- The Airbus A220 is one of the most advanced and fuel-efficient airliners in the world.
- The Canadian-built jet, formerly known as the Bombardier C Series, entered commercial service in the US with Delta Air Lines earlier this year.
- Recently, we flew from New York to Dallas, Texas on a Delta Airbus A220 to see what the plane is like on a longer flight.
- We were impressed by the wide economy class seats, quiet cabin, plentiful overhead storage space, and broad in-flight entertainment options.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The Airbus A220 was one of the most hotly anticipated airliners in recent memory to reach the US. The Quebec-built jet, formerly known as the Bombardier C Series, was the subject of a heated US-Canadian trade dispute in 2017.
In April of that year, Boeing filed a complaint with US Commerce Department and the US International Trade Commission alleging that Delta’s 2016 order for C Series jets was made possible only by abnormally low prices supported by Canadian government subsidies.
Read more: Delta is the first US airline to fly the new Airbus A220 jetliner. Here are its coolest features.
The US International Trade Commission agreed and in September of that year recommended a 219.63% tariff. A week later, the Commerce Department added a 79.82% tariff.
Bombardier and Delta both argued that Boeing’s business couldn’t have been hurt by the deal because Boeing didn’t have a product in its lineup similar in capacity to the C Series.
In total, Bombardier and Delta faced a 299.45% tariff on any Canadian-built C Series plane exported to the US.
Facing the possibility of losing the most important order in the C Series program’s history, Bombardier turned to Boeing’s greatest foe, Airbus.
Less than a month after the tariff was announced, Bombardier handed 50.01% of its prized airliner program to Airbus with zero up-front cash investment coming from the European aviation giant.
In the summer of 2018, the Bombardier C Series was officially rebranded as the Airbus A220.
Even though the A220 entered service with Swiss in 2016, it didn’t commence commercial flights in the US until earlier this year. Business Insider had the chance to check out the state-of-the-art carbon composite jetliner when Delta launched its inaugural A220 flights in February. We experienced the aircraft’s first and economy class cabins on a round trip between New York’s LaGuardia Airport and Boston Logan Airport. Unfortunately, those flights only lasted about an hour. Since the A220’s extraordinary range and fuel efficiency allows it to operate flights as long as six or seven hours, we wanted to see what it was like on one of these longer journeys.
Hence our decision to fly a Delta Airbus A220 from LaGuardia to Dallas Ft. Worth International Airport, a flight that should take around four hours.
Here’s how it went:
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Arrived at LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal C at 11:20 am, one hour and 40 minutes ahead of my 1 pm flight. The terminal was not terribly busy on a Thursday afternoon. I was able to check my suitcase and go through the TSA PreCheck security line in less than 15 minutes.
I stopped to grab a bottle of water and a snack before making my way to Gate C18. We were expected to board at 12:20 pm.
However, our flight wound up being delayed by more than an hour and a half to 2:33 pm. The delay also necessitated a gate change to Terminal D which required a trek through the walkway connecting the two facilities.
From the walkway, I could see our plane on the tarmac.
Here’s our plane pulling into the gate.
This is the Airbus A220-100 that operated our flight is N110DU. It was delivered brand new on March 29, 2019 and was the ninth A220 to enter the Delta fleet.
Finally, at around 2:20 pm, we boarded the flight.
At the boarding door, there were a couple of remnants of its Bombardier past including this information car and…
… A C Series welcome mat.
The Airbus A220 features five seats per row in 3-2 configuration. Delta’s A220-100s have a total of 109 seats on board with 12 in First Class, 15 in Comfort Plus, and 82 in Main Cabin or economy.
Economy class seats have 30 to 32 inches of seat pitch, the amount of space between two rows of seats.
The A220 also boasts remarkably large overhead storage bins that look like something you’d find on a wide-body jumbo.
Here’s my seat,16E.
Delta’s A220s boasts some of the roomiest economy-class seats in the business at 18.6 inches wide. That’s roughly two inches wider than the seats on some of Delta’s MD-88s.
Seat 16E has more legroom than any other seat on the plane. That’s because it’s in an emergency exit row and missing the seat in front of it. You can really stretch out in this seat.
Here come our checked bags! Unfortunately, our flight had been delayed once again. The pilots announce over the intercom that the mechanics are attempting to fix a valve of some sort.
In the meantime, I admire the Delta Embraer E-Jet parked one gate over.
I miss these old Ford Rangers.
To pass the time, I decide to check out Delta’s in-flight entertainment system. Seat 16E uses a screen that folds out from the armrest instead of a seat back unit.
Each screen also boasts a headphone jack and a USB plug. There are power sockets on each row.
The system offers a good variety of movies, …
… TV series, …
… live satellite TV, and…
… music options.
There’s also information on the flight.
As well as a map that will simulate the flight route.
An hour and a half after boarding our flight we are still at the gate. The Embraer has departed and an Airbus A320 is now occupying the nearby gate. With that said, the Delta crew remained in communication during the delay with frequent updates on the maintenance situation.
We have pushback! Finally, we leave the gate a few minutes before 4:00 pm. Three hours after our original departure time.
As we taxi to the runway, we pass a Bombardier regional jet. Delta still operates CRJ900 regional jets on flights between New York and Dallas.
Welcome to New York!
Time for takeoff!
The A220’s pair of Pratt & Whitney PW1500G geared turbofan engines quickly spooled up and off we went. The GTF engines proved to be remarkably quiet, even at full throttle.
We got a great view of Lower Manhattan as we turned south.
As we climbed through the clouds, the gray was replaced by blue skies and fluffy clouds.
According to our schedule, the flight should take around 3 hours and 45 minutes.
After takeoff, I turn my attention back to the entertainment screen. I settle in to watch the film “Vice.”
Alas, the system glitched and would not allow me to watch beyond the first few minutes.
So. “Aquaman” it is.
Half an hour or so into the flight, the crew commenced food and drinks service. The IFE screen also features a built-in menu of available food and drink.
Seat 16E also get a special fold-out tray table that’s stored in the right armrest.
I went for a diet coke.
I also purchased a snack box which included cheese, crackers, salami, and cookies. Not the healthiest thing under the sun, but it was good.
During our flight, the cabin was bathed in blue mood lighting.
After the drinks service concluded, I walked around the cabin to stretch my legs. I stopped by the Captain’s side bathroom at the back of the plane. It’s one of the few airplane lavatories with a window. The A220’s other two bathrooms do not have windows.
We landed in Dallas at around 7:30 pm local time.
Here’s one final look at the Delta Airbus A220 at DFW Airport. Overall, we were impressed by the wide economy class seats, quiet cabin, plentiful overhead storage space, and broad in-flight entertainment options. I’m usually not a big fan of long flights on narrow-body airliners. They tend to feel cramped and uncomfortable. The A220 didn’t feel that way. I look forward to my next flight on the Airbus A220.