Trip Report: Delta Air Lines (B767-400ER) Delta One ATL-SAN

The Details

  • Flight: DL918
  • Aircraft: B767-400ER
  • Class: Delta One (Business)
  • Seat: 9D
  • Route: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta (ATL)-San Diego (SAN)
  • Flight Time: 4hrs
  • Distance: 2,007miles
  • Departure: 8:10PM (EST)
  • Arrival: 9:28PM (PST)

The Preflight

After landing in Atlanta from Indy, I was alerted on my Delta app that I had been downgraded on the flight from Atlanta to San Diego. My original flight, DL702, had been swapped from a B767-400ER to a B767-300ER. That meant business class went from 34 to 26 seats and I had been downgraded to economy.

Delta was actually on top of this event and a few minutes after landing I received a proactive phone call from a Delta agent. She offered either $200 or 20,000 SkyMiles as compensation for the downgrade. Another choice was that I could take the later San Diego flight (DL918) in business class and still receive compensation for the delayed arrival. I elected for 20,000 miles and to take the later flight in business class.

What was originally a three-and-a-half-hour layover in Atlanta turned into a five-hour layover. I decided to walk all the way to the F terminal and then lounge hop the various Sky Clubs. The F Terminal Sky Club had an outdoor patio area with expansive views of the apron and taxiway which I enjoyed on this beautiful day.

There was an extensive offering of food options in the lounge as well. Cold options included a very tasty grilled chicken bahn mi sandwich.

There were also Asian-style noodles, tabouleh, carrot salad, and grilled chicken.

Hot food choices included stir-fried rice and teriyaki chicken.

Two soup options were vegetable and lentil soup and a chicken tortilla soup.

There was also a dip bar with hummus, cheese dip, cubed cheese, and tortilla chips. Dessert options included rice crispy bar, cookies, brownies, and pound cake.

I then made my way to the A concourse Sky Club. This gave me a great view of our B767-400ER pulling into the gate.

Our B767-400ER, registration N830MH, was delivered brand-new to Delta back in September 2000. She was over 20 years old and had spent her whole life flying for DL.

Boarding began at 7:32PM, about 25 minutes prior to our scheduled departure time.

All passengers boarded through the second door on the left side which meant business class passengers turned to the left after stepping on board.

The Flight

Delta Air Lines offers a total of 34 Delta One Studios onboard each B767-400ER arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration between the first and second set of doors.

The Delta One Studio seat is a modified Thompson Vantage seat. They are in a staggered configuration which meant odd-numbered seats were closer to the aisle while even-numbered seats were closer to the window.

Each seat is 20 inches wide.

While there was no door at the seat, there was a small wing panel next to the headrest which gave a semblance of privacy.

Each seat had an 18.5″ touchscreen IFE display which was high-definition and responsive to controls.

Below the IFE screen was the footwell. As with most staggered configuration seats, the footwell was small and restrictive.

Along the window was a very large console with smooth tabletop space.

The IFE remote and a small mirror were underneath the armrest.

A large and sturdy bi-fold tray table popped out from beneath the armrest.

A few seat controls were arranged along the console side.

Beneath the countertop was also a large storage bin. Seats that are flush along the window lack this storage space compared to the seats along the aisle. The seat was incredibly dirty…

Directly to the right of the seat were a literature pocket, water bottle, and headphone storage shelf.

I found the seat controls very intuitive.

Each seat also had two USB ports, a 110V outlet, and a headphone jack.

Next to the headrest was a small privacy wing. One thing that did bother me in the seat was the firmness of the seat. The cushioning was incredibly hard and by the end of the flight, I found it uncomfortable.

Awaiting each passenger at the seat was a small water bottle. At the door, flight attendants were distributing sanitizing wipes.

Each seat also came with a pair of noise cancelling headphones. The quality was not too bad but still not as good as my Bose QC35s.

The high-definition IFE screen was massive at 18.5″ and was highly responsive.

Boarding was completed at 7:58PM and we pushed back 12 minutes later.

We took off at 8:29PM after a twenty minute taxi to the runway.

Service began twenty minutes after takeoff with a beverage service. I had a Gin & Tonic which was pre-poured in a small plastic cup.

