Delta currently uses Boeing 767-300 jets on the trans-Pacific route and flew Boeing 747s between the two cities before Delta retired its jumbo jet fleet.
The route is one of five between the U.S. and Asia that will be upgraded with Delta One suites and the Delta Premium Select cabin on new A350 jets or refurbished Boeing 777-200s.
Delta's twin-aisle A350-900s have 306 seats, including 32 flat-bed seats in Delta One, 48 Delta Premium Select seats and 226 main cabin seats in a three-by-three-by-three configuration.
Atlanta-based Delta ordered 25 Airbus A350-900 aircraft in 2014. The fuel-efficient widebodies have an 8,000-mile range.
Delta will refurbish all 18 of its Boeing 777s and take delivery of 13 A350s by the end of 2019.
Since Delta retired the Washington-made 747, the airline's 291-seat Boeing 777 jets (also made in Everett) have been its largest aircraft serving Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Delta is ending nonstop flights between Seattle and Hong Kong in October but plans to nonstop flights between Seattle and Osaka's Kansai International Airport on Boeing 767-300ER (extended range) jets next year.
The A350s and upgraded 777s are part of Delta’s multibillion-dollar project to improve flight comfort.
In the main cabin, Delta recently implemented free meals on select coast-to-coast routes, free mobile messaging, free entertainment, upgraded snacks and food-for-purchase items, sparkling wine, access to Wi-Fi on most flights and enhanced blankets.
At the same time Delta updated Delta One to include improved amenity kits with TUMI and Kiehl’s brand toiletries, socks and earplugs; a new Alessi set of service/tableware designed specifically for the airline; and new menus for LA-origin flights, curated by influential chefs local to the area Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo.
Asiana Airlines became the first airline with regular A350 flights through Seattle on July 31.
Alaska Airlines partner Cathay Pacific plans to start nonstop A350-900 flights between Seattle and Hong Kong on April 1, 2019.
(Paxtyn Merten - Puget Sound Business Journal)