We flew on the new Delta Airbus jet that Boeing tried to keep out of the US to see if it lives up to the hype. Here's the verdict.

Delta Airbus A220 First FlightBenjamin Zhang/Business Insider

  • On Thursday, the Airbus A220 jetliner official entered commercial service in North America with Delta Air Lines.
  • The A220 began life as the Bombardier C Series but was rebranded after the program was taken over by Airbus.
  • The state-of-the-art Canadian jetliner was also the subject of a trade dispute launched by Boeing in 2017.
  • Delta's first A220s finally entered service with flights from New York to Boston and Dallas.

On Thursday, the Airbus A220 jetliner official entered commercial service in North America with Delta Air Lines.

Delta's relationship with the A220, then known as the Bombardier C Series, started in 2016 when the carrier announced an order for 75 of the jetliners in a deal with as much as $5.6 billion at the time. The order made Delta the plane's North American launch customer.

In April 2017, Boeing filed a complaint with US Commerce Department and the US International Trade Commission alleging that the Delta C Series order was only made possible by abnormally low prices supported by Canadian government subsidies.

The US International Trade Commission agreed and in September of that year recommended a 219.63% tariff. A week later, the Commerce Department added another 79.82% tariff.

Bombardier and Delta both argued that Boeing's business couldn't have been hurt by the deal simply because Boeing didn't actually 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.

Read more: Boeing started a trade dispute with Canada, but Airbus and Alabama ended up being the winners.

Less than one month after the tariff was announced, Bombardier handed 50.01% of its prized airliner program to Airbus with zero upfront cash investment coming from the European aviation giant.

In the summer of 2018, the Bombardier C Series was officially rebranded the Airbus A220.

So what's all the fuss about?

The A220 is a state-of-the-art single-aisle airliner. The Canadian-built jet is a clean sheet design and incorporates the latest in commercial aviation technology including a carbon composite fuselage and fuel-sipping Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan engines.

In fact, the plane which entered service with SWISS in 2016, has earned praise from its operators for its exceptional fuel efficiency.

The A220 lives in the 100 to 150-seat airliner market. It's a segment of the market place that Airbus and Boeing had effectively abandoned for the past decade.

So, nearly three years, a trade dispute, and a name change later, the jet is finally ready to fly with Delta Air Lines.

Here's a closer look at the inaugural flight of Delta's Airbus A220.

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After three years of waiting, it was finally time for the first commercial flight of Delta's new Airbus A220. Delta's first A220 service, Flight 744, from New York LaGuardia to Boston Logan was set to take off at 6 am. To be safe, we arrived at the airport shortly after 4 am. So early that neither the Delta counter...

After three years of waiting, it was finally time for the first commercial flight of Delta's new Airbus A220. Delta's first A220 service, Flight 744, from New York LaGuardia to Boston Logan was set to take off at 6 am. To be safe, we arrived at the airport shortly after 4 am. So early that neither the Delta counter...

... Nor the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint were open for business.

... Nor the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint were open for business.

After 20 minutes of waiting, we quickly made it through the security checkpoint and to the gate.

After 20 minutes of waiting, we quickly made it through the security checkpoint and to the gate.

Waiting for us at the gate was the plane we've all been waiting for. The A220.

Waiting for us at the gate was the plane we've all been waiting for. The A220.

The particular plane chosen to operate the inaugural flight was N102DU. It was the second A220 delivered to the Delta Air Lines.

The particular plane chosen to operate the inaugural flight was N102DU. It was the second A220 delivered to the Delta Air Lines.

But first, some inaugural flight festivities. This included speeches from Delta executives, a ribbon cutting, and...

But first, some inaugural flight festivities. This included speeches from Delta executives, a ribbon cutting, and...

... And photo ops with the crew.

... And photo ops with the crew.

Time to board!

Time to board!

Ginny Elliott, Delta's managing director for airport operations at LaGuardia greeted us at the boarding door.

Ginny Elliott, Delta's managing director for airport operations at LaGuardia greeted us at the boarding door.

Once on board, we made our way past the 12 first class seats and...

Once on board, we made our way past the 12 first class seats and...

... The 15 Delta Confort Plus seats.

... The 15 Delta Confort Plus seats.

Now, we've arrived in economy.

Now, we've arrived in economy.

The A220 economy and comfort plus cabins feature a 3-2 layout with five seats per row.

The A220 economy and comfort plus cabins feature a 3-2 layout with five seats per row.

I was seated 15D. Row 15 is a bit of an odd duck in that it's an emergency exit row that only has four seats. Seat 15A and 15B have the benefit of additional legroom. However, Seats 15C and 15D do not. But they do get the benefit of some extra elbow thanks to a missing seat.

