Tried & Tested

Flight review: Delta Air Lines A330-900 neo Premium Select London-LA

25 Oct 2023 by Hannah Brandler
Delta Premium Select A330-900 neo (provided by Delta)

Delta launched its premium economy product, Premium Select, on its A350 aircraft in 2017, focusing on long-haul trans-Pacific markets but began to outfit its A330 and Boeing 767-300 fleet with the cabin in 2021.

The airline has since expanded the product to more routes and aircraft types, in response to the growing demand for premium economy. Delta then carried out enhancements to its dining service and amenities in autumn 2022.

The route from London Heathrow to Los Angeles International (LAX) resumed in March 2023 and is operated by the A330-900 neo, configured with 281 seats across three cabins: Delta One (29 seats), Premium Select (28 seats) and economy (224 seats – 56 of these are Comfort+ seats, which are essentially economy but at the front of the cabin and with extra legroom).

The outbound flight departs at 1620 and lands at 2015 local time. Return flights are scheduled to leave LAX at 2025 and arrive into London Heathrow at 1450.

This flight complements transatlantic partner Virgin Atlantic’s double daily services from London to LA.

See a video of the flight review at the bottom of the page.

For more information on premium economy products across all carriers, see our feature:

Which airlines have the best premium economy?

Check in

I completed the online check in 24 hours before the departure and received a digital boarding pass. If you want to check in bags, Delta has a large zone to the far right of Terminal 3 departures, beside Virgin Atlantic. Passengers travelling in Premium Select can use a well-signposted Sky Priority queue for check-in and baggage handling.

Unfortunately there is no such expedited queue at security. I used the normal security area upstairs, which took about 25 minutes. There were extra checks at Heathrow on the day of my flight, which I later learnt was due to the prison break from Wandsworth Prison, and so my passport was checked straight after security in the Duty Free area.

Premium Select passengers don’t get access to a lounge, but T3 had quite a few seats available with USB and plug sockets for charging devices. Gate 25 had been called by the time I got through security, so I bought a sandwich and headed that way.

The gate was a five-minute walk from the main concourse. Delta staff at the entrance to the gate checked my boarding pass and passport, and asked several security questions – a security sticker was then attached to my passport and I proceeded to the large waiting room which was very quiet, with plenty of seats though no charging facilities.

Boarding

Boarding commenced at 1530, with pre-boarding for passengers that needed extra assistance, followed by Delta One passengers and Diamond Medallion members of the SkyMiles loyalty programme, and then Premium Select passengers.

There were machines to scan your boarding pass although mine did not work. I was told that this was due to checking in online and that my passport had to be physically scanned.

The crew were very warm and friendly as we boarded – an incredibly quick process, which I soon learnt was due to the lack of passengers, and so we were able to push back ten minutes early.

Once seated, cabin crew welcomed me by name and Shelley was very cheerful. As the plane began to prepare for taxiing, another flight attendant made an announcement which made me smile: “If you’re on the phone, it’s time to say ciao, bye bye” to signal we were en route.

We began taxiing at 1612, with a safety video shown on the IFE screens, and took off just before half past.

The plane was incredibly empty, so much so that I was surprised it was flying at all. Passengers were told that they couldn’t swap cabins and should remain in their assigned seats due to weight balance. I was told that the planes had been packed all summer and this was the first quiet service (it was in early September). It gave the experience a private jet style feel, and was a relief for the crew who had worked hard over the peak summer months.

Delta Premium Select A330-900 neo (photo: Hannah Brandler)

The seat

Premium Select has 28 seats arranged across four rows in a 2-3-2 configuration, separated from Delta One at the front of the plane with a galley. A curtain separates Premium Select from the Comfort+ seats.

The seats are sleek with navy blue leather featuring a textured diamond pattern and a black headrest with the Delta logo in red. There is a seat width of 18.5 inches, compared to 18 in economy, and a pitch of 38 inches, compared to 31-33 in economy. There are three buttons in the armrest to control the seat. You can recline it 7 inches, then press the button for the legrest to emerge, and the last step is manual – you fold down the footrest, and put pressure on it with your feet to extend it.

