Review: Delta 767 BusinessElite Sao Paulo to Detroit

Filed Under: Delta, Travel

We left the Admirals Club at around 10PM to head to our departure, gate 26. The gate was only a short walk away, and as we arrived boarding commenced, starting with BusinessElite passengers.

Sao Paulo Airport gate 26

Delta 48
Sao Paulo (GRU) – Detroit (DTW)
Saturday, November 23
Depart: 10:55PM
Arrive: 6:50AM (+1 day)
Duration: 10hr55min
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
Seat: 6B (BusinessElite)

This flight was being operated by one of Delta’s 767-300s with a staggered business class product. Delta has over a handful of 767 subfleets, though this seating arrangement is the most common. They also have 767s that are configured for domestic flying.

This staggered business class product is in a 1-2-1 configuration, very similar to what’s offered by Austrian, Brussels, etc. Here’s the seatmap of this particular aircraft, per SeatGuru:


For this particular flight we selected two seats together in the center section, which of our six flights was the only one where we did that.

Delta BusinessElite seat

We selected seats 6B & 6C, in roughly the center of the cabin.

Delta BusinessElite, seat 6B

Waiting at our seats were menus, water bottles, almonds, headphones, and Westin Heavenly Bedding.

Delta BusinessElite, seat 6B

The seat itself was fairly comfortable for sitting, though had the same challenges that most staggered business class products have, which is that the foot “cubby” is extremely tight.

Delta BusinessElite, seat 6B

Delta BusinessElite tight foot “cubby”

To the left of my seat was the reading light, headphone jack, USB plug, and power port.

Delta BusinessElite reading light, power port, and USB port

Also to the left of my seat were the entertainment controls, though the compartment they were in was filthy (though the rest of the cabin was fairly clean).

Delta BusinessElite entertainment controls

At the very top of the seat console were the seat controls, which were fairly intuitive, if not a bit limited.

Delta BusinessElite seat controls

The tray table also pops out from the left side of the seat, and is a bit of a pain to use, in my opinion.

Delta BusinessElite tray table

The highlight of the hard product had to be the Westin Heavenly pillow and blanket. They were… heavenly.

Delta BusinessElite Westin Heavenly Bedding

In addition to the bedding you’ve gotta love Delta’s Tumi amenity kits. They’re probably my second favorite business class amenity kits out there (after EVA Air’s Rimowa amenity kits). The case is incredibly practical to reuse for storing toiletries, cords, etc.

Delta BusinessElite Tumi amenity kit

It was also fairly well stocked with a toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, eyeshades, socks, tissues, a pen, etc.

Delta BusinessElite Tumi amenity kit contents

It’s interesting that Delta no longer offers warm nuts after takeoff, but instead offers packaged glazed almonds with dried cranberries upon boarding. I also appreciate that they have bottled water in addition to pre-departure beverages, which they even do on domestic flights.

Delta BusinessElite headphones, menu, water, and almonds

The crew on this flight was extremely friendly, one of the best crews I’ve had for a US airlines. Even though the entire plane was boarding through the front door of the aircraft, the crew quickly did a pre-departure beverage service. I selected a glass of orange juice.

Delta BusinessElite pre-departure beverages

While we were still on the ground the purser, Dorinda, came around to introduce herself and take dinner orders. She also asked if we wanted to be woken for breakfast.

Delta 767-300 BusinessElite cabin

At around 10:45PM the cabin door closed and the captain came on the PA to inform us of our flight time of 10hr55min, which was a bit longer than usual.

We had a quick pushback, and on our taxi to the runway the awesome holiday themed safety video played (along the lines of this one):

We took off from runway 9L at around 11PM.

As we climbed out I browsed the entertainment selection, though that was interrupted by a cabin-wide SkyMiles American Express advertisement that played on the entertainment screens and over the PA.

The entertainment selection was fairly impressive, and I ultimately decided to watch a few sitcoms.

Delta BusinessElite entertainment screen

Delta BusinessElite entertainment screen

Delta BusinessElite entertainment screen

Delta BusinessElite entertainment screen

Delta BusinessElite entertainment screen

Delta BusinessElite airshow

Delta BusinessElite airshow

About 30 minutes after takeoff the dinner service began. First hot towels were distributed.

Delta BusinessElite hot towel

The dinner menu read as follows:



And the wine list read as follows:


First tables were set and the appetizers were served with drinks. The starter consisted of bocconcini and tomato skewers and a beef tenderloin canape, which was simple but delicious.

