Delta changing out aircraft

I was reading in the AJC (paper edition) today about, Atlanta based, Delta Airlines streamlining their aircraft types. (can’t find a URL for you). I like Delta Airlines but, I have to admit, I hate flying on any airline post 9/11. But, for this post, I’ll focus in on only one aspect that makes me feel that way: 3×3 row configurations in aircraft. You know, this seating arrangement:

image source: Delta Airlines

I actually avoid flying on jets with this type of seating. Why? It’s just to confining for me. I’m 6-3 and feel like I’m in a cage when ever I fly in a 757 or 777-200.

Even though I’ve hoofed it around the world, visiting some harsh environments, for some reason, that does not compare to a long flight sitting next to two other people and being unable to stretch out a little. This is especially annoying if the people are as tall as I am.

There may be some new hope…

Please, Delta, consider making some major passenger-centric changes.

Any change in physical seating arrangements that can be made by Delta, or other airlines, would get me back in the air more often. The interesting thing is, I don’t really care (within reason) about ticket prices, flight times and even changing planes. I just want to be comfortable while in-flight, period. I won’t talk about airports, parking and security lines, I hate them too, but, when I finally get on the aircraft I just want to relax.

I noticed the AJC article talking about Delta considering the new Boeing 787 for long haul flights. That would be nice.

Photo: Boeing PR/Media. See larger image

Photo: Boeing PR/Media. See larger image

Photo: Boeing PR/Media. See larger image

The first two pics look like first class, the third offers a glimpse of “other”. Either way, that illustrates a nice change in the concept of passenger-centric air travel. Of course, this jet is not going to happen for a trip from, say ATL to D.C. or maybe even to Portland or L.A. but, the concept (and pictures) are nice to dream about.

3 Comments so far

  1. Will (unregistered) on October 23rd, 2005 @ 6:56 pm

    Zeppelins, man. That’s what we need. On a modern commercial jet you get stowed like luggage. On a passenger airship you had cabins, a writing lounge and a dining room. Would you rather travel as human cargo or in a flying piano bar?

    To folks who want to bring up explosions as the reason against modern dirigibles, consider this: 36 people died in the Hindenburg disaster. That was roughly 35% of the people present on its flight from Europe to New Jersey. Not to be crass, but when a modern airline crashes, casualty rates are closer to 100%.

    While the Hindenburg ran on flammable hydrogen (and was coated in a reflective finish with roughly the same composition as rocket fuel), modern zeppelins run on helium. What country manufactures 90% of the world’s helium? The United States. How’d you like to be a global fuel superpower?

    The real drawback of commercial dirigibles for passenger travel is speed. Sometimes, though, we don’t need to be someplace in a handful of hours, just to spend two days sick, aching and jetlagged from the trip through aerospace in a germinating aluminum tube.

    Anyway, I’m with you, Steve. I’m not quite as tall as you, but I’m miserable on most flights, and I’ve got another one coming up next week. Most of the time, I can’t even make use of the tray table, ’cause a shift of even an inch from the seat in front of me means I can’t get a computer, a notebook or a pen into the acute little trap formed between my lap and the seat-back.

    Has moving passenger rows up three inches, cramming more people into flights and cutting back on amenities really saved the airlines money, or has it just kept passengers like me from traveling at all? To be fair, probably both.

  2. Steve Beville (unregistered) on October 23rd, 2005 @ 7:17 pm

    Will, I love the idea of a modern dirigible. I can’t think of a more elegant way to travel than that. I’ve seen some plans for modern airships but, none seem to capture the commercial world’s attention. I guess that’s because they don’t move at jet speeds. I’m all for slower travel when possible.

    As far as fewer aircraft types in the commercial jet world, I am wondering about Airtran and other discount airlines. I think Airtran flies only one type of jet. I will have to look into how a single aircraft type fits into a better operating model for efficiency vs. lack of transcontinental travel/high passenger count.

  3. shelbinator (unregistered) on October 23rd, 2005 @ 9:32 pm

    Don’t forget the 737, which is still one of the most popular body types in use, especially for the “commuter” routes, and uses the 3/3 seating configuration.

    But is the problem really the 3/3 config? Or as Will pointed out, the fact that they can slide those seats up on their track mounts until a stewardess-inspired woody can pin you to your seat and wake up the guy in front of you?

    The 787 Dreamliner is going to use far more CFRP composite material than Boeing has ever used in a design before. I think they’re trying to be as cool and cutting edge as their Airbus rivals, who utilized liberal amounts of crackly plastic in such delightful components as, oh, the load-bearing clevis joint that holds the tail on the plane.

    Personally, I’d rather ride under a giant bag of flammable gas, too, than a brand new plastic superjumbo.

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