Tried & Tested

Flight review: Delta Air Lines A330-900neo Delta One Los Angeles-London

26 Dec 2023 by Hannah Brandler
Delta Someone-Somewhere-Delta-One-amenity-kit

Background

Delta launched its Delta One (business class) product in 2017, with suites introduced on the A350-900, followed by the A330-900neo aircraft. On aircraft such as the A330-200/300, and Boeing 767-300/400, you will instead find Delta One seats.

The route from Los Angeles International (LAX) to London Heathrow (LHR) is operated by the A330-900neo, configured with 281 seats across three cabins: Delta One (29 seats), Premium Select (28 seats) and economy (224 seats).

The flight leaves LAX at 2025 and arrives into London Heathrow at 1450. This service complements transatlantic partner, and fellow SkyTeam member, Virgin Atlantic’s existing double daily service from LAX to LHR.

LAX is a vital hub for Delta, with the carrier operating more than 155 peak-day flights to nearly 55 destinations from the airport’s Terminal 3. As such, the carrier invested US$2.3 billion into improving its facilities and completed the final phase of the Delta Sky Way project in early September.

Last year saw the introduction of a centralised check-in lobby, expanded security checkpoint and baggage claim areas, plus a new Delta Sky Club. This was followed by a dedicated check-in area for Delta One customers and a new passenger entry point in June 2023.

The final phase of works, unveiled in September, included new moving walkways between Terminal 3 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal – more on this later.

For information on Delta’s premium economy product on this route, see:

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

Check-in

As previously mentioned, business class customers benefit from the brand-new Delta Sky Way at LAX, which features a glossy new dedicated check-in area for Delta One customers on Level 2 of Terminal 3.

The West Headhouse entry has self-service kiosks for bag drop and boarding passes, and the carrier has since rolled out digital ID technology at this checkpoint for a “more seamless” experience.

I completed online check-in prior to arrival at the airport so went straight to the security checkpoint on Level 3 and was through within 20 minutes. Had I checked in at the airport, however, I would have had access through a private TSA screening lane and direct access to the Delta Sky Club – next time!

The new Delta One check-in area at Los Angeles International airport (image from https://news.delta.com/)

The lounge

An expansive 3,350 sqm Delta Sky Club opened at LAX’s Terminal 3 in April 2022, with impressive facilities and a refreshing indoor-outdoor feel (including bars inside and on the terrace).

The lounge is located on the departures level between T2 and T3 and is open to Delta One and first class customers, as well as members of Delta 360 and those holding Diamond Medallion status.

The entrance itself is grand, with five self-service kiosk stations to speed up access to the lounge which is located upstairs via the escalators.

Delta Sky Club LAX (image: Hannah Brandler)

It’s a sleek design with undulating ceiling fixtures modelled on ocean waves, wooden panelling, a mosaic mural with glass tiles imported from Italy, daffodil-like lighting fixtures and large-scale mixed media works by local artists – a pamphlet by the entrance details the pieces on display.

There are wave sensors for opening doors – a legacy of Covid – and a huge range of seating areas including booths, dining tables, high-top counters, phone booths and a terrace area with hanging woven seats where you can watch the planes take off.

Floor-to-ceiling windows make the space seem even larger, and are a bonus for planespotters. The lights dimmed at 7pm, allowing me to take in the sunset views before my departure.

Delta Sky Club LAX (provided by Delta)

There are plug sockets throughout the lounge which makes it easy to charge your devices and get work done. The lounge also features a nursing room, family-size bathrooms and eight showers (which are managed by a virtual queuing system).

On the dining front, there is plenty of hot and cold food at buffets – from salads and crudités to sliders and wraps or pulled pork and plant-based options – as well as alcoholic beverages at the bar. During my visit, there was also a taco station.

A photo of a motorway exit on Sunset Boulevard, affixed to the wall above the escalator, is a fitting way to bid farewell to the lounge as you descend to make your way to the gate.