The “dinner” service was provided just two minutes later. Options included a turkey sandwich or superfood grain bowl. I went with the superfood grain bowl which came with a side of chocolate and crackers. The serving was pitifully small but tasty.

Throughout the flight, flight attendants would come through the cabin and refill drinks. I never went without an empty beverage.

Once dinner was finished, I reclined the seat and manage to nap to about two hours. I appreciated the “Do Not Disturb” button that Delta installed on the seats.

As we began our initial descent into San Diego, I used the Delta One lavatory behind my seat. It was nicely renovated with mood lighting. Malin+Goetz branded amenities were also provided.

I really did enjoy the lightening that Delta installed in their renovated B767-400ERs. The illuminated seat backs and blue hue gave a cabin a futuristic feel.

We began our final descent into runway 16 and then landed 11 minutes behind scheduled at 9:28PM.

The taxi to gate 48 took 13 minutes. Thanks for the ride!

Trip Report: Delta Air Lines A321 Domestic First IND-ATL

The Details

  • Flight: DL1554
  • Aircraft: A321
  • Class: Domestic First
  • Seat: 4A
  • Route: Indianapolis International (IND)-Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL)
  • Distance: 502 miles
  • Flight Time: 1hr 9min
  • Departure: 13:06
  • Arrival: 14:23

The Preflight

I was going to visit family for a few days in San Diego and managed to get a SkyMiles award ticket through Atlanta and then to San Diego onboard their B767-400ERs in Domestic First. The first leg from Indy to Atlanta was onboard Deltas regular A321. Once I parked in the economy lot and took the shuttle bus to the terminal, I made my way to the Sky Priority check-in counter.

There was a good amount of people today and there was even a line for the Sky Priority check-in counter.

Security took just a few minutes thanks to TSA Precheck and I then made my way to the Sky Club. This happens to be the only lounge at IND.

The lounge was quite full and just a few scattered sofas and chairs were available. Pictures of the lounge seating can be found in my previous trip report. Alcohol offerings included a good amount of tap beers, wine, and liqours.

Next to the bar were packaged chips and self-serve water.

Dessert was hidden in the corner of the lounge and options included cookies, brownies, and french toast.

On the other side of the bar was a Starbucks branded espresso machine.

In the center of the lounge was the buffet. The theme of today’s hot food was Mexican and choices included seasoned rice and beef barbacoa. There was also a soup available.

Cold food offerings included veggies, charcuterie, shrimp, and tortilla chips with salsa.

The seasoned shrimp and cocktail sauce were very tasty.

There were also sandwiches, salads, and hummus.

The lounge food was very good and I had an excellent lunch there. Five minutes until scheduled boarding was about to begin, I headed to the gate area.

The A321 taking me down to Atlanta today, registration N105DX, was delivered brand-new to Delta just over a year ago in September 2020.

Boarding began at 12:31PM.

The Flight

Delta Air Lines offers a total of 20 Domestic First class seats onboard their A321s arranged in the standard 2-2 configuration.

I was seated in 4A in the second to last row of the cabin. Each recliner seat had 37 inches of pitch and was 21 inches wide.

There was a very nice IFE screen as well as a variety of seatback pockets.

Underneath the screen was a USB port and headphone jack. I really do appreciate how Delta is the only airline in the United States to consistently have personal seatback screens in their Domestic First cabins.

Inbetween the seatbacks were 110V outlets and an additional USB port.

The center armrest had a small cocktail holder and an additional holder that popped out from underneath.

The large bi-fold tray table was stored underneath the center armrest.

The other armrest had the seat recline button.

Upon boarding, each passenger was given a small sanitizing wipe.

The Flight

Flight attendants closed the boarding doors at 1:00PM and we pushed back six minutes later. The taxi to runway 5R took 10 minutes as there were a few aircraft taking off before us.

On the climb out, I had clear views of the Speedway race track and downtown Indy.

Once we hit 15,000 feet, the flight attendants began service with beverages. I was served a pitiful Bloody Mary in a small plastic cup… Snack choice included Goldfish, Cliff bar, or Biscoff.

