CBS News' Kris Van Cleave got a first look inside the new airliner Delta is debuting next month, and company is betting this is the jet you're going to want to ride on.
Delta's brand new Airbus A220 will fly routes linking New York to Boston and Dallas-Fort Worth. Passengers will find this plane bucks an unpopular trend by offering wider seats. It also comes with a new system to help avoid turbulence.
"The reason passengers should care about the A220 are three magical words: wider coach seats. You don't hear airlines introducing planes that are actually much more comfortable for us as travelers, especially in coach," said travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt.
Seat size is a common complaint among flyers. The A220's 18.6-inch wide seats are the largest economy seats in Delta's fleet and come as Congress has mandated the FAA to determine a minimum safe seat size on planes. The 109-seat A220 also boasts bigger overhead bins so your bag will fit, larger windows, in-seat power and TV screens. It's also the only airliner we know of that has a bathroom with a window.
"We wanted to bring luxury of style and a sense of excitement back to travel and something that somebody can look forward to, perhaps, as opposed to dread," said Tim Mapes, Delta's chief marketing officer.
The flight deck is state-of-the-art and includes a system to help avoid turbulence. Delta's flight weather viewer aims to show pilots where the smooth air is by crowdsourcing data from all of Delta's aircraft.
As Capt. Rich Terry explained, "Instead of climbing up and down, trying to find smooth air, I can look at this and say 'Yep, it's right there, I know exactly where it is.'"
If the focus on the inside is comfort, outside it's about efficiency. The plane is made of composite material so it's lighter, and new, advanced engines make the plane 20 percent more fuel efficient. Basically, it flies farther for cheaper.
The A220 was designed by Canadian jet maker Bombardier but it struggled to win orders and prompted a trade dispute with Boeing until Airbus bought the plane and planned to move some production to the U.S. Delta ordered 75, and JetBlue will get 60 starting in 2020, so this new plane will be flying high over the U.S. for years to come.
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