Delta Sky Club LAX (image: Hannah Brandler)

Boarding

I experienced the final phase of the Delta Sky Way works en route to the gate, with new moving walkways connecting Terminal 3 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal – previously you needed to catch a bus between the two terminals.

As I made my way to the gate, I noticed several “coming soon” outlets and there wasn’t a huge amount on the way to Gate 133. It was also a little confusing as signs began to disappear en route and I only spotted an exit sign, giving me the impression that I was going the wrong way.

I trusted my instincts, however, and continued straight on, thankfully ending up in the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Here there are plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants and the option to order food and pay from your phone.

Delta One A330-900neo gate

A crowd of people had convened at the gate, standing rather than sitting, while staff members announced that the plane was taking longer to clean than usual and thanked passengers for their patience – though it was hard to hear this over the constant alarm-style ringing noise in the terminal which was eventually dealt with.

The gate itself is a smart area – both in look and high-tech design – with a sparkly wall and digital gates which scan your face to permit boarding.

The screen showed the seats which were available in various cabins on the flight, and how many people had successfully checked in for each cabin. I had never seen this before at a gate, and staff offered passengers the opportunity to upgrade at the desk (though Delta One was full).

Boarding began at 1945 for those that needed extra assistance, followed by active duty members of the US military and then Delta One passengers.

Delta One A330-900neo seat map

The seat

Delta One has 29 fully-flat seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, with all seats benefitting from direct aisle access and featuring a sliding door. There are seven rows of 1-2-1, and the eighth row has a single window seat (see seat map above).

The seats are better known as ‘suites’ due to their fully enclosed design. This concept has proven popular with carriers across the industry in recent years due to the ample privacy and space offered.

The configuration is also slightly staggered. Seat 1A, for instance, is closer to the aisle, while 2A is nearer the window with a side table separating the seat from the aisle – I personally prefer the latter as you feel slightly more private and cosy.

For seats in the centre, there are privacy dividers to separate the passengers. All seats have an additional over-the-body strap which slots into the waist seatbelt. Passengers must wear the two seatbelts for taxiing, take-off and landing, and the privacy door must be open during take-off and landing.

The suite design is smart, with Delta’s diamond-patterned navy and grey look brightened by the red logo.

Storage space is limited, but the side table is a decent size and you can place plenty of things here – though not for take-off or landing as they’ll slide off.

When it comes to seat comfort, Delta does a good job by providing a soft duvet and pillow crafted from more than 100 recycled plastic bottles and packaged in a reusable bag. It’s a shame that there’s no mattress cover as this always feels a little cleaner and closer to your bed regime on land, but I still found the fully-flat seat largely comfortable for sleeping.

Delta Someone-Somewhere-Delta-One-amenity-kit

The seat controls are self-explanatory, with pre-set options for ‘upright’, ‘relax’, ‘lounge’ and ‘bed’ – but you can also personalise your posture with various buttons. Passengers can adjust the lighting here and set a ‘do not disturb’ button which lights up on the exterior of the door so that people aren’t woken up by staff during the breakfast service, for instance.

The tray table swings out horizontally from the end of the armrest but you can lift it up so it’s vertical if you need to move around. The armrest also has a narrow compartment which conceals a remote control and a mirror.

On the tech side, the seat features an 110-volt outlet and two USB ports, excellent noise-cancelling headphones and the impressive Delta Studio IFE system. Passengers can pick from more than 500 movies and 80 TV shows, and I enjoyed watching films on the cinema-like 18.5-inch touchscreen during my dinner. Note that passengers can’t use their own Bluetooth headphones for the IFE system.

As mentioned in my review of Premium Select, there are various filters available such as an “under 2 hours” film category and you can also save films into a list of favourites.

There was also 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$69.95 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 2023.

