Delta has trumped its US rivals by becoming the first US airline to launch proper lie-flat beds in Business Elite (its business class brand). Starting in 2008, Atlanta-based Delta says it will begin fitting the new Contour seats (these are similar to the ones now installed on Air New Zealand and Virgin Atlantic) on two new long range B777s.
The remainder of Delta's B777 fleet will gain the new seating between autumn 2008 and sometime in 2010. But the smaller B767s (which also serve the UK along with the B777s) may not see this fully flat bed seating. All a Delta spokesperson was prepared to say was "We expect to find a lie-flat option for the B767."
The new reclining seating adjusts to multiple positions including a six foot three inch flat bed. There is a privacy screen, pull out meal table and numerous storage compartments. Passengers have immediate access to the aisle due to the herringbone formation.
In addition there will be innovative food options and an entertainment system with over 20 movies plus TV programmes, music and video games.
So far the US carriers have lagged behind their global rivals in the fitting of lie-flat business class seating. United and Continental still use conventional seating while American Airlines is poised to begin installing new seating but it will be lie-flat style rather than fully flat.
For more information go to delta.com.
Report by Alex McWhirter