Review: Delta First Class New York JFK – Detroit: My First 717 Flight

By Jonathan Spira on 7 November 2016
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Finally, I got to fly on a Boeing 717.

I last tried in June on a flight to Atlanta that was inexplicably upgauged to a much larger Boeing 767-300 and a previous attempt saw an equipment substitution due to a mechanical issue. However, there I was, in Terminal 2 at JFK, about to experience the unusual jet for the first time.

After inconsequential contretemps with a surly TSA agent in the PreCheck line I proceeded to the gate: Nothing was going to stand in the way of my first 717 flight. The Boeing 717 one of the newest types to have been added to Delta’s fleet. Starting in 2013, Delta began its lease of 88 717s from Southwest after refurbishing the cabins to Delta’s specifications. The plane replaced older DC-9s and 50-seat regional jet aircraft.


The twin-engine, single-aisle aircraft was designed by McDonnell Douglas before that aircraft manufacturer merged with Boeing. It was originally designated the MD-95 and is the third-generation of the storied DC-9.

My 717, carrying the tail number N965AT, was assembled in July 2001 at Boeing’s Long Beach facility, which was originally McDonnell Douglas’ main plant. It was delivered to AirTran Airlines in August of that year and taken out of service in 2014, at which time it was prepared for Delta and delivered to that airline in May 2015

After a brief stop in the Delta Sky Club for a cappuccino and oatmeal, I was at the gate, eager to board.

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