Thankfully, the flight attendant was proactive in getting me a refill.

On our way down to Atlanta, we passed by a nuclear power plant.

We began our descent into ATL just 40 minutes after taking off from IND. The approach was smooth and provided me with an awesome view of downtown Atlanta.

At 2:23PM we touched down on runway 18R followed by a nine-minute taxi to gate T6.

Thanks for the short ride!


Trip Report: Delta Air Lines (A321) Comfort+ MSP-ORD

The Details

  • Flight: DL1268
  • Aircraft: A321
  • Class: Comfort+
  • Seat: 14A and 14B
  • Route: Minneapolis-Saint Paul International (MSP)-Chicago O’Hare International (ORD)
  • Distance: 369 miles
  • Flight Time: 55min
  • Departure: 3:44PM
  • Arrival: 5:14PM

The Preflight

After spending a weekend in Saint Paul attending a friends wedding, my fiancé and I were heading back to Chicago. We took the Blue Line tram from downtown Minneapolis which took 40 minutes to get to Terminal 1 at MSP. The terminal was absolutely packed for a Sunday but it was nice to see air travel rebounding.

We made our way to the Clear line which we both have thanks to our AMEX Green Card. There were two other passengers in front of us. Clear allowed us to jump to the front of the TSA Precheck line which was about 30 passengers deep.

Once through security, we made our way to the Delta Sky Club located in the F/G concourse.

This lounge was also packed. Social distancing was impossible but we both felt comfortable thanks to our vaccinations.

There was an assortment of complimentary beverages, alcohol, and food available.

There were self-serve coffee containers, fountain drinks, tea, water, and espresso machines.

Bar snacks included pretzels and peanuts. Two bartenders were working behind the bar and were very efficient.

Cold fresh food options were served cafeteria style by lounge staff. Options included a grain bowl, tomato cucumber salad, caprese sandwich, BBQ chicken wrap, and turkey club sandwich.

Other cold dishes included pasta salad, spinach salad, salsa, hummus, and raw veggies with ranch.

There were also two hot offerings; a meatball sandwich and Italian beef sandwich. Dessert was salted caramel cookies, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and blondies.

Other snacks included oranges, Rice Krispies, and potato chips.

With 10 minutes until boarding, we headed towards gate G14 for a 3:04PM scheduled boarding time. The aircraft taking us down to Chicago was a 2.2 year-old A321, registration N377DN, that was delivered to Delta Airlines in April of 2019. She was one of 99 active A321s flying for Delta.

Boarding began four minutes after the scheduled time at 3:08PM. Comfort+ boarded after First Class and Diamond Medallion members.

The Seat

All of Delta’s A321s feature 20 First, 29 Comfort+, and 142 Main Cabin seats. The Comfort+ seats are arranged in a 3-3 configuration between rows 10-14. We were seated in the last row of Comfort+ and originally had the window and aisle with an open middle. However, the flight ended up going out completely full with a non-rev taking the last seat in our row.

Each seat was 18 inches wide and had 34 inches of pitch. I found the padding to be very comfortable for this short hour long flight.

Unlike American, Alaska, and United, Delta has installed seat back entertainment screens on the vast majority of their mainline fleet. The touchscreen was fast and responsive. Below the screen was a headphone jack and USB port.

I loved the Delta inflight entertainment which provides a plethora of information about the flight and our aircraft.

There was also a standard tray table.

Despite the literature pocket being low, I found that there was plenty of room for me to stretch my legs out. Between each seat was a power outlet and an additional USB port.

The recline button was located in the right hand armrest.

Delta has done a phenomenal job branding their seats and cabin, giving the Comfort+ section a very premium feel.

The Flight

Upon boarding, every passenger was given a sanitizing wipe. I have found the distribution of these wipes to be hit-or-miss at this point in the pandemic, with each flight being 50-50 on whether they are passed out or not.

Boarding was complete at 3:40PM about half an hour after it began. We pushed back two minutes late at 3:44PM and had a 20 minute taxi on hold on runway 30L before finally taking off at 4:03PM.

Service began 20 minutes after takeoff with drinks and snacks. Due to COVID-19, Delta has greatly cutback their inflight service. Since this flight was less than 400 miles, drinks in Comfort+ included coffee, tea, water, beer, or wine.

