Trip Report Series:
Review: Air France Lounge, New York JFK Terminal 1
Three Days in Vilnius, Lithuania
Review: IDW Esperanza Resort Lounge, Vilnius Airport
Three Days in Riga, Latvia
Review: Primeclass Business Lounge, Riga International Airport (RIX)
Review: Air Baltic Economy Class, Riga to Tallinn
Three Days in Tallinn, Estonia: A Foodie’s Paradise!
Review: Tallink Megastar, Tallinn to Helsinki
Review: Aspire Lounge, Helsinki Vantaa Airport
Review: KLM Business Class, Helsinki to London Heathrow (via Amsterdam)
Review: Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, London Heathrow
Review: Delta One Business Class, London Heathrow to Atlanta
I was so excited for my first experience flying Delta One. This would be the final U.S. Airline that I hadn’t flown in Premium Class on a long-haul flight (having flown United, American and US Airways).
There have been announcements made to Delta’s Premium Class product, starting with the introduction of suites which will debut on its A350s later this fall. And while the 767 that I flew was older, I was still looking forward to trying out the seat.
Delta is a marvelous airline. I have such respect for them as a carrier and I think that they’ve done an amazing job at creating a sustainable airline business model that will remain intact through a lot of future economic cycles. I think that Delta also has some of the best people in the industry working for them, and that their leadership Teams have inspired their frontline workers to show up to work every day and go above and beyond.
However, it would be time to see how that was put into place in the Delta One product 🙂
The Delta One business class product features a 1-2-1 layout that has staggered seating that alternate between, “window close” and “aisle close.” I had originally selected 2F, mistakenly, not realizing that it was closer to the aisle, when I really preferred the window view. The very kind flight attendant serving Business that day checked the manifest and let me know that I was able to move to the row behind me to be closer to the window.
Amenity kits were handed out, along with pre-departure beverages (orange juice, champagne or water).
I should note that around this time, I got a notification from the Fly Delta app that my bag had been loaded onboard the flight. I thought this was awesome! Except for the fat that
Pass Out City
Welp. I recall lining up for take-off, and literally before wheels were fully spooled up, I was conked out. I simply just had no reserves left.
I woke up roughly an hour later and everyone was clink-clink-ing away into their meals. Not wanting to miss out, I sprung myself to awake mode as quickly as possible and put in a few requests for appetizers.
I asked if I could try two of the appetizers: the lemongrass prawns and the radicchio and rocket salad.
The prawns came with a fennel mango salad and sriracha mango coulis. The salad featured strawberries, Roquefort cheese and spicy pretzel croutons.
My wonderful flight attendant indulged me. She told me that she was sorry the white onion soup was no longer available, but happily obliged with the two appetizers. As I lapped up the apps, I savoured the shrimp (so succulent!) and then also enjoyed the salad – although the ratio of leaves to other items was a bit odd, and out of balance. I thought Delta can also be a wee bit more creative and use their own dressing here 🙂
But wait – what is this – the onion soup is actually available after all!
For the main course, I asked the flight attendant for a recommendation – and she suggested going for the fish dish. This was a pan fried cod with an Indian twist: featuring cumin sauce, dhal makhani (lentils) and saffron rice, along with a bit of raita (yoghurt) and some naan.
This was an interesting choice. While different, I can’t say that I loved it. I know that there are some Indian dishes that feature fish, but I have never really had many before. It probably isn’t the best idea to start on an airplane 🙂
Dessert options featured either a vanilla ice cream sundae, chocolate ganache or fine cheeses. I decided to go with the ice cream sundae to keep it traditional, which I had with a baileys on ice. Toppings for the sundaes included chocolate sauce, strawberry sauce, nuts, waver cookies and whipped cream.
After dessert, I reclined and literally slept for three hours straight. I woke up briefly as we were approaching Canadian airspace.
When the flight attendant noticed that I was awake for a hot second, she offered to come by with milk and cookies, which was a really nice touch.
But again, my body had other plans for me: after the brief snack, I was out again like a lamp, and slept another three full hours, waking up roughly an hour prior to landing to have the second meal service.
The secon meal featured a tossed salad, with radish and tomatoes, soba noodles with lemongrass chicken and vegetables, or a charcuterie plate. I went with the latter and it was served with simple slices of meats, some hard and soft cheeses (including feta) and pickled vegetables. Notice the salt and pepper shakers along with the chocolate in a bow.
This was perfectly fine given that I was a zombie and pretty out of it, not to mention full from the earlier meal service, but a hot option wouldn’t have been an unwelcome addition.
Before long, we were very close to making our initial descent into Hotlanta.
We touched down about 20 minutes ahead of schedule. Taxi to the gate and immigration was smooth, but then this is where I screwed up…
Self-Connecting Ends Poorly
I had originally booked my HEL-ATL flight and ATL-DAL flights as two separate reservations. The former was booked with points and the latter was booked on revenue. When I checked in for both, I called Delta and asked to have the reservations, “stitched” together so that I could check my bag all the way from HEL to DAL. In hindsight, I should have been better about this. I normally don’t check luggage, but we were gifted some Balsams in Latvia that I wanted to take back to the States.
Well, when I checked in at Helsinki, the KLM agent told me that this was fine, but the luggage tag had too many stopovers to put everything onto one line. He just printed out another one. Okay, fine.
As I mentioned earlier, I received this notification when I boarded my ATL flight at LHR, so I felt like I was in good shape.
As it turns out, Delta sorts luggage differently at Atlanta for terminating passengers versus connecting passengers. Apparently, if you’re concluding your journey in Atlanta, you retrieve your bag in one place, but in my case, I guess the whole situation was screwed up and unclear. I couldn’t see the bag at the carousel, but was told it was delivered, then was sent to a different terminal, and then it turned into a mouse hunt. I couldn’t continue because I was otherwise going to miss my flight to Dallas Love. So, I decided to just wait until I got to DAL and filed a lost luggage claim.
The staff at ATL were extremely unhelpful, and lazy. I was quite disappointed given the high praise that I provided Delta earlier in this report. I was really annoyed by their lack of transparency and consistency in the process, and how they seemed so nonchalant about it. The TSA in ATL are also just obnoxious. They shut down precheck after 5:30, and given how busy Atlanta is even as late as 8 PM, I find that truly unacceptable.
That said, I tried to separate my experience with Delta (in-flight) from the ATL ground experience. The staff on board DL 33 were absolutely wonderful. They were kind and courteous, and I believe a few of them were a former Northwest Airlines crew. I slept very well, ate decently and felt very comfortable.
The Delta One product is fantastic. I would never hesitate to fly it again.