Delta has a daily nonstop service between London Heathrow and Boston Logan, departing the UK in the morning and the US in the evening. Its joint venture partner Virgin Atlantic has two daily flights.
Delta operates the Boeing B767-400ER on the route. It is currently refurbishing its entire fleet of the aircraft with premium economy cabins and a new business class seat (visit for our reviews), with 9 out of 21 aircraft currently completed. The refurbished aircraft has been in service between London and Boston since December 4, 2019.
Delta describes Boston as its newest hub, and it will be launching nonstop flights from the city to Gatwick (year-round from May 21) and Manchester (May 21 to September 7) this year.
I stayed at the new Aerotel Heathrow T3 the night before (for a review click here). This is perfect for anyone flying Delta or Virgin Atlantic, who both use Terminal 3. Exiting the tube, you turn left to get to the wing Delta shares with Virgin.
Despite staying so close I was cutting it a little fine, arriving for my 0940 flight at 0820. I had already checked in on the Delta app, which buzzed me at around 0730 to tell me the flight was on time. There were around a dozen Delta self-service bag drop desks at the terminal, but the area was quite busy, so I decided to take my luggage as carry-on and headed up the escalators to security.
The queue took around 20 minutes to process, and there were staff warning that if a bag was incorrectly packed and needed an extra search it could be another 20 to 30 minutes’ delay. Luckily I grabbed a rogue toothpaste tube out of mine at the last minute and it went through fine, so I went straight to Gate 21, around ten minutes’ walk away.
By the time I got to the gate they were boarding my zone, Zone 3, so I walked straight onto the plane and was in my seat by 0900. You pass through Premium Select, Delta’s premium economy cabin, so I had a glimpse at what I’d be flying on the way back. It was clear that all the seats were brand new. After a bit of a kerfuffle finding a spot for my suitcase, which I eventually did a few rows back, I took my seat.
At 0918 they dimmed the lights and put some blue mood lighting on, one of the features introduced through the retrofit. We were welcomed aboard and told that crew would be coming round to offer headphones. The IFE screen has normal headphone jacks rather than the two-pronged ones you often get on planes so you can use your own, which I think is a much better system. Crew were round shortly after, also offering eye masks.
The cabin had been very hot, but at 0930 the air conditioning came on and cooled it to a pleasant temperature. We pushed back at 0940 and took off a little behind schedule at 0957.
The new blue leather seats look very smart, as do the white-and-grey checked bulkheads. The seat stats are pretty standard for economy, with 18.1 inches of width and 31 inches of pitch (legroom). In this aircraft’s ‘four class’ configuration you can pay extra to sit at the front of the economy cabin in Comfort+, which gets you 34 inches of pitch. Premium economy seats are 19 inches wide with 38 inches of pitch, while up in Delta One (business) you get 20 inches of width and 77 inches of pitch (as well as a fully-flat bed and a privacy screen – you can read Tom Otley’s review here).
I found the seat comfortable, and it remained so for the 7 hour 30 minute flight. Each seat has a USB port and a universal plug point, both of which I used. The IFE screen looks quite small at 10.1 inches, but it is very clear and was responsive both by touch and using the handheld remote in the side pocket. There’s not much storage, but then I didn’t expect much. The pocket on the seat in front pulled out just enough to shove in a water bottle and a book.
The most distinctive thing about this economy seat is the headrest, which has two padded wings on either side that you can pull out to lean your head on to help you sleep. You also get a little bit of added privacy from the passenger next to you, although admittedly not much.
The headrest is not unique; airlines including BA, China Southern, El Al, KLM, Singapore Airlines, TAP and Virgin Atlantic have similar headrests on some of their new long-haul aircraft. But it was the first time I’d flown in a seat like this and it definitely helped me nod off for an hour towards the end of the flight when I hadn’t been planning to.
For me it would be even better if you could hold the wings in place more firmly, as they did start to move when I laid the full weight of my head on them. It’s also notable that you don’t get this in premium economy, which seems a shame since that seat is not actually much easier to sleep in than an economy seat.