Delta BusinessElite appetizer — bocconcini and tomato skewers, beef tenderloin

Next the salad and soup were served. A huge kudos to Delta on the salad. I’m so sick of salads with just iceberg lettuce and a cherry tomato or two. The soup was quite good as well.

Delta BusinessElite salad and soup — mixed green salad and broccoli parmesan soup

For the main course I chose the red wine braised beef, which was served with orzo pasta, olives, tomatoes, and eggplant. It might not look great, but it was spectacular. The beef could literally be eaten with a fork — there was no knife required. I wanted to mix it up on my three subsequent flights on this route, though the beef was so good that I had it each time, and wasn’t disappointed.

Delta BusinessElite main course — red wine braised beef

Lastly the dessert cart was rolled around. It consisted of cheese, some sweet tarts, and custom made sundaes. I of course went with the latter.

Delta BusinessElite dessert cart

Delta BusinessElite dessert — vanilla ice cream sundae

On the whole I felt it was a really great meal for a US airline. The entire dinner service was complete about two hours after takeoff, which I felt was reasonable given that the cabin was full and that it’s a fairly “involved” service. The service was also excellent across the board. No, this isn’t Singapore Airlines, but as far as US crews go this one was about as good as they get.

I wasn’t addressed by name aside from my initial interaction with the purser, but the flight attendants were smiling and seemed to be genuinely happy to be working. They were attentive and were always happy to fulfill any request with a smile.

After dinner I reclined my seat into the flat position and tried to sleep. I managed to snooze for a couple of hours, though because of how restrictive the foot “cubby” is I just couldn’t really get comfortable. So eventually I decided to watch a few more sitcoms, then napped a bit longer, and finally woke up “for good” 90 minutes out of Detroit as the cabin lights were being turned up for the breakfast service.

Delta BusinessElite airshow

Delta BusinessElite airshow

Delta BusinessElite airshow

The breakfast menu read as follows:


Breakfast service began with juice, coffee, fresh fruit, and bread.

Delta BusinessElite breakfast cart

Delta BusinessElite breakfast starter — fresh fruit and bread

After that the main courses were served. My friend chose the cereal, which was pretty straightforward.

Delta BusinessElite breakfast — cereal

Meanwhile I chose the omelet, which wasn’t especially good. That’s not really surprising since rarely is breakfast good after a longhaul flight unless it’s freshly prepared (as it is in first class on Cathay Pacific or Lufthansa, for example).

Delta BusinessElite breakfast — omelet with cheese and caramelized onions

Maybe I’m just easily impressed, but I thought it was cute that they brought a teapot along with the tea, which I find to be pretty rare in business class.

Delta BusinessElite tea

About 30 minutes out we began our descent, at which point the purser came around the cabin to thank each passenger for flying Delta and offered little chocolate boxes. It’s a small gesture, but it goes a long way in making you feel welcome.

Delta BusinessElite chocolates prior to landing

We touched down in Detroit about 15 minutes behind schedule, and were the first flight of the morning. We were through immigrations and customs in no time thanks to Global Entry, and headed towards the SkyClub for our connecting flight to Atlanta.

On the whole Delta BusinessElite definitely impressed me. The crew was top notch, catering was great for business class, and the cabin felt fresh. I’m not a huge fan of the staggered business class product and far prefer a reverse herringbone configuration, like what I’ve flown on American, Cathay Pacific, and EVA Air. That being said, Delta’s 747s and select A330s have a reverse herringbone configuration, so I’d love to try it sometime.

  1. That Westin Heavenly pillow made me sleepy. Great hard product and great review (as always).

  2. That’s been my experience with almost every delta crew in both classes of service – they’re quite far ahead of other us legacy carriers. I hate to suggest it, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s because they’re the only legacy with non union flight attendants.

    Also, only Delta’s 777 has the herringbone seats. All Delta’s 767s are either domestic or have seats like you flew (though there are different density configs).

  3. @Lantean, I think the light reflection obscures it but the Malin+Goetz products are in the plastic package in the upper left of the amenity kit photo

  4. I think I said this after your intro post to this trip report, but I flew a 767 with that same configuration domestically a few weeks back, a few days after I had flown in LH’s new business class. I only walked through the BE cabin because I was in coach, but the cabin felt really, really tight after being in the new LH cabin. The seats just looked really cramped, and just not much privacy.

  5. Hi, I have been following you for more than a year. Here, I am asking you for a favor. I need 911 UR points, together with my 1089 points left to transfer to United mileage, so I can get two round way tickets before Feb 1st.

  6. @ Sam — Whoops, fixed, thanks. Did I totally make that up? I could’ve sworn at some point they had some 767s with herringbone seats.

