Delta takes delivery of first Airbus A321

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has taken delivery of its first Airbus A321 from an Airbus facility in Germany.

In order to fly the narrow-body plane designed for domestic flights from Hamburg, Germany all the way to its destination in Minneapolis, the A321 had to make stops in Reykjavik, Iceland and Goose Bay, Canada on the way, Delta said.

That allowed it to fly a path that maintained radio communication.

After the roughly 15-hour trip, the plane landed in Minneapolis Thursday evening, according to Delta’s flight tracking system.

Delta ordered 45 of the 192-seat Airbus A321s with in-flight wi-fi, live satellite TV on seat-back entertainment screens and power outlets at every seat. The planes are configured with first class, Comfort+  seats with extra legroom and main cabin economy class seats.

The plane also has “full-spectrum LED ambient lighting” that change depending on the phase of the flight.

The list price for an A321 at the time of Delta’s order was $110.1 million, though airlines typically negotiate rates much lower than the list price.

Before accepting the first plane for delivery, Delta employees carefully inspect it, pulling out tray tables, opening window shades and overhead bins and trying out the seat-back entertainment system, according to the airline.

“These are multi-million dollar assets that will fly millions of customers millions of miles over their 30-year life with Delta,” said Delta’s general manager of fleet management Brian Shea, according to a written statement.

They also inspect the lavatories and galleys. Items that require attention get marked with orange tape.

Technicians inspect the rivets and bolts on the exterior of the plane, the landing gear, hydraulics and avionics system.

Then, Delta captains Dave Vorgias and Pat Haake took the airline’s first test flight with the airplane, executing unusual maneuvers to gauge the aircraft’s capabilities for quick maneuvers if ever needed, according to the airline. Also in the cockpit was an Airbus flight test pilot and test engineer.

During the flight, Delta’s delivery team tests the overhead bins and doors to check for any issues due to changes in cabin pressure.

After all of the inspections, the airline officially signs the papers and transfers the funds to buy the new aircraft.

Delta will take delivery of a total of 15 A321s this year, most coming from Hamburg. Eventually, the aircraft will be coming from Airbus’s new facility in Mobile, Ala.

Meanwhile, Delta is also taking delivery of new Boeing 737-900ERs from Seattle.