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I’ve reviewed Delta’s 767 business class before between Sao Paulo and Detroit, and was keen to see how their service to Europe compared, especially after the product was rebranded from BusinessElite to Delta One.
Los Angeles (LAX) – London (LHR)
Friday, September 25
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
Seat: 9B (Delta One/Business Class)
Delta’s 767-300 business class cabin consists of a total of 36 seats, spread across nine rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. While I was the first passenger to board, there were already two federal air marshals in the cabin (at least that’s what I assume they were, as they were seated on opposite sides of the cabin and didn’t recline their seats during the 10 hour redeye flight).
I will say that Delta’s newly branded “Delta One” cabins are extremely sleek in terms of the finishes. I love the checkered leather pattern, and think the red accents look good on the seats. Unfortunately that’s about the only positive thing I can say about the hard product.
The seats are staggered in such a way that the area where you put your feet is basically next to the person seated in front of you.
That’s why on the sides of the cabins the seats alternate — in one row the seat will be closer to the window, while in the next row it’ll be closer to the aisle. There are pros and cons to both types of seats.
The seats closer to the aisle have larger foot cubbies, meaning it’s easier to sleep in them. That being said, they also make you feel like you’re seated in the middle of the aisle, as you have no privacy.
Meanwhile the “true” window seats are much more private, as they have the console on the aisle side, meaning you can easily look out the window. The downside is that the foot cubbies in these seats are tiny, so unless you have really small feet/legs, you’ll probably have a hard time getting comfortable.
The seats in the center are equally staggered. In our case we had assigned seated 9B & 9C. 9B is closest to the aisle so has a larger foot cubby, while 9C is more in the center, with a console on the right side, making it “cozier.” It also has a smaller foot cubby, as a result. While these seats are nice when traveling with someone, they feel awfully “intimate” if you’re just seated next to a stranger.
Since the cabin was still quite empty, I also took a quick glance at the Comfort+ cabin, which looked quite nice. Ultimately I like the 767-300 if flying in economy, given that it’s in a 2-3-2 configuration, which is far preferred to a cabin with 10 seats per row, for example.
In terms of the seat features, the seat controls are located at the front of the console, and are pretty simple.
Behind the seat and to the side are the reading lights, USB port, 110v power port, and headphone jack.
In terms of the seat “hard” product, perhaps the most infuriating shortcoming is the lack of storage. There’s literally no storage whatsoever at these seats, which is just pathetic.
Waiting at each seat were packaged Westin Heavenly bedding amenities, including a blanket and two pillows (one small and one large). Delta’s bedding is awesome, probably the best business class bedding out there. Kudos to them on that.
Also waiting at each seat were headphones, a bottle of Dasani water, and a Tumi amenity kit.
This is a different Tumi amenity kit than I’ve received in the past on Delta, as it had a hard case. It must be among the nicest business class amenity kits out there.
The contents were only okay, though I did really like the Tumi pen in the kit. Personally I care most about the kit itself, as I find nice amenity kits to be great for storing cords, toiletries, etc.
Once settled in one of the flight attendants came by with pre-departure beverages. She just didn’t seem to be happy to be there. At all. I selected a glass of champagne. I do appreciate that Delta serves pre-departure beverages in glasses, which American typically doesn’t do, in my experience.
The boarding process took quite a while, as eventually just about every seat on the plane was taken, including every business class seat. I know this in part because just about every economy passenger bumped into me when walking down the aisle. That’s a big downside of the 767, where everyone boards through the forward door.
Around 9PM the captain made a brief announcement welcoming us aboard, and informing us of our flight time of 10 hours.
At boarding finished up the “flight leader” came around the cabin to distribute menus. She also didn’t seem very excited to be there. She simply said “I’m Crissy and I’m the flight leader” while holding out the menu. That was it.
At around 9:05PM the doors closed, and five minutes later we pushed back, at which point Delta’s safety hilarious safety video aired:
Our taxi to the runway was pretty slow, though at 9:30PM we took off, right behind a Qantas 747.
I found it interesting that Delta has a jumpseat which slides out into the aisle behind business class, so one of the flight attendants was sitting between 9A & 9B during that time.
As we climbed out of Los Angeles I browsed the entertainment selection. First I checked out the airshow.
The selection was fine, though nothing special. Mainly I thought the screen was kind of small, and the video quality wasn’t especially good.
So instead I decided to watch the entertainment I brought for myself — true, quality entertainment. My iPad mini nicely latched onto the seatback pocket.
One other thing I noticed is that we lucked out with one of the few Delta 767s with wifi, which is provided by Gogo. It’s worth noting that a normal monthly pass isn’t valid on these flights. However, the Gogo passes being offered through The Business Platinum® Card from American Express were valid. And that’s a good thing, because wifi was expensive — $30 for the flight just for a mobile device (or $15 for an hour).
Service was very slow after takeoff, which to me was a bit puzzling for a redeye flight. It was 45 minutes into the flight before the drink service even began.
The dinner menu read as follows:
And the wine list read as follows:
Service began with hot towels.
