I arrived at Seattle International Airport at 1630 for Delta’s 1835 departure on DL37 to London Heathrow.
Seattle Airport has one main terminal for check-in. There is a dedicated area for premium flyers.
This is a newly renovated area, part of Delta’s $15million investment in its expansion at the airport, making room for international flights to Amsterdam, London, Paris, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo (Narita and Haneda) with Seoul, Hong Kong and Vancouver on the cards for June this year.
The check-in desks have attractive wood counters.
There are also self-service check-in counters for those without bags who just want to check-in. I checked-in two bags having done far too much shopping in Seattle, and walked to the fast track immigration and security, which took only a few minutes.
The layout of the airport is slightly confusing for the first time user. When you pass through security you are in the main part of the terminal with various gates available for domestic and international departures.
For Delta’s international departures, you need to head for the south gates which are in what is referred to as the South Satellite using the transit train. You take an escalator down, and make sure to turn left, since the transit on the right takes you to the North Satellite.
I took a picture of the map explaining this which is by the transit station.
Once there you take a couple of escalators back up, and then finally a lift to the new Delta SkyClub
For a full review of the new SkyClub Lounge at Seattle airport, click here.
International flights are called from this lounge, so there’s no reason to rush. Our flight was called early, and we took the lift down and the gate was very close at Gate S2.
Once there, priority boarding saw us onto the aircraft very quickly.
This review is supplementary to the other reviews we have written about Delta’s Business Elite seat. To read those, click here.
Instead, I shall focus on my impressions of this particular flight, but will also has quite extensive ruminate on which is the best seat in the Business Elite cabin.
A brief list of pros for this seat would have to mention good configuration, only 1-2-1 across the aircraft (A-BC-D); aisle access for all seats; nice design with sufficient overhead room for the centre seats (by having smaller overhead lockers); and a fully-flat seat that has its own surround so that the passengers behind don’t cause any disturbance when putting their seats up and down.
Negative points are that the seat feels quite narrow when fully reclined, particularly with your feet being on a hollow contained within the seat in front under its armrest); the tray tables aren’t very robust, and so you have to jam a pillow under one end of the table to work on it; and the staggered nature of the seats can leave you quite close to the aisle in some.
However, I love the new bedding from Westin, and enjoyed using it to sleep on this night flight.
We were offered a choice of water, orange juice or Champagne, and our jackets were taken. I went to change my shirt in the washroom and the flight attendant offered to hang that as well, but because the flight was lightly loaded there was plenty of room in the overhead locker, so I folded it up on top of my bag instead.
The papers offered were the Daily Mail and USA Today.
I had chosen a different seat from the outward journey (click here to read a review of that flight).
This B767-300ER was three classes: Economy, Economy Comfort and a single cabin of BusinessElite. To see the configuration of this B767-300ER, click here.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?
All the seats recline fully-flat and are staggered slightly in their rows so that the seats make room for the feet of the person behind being contained in the armrest of the seat in front.
What that means is that some seats are closer to the aisle than others. In general, I would choose the ones that are further away from the aisle, since you still get direct access to the aisle, but don’t have the trolley brushing against you (or other passengers as they make their way forward to the washrooms).
In addition, since the washrooms on this configuration are only at the front, you get more footfall at the front of the cabin than the back. I sat in row 2 on the way over, and although it wasn’t terrible, I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to be in the front row.
For that reason, generally I would go for the rows towards the rear – 7, 8 or 9 on this flight (although read on to find out an important qualification).
In one sense, row 9 would be the quietest, but this backs onto Economy Comfort, and certainly the window seats (9A and 9D) are set back so that your head is almost in Economy Comfort. So I’d avoid row 9 in general.
If flying on your own, 8A and 8D would be OK (I was in 8A on this flight), but these are on the aisle, so not perfect. Seats 7A and 7D are window seats and closer to the window – but on our flight, 7A was used by the pilot, and on other flights judging by the system set up for the curtain, 7D could be the same.
Then 6A and 6D are back on the aisle, so finally I would choose 5A or 5D in this configuration as the best seats. These “mid-cabin” seats also eliminate another disadvantage of being at the back of the cabin – the fact that service starts from the front. Which means, for instance, that the drinks service can take 20 minutes to make its way to you from the front of the cabin if you are sitting in row 9.
If you are travelling with someone, you want centre seats, and one of these will be on the aisle, and one will be set back a bit. Bear in mind, though, that the overhead bins on the centre seats are too small for many carry-on bags, and you’ll have to stow your luggage in the overhead lockers above the window seats, so if you’re in these seats try and get on early so you can secure that space.
The flight was only about one-third full, although Business Elite was almost completely full with only a few seats free. The IFE system was clearly having some problems and was restarted several times in the first 20 minutes, but thereafter worked fine as did the inseat power for working by laptop.
During our climb away from Seattle there was a long, incoherent and largely inaudible announcement from the purser, which in the end had many of our party laughing and trying to catch the odd phrase to try and work out what was being said.
The service throughout the flight was very good, with staff explaining the menu, and also the “Dine and Rest” option, which means getting all your chosen menu items on one tray, maximising the time you have to sleep on the flight back. I took this option.
Food and drink:
- Mixed green salad with cranberries, pecans and feta cheese and Tortilla soup
- Beef tenderloin with béarnaise sauce, buttered asparagus, lobster macaroni and cheese
- Seared chicken breast withtarragon lemon sauce, roasted Brussels sprouts and brown rice paella
- Lasagne with eggplant, spinach and mushrooms
- Chilled deli plate: oak roasted salmon, fennel apple slaw and honey mustard sauce
“Dine and rest”
- Vanilla ice cream sundae, tasting of sweet treats, or fine cheeses.
- Champagne Jacquart Brut Mosaique, France NV
- Simi chardonnay, Sonoma, California 2009 (white)
- Louis Latour ‘Chanfleure’ Chablis, Burgundy, France 2011 (white)
- La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Rioja Reserva, Spain 2000 (red)
- Chateau Lestruelle Cru Bourgeois, Medoc, Bordeaux, France 2009 (red)
- Chambers Rosewood Muscadelle, Rutherglen, Australia NV (dessert wine)
- Qunita Do Noval 10-year old tawny porto, Portugal
I reclined my seat at around 2015 and, despite some initial noise from other passengers, had no problem sleeping until 0130, which was 0930 on UK time.
I then made myself wake up to do some work and also because I wanted to get onto UK time. I went to the washrooms, freshened up, changed my shirt, asked for a coffee which was then brought to my seat and worked until breakfast service commenced a little over an hour before our arrival time.
If you are hungry during the night, there is a trolley up by the galley where you can get snacks.
We arrived on time into London Heathrow’s Terminal 3 at 1200. There was no queue at immigration and the bags came out very quickly.
I then went through customs and departed the airport. Note that Business Elite passengers can use Virgin Revivals Lounge in Terminal 3.
A very good flight – plenty of opportunity to sleep, large portions of delicious food and a comfortable bed.
- PLANE TYPE B767-300ER
- ECONOMY CLASS 17.2-inch seat width, 31 to 32-inch seat pitch (44cm/79-81cm)
- ECONOMY COMFORT 17.2-inch seat width, 34 to 35-inch seat pitch
- BUSINESS ELITE 18.5-inch seat width / 76.5 to 81-inch seat pitch (47cm/194-206cm)