Earlier this year I used one of my 2017 Upgrade Certificates to experience Delta One when flying from LAX to ATL, more recently, I was able to secure a similar upgrade from ATL to LAX. Unlike the Boeing 767 I experienced before, I had a chance to fly one of Delta’s longer-range Boeing 777s. In fact, with a little poking around, I was able to find out that the Boeing 777-200LR that took me from Atlanta to Los Angeles (DL546) was continuing on from Los Angeles to Sydney (DL41).
The Boeing 777-200LR (noted as “77B” on Delta’s website) has two Delta One cabins. The main Delta One cabin consists of 7 rows arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, with the second cabin consisting of 3 rows in the same configuration.
As with the B764 I flew earlier this year from LAX to ATL, the B772 also had individual air-vents over the seats. Though they are not easily accessible due to the height of the cabin (such a first world problem!), they have impressive air flow and do a good job of maintaining comfort for the passengers.
The seats on this flight were among the more comfortable that I have experienced of Delta’s lie-flat offerings. Not only was the massage function present and functional, there was much more privacy than what I had on the B764.
I can’t speak highly enough of the Delta One experience on the triple-7. It offers a considerably more comfortable ride than the 767. As I was flying alone, the privacy of the herringbone configuration of the cabin was greatly appreciated. If you are flying with someone, I would suggest you fly the Airbus A330, instead, as the reverse-herringbone allows you to maintain a conversation if you sit in the middle section of the cabin.
Paris Trip Report – Arrival and Eiffel TowerParis Trip Report – Notre-Dame de Paris, CatacombsParis Trip Report – Louvre & Musée d’OrsayParis Trip Report – VersaillesParis Trip Report – Departure
The end of a vacation is always bittersweet. On the one hand, they are never long enough and there is so much left to do… but conversely, you tend to miss things at home, like your pets. Our flight from CDG to JFK was scheduled to depart at 10:20 AM Central European Time (UTC+2), and as it was an international flight we were supposed to be at the airport three hours prior to departure.
We were unable to check-in to the flight at T-24 hours through the FlyDelta app as usual because the check-in process was operated by Air France not Delta. Adding to the frustration, upon arriving at CDG, the agent was unable to check us in because we were wait-listed for upgrades (using two more Global Upgrade Certificates). An artifact of the wait-list process is that a duplicate reservation is created on the same PNR. This in turn led to us being asked to go from the SkyPriority line to the general check-in line to hunt down a Red-Coat who told us that he didn’t know why we were asked to come down at all, because we were shown as checked in.
Because Air France was in charge of all ground operations at CDG, we were unable to verify any of this through the app, but we were given boarding passes and were able to check our bags to JFK. Another hiccup due to this process is that the FlyDelta app didn’t accurately represent the upgrade space available on the flight. At this time the app showed four seats available, but the Air France agents let us know there was only one seat unclaimed.
After reaching out to Delta on Twitter, they confirmed that this can happen when the inventory is updated locally (in Paris) and not communicated back to update the app. I’m not entirely sure how this level of disconnect can exist between two partners, especially when the flight itself was Delta marketed and operated.
As we stood in line to board we mentally prepared ourselves for the eight hour flight in Comfort+ (let’s face it – you can’t have the same seat as Economy and call it Premium Economy), a gate agent ran down to us and asked us if we were still interested in upgrades to Business Class, though they would not be next to one another. We jumped at that opportunity and found ourselves in seats 1G and 7G.
DL405 (CDG→JFK) and DL404 (JFK→CDG) are both operated by Airbus 330-300s, so we knew what to expect from our seats and in-flight experience from our trip over. Since this was a last-minute upgrade, we couldn’t reserve our meals in advance, but we were not worried at all: Delta has never disappointed us with their meals.
It was on this flight that I treated myself to some desert wine: De Bortoli Vat 5 Botrytis Semillon. Though too sweet (for my tastes) for regular drinking, it was the perfect way to end my meal after the ordeals of the day.
Upon reaching JFK, we found ourselves back at gate B38 – the same gate we left from!
After navigating customs, grabbing our bags, and dropping things off for our next flight — I didn’t want to try asking more from the Air France folks at CDG after the difficulties we experienced simply checking in and have our bags checked directly through to RDU the way the Delta agents were able to do for me. It wasn’t a big difference since the agents in JFK were right next to the bag drop.
While waiting for our next flight, I happened to look out the window and noticed not only the infamous Pink Plane, but also a group of F-15s, and KLM’s Orange Plane!
