Delta Air Lines has launched a new service between its hub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport, its fourth non-stop service connecting Shanghai with cities in the US.
The new route has been some time in the making, having been announced this time last year. Atlanta joins three other US cities in Delta’s network – Seattle, Los Angeles and Detroit – in offering a non-stop connection to Shanghai.
Speaking earlier this week about the new route launch, Delta CEO, Ed Bastian, said: “This was the number one route that local Atlanta travellers have requested and we’re thrilled that we’re able to launch this flight at the end of the week.”
Shanghai is notably the home hub of Delta’s partner airline and fellow Skyteam member, China Eastern, and Delta passengers have access to connecting flights to 70 destinations in China through its partnership with the Shanghai-based carrier.
Flights take between 15 and 16 hours and operate once per day with the following schedule:
|DL185||Atlanta (ATL)||Shanghai (PVG)||1520||1910+1||Daily|
|DL186||Shanghai (PVG)||Atlanta (ATL)||1220||1540||Daily|
Delta is flying its Boeing 777-200LR on the route, with Delta One (business), Comfort+ (extra legroom) and Main Cabin (economy) seating.
Delta’s 10 B777-200LRs, as well as its eight B777-200ERs, are set to be retrofitted by the end of this year with its newest business class offering, the Delta One Suite, along with getting a Delta Premium Select (premium economy) cabin.
Unfortunately for travellers on the Atlanta-Shanghai route, the B777-200LR that is making the journey hasn’t yet been retrofitted. Delta rolled out its first revamped aircraft, a B777-200ER, at the beginning of this month, with the aircraft debuting (temporarily) on the airline’s Detroit-Beijing service.
For the time being, however, passengers on the new route will have 37 Delta One seats to choose from, along with 36 Delta Comfort+ and 218 Main Cabin seats.
The Delta One business class cabin is configured in a 1-2-1 herringbone layout. This does mean all passengers get direct aisle access, however the seats do also face outwards to the aisle rather than inwards towards the window or centre, respectively. Seats recline to fully flat beds that extend 78 inches (198cm) and are 21 inches (53cm) wide.
On the B777-200LR, these are currently located in two separate cabins, with 26 in the forward cabin and 11 in the second cabin.
This presents a few layout quirks that passengers should be aware of. For starters, the first row has only window seats 1A and 1D. These are positioned further forward in the cabin and face towards the galley and toilets, meaning disruption and noise could be more noticeable.
However the key seat to avoid would appear to be 10C. Located at the front of the second cabin, the seat forms part of a three-seat row (laid out 1-2) with the usual 10D seat position instead occupied by a lavatory. Not only is 10C next to the bathroom, it faces directly onto it, meaning passengers are almost certain to encounter some sort of disturbance, whether that be aural, visual or – God forbid – olfactory.
Both the Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin, meanwhile, are laid out 3-3-3.
The new route follows Delta’s announcement last month that it would be withdrawing from Hong Kong this October when it cuts its only route to the city from Seattle.
Asia is Delta’s prime focus for its long-haul network, with many of its new routes an aircraft deployments taking place in the region. The airline’s latest plans will see it launch a new route between Seattle and Osaka on April 1, 2019.
Meanwhile, its joint venture with Korean Air officially launched back in April.