IFE upgrade for Delta 744s

Delta Air Lines has revealed plans for the complete revitalisation of its Boeing 747-400 fleet as part of a plan to provide personal entertainment at every seat in its widebody aircraft.

Between summer 2011 and 2012, Delta says, each of its 16 747-400s, which fly primarily from the airline’s Tokyo-Narita hub, will be equipped with new fully horizontal flat-bed seats in the BusinessElite cabin and new economy class seats featuring personal, on-demand entertainment, as well as increased personal space and added under-seat storage.

Delta says it is investing more than $1 billion in enhanced global products and services through 2013 to provide full flat-bed seats on more than 100 trans-oceanic aircraft, including all Boeing 777s, 767s and 747s, and in-seat entertainment for both BusinessElite and economy class passengers on all widebody flights.

"The multimillion dollar investment we are making to completely revitalise our trans-oceanic fleet speaks to our strong commitment to the Asian market," says Delta president Ed Bastian. "While we have solidly positioned ourselves as the leading US carrier across the Pacific in terms of flights and destinations, we are now taking steps to enhance the products and services offered across our Asian-Pacific network to position Delta as a leader in in-flight service."

The new BusinessElite seat by Weber Aircraft, 81.7 inches in length and 20.5 inches wide, will feature a 120-volt universal power outlet, USB port, personal LED reading lamp and Panasonic’s 15.4-inch personal video monitors giving instant access to 250 new and classic movies, premium programming from HBO and Showtime, video games and more than 4,000 digital music tracks.

"The design of our flat-bed product meets customers’ desire for comfortable sleep, direct aisle access and ample storage and work space when they travel on long-haul flights," says Bastian. "We have had great success from a customer service and business standpoint with flat-bed service since it first rolled out on our 777 fleet, and we expect similar results when customers experience our new trans-Pacific 747 and 767 BusinessElite product beginning next year."

Economy class passengers will benefit from the industry’s first seat designed collaboratively by a seat manufacturer and an in-flight entertainment company, Weber Aircraft and Panasonic Avionics, to fully incorporate seat and entertainment functionality into one product. Using a 9-inch screen, the new seat’s embedded touch-screen entertainment system will offer each passenger access to 250 movie titles, hundreds of television shows, 4,000 digital music tracks, personalised music playlists, more than a dozen interactive games and a USB port to charge iPods and other personal electronic devices.

The Panasonic Eco 9i Integrated Smart Monitors use 30 per cent less energy and are 60 per cent lighter than entertainment systems installed on other Delta aircraft.

Delta’s 747s are dedicated largely to trans-Pacific and intra-Asia flights to and from the Tokyo-Narita hub, including routes connecting Tokyo to Detroit, Honolulu, Manila, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK and Shanghai.

When reconfigured, the 747s will accommodate 386 passengers in 48 BusinessElite and 338 economy class seats.

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