  7. @ Dong — You can only transfer Ultimate Rewards points to your own or a spouse’s account. I’d suggest purchasing the miles directly through United unfortunately. Good luck!

  8. Hey Lucky,
    You mentioned this was the only flight you and your friend chose the two center seats. Is it difficult to converse in those middle seats? I’m taking my mom to Paris in a couple of weeks, so I’m trying to decide which would be the better option for us.

  9. @ hsw25 — It’s actually very easy to converse in those seats, so they’re not a bad option if you’re traveling with someone. Ultimately we were more interested in privacy/sleeping, though.

  10. Delta’s A332/3 and B744 also have reverse herringbone seats which are much nicer. BTW the seat guru map is wrong with respect to the seat and table config – it shows them as all having the table on the right which is simply untrue. The seats have alternating arrangement as can be seen in your photos.

  11. “This staggered business class product is in a 1-2-1 configuration, very similar to what’s offered by Austrian, Brussels, etc.”

    It’s like a weird hybrid between the staggered business class of Emirates, and of Austrian/Brussels (since Emirates also does 1-2-1 configuration, while Austrian/Brussels doesn’t, but they do have a throne seat).

  12. Although I fly exclusively on Skyteam (i.e. Delta), I’ve never flown international Business Elite. I don’t go to Asia anymore, and when I go to Europe I make it a point to fly KLM (or AF if I have no other choice). I love KLM’s world business seat. Are these seats fully lie flat (like parallel with the floor), or are they angled? I’ve gotten conflicting reports from friends and from what I can find online.

    I would be open to opting for Delta if I could be sure that I was getting a fully flat seat. Thanks!

  13. I feel your pain on the 763/4 versions of the layflat seating. If you cannot score the 1st row of BE, which isn’t as restrictive as the rest of BE, I have some advice. This works regardless if you are a side or back sleeper. Stand up out of your seat, press the zzz/sleep mode button until it is completely flat. Once it is flat, press the seat-back button “up” for two seconds. This allows for a few more inches of room and no “feeling stuck” troubles.

    I got this advice from a 6’10” friend who flies DL regularly. Being five inches shorter than him, I decided to give that a try on my SEA-HND-SEA flights I did this week. And it worked like a charm.

  14. @lucky – Delta on BE flights to Japan, they use the old school teapot with bamboo-type handle for tea-service. They have Western and Asian menu selections. Damn good service for a domestic airline.

  15. Now you need to try UA again for long haul…try both a 2 cabin and a 3 cabin in business…the difference is huge.

  16. I agree that BusinessElite tray tables on the 767s are annoying to use, since passengers must clear off the tabletop before opening the stowage compartment. When the flat bed product was launched with the 767-400s, Delta originally selected spring-loaded tray tables that deployed laterally at the push of a button. They were a but tricky to stow, however, and Delta soon replaced them with the fold-out variety seen here. I imagine the flight attendants became frustrated having to teach infrequent Delta fliers how to use them, but it really was much better not having that stupid lid to open and close.

  17. The teapot is a nice touch, but what is the point of it if they don’t put the tea in the pot while the water is still boiling?

  18. @ Jeff R — I don’t think the water was ever actually “boiling,” having been prepared in an aircraft galley. I’m sure it was still plenty hot to steep tea in.

    Also, Delta offers a reasonable variety of teas in BusinessElite, and the flight attendants typically present a wooden box seat-side allowing passengers to choose their flavor.

  19. Surprisingly decent looking meal. Very nice salad – agree the old chopped iceberg lettuce with some cherry tomatoes is so 70s.

    The tea service was a joke – in a tea bag. Can’t anyone serve a decent tea for goodness sakes??? How about some loose tea in sachets like you get at quality tea houses like Harney and Sons?

  20. @ Paul — Funny you should mention Harney and Sons, because that’s exactly what Delta serves in BusinessElite. Or at least they used to—I’m not a tea drinker myself, but I’ve noticed it on the menus. Judging by Ben’s experience, Delta’s either dropped the H&S tea or the flight attendant mistakenly served an economy teabag.

  21. @Paul @Mark S.

    I was just on a Delta transcon in Business Elite and they are still serving Harney & Sons. I just ordered a box of the Orange Pekoe because of the flight.

  22. I’m surprised at how solid this delta product looks, I’ve flown domestic with these flat beds and it was awful, the seats were fine but the crew and food were terrible, glad to see them having a solid product,

  23. Delta has a very solid long haul biz product. Seems a bit underrated from non enthusiasts.

  24. Stephan, I’m pretty sure those marks represent the armrests, and the space shows where the table is (between the seat and window/aisle).

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