Delta Becomes First North American Airbus A350-900XWB Owner

Delta's first A350-900XWB completes a test flight in Toulouse (Photo: Clément Alloing)

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines quietly took contractual delivery of its first Airbus A350-900XWB on Thursday at Airbus’ Toulouse manufacturing hub. N501DN is the first of 25 frames currently on order for the carrier.

The aircraft rolled out of the paint shop last month before completing a series of test and customer acceptance flights. Sources familiar with Delta’s fleet tell AirlineGeeks.com that the aircraft will ferry to Atlanta on August 4 following Thursday’s delivery.

Delta’s “flagship” A350 will feature the carrier’s highly-anticipated Delta One Suites in addition to a new premium economy product called Delta Premium Select. In total, the aircraft will be configured with 32 seats in the Delta One cabin, 48 seats in Delta Premium Select, and 226 seats in economy.

The airline’s A350-900XWB aircraft will also see Gogo’s 2Ku Wi-Fi service, which offers high-speed, gate-to-gate internet access throughout the globe. Passengers can also expect larger overhead bins and LED mood lighting.

North America’s first A350-900XWB is scheduled to fly between Detroit (DTW) and Tokyo Narita (NRT) on October 30. Furthermore, A350 flights between Detroit (DTW) and Seoul (ICN) will operate on alternating days beginning on November 18.

Delta’s A350-900XWB touches down after a successful test flight (Photo: Clément Alloing)

The airline will also commence A350 service on alternating days between Detroit (DTW) and Beijing (PEK) on Jan. 17, 2018, until kicking off daily flights on February 23.

For aviation enthusiasts and 747 lovers alike, Delta’s newest widebody jet may not be such a welcome sight.  The new aircraft will initially be based in Detroit to replace the few remaining 747s within Delta’s fleet. With an average age of 25.4-years-old, the small 747 fleet flies to Seoul, Tokyo, and Shanghai from Detroit. The airline expects to fully retire the 747-400 fleet by the end of the year.

The A350-900XWB is a step forward as Delta pushes to modernize its aging fleet with newer jets including the Airbus A321 and Bombardier CSeries.

Ryan Ewing
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Ryan Ewing

Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 (actually, it was called Aviation Official, but we've changed a bit since then). From being on the yoke of a Piper Navajo, to visiting about Delta's operations center in Atlanta, Ryan has done it all. in 2016, along with American Airlines, Ryan masterminded AAviationDay at more than 10 locations around the world. The smell of jet fumes in the morning along with the countless number of passionate airline employees keep him enthralled in the industry, always seeking more. You can find him helping out travelers at Reagan National Airport near Washington, D.C. when he's not doing something for AirlineGeeks.
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  • Jon Jackson

    I believe the correct designation of the aircraft is simply “A350-900”. The “XWB” is a somewhat cynical marketing term referring to the A350 family of aircraft in general. “XWB” was coined to mean “extra wide body”, in reference to it being wider than a Boeing 787 while ignoring the fact that this family of aircraft is considerably narrower than the Boeing 777 it also competes against.

    In short, for the sake of objectivity it’s best to leave the “XWB” out of the discussion.