Further amenities include slippers, a bottle of water and a beautiful woven amenity kit handcrafted by Mexican company Someone Somewhere (which is larger than the one offered in Premium Select). The kit contains a The Humble Co. bamboo toothbrush and toothpaste, hand cream and lip balm by Grown Alchemist, a pen, eye mask and ear plugs. As you open the kit, the lining features the name of the artisan who created the pouch, which is a lovely touch.

Delta One A330-900neo seat

Best seat

It’s all dependant on personal preference, and whether you’re travelling with a friend/family member/partner or by yourself. The great news is that all seats feel private thanks to the sliding door feature.

If you’re solo, opt for a window seat to enjoy lovely views throughout the journey and the feeling of privacy. Otherwise go for a centre seat and mount your privacy divider when your companion is annoying you!

I would avoid seat 8A as it’s at the back of the cabin and can be noisy, and the same can be said about the first row. A seat in rows 2-5 are advisable – further back and you will be served food later.

Delta One A330-900neo seat

I enjoyed my seat (2A) but was disappointed that some areas hadn’t been cleaned properly, with crumbs and wrappers still left in compartments – I asked the staff for an antibacterial wipe so I could clean the surfaces and they were very apologetic.

The other downside is that there are only two toilets for the entire cabin – one at the front left of the cabin, and the other on then back right – so you may have to queue if it’s a full flight. The toilets do, however, have lovely, full-size Grown Alchemist hand soap and hand cream dispensers.

Delta One A330-900neo amenity kit

Food and drink

Delta One passengers are served dinner and breakfast on this long-haul service, as well as alcoholic beverages and a glass of sparkling wine before take-off.

Food orders were taken before take-off at 2030, the table was set at 2100 and we were offered another drink and some nuts.

The three-course dinner is served on one tray with stainless steel cutlery, and there are also snacks offered in the galley for those that get peckish in between meals.

My dinner consisted of a lentil soup with ciabatta croutons, which was quite watery unfortunately, a green salad with parmesan and a bottle of balsamic vinaigrette, plus a rosemary red onion focaccia with butter.

There were three choices for main: Jon & Vinny’s braised meatballs with garlic bread, chicken cacciatore with creamy polenta, and the vegetarian baked rigatoni with béchamel sauce and broccolini. I opted for the lasagne-style vegetarian pasta, which was very tasty.

The dinner service concludes with Delta’s famous dessert cart, from which you can build your own ice cream sundae, with several toppings on offer, or order a plate of fruit and cheese. In my case, I ordered a rather disappointing (and poorly presented) vanilla cake with strawberry icing.

Delta One A330-900neo dinner

Refreshments on this flight included Champagne Duval-Leroy Brut Reserve, a selection of red and white wines, SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale, Miller Lite and a range of spirits. Delta has also recently revamped its wine programme in partnership with Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson.

Non-alcoholic beverages, meanwhile, included a range of soft drinks, mixers and juices, Starbucks coffee, Thrive Farmers tea and still and sparking water.

The breakfast service was offered an hour and a half before landing, with the choice between cheddar scrambled eggs with cheddar, chicken date sausage and a hash brown casserole or the vegetarian courgette and red pepper pizza with kale and walnut salad. I slept through this but was greeted by some chocolates and a refreshment before landing.

Dessert on Delta One (provided by Hannah Brandler)

Arrival

There’s not a huge amount to add on this, with the plane landing very smoothly at 1426. I was landside by 1447, and on the tube home at 1500.

Verdict

Delta One is a very smart and private way to travel, complete with soft bedding which is conducive to a cosy few hours’ sleep on a long-haul journey as well as great entertainment facilities should you want to do an all-nighter.

FACT BOX

  • Flight duration 9 hours 33 minutes
  • Configuration 1-2-1
  • Seat width 22.5 in/57 cm
  • Seat pitch 79-80 in/201-203 cm
  • Price Internet rates for a round-trip Los Angeles-London flight in January start from US$3,724 (£2,933) in Delta One
  • Contact delta.com
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