Wistful Longing for the B787

Old Oct 1, 18, 11:40 pm
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Wistful Longing for the B787

I was sitting by the Sky Club window in the LAX terminal 3 absorbing a two hour ATC delay for my BOS flight today. As I watched a literal parade of B787s pass by the window, I began increasingly longing for that aircraft to be in the Delta fleet. JAL, Norwegian, Hong Kong, UA, AA, VS, Air China and QF aircraft went by. I wonder how Delta would be different today if it had kept the NW order for 787s. I also wonder what would have happened had the pilots union and Delta reached agreement about crew rest issues with the B777 so many years ago causing DL to cancel orders, leaving a relatively minor B777 fleet.
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Old Oct 1, 18, 11:53 pm
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There'd be a whole heck of a lot more 3-3-3 Y cabins, for sure. I'm already super bummed at the proliferation of the A350 in Y - it's great upfront, but the A330/767 are much better experiences with their extensive 2-seat sections.

The 787 was designed to be 2-4-2 like the A330, but airlines figured out they could get away with stuffing another seat in across, making it a pretty miserable ride in the back. It's a fine airplane mechanically and fun to fly in the pointy end, but I'm in no rush for Delta to adopt it wholesale.

That said, DL does need a long-and-thin solution to make hubs like SEA work at full strength. I'm not saying a 787 style plane would have saved SEA-HKG, but it might have helped the case a little at least...
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Old Oct 2, 18, 6:45 am
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Agreed that Delta's route network would benefit from a plane capable of true long-and-thin, but I think that for the most part Delta feels that the 767 and A332 serves the "thin and long enough" role. A completely wild guess but there's probably only a half dozen or so routes that Delta feels like they can't profitably run that they could/would run if they had a 787.

The aging out of the 767 fleet is going to leave a much larger hole in Delta's route network, but one that the 787 is not really equipped to fill.

Obviously this is somewhat of a bet of fuel prices remaining in a tolerable range as at some point the 787's superior fuel burn per seat flips the economics of things.

With that said, as a passenger, I am somewhat thankful that Delta is not proliferating the 787 given the tight Y seating that plane offers.
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Old Oct 2, 18, 6:45 am
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Originally Posted by RobertS975 View Post
I wonder how Delta would be different today if it had kept the NW order for 787s.
There would be fewer A330s (oft-cited as the widebody favorite in coach and Delta One), and probably no order for 339s.

Originally Posted by RobertS975 View Post
I also wonder what would have happened had the pilots union and Delta reached agreement about crew rest issues with the B777 so many years ago causing DL to cancel orders, leaving a relatively minor B777 fleet.
764s would probably still in domestic F config, and a few people would be complaining about F seat width.

If Delta thought it had a strategy to make money on long-thin routes it would have 787s today. How many secondary TPAC routes did UA try and drop, only to refocus on domestic growth (by adding CR2s!) and reconfiguring 77As for 10-across domestic service? SFO-Xi'an is gone. SFO-Hangzhou is gone. Even longer, LAX-SIN is gone. If a TPAC destination can't work from [email protected] it surely isn't going to work from SEA.
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Old Oct 2, 18, 7:45 am
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
There would be fewer A330s (oft-cited as the widebody favorite in coach and Delta One), and probably no order for 339s.



764s would probably still in domestic F config, and a few people would be complaining about F seat width.

If Delta thought it had a strategy to make money on long-thin routes it would have 787s today. How many secondary TPAC routes did UA try and drop, only to refocus on domestic growth (by adding CR2s!) and reconfiguring 77As for 10-across domestic service? SFO-Xi'an is gone. SFO-Hangzhou is gone. Even longer, LAX-SIN is gone. If a TPAC destination can't work from [email protected] it surely isn't going to work from SEA.
While LAX-SIN is gone, UA is adding a 2nd SFO-SIN. Also partner SQ will be stepping in to fill the gap on LAX/SIN.
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Old Oct 2, 18, 8:05 am
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As long as Delta keeps aisle access in the business class I do not care what plane they fly....for the amount of money you spend on business seats that is a must.
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Old Oct 2, 18, 8:52 am
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I have such mixed feelings on this. I would love to see the 787 for the long, thin routes it might open up.

However, as a most-of-the-time Y traveler for work, I'm thankful that these haven't seen the light of day in the DL flights which means for TATL/TPAC I'm on mostly A330s and 767s (and the odd 77L) -- all of which sport much friendlier Y configuration and specs vs. the 787.

I feel bad for the UA flyers who will be looking at 78J TATL flights coming up soon which means an increase in 3-3-3 seating to Europe (in addition to the 3-4-3 they already face on many 777s).
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Old Oct 3, 18, 9:34 am
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Originally Posted by RobertS975 View Post
I was sitting by the Sky Club window in the LAX terminal 3 absorbing a two hour ATC delay for my BOS flight today. As I watched a literal parade of B787s pass by the window, I began increasingly longing for that aircraft to be in the Delta fleet. JAL, Norwegian, Hong Kong, UA, AA, VS, Air China and QF aircraft went by. I wonder how Delta would be different today if it had kept the NW order for 787s.
I think the NWA 787 order didn't fit into the Delta's aircraft fleet plan at the merger. The 787 is basically a B767 replacement with longer range. The lengthy 787 delay and young age of the Delta 767 made the 787 order a bit useless for Delta. Delta already had the B777-LR for really long range flights like LAX-SYD or ATL-JNB. A 787 might of helped other routes like you said, but the capital costs of a new airplane vs an already paid for 767 can make that a flight like SEA-HKG not profitable.