Snack choices included either a Biscoff or pretzel bag.

We had a very smooth rest of the flight cruising over Southern Minnesota and Northwestern Illinois.

Just 10 minutes after getting my coffee, we began our initial descent into Chicago and I was forced to down the rest of my drink quickly. With a westerly approach there were no views of the Chicago skyscrapers.

We landed at 4:55PM local time at O’Hare on the dreaded runway 9L (the furthest runway from the terminals). The taxi to Terminal 2 took almost 20 minutes and we finally pulled in at 5:14PM at gate E11.

Thanks for the ride!

Trip Report: Delta Air Lines (CRJ-900) Comfort+ ORD-MSP

The Details

  • Flight: DL3704
  • Aircraft: CRJ-900
  • Class: Comfort+
  • Seat: 5A and 5B
  • Route: Chicago O’Hare International (ORD)-Minneapolis-Saint Paul International (MSP)
  • Distance: 372 miles
  • Flight time: 1hr 10min
  • Departure: 8:44AM
  • Arrival: 10:08AM

The Preflight

My significant other and I were heading up to Saint Paul for a friends wedding and we decided to take advantage of a Delta Companion Pass that I had thanks to my Delta SkyMiles Platinum AMEX Card. With the vast majority of the United States reopening, it was no surprise to find O’Hare packed on this Friday morning. Luckily, most of the crowds were at Terminal 1 (United) and Terminal 3 (American) and Terminal 2 was relatively empty.

Thanks to my AMEX Green Card, we both had access to Clear which brought us to the front of the TSA PreCheck lane. There were just two people in the PreCheck lane and one person using Clear in front of us.

Once pass security, we headed to the Delta Sky Club which we had access to from our AMEX Platinum Cards.

The lounge was fairly empty with a good amount of seating and power ports.

In the center of the main room was an island with coffee and breakfast food. Options included donut holes, cereal, muffins, croissants, and pound cake. There was also oat meal, Cheez-Its, and fig bars.

Drinks included an espresso machine and Starbucks coffee.

Further into the lounge was a circular room with hot food, cold food, and the bar.

Hot food included turkey egg sandwiches and vegan breakfast sandwiches. There were also English muffins and bagels.

Cold food options included overnight oats, yoghurt parfait, smoothies, fruit, and hard boiled eggs.

There was a variety of alcoholic drinks available including two draft beers and house wine.

The lounge also had great views of the apron where Delta has their little operation at ORD.

With five minutes until boarding was set to begin, we made our way to gate E15. Our CRJ-900, registration N824SK, was operated by SkyWest for Delta Connection. She was 12.5 years old and was delivered brand new to SkyWest back in December 2008.

Boarding began exactly at 8:15AM with pre-boarding followed by First Class, Diamond Medallion members, then Comfort+.

The Seat

Delta Connection CRJ-900s feature 12 First, 20 Comfort+, and 44 Main Cabin seats for a total of 76 seats. Comfort+ and Main Cabin are arranged in a 2-2 configuration while First is in a 1-2 configuration.

We were seated in row 5, the first Comfort+ row. Seats were 17.3 inches wide and non-bulkhead seats in Comfort+ had 34 inches of pitch.

There was no cabin divider between first and economy class thus our row and a very generous amount of legroom. 5B jutted out into the aisle and my SO had virtually unlimited legroom.

There were no seatback entertainment screens (unlike most Delta mainline aircraft). However, there were ample literature pockets for storage.

The center armrest was rigid because the tray table was stored within. The recline button was also located there.

The tray table was incredibly floppy and well worn.

Below, in between the two seats was a power outlet and USB port.

The right armrest was standard.

The Flight

Upon boarding, we were greeted by the first class flight attendant but no sanitizing wipes were distributed. I’ve found that it is hit-or-miss across all domestic carriers on whether or not a wipe is given during boarding.

At 8:42AM the boarding doors were closed and we pushed back at 8:49AM.

The taxi to runway 9C was very quick and we took off at 9:04AM.

