Delta launched its daily Heathrow-Philadelphia route in April.
I arrived at Philadelphia International at 1630 for my 1810 departure on DL194. Delta offers kerbside check-in.
At present, you arrive at Terminal E but once airside walk through to Terminal D, where the lounge is and from where the flight departs. From next year check-in will move to Terminal D.
Delta’s Sky Club lounge is a good size but at this time of day it was packed, with few seats free. Hot and cold food was available, as well as drinks.
I didn’t hear the announcement as I had earplugs in to block out the noise of the man across from me making calls. When I saw people leaving, I walked to Gate D15.
On board, I was offered champagne or orange juice.
Delta has renamed its international business class product Delta One. There are several versions of the seat depending on the aircraft.
The B757 has 16 seats in a 2-2 layout (A-B, C-D), each staggered and slightly angled toward the window. The leather seat is fully-flat, with a 20.2-inch width, which increases to 22.2 inches with the armrest stowed, and an average bed length of 76 inches.
A Westin “Heavenly Bed” duvet was provided, along with a Tumi amenity bag with Malin and Goetz products.
Each seat has built-in power and a 16-inch screen for the in-flight entertainment, which includes 18 live satellite TV channels and 350 films.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?
Both 1A and 1B were taken by the third pilot. I was in 1D, which I would avoid because of noise from the galley.
Generally, it can be hard to get out from the window when either your own seat or that of your neighbour is fully reclined.
So if you want to get up a lot, pick an aisle seat; if you want to be undisturbed, choose the window.
We queued to take off for some time because of a problem with an aircraft ahead. We were kept informed but departed 50 minutes late.
Food orders were taken before we were airborne – dishes included beef tenderloin with béarnaise sauce, lobster macaroni cheese and asparagus, and grilled chicken with tarragon lemon sauce, roasted Brussels sprouts and paella.
Having already eaten and wanting to maximise my sleep, I decided not to dine.
When I pressed the preset button to recline my seat, it descended almost all the way, then began to bunch up against the footrest, causing the bed to slope up around where your knees would be. A flight attendant said I had to lower the footrest slightly, which left a gap between the seat and the footrest.
Apparently, this is intentional; if so, it’s a strange design that means there is a bump where your calves are, making it less comfortable.
My neighbour’s food was served with much noise and laughter from the attendants, despite the fact I was lying down with an eyemask on and earplugs in. Eventually, things quietened down and I did sleep, although in the early hours I was disturbed by the crew talking loudly.
I woke again at 0600 when breakfast was served to my neighbour.
I had been told I would be given a card detailing the arrival facilities at Heathrow – the Yotel at T4 and the new Delta lounges at T3 – but the crew knew nothing about it, and could not advise me on my options.
We touched down at Heathrow T4 at 0715, 35 minutes late, although the captain made no apologies for this.
There was a delay for our bags to arrive, and I then went to use the lounge in T3 (see businesstraveller.com/tried-and-tested/lounges for a review).
There’s a lot to like here. The fully-flat bed means you can get a good night’s sleep (which I did, despite the disturbance), and colleagues told me the food was excellent.
However, the Sky Club was overcrowded, the bed itself not that comfortable, and the service patchy – sometimes attentive, sometimes indifferent.
Still, the new flight is to be welcomed for the competition it will give both American Airlines and BA.
- DEPARTURE 1810
- JOURNEY TIME 7 hours 30 minutes
- AIRCRAFT TYPE B757
- CONFIGURATION 2-2
- SEAT WIDTH 20.2-22.2in/51.3cm-56.4cm
- SEAT RECLINE 180 degrees
- BED LENGTH 76in/1.93m
- PRICE Internet rates for a return business class flight from London to Philadelphia in July ranged between £2,264 and £7,184 depending on flexibility.
- CONTACT delta.com