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Delta Airlines Makes an Expensive Customer-Friendly Move

Sometimes you gotta treat yourself to some Airbuses.

Delta is a such a giving company. 

In the past few months, it’s teamed up with Starbucks to give you a free coffee gift card and introduced a program where customers can link their Delta SkyMiles and Starbucks Rewards accounts in order to earn both miles and Starbucks Stars.

Delta  (DAL) - Get Free Report has also rejiggered its controversial Sky Club, adding more lines as a way to ease congestion.

It’s not all been golden, though, as it received some pushback to changes to its (hard to understand) Medallion program, which customers can use SkyMiles points on to earn Diamond, Platinum, Gold or Silver tiers. While some fliers thought this just made earning tiers more difficult (and had the effect of making the tiers seem exclusionary) it did introduce a perk wherein Medallion members with upgrade certificates can now request upgrades digitally, while making their purchase on the Delta website.

Additionally, Delta has offered some guidance as to when it will be fully staffed again, as the entire aviation industry has been struggling to recruit enough workers following the labor shortage induced by the pandemic -- the same labor shortage which helped contribute to Southwest’s recent headaches. 

Delta CEO Ed Bastian has pointed to summer as the date when "we'll be able to be back 100%," he said. "We're doing our very best to get our people in place, the hiring is strong. We have the team assembled.”

But while Delta may be giving for its customers, the airline has also decided to treat itself to something special. 

Delta Places A Big Order

Delta has placed an order for 12 new Airbus A220-300 aircraft, which are set to be delivered by 2026 and 2027.

The 130-seat aircraft will include 12 First Class, 30 Comfort+ and 88 Main Cabin seats. Delta’s A220 are narrowbody aircrafts, and are reserved for domestic flights of around 100 to 150 seats.

Manufactured by Airbus Canada Limited Partnership, the A220 narrowbody is designed with an eye towards optimized aerodynamics, which greatly reduces fuel and maintenance costs, as well as lowering CO2 emission. 

Delta is touting the purchase as part of the airline’s commitment to sustainability, as it is powered by Pratt and Whitney’s latest-generation geared turbofan GTF engines, and offers 25% better fuel efficiency than average.

"These 12 additional A220 aircraft will help power our increasingly streamlined fleet while also providing our customers with the elevated in-flight experience they’ve come to expect from Delta,” said Kristen Bojko, Vice President of Fleet.

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Delta Loves Its Airbuses

Delta took delivery of its first Airbus A220 in October 2018, becoming the first U.S. carrier to operate the aircraft type. 

It later added a number of larger Airbus variants, including the 300 model starting in November 2020, and has ordered a number of other larger variants, which offer the same basic craft but with more carriage space, including the 14 A220-300s in service, with 60 more on order, and 45 109-seat A220-100 aircraft.

As noted by The Points Guy, the A220s are generally broken up into a two-class configuration between first class and economy, including 130 seats spread across 12 first-class recliners, 30 extra-legroom Comfort+ seats and 88 economy seats.