We flew in first class on the Delta Airbus jet that Boeing tried to keep out of the US. Here's what it was like.
- Last Thursday, Delta Air Lines debuted it's all-new Airbus A220 jetliner on flights from New York to Boston and Dallas.
- The A220 began life as the Bombardier C Series but was rebranded after Airbus took over the program.
- We flew in the plane's economy cabin during the launch flight. Now, we are going back to experience the Delta Airbus A220's first class cabin.
Last Thursday, Delta Air Lines debuted it's all-new Airbus A220 jetliner on flights from New York to Boston and Dallas.
It was the long-awaited US debuted for the Canadian airliner. The airline originally planned to introduce its A220 fleet at the end of January but was forced to delay the inaugural flight due to the lack of working federal regulators during the government shutdown.The A220 is a next-generation 100 to 150-seat carbon-composite airliner. The plane entered service with SWISS and Air Baltic in 2016. Delta is the first in the Americas to operate the plane on commercial flights. Unlike the larger Boeing 737MAX and Airbus A320neo families, the A220 is a clean sheet design which means it's not based on an existing airframe.
The A220 started life back in 2004 when Canada's Bombardier, the maker of private jets and small regional aircraft, decided it was time to make the jump into the big leagues.
By the early 2010s, Bombardier's new jet ran into developmental delays and the resulting financial trouble forced the company to take a $1 billion bailout from the Quebec government in 2015.
In 2016, Bombardier booked an order for 75 C Series jets from Delta Air Lines. One year later, Boeing filed a complaint with US Commerce Department and the US International Trade Commission alleging that the Delta C Series order was made possible only by abnormally low prices supported by Canadian government subsidies.
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. This January, Delta ordered 15 additional A220s, bringing the airline's tally to 90 aircraft.
Business Insider had the chance to experience the economy cabin on board the A220 during its first flight with Delta. Now, we are experiencing the plane again, this time in first class.
Here's a closer look.