seats 130 passengers in Delta's configuration that includes a first class cabin. Fuel-efficient Pratt & Whitney engines also give Delta a fuel savings of around 20% when compared to similar aircraft.

Delta first began flying the smaller A220-100 in 2020 as part massive order for the aircraft that was threatened when Boeing opened a trade dispute against Canada's Bombardier, the plane's original manufacturer. Airbus ultimately took over the program, rebranding the aircraft as the A220, and the deal continued with Boeing later losing the dispute.

JetBlue Airways is the only other US airline to operate the Airbus A220-300 with plans to start passenger service in the spring between Boston and Fort Lauderdale. David Neeleman's new startup, Breeze Airways, also plans to use the aircraft as its flagship but won't take delivery of its first model until later this year.

I flew on the six-month-old aircraft on a recent Delta flight from Houston, Texas to Salt Lake City in February.

Take a look inside Delta's latest arrival, the Airbus A220-300.

My flight on the A220-300 was from Houston to Salt Lake City, where the aircraft is primarily based. This route is where the A220-300 began its flying career for Delta on November 16, 2020.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
A Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

I could tell before even stepping foot on the plane that this was going to be an elevated product as the aircraft's mood lighting was visible from the jetway and a new nameplate had been installed in the galley.

Flying on Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

This is the first time I'd seen this nameplate on a Delta flight, and it was a nice touch to an otherwise wasted wall.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

The aircraft features 130 seats in a two-class configuration consisting of first class and economy class.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

First class is comprised of 12 recliner seats in a paired 2-2 configuration.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

It's the smallest first class cabin of any Delta mainline jet so getting an upgrade might be difficult, especially as Delta is blocking adjacent seats until April 30.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

I have elite status with Delta and didn't have a hope of getting into the exclusive cabin.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

The spacious seats feature 20.5 inches of width and 37 inches of pitch. Foldable tray tables are also stored in the armrest.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

These seats also feature passenger-facing coat hangars, USB charging ports, and 110v AC power outlets, along with a larger in-flight entertainment screen.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Economy then features the remaining 118 seats across 24 rows.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Seats are offered in a 3-2 configuration, which isn't commonly found on modern airliners but suits the needs of different types of travelers.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Couples traveling together might prefer the two-seat pair so they don't have to deal with a third person in the row.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Larger groups such as families might prefer the three-person side so everybody can sit in the same row.

Flying on Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying on Delta Air Lines during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Delta Comfort+, the airline's extra-legroom product, takes up the first six rows on the Airbus A220-300.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Delta charges extra for these seats but they do come with earlier boarding privileges, premium snacks, and complimentary alcoholic beverages in addition to the extra legroom.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

A Delta Comfort+ seat on the A220-300 offers 34 inches of pitch and 18.6 inches of width in most seats.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

The rest of the cabin's amenities are the same as regular economy.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Comfort+ seats, however, are marked by a red headrest cover.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Regular main cabin seats feature between 31 and 32 inches of pitch, depending on the seat's location.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Seat width for these seats is 18.6 inches.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Those wanting more legroom can opt for the exit row seats in rows 17 and 18. Seats 18E and 18A also feature near-unlimited legroom as there's no seat in the row in front of it.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

And all seats feature adjustable headrests.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Full-size luggage can also fit in the overhead above, eliminating the need to gate check larger bags as is the case on smaller regional aircraft.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Another nice touch was the Delta branding in the back of the plane. I've noticed this on foreign airlines and it was great to see Delta adopting it on the A220.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

The entire cabin was illuminated with the mood lighting, giving the cabin a more modern and relaxing feel that's common on newer planes.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

The cabin, overall, felt warm and welcoming. I was excited to see how it handled when in the air.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

I was lucky enough to get upgraded into Comfort+ and was given a window seat in a three-seat row.

Flying on Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

I prefer the two-seat side for easy aisle access but Delta's seat blocking policy meant I didn't have to worry about having a neighbor in the middle seat.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

The seat was perfectly comfortable and the extra legroom gave me more room to stretch out.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

In-seat power is available at all seats with 110v AC power outlets below and USB charging ports in the seat-back screens.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

All seats also feature in-flight entertainment systems with touch-screen capabilities.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Delta Studio, as the system is known, includes movies...

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Live television...

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Television shows...

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Games...

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

A moving map, and more.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

In-flight WiFi is also offered for a price. T-Mobile customers, however, get a free hour.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Another quirky feature of Delta's A220 is the miniature screen above the first row. Some A220 operators have this over every row but Delta did not.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Powering the aircraft are two Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan engines offering additional fuel efficiency and reduced cabin noise levels.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

I was seated right next to one of them and was amazed at how quiet they were compared to others.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Our takeoff was quite smooth despite the rainy conditions in Houston. The A220 handled turbulence well when things got choppy.

Flying on American Airlines and Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

We settled off at 30,000 feet for the three-hour flight to Salt Lake City, and flight attendants began the in-flight service.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

The normal premium snacks offered to Comfort+ passengers were replaced with a uniform snack bag given to all in economy. The bag included Goldfish, Biscoff cookies, a bottle of water, and a sanitary wipe.

Flying on Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

I headed to the back of the plane to see the aircraft's quirkiest feature, the lavatory with its own window. This feature isn't unique to the A220 but isn't commonly found on other jets.

Flying on Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

The nickname affectionately given to the lavatory is the "loo with a view." True to the name, the view isn't too bad.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

I also noticed that Delta had installed handwashing instructions as part of its new pandemic health and safety protocols.

Flying on Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

The rest of the flight was peaceful as the cabin was incredibly quiet.

Flying on Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Our flight was quickly coming to an end after a few hours as we started down towards Salt Lake City. The oversized windows really helped with getting the best views of the city and surrounding mountains on the approach.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

We went from rainy Houston to rainy Salt Lake City but the A220-300 was an absolute joy to fly on. I was so glad to see Delta keeping fan favorites like seat-back entertainment on the new jet since some airlines are moving away from that amenity.

Flying on Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Onboard a Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300. Thomas Pallini/Insider

I'll definitely be seeking out the aircraft in future travels.

Flying on Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying on Delta Air Lines during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider

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