On take-off, we were able to see a “State of Kuwait” Boeing 747 (confirmed to be 9K-GAA, which was flying between Andrew’s and JFK), so I’m not sure if it was related to that at all.
Overall, the trip was an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to go back to France. I would like to spend more than a week there on my next week, and see more than just Paris: Nice, Marseilles, Lyon, and Normandy all come to mind. If you have an opportunity to travel, take it – there is so much to see, and so little time!
I’ve gotten some concerned looks in the past about some of the routes and mileage runs I’ve done to maintain my status with Delta, but believe me when I say it pays off.
I posted earlier about some excitement regarding an extremely affordable trip to Paris later this year, and after having received my Global Upgrade Certificates I had one of the smoothest certificate-related calls to date. There was space available on the outbound flight, so I was immediately confirmed for Delta One! I’m still wait-listed for the return upgrades, but all things considered I’m not too worried.
One of the nice things about booking the flights separately is that my upgrade for the JFK-CDG flight is not dependent on any other space. This makes it much more straightforward to monitor with services like ExpertFlyer.
With only a few days remaining on my Global Upgrade Certificates (from my 2017 Choice Benefits), I’ve been using them rather liberally for my recent flights to and from LAX. Since I was automatically confirmed in Comfort+, I wasn’t too disappointed when they weren’t clearing. However, on the last day of their availability, I was delighted to see that my upgrade from LAX to ATL was confirmed!
For this route, Delta reuses their B767-400 that arrives from NYC-JFK, so it is fully equipped with a Delta One configuration, as opposed to the super-cramped B767-300 or a Domestic First configuration. This meant lie-flat seats! Sure it was a short flight (just at 4 hours), but hey… anything that helps my back feel better is welcome!
With a range of over 6,000 miles, this plane was a little bit of overkill for a simple trans-continental route, but again – not complaining! It was one of the smoothest flights I’ve been on in a while, which is saying something. The GoGo was a little spotty, but I’ve noticed this to be a consistent issue of late when flying cross-country. I’m surprised if I have fewer than four outages on such a trip.
Four words: Lie. Flat. Lumbar. Massage.
While most of the features of the seat weren’t a surprise, seeing actual air vents was a relief. Many planes lack air vents in their business class cabin which leads to very frustrated (and overheated) passengers. Thankfully that was not the case here! Not pictured: additional controls (such as flight attendant call) under the silver portion of the right arm-rest.
The only complaint I had was that the LSTN headphones were terrible. They did nothing to reduce the sound of the engines. I wound up going to my Audio-Technica headphones and watching movies using them, instead. Bring your own headphones with an airline plug adapter if you find yourself on one of these planes!
It should come as no surprise to you that I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch, given the consistency at which Delta has been hitting their meals out of the park. Instead of going with the lasagna, I opted for the salmon salad. Though grilled, it was served chilled on a bed of baby spinach with feta cheese. There were also multi-colored cherry tomatoes, peppers with actual heat, and both yellow and purple potatoes. Overall a very well composed entree.
Dessert was a lemon creme cake with shredded coconut layered upon the frosting. As someone with a serious weakness for coconut, this didn’t last long. 😉
It’s not news that I love flying Delta. Between the actually happy flight attendants, excellent food, and ridiculously good operational record, it makes perfect sense for me to fly them. My only complaints are regarding the LSTN headphones (which are actually worse than the Billboard earbuds in Comfort+), and the spotty GoGo for trans-continental flights. Even still, these are small inconveniences in the scheme of things. (Though, let’s be serious… nobody likes their internet being cut while in the middle of a conversation…) I can’t wait to fly Delta One, again!
For some travel I have coming up, I noticed that my usual plane from JFK to San Diego was replaced with an internationally configured Boeing 757-200. Though this means there are substantially fewer seats in First Class (down to 16 from 20 to 26 depending on configuration), there is an opportunity to fly Delta One domestically without any upgrade certificates!
To be safe I didn’t miss out on this opportunity, I went ahead and called Delta to apply a Regional Upgrade Certificate to my reservation. As soon as I was off the phone, I noticed that my reservation now had a note indicating I was wait-listed for my upgrade (since no upgrade space had cleared yet). I wasn’t worried, though, as using a Regional Upgrade Certificate moves you to the top of the list so you are only competing with others that are using them, or those who are willing to pay to upgrade.
Delta first introduced the lie-flat seat configuration for the Boeing 757-200 four years ago. Interestingly enough, my plane had the same BusinessElite branding as from all those years ago. Some things never change, eh? 😉
B757 Delta One Cabin
As you can see from the seat-map above, the DeltaOne/BusinessElite cabin is arranged into four rows of four seats. While that means no aisle-access for everyone, it is still a huge improvement over the standard first class product. Even with the older seats, being able to be completely flat goes a long way to being functional when you land.
