Delta introduced its new business class – Delta One, in 2017 on the A350 fleet. Since then it has been rolled out across the long-haul fleet, though the retrofitting of several different aircraft types has meant there are significant differences between the seats depending on which aircraft you fly.
It’s taken a while for the aircraft on routes such as London Heathrow to be retrofitted, but this is now happening with the fleet including the B767-400ERs. Read our reviews of economy and premium economy on the aircraft by visiting the links.
I was on flight DL2, leaving Heathrow on a Sunday at 1030 and arriving into New York JFK at 1330, a flight of some seven and a half hours. Delta, like its partner Virgin Atlantic, departs from terminal 3, Zone A.
I went through a security check for US departures – I didn’t have any bags to check, but collected my boarding card and then took the lift up to the dedicated security, where there was no queue. I then walked to the Virgin Atlantic lounge, taking the lift up.
The Virgin Clubhouse lounge was reasonably busy this Sunday morning, but I had no trouble finding a seat and after having a yoghurt and fresh berries form the buffet, ordered a sausage sandwich and cappuccino at the high tables close to the entrance, then afterwards relaxed in a comfortable chair close to the windows before boarding. Flights are called from the lounge but, I was warned, only once. I promised I would listen carefully, though in the event I left a little early because I’d rather get on early and get settled.
There was no queue at Sky Priority boarding at Gate 17, and a few minutes later, Priority Boarding commenced.
This Delta One seat differs from the ones on the A350s by not having sliding doors, but it does have higher sides and a divider between the middle seats for privacy. All 34 seats in a 1-2-1 (A-BC-D) configuration have direct aisle access. The seat is a hybrid of the Vantage XL and an earlier Vantage model by Thompson Aero (you can read more about the seat type and where you can find it on businesstraveller.com in our Business class seat guide).
The seats are staggered, so that 1A and 1D are close to the aisle, while 2A and 2D are closer to the window with the side table protecting from the aisle.
The seat has a nice leather Delta Blue to it with pale blue stitching, while the rest of the seat is very dark, possibly black, though with white surrounds to the seat.
At the seat was waiting the Tumi amenity pack, which had wrapping on it encouraging us to reuse it. There was also a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, offered in partnership with Los Angeles-based sound and philanthropic company LSTN Sound Co. These have been developed specifically for in-flight and are work well, but through its partnership with LSTN, Delta will be supporting Starkey Hearing Foundation, LSTN’s philanthropic partner which has provided ear care and hearing aids to more than 22,000 people in the last four years.
The side table has a panel with some easy to understand and operate pre-set buttons for positions of the seat (upright, relax, lounge, bed) as well as the lights for the ambient lighting around the seat and a feature light (that’s the side light – you can’t read by it) and the do not disturb notification for the flight attendants. The call button is on the small handset for the inflight entertainment.
The screen is 18 inches and close enough for you to use its touchscreen functionality. For a seat with a limited amount of personal space, there’s quite a bit of storage, though none of it can be used for take-off and landing. Once you are airborne there is the side table and then two areas where you can store personal items, though they have no door or lid on them.
The seat is narrow. When we were waiting for take-off I was typing on my laptop with it on my lap, and my elbows had to be jammed against the side of my body to be able to do so. That said, it is very private. My seat 1C had a large panel between it and the adjacent seat, and I would have had to sit up very straight to talk to the person next door, but of course had the option of moving that barrier if we were travelling together.
If I was travelling on my own I would pick one of the window seats which is closer to the window, so here that would be the even rows, so seats 2A and 2D, 4A and 4D and so on. If I was in a couple or with a friend, and still speaking by the time we were on board, I would go for the centre seats (B and C) from Row 1 and odd numbers after that. Service is at the front of the cabin, so if you want to sleep, take a seat at the back half because even the most careful of flight attendants drops one in ten items, and if they are chatty, you are not going to get any sleep. On a day flight, it’s good to be at the front since you get served first.
Once on board we were offered water, champagne, orange or mimosa. Coats were hung and the pilot came on the IFE system to welcome us. We took off on time, but as with some previous flights with Delta, the seatbelt sign took an age to be turned off, and for the first two hours of the flight it was on for most of the time. Since there was no turbulence, passengers in the cabin ignored it, using the washrooms and getting bags from overhead compartments.