Originally Posted by RobertS975 View Post
I also wonder what would have happened had the pilots union and Delta reached agreement about crew rest issues with the B777 so many years ago causing DL to cancel orders, leaving a relatively minor B777 fleet.
I'm not sure what you mean, the union and Delta sorted the issue out relatively quickly, and received 8 of the 13 (even after the company threatened to sell the ones they had). I would argue it was more of the global downturn in 2001 and 9/11 that killed the other 5. Delta then took delivery of 10 more of the existing 18 in the 2008-2010 timeframe.
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Old Oct 3, 18, 9:58 am
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Originally Posted by iaflyer View Post
I think the NWA 787 order didn't fit into the Delta's aircraft fleet plan at the merger. The 787 is basically a B767 replacement with longer range. The lengthy 787 delay and young age of the Delta 767 made the 787 order a bit useless for Delta. Delta already had the B777-LR for really long range flights like LAX-SYD or ATL-JNB. A 787 might of helped other routes like you said, but the capital costs of a new airplane vs an already paid for 767 can make that a flight like SEA-HKG not profitable.
Agree in principle but I think calling a 787 a 767 replacement with longer range is a bit off. You could perhaps make the argument of an A330 vs 787, but the 767 and 787 are sufficiently different (capacity, weight, range) that it is hard to call them replacements. The smallest 787 (788) is about the same size as the biggest 767 (764) - and weighs about 15 tons more with no fuel despite being made with much more composite material. It would be similar to saying that the 737 MAX is a replacement for the A220 given that the CS300 config is about equal to the smallest 737 MAX config. I doubt anyone would say that is the case.

If the 787 was a replacement for the 767, I doubt Delta and other US legacies would be begging for a MotM replacement.
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Old Oct 3, 18, 11:08 am
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Am a bit curious on what the replacement strategy is for all the domestic D1 routes... while well-maintained, how much longer can they really run these 757s (and some of the 767s)?
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Old Oct 3, 18, 11:19 am
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Originally Posted by dustclee View Post
Am a bit curious on what the replacement strategy is for all the domestic D1 routes... while well-maintained, how much longer can they really run these 757s (and some of the 767s)?
Both sets of planes have a good bit of life left in them so I wouldn't worry about it imminently. Many of the 757s were delivered in the mid-2000's.

Longer term if no other MotM plane comes through I would imagine that Delta will reconfigure some A321 (or configure the new A321 neos) with lieflats. If they do the LR option they would even be able to pick up some of the shorter TATL routes DL is planning to use 757s for (e.g., the new LIS route they are picking up).
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Old Oct 3, 18, 11:01 pm
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OP, B787 has the worst pax economy experience. 9-abreast on them is incredibly tight, Those slimline seats that being used in 787 9-abreast config have very very very stiff padding. I have been on 5 or 6 different airline's 787 and hate all of them. After riding ANA's 9-abreast 787 then connect onto DL's old 767, I thought I was at heaven. No matter how dirty and broken the 767 is, the seat padding is A M A Z I N G!.
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Last edited by wlau; Oct 4, 18 at 12:06 am
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Old Oct 4, 18, 1:11 am
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Originally Posted by RobertS975 View Post
I was sitting by the Sky Club window in the LAX terminal 3 absorbing a two hour ATC delay for my BOS flight today. As I watched a literal parade of B787s pass by the window, I began increasingly longing for that aircraft to be in the Delta fleet. JAL, Norwegian, Hong Kong, UA, AA, VS, Air China and QF aircraft went by. I wonder how Delta would be different today if it had kept the NW order for 787s. I also wonder what would have happened had the pilots union and Delta reached agreement about crew rest issues with the B777 so many years ago causing DL to cancel orders, leaving a relatively minor B777 fleet.
Take one long-haul flight in Y/Y+ in any 787 anywhere in the world, and that wistful longing will never be an issue for you, ever again...

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Old Oct 4, 18, 6:10 am
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Originally Posted by dustclee View Post
Am a bit curious on what the replacement strategy is for all the domestic D1 routes... while well-maintained, how much longer can they really run these 757s (and some of the 767s)?
Delta's 75S-config aircraft (757-200 with lie-flat seats) entered service new with TWA from Novermber '96 to October '99. Delta has been flying other 757-200s to age 28-30 years at retirement. Unlike the MD-90s there's a big fleet of in-service 757s across a large number of operating carriers. FedEx will fly them 'til the end; they are presently the largest 757-200 operator. FedEx is still flying modified DC-10s from 1971 and 1972.
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Old Oct 4, 18, 6:39 am
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
Delta's 75S-config aircraft (757-200 with lie-flat seats) entered service new with TWA from Novermber '96 to October '99. Delta has been flying other 757-200s to age 28-30 years at retirement. Unlike the MD-90s there's a big fleet of in-service 757s across a large number of operating carriers. FedEx will fly them 'til the end; they are presently the largest 757-200 operator. FedEx is still flying modified DC-10s from 1971 and 1972.
Not really that important to your point - but unless something has recently changed, isn't FedEx is the second largest operator of 752s just behind Delta (by a few.. obviously Delta has way more 757s overall if you include the 753 variant).
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