5 things you gotta know about Delta 717-200 economy class

5 things you gotta know about Delta 717-200 economy class

Delta 717-200 economy class is hardly anything to get excited about. However, when you compare it to the alternatives (mostly regional jets), it’s a darn good option.

I recently had the chance to try it out on a short flight from San Diego to Los Angeles, and the following are my takeaways from that experience.

San Diego, CA (SAN) – Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
Thursday, November 29, 2018
Aircraft: 717-2BD
Registration: N953AT
Duration: 49 minutes
Seat: 26E (economy class)

Delta Air Lines 717-200 side view
Delta Air Lines 717-200 side view illustration by norebbo.com.
SAN to LAX flight map with rain and wind
Our route from SAN to LAX this morning, pretty much flying right into the heart of the storm. I can’t help but wonder if it happened only because one pilot dared the other to do it. “Here, hold my beer and watch this...”


The 5 things you need to know about Delta 717-200 economy class 

Fair warning: what you’re about to see pales in comparison to what you saw in my Delta 717 first class review. I highly recommend swinging for first class on one of these airplanes if you can swing it. Keep reading if you can’t…

1. It’s better than a regional jet – so grab it when you see it

Delta 717 economy class is so much better than economy class in any regional jet. Although the leg room is similar, the seats are slightly wider. Not only that, the ceiling of the aircraft is higher (and the space between the walls is wider), so you’ll have more room to spread out.

uber drive to airport
In the Uber and on the way to the airport, trying so very hard not to bore my driver to death with the details about how excited I am to be flying on a Delta 717 this morning.
san diego airport rain
I’ve been waiting a long time to ride a 717 between SAN and LAX, so how horrible would it have been to trip and fall down these wet stairs like a total goofball in all the excitement? I’ve been in an emergency room before, and let me tell you – they are a heck of a lot less fun than Delta 717’s.
san diego international airport morning departures list
Is it just me, or is it annoying to have to stand and wait for all the codeshare flight numbers to cycle through before you’re sure that you’re in the right place?
Delta 717-200 san diego airport
There it is. The reason why I dragged myself out a perfectly warm bed at 3:30am on this cold and wet San Diego morning. I’m not flying on a regional jet if I don’t have to!

2. Bigger plane = better opportunity for upgrades and empty seats next to you

With more seats available, the odds are better that you’ll score that upgrade or have an open seat next to you in economy class. I will admit that Delta Connection Embraer 175 first class is kind of nice, but nothing beats a mainline aircraft when it comes to cabin height and width.

Delta 717 san diego to los angeles
Standing at the window just looking at her made me weep tears of joy knowing that I wouldn’t have to wedge myself into a United CRJ-200 this morning.
delta air lines 717 economy class seats
An entire row all to myself. I would’ve given myself a high-five if I could have figured out how to do it gracefully.
Delta 717 interior
I’ll admit that the interior of a Delta 717 isn’t all that much more prettier than a CRJ-200, but it’s far more spacious. Full size overhead bins too!
Delta air lines 717 under seat space
Under-seat space is just about the same as a CRJ though. However, there are power ports, which is a nice consolation for having to kick my backpack all the way up to LAX.
SANspotter selfie delta air lines 717-200
The forward boarding door has been closed, and I’m quite enjoying having an entire row all to myself, thank you very much.

This particular flight was on a Thursday morning (6:20am departure time), and I’d say it was 50% full. If that. I had an entire row to myself and there was only one person behind me, so it ended up being a really comfortable ride up to LA.

3. Bigger plane = takes longer to get on and off

The only real downside to being on anything larger than a regional jet is the fact that it just takes longer to get everyone on and off. There’s no getting around that unfortunately (no matter how clever they get with boarding zone shenanigans). It’s just a matter of physics. Even a dumb art school graduate like me knows that.

delta air lines 717-200 safety card
Since you’ll have plenty of time to wait for everyone else to get situated, why not take the opportunity to peruse the safety card? Looks like the woman in the row “A” diagram is determined to get the hell off this plane as fast as possible – doesn’t she appreciate the novelty of the 717?!
SANspotter selfie delta 717 economy class
Having extra time to get footage for my blog and YouTube channel is always appreciated though. It’s never wise to rush a travel blogger. Just sayin’.

Thankfully it was a really light load this particular morning and I had a 3.5 hour layover before my Air Canada flight to YYZ, so I wasn’t feeling any pressure at all. Throw in a full load, a delay, and a tight connection into the mix, and…well…don’t forget to pack your Peptol Bismol.

4. Row 26 has the best views of the engine

If you’re reading this blog (and you’ve made it this deep into this post), there’s a pretty good chance that you’re at least somewhat of an airplane nerd. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Be proud of who you are! There’s absolutely no shame in admitting that you want to look out the window to see the engine spinning a mere meter from your AvGeek face.

Detla 717 row 26 engine view
What a view! Just try not to think about how many fan blade particles are going to end up in your skull after an uncontained engine failure. Other than that, pretty cool, eh?
Delta 717 engine view
Too bad that there wasn’t a smell of jet exhaust wafting through the cabin. It might have complimented a view like this quite nicely IMHO.
departing san diego delta 717-200
I wish I could tell you that the noise was (beautifully) unbearable, but it wasn’t all that bad actually. The front of the plane is where you want to sit for a whisper-quiet experience, but I wouldn’t want to give up a view like this only to listen to the voices in my head for the next 30 minutes or so.

So yes – the best engine view row on the Delta 717 is row 26. Row 25 is too far forward (though acceptable if it’s the only option left), and row 27 is too far back since the engine will block much of your view to the outside – and you won’t even be able to see inside the engine, which is the whole point. Oh – and no, it’s not too loud in this row. Sure it’s more noisy than it would be at the front of the plane, but it won’t give you a migraine.

5. If you have the choice between a United 737 and a Delta 717, take the 717

I’ve had the opportunity to ride the United 737-800 in economy between SAN and LAX a handful of times (both directions) and my only complaint about it is how long it takes to get everyone on and off the plane. The seat pitch on those UA birds isn’t the best either, but it doesn’t matter much since it’s a short flight anyway.

United Airlines 737-800 seats
Behold the United Airlines 737 economy class interior. Trust me – while much better than a meager CRJ, it’s not worth going out of your way for when the Delta 717 is an option.

Personally, I consider the Delta 717 to be the more comfortable aircraft for two reasons: first, economy class is a 2-3 layout, which feels more spacious than the 3-3 layout on the United 737’s. Second, the first 1/3 of the 717 cabin is whisper quiet due to the engines being all the way in the back. The Delta 717 clearly wins.

Final thoughts

The Delta 717 definitely feels special (and a bit of an oddball) in this day and age of 737s, A320s, and regional jets dominating shorter routes. In my opinion, it’s the right-size aircraft for flights shorter than two hours.

Comments (13)

  1. James

    December 7, 2018
    • SANspotter

      December 7, 2018
  2. Camden Food & Co

    December 7, 2018
    • SANspotter

      December 8, 2018
  3. David

    December 7, 2018
    • SANspotter

      December 8, 2018
      • Josh Walton

        December 12, 2018
        • SANspotter

          December 13, 2018
  4. Jake

    January 22, 2019
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      January 23, 2019
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    February 6, 2019
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    April 16, 2022
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      April 16, 2022

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