Rows 1-9 are business (1-2-1 configuration), rows 20-23 are premium economy (2-2-2), rows 30-33 are Comfort+ (2-3-2) and rows 34-57 are the main cabin (2-3-2). Toilets are next to rows 39 and 57, so avoid those.
I was in 42C, an aisle seat towards the front of the main cabin, which was fine for me on a day flight. There was little choice by the time I checked in, but I’d go for something further up the aircraft just for the speed of getting on and off. Seats A, B, F and G on row 41 have the extra legroom afforded by exit row, although you may end up near a bassinet and your IFE screen must be put away for take-off and landing. See the full seat plan here.
I browsed through the IFE selection and picked a couple of awards season favourites to catch up on. The screen quality was very good and the sound wasn’t bad for a flight. The in-ear headphones were comfortable. There are films, TV programmes, albums and a live map, although no fancy extras like the Virgin tailcam.
Delta rolled out a new long-haul economy meal service last year. At 1015, around 15 minutes after take-off, I was given a warm towel (well, a warm wet wipe) and a bottle of water. This was followed by a nicely-designed menu with the food and drink options, which was an unexpected extra touch.
We were then told over the intercom that the flight attendants would be bringing around a ‘welcome cocktail’ – a peach bellini (Mionetto sparkling wine and peach puree). The drink itself is nothing extraordinary, but again I thought it was a welcome addition to a standard economy meal service.
The food trolley made it to me at 1111, just over an hour after takeoff. Starters were a choice of fruit with cheese, olives and almonds, or prosciutto and melon. I have been trying to do ‘Veganuary’ (vegetarian January) but the former option didn’t sound very appealing so I gave myself an overseas pass and went for the prosciutto and melon. This was very tasty and a smart choice for an airline to offer as there’s little that can go wrong.
Mains were marinated chicken breast with rice and green beans in Hollandaise sauce, chicken caesar salad with parmesan, tomatoes and croutons, or gnocchi in basil cream sauce with cherry tomatoes and toasted pine nuts. This time I did go for the vegetarian option, which was excellent. It was served with a bread roll and butter. If I made one alteration it would be to have the roll warm, but overall the meal was definitely on a par with ones I’ve had in premium economy. Dessert was salted caramel ice cream, but I was full by this point.
The drinks menu included Heineken, Miller Lite, Sweet Water Pale Ale, Bacardi rum, Baileys, Bombay Sapphire gin, Canadian Club blended whiskey, Dewar’s blended Scotch whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Finlandia vodka, Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve bourbon. The flight attendant said the wine choice was Chardonnay, “Italian white”, Californian Merlot or Barbera.
Soft drinks included Coca Cola (diet, regular and Zero), Fresca, Minute Maid, tonic, ginger ale, sparkling water, Sprite, tomato juice, Lipton black tea and Starbucks decaf and regular coffee.
Everyone put their blinds down and the flight passed uneventfully. I tucked myself under the blanket, watched my two films and then, as mentioned, managed to have an hour’s nap thanks to the comfy headrest.
An hour before landing we were given the second meal, a choice of vegetarian or chicken pizza. This looked somewhat unappetising in its little box but it tasted good, and was served alongside a chocolate truffle mousse with salted caramel. After this we were offered an individually-wrapped chunk of Toblerone, another feature of the new meal service.
We landed at 1218 local time and I was off the aircraft by 1235, though fetching a bag from a few rows back is never fun. The pilot and co-pilot said goodbye to passengers at the exit.
I’d struggle to fault this experience for a day flight in economy. Staff were friendly, the seat was comfortable, the aircraft interior was clean, the IFE worked well. I also really enjoyed the meal service, both because of the quality of the food and the extra touches (the menu, the cocktail and the final chocolate) which are simple enough to provide, but made it feel like thought had been put into the overall passenger experience.
Best for A very comfortable economy seat and quality meal service
Price A return flight in Basic Economy (seat assigned at check-in, no checked bag) started from £259 in February. Main cabin (seat selection, one checked bag and ticket change options) started from £269.
Flight time 7 hours 30 minutes
Recline 4 inches
Seat width 18.1 inches
Seat pitch 31 inches