That was quickly followed by drinks and packaged cranberry almonds. I had a gin & tonic. I find it pretty disappointing that they serve packaged nuts, at least as a point of comparison to many other carriers. It’s worth noting that Delta serves San Pellegrino and Smartwater as the standard sparkling/still water options. I love San Pellegrino, and Smartwater tastes good, though I’ve never really “gotten” it.
After that it was another 30 minutes until the appetizer was served. Delta deserves points for presentation, as I do think they do a great job with the appetizer, soup, and salad setup. I also appreciated that they had pretzel rolls (I was proactively offered two).
That being said, as far as these types of appetizers I’ve had on Delta, I didn’t think this was one of the better ones. I don’t eat pork, and the cheese was kind of bland.
The soup was fine, though was lukewarm by the time it was served.
The chickpea salad was excellent, though quite small.
After that it was another 30 minutes before the main course was served, which was the most underwhelming of all. My steak was lukewarm, tough, and fatty. I’d be disappointed even if I were offered this steak in domestic first class.
Meanwhile Tiffany had the pork tenderloin, which she didn’t really seem to enjoy any more than I enjoyed mine.
For dessert I had a vanilla ice cream sundae, which was good.
And Tiffany had a cheese plate, which looked nice.
Altogether I found the meal to be pretty underwhelming, as both of the entrees were a total miss. They weren’t even warm anymore, and tasted like they had been in the oven for hours (unfortunately not hours leading up to them actually being served, though).
But really the service is what underwhelmed me the most. I’ll be the first to admit that Delta has the best staff of any US legacy airline. So they should be held to a higher standard. But this crew had zero charm, wasn’t attentive, was slow, and lacked finesse. I don’t think a single crew member once spoke to me in a complete sentence, but rather I was just constantly barked at.
If I were flying American I would say that the crew was sub-par. For Delta — which I have higher expectations of — I’d say the service was downright disappointing.
The meal service was done more than 2hr30min into the flight, which seemed slow to me.
At that point I made my bed. Again, while the bedding was excellent, I found the seat to be tight, especially around the feet. This is probably my least favorite style of fully flat hard product out there, given that there’s no room to move your feet.
I managed to get some shut eye, though can’t say I slept very well. But I was at least able to stay in the flat position for nearly six hours, which is pretty darn good for a transatlantic flight.
I was awoken about two hours out by the economy lights being turned on. Since we were in the last row of business class, those were pretty bright.
About 90 minutes out the pre-landing meal was served. The pre-landing menu read as follows:
It’s an interesting menu, as the flight does land in London in the afternoon. Even so, I don’t think I’ve ever been on a redeye eastbound transatlantic flight where there’s anything other than a breakfast option.
Service began with a cart being rolled through the aisle with drinks. I selected a coffee.
After that the most matronly flight attendant of all approached me:
“Could I have the eggs, please.”
“What? Quiche or pizza?”
“The quiche, please.”
Tiffany was asked at the same time, and her breakfast came within a couple of minutes.
Meanwhile 20 minutes later my breakfast still hadn’t been served, so I made eye contact with the flight attendant, at which point she brought it over. Except mine had a side salad rather than fruit, which is what’s supposed to be served with the pizza.
I totally get if they ran out of fruit, in which case I would have appreciated if she said “sorry, we ran out of fruit, hope the salad is okay,” rather than just plopping it down without an explanation. The strata itself was quite good, at least.
About 30 minutes out we began our descent. It’s worth noting that there are only two lavatories in business class on the Delta 767, which really isn’t a lot for 36 passengers plus the crew. Fortunately I changed out of my pajamas a bit early, though Tiffany had to queue for quite a while before landing to change.
Our descent into London was smooth, and we had a smooth touchdown at 3:40PM.
From there it was a 10 minute taxi to the gate, where we arrived at 3:50PM.
We began the trek to immigration from there, though it’s worth noting that they didn’t hand out Fast Track cards. That didn’t impact me since I have an EU passport and could use the automatic gate, though I do believe they were supposed to hand them out.
Delta One bottom line
Ultimately this flight got us direct from Los Angeles to London, and that was the primary goal. That being said:
- The staggered business class configuration offered by Delta on the 767 is one of my least favorite out there. It’s worth noting they have awesome reverse herringbone seats on their 747s and A330s, but this product is really sub-par, in my opinion. Delta typically exclusively flies 767s to London.
- Delta has the best employees as far as US legacy airlines go, which is why the service on this flight was disappointing. It was the worst service I’ve had on a Delta flight, and I would have considered it disappointing even on another US airline. It especially contrasted to the super-friendly agents I interacted with at the Delta One check-in facility.
- The food on this flight was underwhelming. While the appetizer and dessert were quite good, the main course was terrible.
Anyway, personally I won’t be flying Delta to London again if I can avoid it since I find the 767 hard product to be uncomfortable. That being said, I’d like to try Delta’s reverse herringbone business class on the A330 or 747. And I also realize the bad service on this flight was the exception rather than the norm.
If you’ve flown Delta One recently, what was your experience like?