Delta 737-900 First Class Review
If you like new plane smell you'll like Delta's 737-900 fleet. A couple of years ago Delta placed an order for 100 Boeing 737-900 aircraft. The plane is the largest in Boeing's popular 737 line of single aisle short to medium haul aircraft. While it's nice to see Delta adding new aircraft, this plane has some pros and cons which I'll dive into below.
The Seat and Cabin
I was in 2C on a flight from Atlanta to Las Vegas. The first class cabin on the 737-9 includes 20 seats. (There are 21 Delta Comfort+ seats and 139 Main Cabin seats.) The seats are 21" wide and have a pitch of 37". (Pitch is the distance between the front and back of seats, i.e.: how much room you have in front of you.) Since I haven't been in coach on this aircraft I'm going to stick to my review of First Class.
My first complaint about the 737-9 is that this aircraft is being used to replace many of Delta's aging 757's. Delta has many 757 configurations, but many of the domestic configurations includes 22-26 seats in First. The 737-9 has fewer seats. This will ultimately lead to fewer upgrades on elite heavy flights. The 737-9 also has a tighter pitch than many of Delta's 757's, some of which have pitch over 40". (The 75V has 44-46" of pitch with 22 First Class seats).
The seat on the 737-9 is a standard domestic First Class seat. I've read some complaints about the seats being hard, but I found it to be quite comfortable. The seats feature adjustable winged headrests, which are great if you want to sleep. One of the most obvious upgrades on the 737-9 is the large, high definition video screen. This is a modern, upgraded in flight entertainment hard product. The software is no different from the rest of Delta's fleet. Movies and TV shows are free in First Class. This aircraft also support Delta Studio, which gives you access to movies and shows on your iPad or other compatible devices. Every seat also has a standard 110v power outlet. The outlet is between the two seats right in front of you, which is a nice change. (On some of Delta's other aircraft the power outlets are on the front of your seat.) There's also a USB outlet on the bottom of the video screen. The only complaint I have about the entertainment system is that the screen does not tilt. As a result, when the person in front of you reclines their seat it's more difficult to see your screen.
If you are familiar with the First Class cabin on the 757's you'll notice one other big change with the 737-9. The 737-9 does not have a second boarding door behind the First Class cabin. As a result, everyone boards at the front of the plane just like they do on other single aisle aircraft.
What I Really Liked
In addition to the big entertainment screen and the seat I liked a few other things about the 737-9 First Class cabin. First, these aircraft are equipped with pivot overhead bins. These bins are similar to those found on the Boeing 777 and other long haul aircraft. Instead of the bin door opening up, these bins open down and are easier to load in roller boards and other carryon luggage. They're also designed to hold more bags, which will make passengers throughout the plane happy.
The 737-9 features Boeings sky interior which utilizes LED lights that the flight attendants can program. Our flight left around dinner time and the crew set the lights to match the sunset. Once it was dark outside the lights turned a cool blue.
What I Didn't Like
I've flown on aircraft large and small, from prop planes to the Boeing 747. The lavatory in First on Delta's 737-9 is probably one of the tightest bathrooms I've seen on a plane. I'm 6' and 165lbs and I couldn't imagine being any larger in this restroom. While I don't expect the flight attendants to be responsible for cleaning the lavatory, but the mid-point of the flight the restroom was a mess and out of paper towels. (The crew did not prevent passengers from coach using the First Class lavatory)
I have to give Delta kudos for one of the best domestic First Class meals I've ever had. In fact, the quality of the food was, dare I say, not far from international business class. On this flight I selected beef short rib with mashed potatoes and gravy. The meat was excellent and tender. For dessert, gelato.
Overall I enjoyed my flight on Delta's 737-9. The flight attendants were attentive and the seat was comfortable. While I don't think this aircraft is a perfect replacement for the aging (and no longer manufactured) 757 fleet, I do like Delta adding new aircraft to their fleet.