My only complaint with this configuration is that it is impossible to rest your left arm without hitting controls!
Domestic Delta One Meal Service
When it came time for dinner, we were given an option of fish (poached salmon) or beef. I opted for the fish as I had a delicious steak for lunch. 😉 Though this was the same meal as offered on other domestic flights, the flavor of the dish was much nicer. The acidity worked quite well for it and it maintained its flavor at 35,000 feet.
From what I can see, there are quite a few more opportunities for domestic lie-flat in my future, so I am quite excited. Since I have to be up early the next morning, being able to stay well rested makes a big difference. Having Ku-based GoGo is icing on the cake!
We took a rather round-about route because we wanted to land directly in Kochi as opposed to another city (like Delhi, Mumbai, etc.) and go through customs there. To achieve this, we flew Delta to London, British Airways to Doha, and then Jet Airways to Kochi.
On the flight to Atlanta, we had the opportunity to try Delta’s new premium peanut snack. No more self-branded nuts!
We had a short five hour layover in Atlanta, so we went to the SkyClub in terminal E and stretched out a little. We took this opportunity to get a quick nap before our next leg.
On our next leg, we flew in DeltaOne on one of Delta’s 767-300ERs. This meant we got Westin blankets and pillows, as well as Tumi toiletry kits. On longer flights, this makes all the difference in the world.
For our snack, we were given spiced Georgia pecans. These were offered with our selection of water, orange juice, or champagne.
We were then introduced to our purser and given our dinner menus. I opted for the lamb while Carrie opted for the fish.
Once we were in the air, we were given our three course meals: appetizers, main course, and our choice of dessert.
We made excellent time thanks to some storms in the US giving us a very strong tailwind. The downside being that parts of the flight were bumpier than normal.
Closer to London, we were given the option of having breakfast. Unfortunately, they didn’t bring the cabin lighting up so we weren’t able to get a very good picture of it, but it was delicious!
London-Heathrow Sheraton Skyline
We planned a nice long layover in both London and Doha to give ourselves some padding for local customs, and time to leave the airport to find a local hotel. Here, we opted for the Sheraton Skyline. They offer discounted cabs to the hotel and since I had SPG Ambassador service, I was able to arrange everything well in advance!
London-Heathrow South Gallery
Upon returning to the hotel, we had plenty of time to relax at the South Gallery, as we were flying Club World to Doha. The WiFi was nice and fast, and the food was quite nice. The cheese and wine were probably my favorite – no surprise, there!
Though we were late in leaving for our plane, we made it with plenty of time thanks to heavy fog which delayed our departure by an hour. Once we were in the air, it was smooth sailing, though! This was my first experience with a Club World seat, and though we didn’t have Westin bedding, the seat itself was much more comfortable than on Delta (even without the massage).
The Boeing 777-200 we were on was divided into four cabins: First Class, Club World, World Traveler Plus, and World Traveler. The Club World cabin was arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration, which was a little cramped compared to the 1-2-1 layout of Delta’s 767. We also do not have direct aisle-access for all seats as we do with Delta. The nice thing was that since the seats were arranged facing each other, Carrie and I were able to talk to one another without having to turn constantly.
Instructions for operating the seat!
As with our DeltaOne experience, we were given our menus by our purser and asked to select both our appetizer and main course. I opted for the steak while Carrie went with the chicken.
A very cool feature of our Boeing 777-200 was that our in-flight-entertainment OS showed us what we were flying over from different angles!
Close to landing, we were given a very quick breakfast. Pastries, smoothies, and fresh fruit.
Upon landing in the Doha airport, we made our way to the arrivals area to collect our bags. I was lucky enough to notice a very distinct curved wingtip and was rewarded with a sight of one of Qatar Airway’s Airbus 350s! For an AvGeek like myself, this was a real treat!
Since we had 13 hours in Doha, we opted to head to the nearby Marriott. Thanks to my status, I was able to guarantee a room for the same day! Gotta love it! The light poles we drove by were actually laser etched with the Qatari National Anthem, which I thought was a nice touch. They also change color periodically!
Our last flight was in economy on Jet Airways, on a Boeing 737-800. Since it was just 3 hours and 40 minutes, we thought we could tough it out. It was fairly cramped, but we were still given a full meal service and fresh tea, which was nice.
Overall it was a very positive experience, and I am decidedly pleased with my expenditure of miles!