Delta allows you to check in online from 24 hours prior to departure. I found the website particularly easy to use as it was intuitive and displayed the cabin in a very graphic way, clearly and accurately indicating the washrooms and galleys, which made it easy to avoid seats in their vicinity.
I arrived at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) shortly past 0900 for the 1025 departure on flight DL282, the carrier’s new 14 hours and 15 minutes non-stop service to Seattle’s Tacoma International Airport. I was immediately processed and was airside within minutes.
Delta does not operate its own lounge at HKIA. Instead, passengers are accommodated at Virgin Atlantic Airways’ Clubhouse, a refreshingly colourful and modern facility near Gate 48.
The lounge was moderately busy that morning. There was table service with menus listing an extensive selection of breakfast choices. Service was good, the fruit salad I ordered fresh and tasty.
Boarding from the gate began at 0935, though I didn’t reach the counter until 1000. At that time there were only a few passengers still arriving and no queues.
I arrived at my seat almost immediately and was offered a welcome drink – champagne, orange juice or water.
Excellent. I was in seat 6A, a window in the first of two cabins configured 1-2-1. The first cabin sports six rows, the second three. I liked the thought of the added privacy offered by the smaller cabin, but eventually chose the first to escape the sound of the engines as much as possible.
The 34 BusinessElite seats are well designed, each with a semi-enclosed space. The seat control panel is on one side of the shell, with a push button to unlock the PTV and the stowed remote control within easy reach. The seat panel offers three pre-set positions (straight-up, relaxed and full-flat) as well as manual options for head, back and leg support. I thought the full-flat sleeping position facilitated a comfortable sleep, particularly with the aid of the large duvets and pillows (both big and small) provided.
The 15.4-inch touchscreen PTVs featured a good choice of films in many categories, including a large selection of recent blockbusters plus HBO and Showtime programming.
We took off right on schedule at 1025 and the seat belt sign came off shortly after.
The crew made the first drinks round only 15 minutes into the flight, which I thought was great, especially as it helped with adjusting to the lower air pressure.
Next, menus were distributed and I was rather impressed with the many choices on offer – one Chinese and three Western options complete with appetizers, soup, salad, cheese or dessert.
Thinking I was going to miss home when in the US, I opted for the Chinese kung pao chicken entrée, as clichéd as that may be. The dish didn’t disappoint. It was well seasoned with just a bit of a kick to it, and plenty of crunchy peppers, onion and cashews, in an overall generous portion size. The salad – accompanied by warm garlic bread and rolls – was fresh, the appetiser tasty, and the rhubarb crumble dessert exceptional. I could have done without the soup, though. It was bland and lukewarm.
There was a mid-flight snack and breakfast service, but I skipped both as I was still full from the first meal.
The crew worked efficiently and were generally pleasant. However, they lacked the charm and attention to detail characteristic of most staff onboard Asian carriers. For instance, I noticed that the purser didn’t make an introductory round, attendants didn’t address passengers by name and drinks choices weren’t remembered.
We got into Seattle at 0720, one hour ahead of schedule – a welcome surprise. The airport was quiet at this hour and being one of the first off the aircraft, I cleared immigration in less than five minutes, a personal record for me in the US. Baggage arrived after a 15-minute wait.
A very good experience overall. I felt in good hands from the time of checking in online to disembarking. The seat offered much privacy and was conducive to getting a decent amount of sleep. I particularly enjoyed the large, plush duvets and pillows, and the quality catering. This new service is a recommended choice for travel from Asia to Seattle and beyond.
- CONFIGURATION 1-2-1
- SEAT WIDTH 20.5in/52cm
- SEAT LENGTH 82in/208cm
- SEAT RECLINE 180 degrees
- PRICE The internet rate for a midweek, flexible return flight in December starts from HK$50,884 (US$6,566), inclusive of taxes and surcharges.
- CONTACT delta.com