I was seated 15D. Row 15 is a bit of an odd duck in that it's an emergency exit row that only has four seats. Seat 15A and 15B have the benefit of additional legroom. However, Seats 15C and 15D do not. But they do get the benefit of some extra elbow thanks to a missing seat.

Missing seat.

Missing seat.

The A220 economy cabin features 30 to 32 inches of seat pitch, the distance between two rows.

The A220 economy cabin features 30 to 32 inches of seat pitch, the distance between two rows.

Delta Comfort Plus get 34 inches of pitches.

Delta Comfort Plus get 34 inches of pitches.

First class boasts 36 inches of pitch and a wider 21-inch seat.

First class boasts 36 inches of pitch and a wider 21-inch seat.

Economy and Comfort Plus seats are an impressive 18.6 inches wide. In fact, they are some of the roomiest economy seats in the business.

Economy and Comfort Plus seats are an impressive 18.6 inches wide. In fact, they are some of the roomiest economy seats in the business.

Soon it was time for takeoff. The cabin crew switch on the blue mood lighting and we were on our way.

Soon it was time for takeoff. The cabin crew switch on the blue mood lighting and we were on our way.

The A220's Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan engines spooled up quickly and launched down the runway at LaGuardia. Soon, we were off to Boston. Even next to the wing, the engines were remarkably quiet.

The A220's Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan engines spooled up quickly and launched down the runway at LaGuardia. Soon, we were off to Boston. Even next to the wing, the engines were remarkably quiet.

I settled into for the hour-long flight. Legroom proved to adequate, but far from roomy.

I settled into for the hour-long flight. Legroom proved to adequate, but far from roomy.

Here's a look at the fresh tray table.

Here's a look at the fresh tray table.

Passenger on the flight also received an inaugural flight post card and pin.

Passenger on the flight also received an inaugural flight post card and pin.

The A220 is known for its large windows.

The A220 is known for its large windows.

But since this is an emergency exit, my window was less impressive in size.

But since this is an emergency exit, my window was less impressive in size.

With that said, the sunrise over New England proved to be rather majestic.

With that said, the sunrise over New England proved to be rather majestic.

Each passenger has access to a personal entertainment screen.

Each passenger has access to a personal entertainment screen.

Each screen is equipped with Delta's new wireless inflight entertainment system.

Each screen is equipped with Delta's new wireless inflight entertainment system.

The system offers a variety of movies,..

The system offers a variety of movies,..

... TV shows,...

... TV shows,...

... Live satellite TV, ...

... Live satellite TV, ...

... Music,...

... Music,...

... Games,...

... Games,...

... A menu of available beverages, and

... A menu of available beverages, and

... A flight map. The user interface was easy to use and the screen quality was good.

... A flight map. The user interface was easy to use and the screen quality was good.

There is a US plug in front of each seat along with...

There is a US plug in front of each seat along with...

... Available power sockets at each row.

... Available power sockets at each row.

At the back of the plane, just in front of the galley...

At the back of the plane, just in front of the galley...

... Are the economy cabin lavatories. The one on the right side of the plane is pretty standard fare.

... Are the economy cabin lavatories. The one on the right side of the plane is pretty standard fare.

But the one on the left side or the Captain's side of the aircraft boasts a rarely seen feature — a window. The presence of the window created a long line down the aisle. Most people didn't actually need to use the restroom. They simply wanted a photo.

But the one on the left side or the Captain's side of the aircraft boasts a rarely seen feature — a window. The presence of the window created a long line down the aisle. Most people didn't actually need to use the restroom. They simply wanted a photo.

Pretty soon, it was time for the flight to come to an end. The Captain actually announced the plane's descent into Boston before the flight attendants could serve drinks. I skipped drink service in favor of taking pictures of the bathroom window.

Pretty soon, it was time for the flight to come to an end. The Captain actually announced the plane's descent into Boston before the flight attendants could serve drinks. I skipped drink service in favor of taking pictures of the bathroom window.

Before stepping off the plane, I chatted briefly with one of the pilot who praised the airline's new high tech jet and...

Before stepping off the plane, I chatted briefly with one of the pilot who praised the airline's new high tech jet and...

... Its state-of-the-art digital cockpit.

... Its state-of-the-art digital cockpit.

Here's one final look at the new A220. The Delta Airbus A220 inaugural flight was short but on so very sweet. The plane was remarkably quiet while the cabin and its economy seats felt spacious. So, did the A220 live up to the hype? Absolutely.

Here's one final look at the new A220. The Delta Airbus A220 inaugural flight was short but on so very sweet. The plane was remarkably quiet while the cabin and its economy seats felt spacious. So, did the A220 live up to the hype? Absolutely.
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