While the seat is more spacious and comfortable than those in economy, it was a bit of a shame that you can’t lift the armrest and stretch out if the seat next to you is unoccupied (as was the case during my flight). Passengers in economy, meanwhile, lay across three seats in the middle. That said, it provides a barrier when you have a neighbour.

The tray table, meanwhile, pops out from the armrest and then you fold it out. This was sturdy and passengers can move it back and forth. 

There are two universal plug sockets and USB ports below the back of the seats in front, though I always think it’s better to have these beside your own seat. I had to put my phone on the armrest in front (there were no passengers here) as I had a short cable. The seat is also lacking in storage space. There’s a small magazine pocket and the armrest has space for you to put a phone or snack, while a curved area below this has two slots for bottles.

Delta Premium Select A330-900 neo (provided by Delta)

The IFE system, known as Delta Studio, is excellent and offers more than 1,000 hours of content. The 13.3 inch screen was sharp and the touchscreen responsive, and I liked the filters available, such as the “under 2 hours” film category which was handy for those with short attention spans .

It’s also possible to save film into a list, and you can move these up and down depending on your preferences of what to watch next. It even calculates the total length of the films in your list – kudos to whoever manages to reach exactly 10 hours and 57 minutes.

There are excellent noise-cancelling headphones (you can’t use your own) which have a cardboard wrap to eliminate plastics onboard, and a remote control by the seat. Further seat amenities include a soft blanket and a great memory-foam pillow which was nice and firm.

Delta Premium Select A330-900 neo IFE (photo: Hannah Brandler)

Passengers are also treated to a beautiful amenity kit, handmade by Mexican company Someone Somewhere. This is a really nice touch and distinguishes Delta from other carriers. As you open the woven kit, the beautiful lining features the name of the artisan who created the pouch. Inside is a lip balm by Grown Alchemist, toothpaste, toothbrush, woven eye mask, socks in Delta’s colour scheme and ear plugs. The kits come in three different designs, all of which have been created exclusively for the US carrier.

On the downside, there were a few issues with some of the seats in the cabin – the seat next to me had a broken table and the passengers in the row in front had to move due to issues with the seats, but the flight attendant was very apologetic and thankfully there were lots of other seats on offer. I was told that these issues were a result of the aircraft being used so much over the summer period.

The toilets are also quite far from the seats, located after the Comfort+ cabin so you have to share it with 84 passengers rather than the 28 in your cabin. I never had to wait for the toilet but this was due to the flight being quiet – I imagine a queue would arise if the flight was at capacity.

Delta Premium Select A330-900 neo amenity kits (photo: Delta)

Best seat

I was very happy with seat 22A, a window seat on the left hand-side of the cabin. You’re far enough from the galley so there’s little noise and you benefit from amazing views when you come in to land.

Row 23 is at the back of the cabin, verging on Comfort+, so it doesn’t feel as exclusive while Row 20 at the front of the cabin is a little close to the galley – but you’re served your meal first.

The flight

The flight was very smooth, with little turbulence during the 11 hour journey.

I tried to stay awake for most of the trip as wanted to make sure I slept when I arrived in LA, so watched a couple of films and caught up on some work. Lights were dimmed after the dinner service, allowing people to get some rest.

There was wifi on this service, with free messaging for all passengers (iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger), and the option to purchase two packages for browsing (US$9.95 for the duration of the flight, and US$69.96 for a monthly plan).

T-Mobile customers get free wifi, and free wifi for all Delta SkyMiles members (regardless of their wireless provider) is being rolled out across the domestic network. According to the airline, it will be on more than 700 aircraft by the end of the year.

Delta Premium Select menu (image: Hannah Brandler)

Food and drink

Premium Select offers a ‘bubbles and bites’ experience, where passengers are offered a choice of sparkling wine (Mionetto Prosecco) or water shortly after take-off, alongside some delicious cheddar and chive crackers. My Prosecco was topped up, and I was offered a range of drinks after this.

