Late last year Delta announced some big expansion plans for Seattle, which included BusinessElite seating on their flights to New York JFK, more flat beds on international flights, and more international service.
A few weeks ago Delta announced new service between Seattle and London Heathrow starting March 29, 2014. The new service will be operated by a Boeing 767-300 featuring fully flat beds in business class.
Meanwhile today Delta has announced new service between both Seattle and Seoul Incheon as well as Seattle and Hong Kong. The services launch June 2 and June 16, 2014, respectively, and will operate daily. The Seoul Incheon service will be operated by a 767-300, while the Hong Kong service will be operated by an Airbus A330, both of which will feature fully flat beds.
Of course as a local I’m a bit biased, but I think Delta is making a brilliant decision by having Seattle as a gateway to Asia. Seattle is the closest US gateway to Asia, and airlines can save a ton of money by operating shorter transpacific flights, because the economics of ultralonghauls just don’t work out in most cases (think of how much extra fuel you have to burn just to carry the last few hours worth of fuel on a longhaul flight).
I find the Seoul Incheon service interesting since they’ll be going head to head against Asiana and Korean Air, but given the amount of connecting traffic in Seoul Incheon due to Korean Air, I’m sure there will be plenty to go around.
Now, while I’m on one hand excited that I’ll be seeing more big planes in Seattle, I don’t think I’ll ever take these flights. Delta has the least generous international upgrade policy of any US airline. Good for them that they can get away with it, I guess, but it certainly makes me lose interest.