I had been invited by email to pre-choose my meal, and had done so (the choice is from the menu on board, there aren’t additional options) but the full choice was a trio of starters (you got all three):
- Poached ginger lemongrass shrimp with lobster mayonnaise, fennel salad and pomegranate seeds
- little gem salad with parmesan crostini served with Caesar dressing
- tomato basil soup with dill crème fraiche
The main course options were:
- grilled beef tenderloin with potato gratin, onions, port wine sauce and blanched radishes, served with sauce béarnaise
- spinach and cheese stuffed chicken breast with baby carrots, duck fat potatoes and oyster mushrooms, served with port wine sauce
- fried salmon with Vizcaina sauce, leek cake, cherry tomato and broccolini
- fresh mozzarella and spinach Panciotti with roasted Romanesco and zucchini
I’d chosen the pasta, which came on a plate so hot the flight attendant had trouble serving it, but strangely, the food was only tepid.
- vanilla ice cream sundae with a choice of sauces, nuts, wafer cookie and whipped cream
- pear, lemon and caramel cake, selection of fine cheeses
- Montero, Royale Morbier and Fourme d”ambert with fruit and chutney
The drink options were an initial offer of a cocktail of cranberry bourbon made with Woodford reserve Kentucky straight bourbon whisky, ginger ale, cranberry apple with a lime wedge.
Champagne was Canard-Duchene Brut Cuvee Leonie. Whites were a Chateau Ste. Michelle “Mimi” Chardonnay from Washington State, and Banfi Principessa Gavia Gavi DOCG, Piedmont, Italy. Reds were Broken Earth Estate Merlot, Pas Robles, California, 2014 and a Pertinace Barbera D’Alba DOC, Piedmont, Italy, 2017.
During the flight there was also a choice from the Skybasket (snacks), then a mid-flight snack of warm chocolate chip cookies and then before landing a choice of a ‘Signature burger’ or a warm crab cake salad, although in the event, this didn’t happen.
Although the B767-400ER has been in Delta’s fleet for many years, it has been completely refitted throughout all the cabins, and also has a new inflight entertainment system and wifi. I had no particular problems with it, but many people did and so they had to reset the entire aircraft system meaning there was around a 5-7 minute reset.
In addition, my handset didn’t work, and I also noticed that flight announcements cut out the sound in my headphones, but didn’t come through the headphones, so I had to take them off to hear what was being said (about turbulence etc…).
In addition, the wifi coverage was spotty, at best, with the various payment options appearing, but actually the ability to “Watch Free Entertainment – find hundreds of titles on Delta Studio for free” didn’t work. Wifi for the entire flight was charged at $28.95, though there were also options for one hour and three hours.
Service was good, and when I asked for some earplugs so I could sleep (there were none in the amenity pack) one of the flight attendants apologised but said since the packs were at the rear of the aircraft, it would take time to get them since service was going on in the Main Cabin, and so offered some from her own pack. I had no problem sleeping for a couple of hours.
When I awoke, there was an announcement that we were going to have some moderate turbulence going into New York, and so all service would be suspended. Safety is paramount, of course, but it did mean a slightly anti-climactic end to the flight, since for the remaining 90 minutes the seatbelt sign was on and we sat in our seats, waiting for the turbulence which never came.
Instead, we enjoyed a very smooth flight all the way into New York JFK arriving 15 minutes early at 1315. We then had a 15-minute wait for the air bridge to be fixed, and were off the aircraft at 1335. Unlike my previous Terminal 4 experience four weeks ago which was a two-hour wait at immigration, despite signs warning of a 30-minute wait, I was through in less than two minutes.
This is a very recognisable business class seat (you will see versions of it on airlines as diverse as Aer Lingus, Malaysia Airlines, Swiss and Qantas) and provides a fully flat bed, direct aisle access and privacy. Service was a little interrupted but very friendly and helpful and the new inflight entertainment and wifi is a definite improvement, once the glitches have been ironed out.
- Best for a good flat bed seat and privacy
- Seat width 20 inches
- Bed length 77 inches
- Flight time 7 hours, 45 minutes
- Configuration 1-2-1
- Recline 180 degrees
- Seat width 23 inches (58.4cm)