Delta to fly updated transcon 757s from July 2014

Washington DC
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Delta Air Lines will deploy three updated Boeing 757s with lie-flat seats in business class on the lucrative New York John F. Kennedy-Los Angeles route from 1 July 2014.

The three aircraft will be the first 757s in service to feature the airline's upgraded business class product, called BusinessElite, on its transcontinental routes. Delta announced the upgraded product on its transcontinental 757s and Boeing 767s in November 2012. All of Delta's transcontinental flights from JFK to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle will have the upgraded product by mid-2015.

The 757s are configured with 16 full flat-bed seats in a 2-2 configuration with individual video monitors. The seats are 20in wide and expandable up to 22in, while the bed length is 76in.

The updated 757s complement Delta's 767 transcontinental flights, which already have the flat-bed seats, for a total of eight daily flights between New York and Los Angeles. The first 767 with the updated product began operating between New York and Los Angeles in March.

Delta's updating of its 757s also include the addition of 44 economy seats which offer more legroom than the 108 regular economy seats on board.

The airline's ongoing improvement to its transcontinental product comes as US carriers up the stakes to capture business travellers in the high-yield transcontinental market. JetBlue Airways made headlines recently with the announcement of its new premium product, dubbed Mint, which will debut on New York-Los Angeles in June 2014.

JetBlue reiterates in its earnings call today that it needed to have the product to win a bigger share of the transcontinental market, which has been under-performing. The airline's chief commercial officer Robin Hayes says that initial sales of the product at the introductory fare "went quickly".