The seat also has a paper menu which includes a choice of two main courses, along with a QR code which has more information on the appetiser, dessert and further F&B throughout the flight.

On my flight in September, the appetiser was a kale and mixed grain salad with sun-dried tomatoes, feta and red pesto, with main course options of corn-fed chicken with romesco sauce, saffron risotto and asparagus, or the vegetarian mascarpone and lime tortelli pasta with red pepper sauce, sweetcorn purée, asparagus and pumpkin seeds.

Delta Premium Select main meal (image: Hannah Brandler)

Before the dinner service began, I was offered a refreshing vanilla and orange peel oshibori hand towel. Tables were then laid with linen tableware, napkins and silver cutlery, and the appetiser, main course and dessert were served in one go at 1730. The dishes are served in bagasse plates, made from sugarcane plant fibre, and placed on a tray with a geometric design which is in keeping with the seat pattern.

The appetiser was quite disappointing but I was pleasantly surprised by the tasty vegetarian main course, which initially sounded like quite an odd medley of flavours and wasn’t particularly picturesque. The problem with everything being served at once is that the chocolate ice cream is likely to melt when sitting next to the hot main.

There were several soft drinks on offer, as well as juices and mixers, Starbucks coffee, a selection of Thrive Farmers tea, and alcoholic beverages including several spirits, SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale, a white wine and one red wine.

Delta Premium Select main meal (image: Hannah Brandler)

Passengers are also offered a warm chocolate chip cookie as a mid-flight snack, although I had shut my eyes during this, and there are various sweet and savoury snacks available in the galley.

About an hour before landing passengers were offered either an Asian chicken spring roll or a spinach and feta pastry, along with a decadent Lily O’Briens double chocolate mousse. I enjoyed the vegetarian option again, which was served with wooden cutlery but it was much easier to just pick up and eat.

Delta Premium Select snack before landing (image: Hannah Brandler)

Arrival

We landed at 1943 local time (0343 BST), half an hour ahead of schedule, and the view coming into LAX was spectacular, with a rosy sunset and the lights of Hollywood and the SoFi Stadium twinkling on the approach.

We taxied to the Tom Bradley Terminal at gate 133, and quickly disembarked. Customs was surprisingly quick and I left the terminal within half an hour of landing.

To get to LA city centre, I followed the signs for LAX-it (a play on LA exit) just outside the terminal building – this is a designated zone just east of Terminal 1 for taxis or ride app services such as Uber and Lyft. The reason for this is that lanes in the central terminal area have been reduced due to the ongoing construction at LAX. Taxi and ride app pickups, therefore, have been relocated until works are completed.

Views from Delta of LA (photo: Hannah Brandler)

From Terminals 2, 7 and 8 there is a free shuttle bus which arrives approximately every seven minutes and operates 24/7 daily. LAX-it is also a three-minute walk from Terminal 1. Note that this is only for pick-ups – ride apps and taxi drivers can still drop off passengers at the terminal curbs for departures.

The shuttle bus takes about ten minutes and then there are various zones which are flagged on your app when you order a cab. For instance, I ordered an Uber which said the pick-up was at zone 22A. Everything is well sign-posted and my Uber arrived within five minutes.

LAX-it - Uber pick-up

Verdict

I found Delta’s Premium Select to be a great option for a more spacious and quieter cabin experience on a long-haul flight. It’s far more reasonable in price than Delta One (business class) which is about £3,600.

Service on my flight was excellent, and I was particularly impressed by the IFE and amenities, but downsides include the distance to the toilets and some worn-out seats within the cabin.

FACT BOX

Flight duration

10 hours 57 minutes

Configuration

2-3-2

Seat width

18.5 in/47 cm

Seat pitch

38 in/97 cm

Price

Internet rates for a round-trip London-LA flight in December start from £1,014 in Premium Select

Contact

delta.com

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