Due to COVID-19, Delta Airlines has cut back their inflight service. Currently, Comfort+ passengers get coffee, tea, water, beer, or wine on flights under 499 miles. Snack choices included either pretzels or a Biscoff.

While I initially asked for a beer, the flight attendant informed me that beer had not been catered on this flight.

As we neared Minneapolis, I headed to the lavatory in the forward cabin.

Weather forecasts showed some scattered thunderstorms in the Twin City area and the initial approach into MSP was fairly bumpy.

We were on final approach at 10:03AM and landed at 10:08AM on runway 30L.

The taxi to the gate too just five minutes. Thanks for the ride!

Trip Report: Delta Air Lines (B757-300) Domestic First ATL-MCO

The Details

  • Flight: DL1575
  • Aircraft: B757-300
  • Class: Domestic First
  • Seat: 5A
  • Route: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL)-Orlando International (MCO)
  • Flight Time: 1hr 5min
  • Distance: 448miles
  • Departure: 9:24AM
  • Arrival: 10:03AM

The Preflight

After arriving in on my flight from Indianapolis, I had a 90 minute layover in Atlanta. Thanks to my AMEX Platinum Card I had access to the Delta Sky Clubs. I made my way to the T concourse where the Sky Club was located on the second level above the main concourse.

Upon walking down the hallway, the bar was on the left side.

Past the bar was the main dining area with an open buffet of breakfast foods.

The seating was arranged in a large open room with great views of the apron. It was less than quarter capacity this early in the morning.

Breakfast foods included self-serve oatmeal, granola bars, cereal, and fig bars.

There was also yoghurt, granola, and overnight oats.

In addition, there were hard-boiled eggs, fruit cups, hummus, and pita chips.

Bakery items included muffins, scones, and bagels.

Hot food options included a breakfast sandwich and granola supergrain bowl.

Drink choices besides the bar included a soda machine and self-serve coffee.

I passed the time enjoying a glass of sparkling wine and plane spotting.

With 10 minutes until boarding, I made my way to the gate area. Our beautiful B757-300 was waiting at the gate. Her registration was N582NW and she had been delivered to Northwest Airlines back in July 2002. After the Delta merger, she was transferred over in October 2009.

N582NW was only one of 55 active B757-300s flying. Delta Air Lines currently operates 16 of these aircraft.

Boarding began at 8:55AM.

We boarded via door 2L and I had the opportunity to turn left into the first class cabin.

The Flight

Delta Air Lines offers 24 First class seats in the cabin between the first and second set of doors. They are arranged in a 2-2 configuration across six rows.

Immediately behind the first-class cabin was a small galley area as well as two lavatories.

I was seated in 5A. Each first-class offers 37 inches of pitch and has 20.9 inches of width.

There was a seatback entertainment screen as well as ample pockets for storage.

Delta offers my favorite inflight entertainment system out of all US airlines. There was a large selection of movies, TV shows, as well as a comprehensive inflight map, and aircraft information.

The under-seat area was large and not restricted.

In between the two seatbacks was a pair of 110V outlets.

The center console had a small tabletop area. There was also a small cocktail tray that could be pulled out.

The large bifold tray table was stored in the center armrest.

Unfortunately, it was not very stable since it did not reach across to the right armrest.

The recline button was located in the right armrest.

Upon boarding, each passenger was given a small sanitizing wipe by the friendly flight attendants.

Once most first-class passengers were seated, flight attendants came through with small bottles of water.

The captain of our flight also came out of the cockpit to give a small thank you to all of the passengers in first-class today for flying. He also provided us the flying time and what the weather was going to be like in Orlando.

We pushed back at 9:24AM and had a quick six-minute taxi to runway 9L.

Twenty minutes after take-off, flight attendants came through the cabin with a snack basket. Choices included either Biscoff or almonds.

There was also a drink service and I ordered a Bloody Mary which came pre-poured.

Just 10 minutes later we were beginning our initial descent into the Orlando area.

As we neared Orlando, I went to use the forward lavatory.

It was very basic.

We had a great view of MCO on our approach into runway 18R.

We landed at 10:37AM and had a brief 10-minute taxi to the gate. Deplaning was done via door 2L and the flight attendant did hold the economy passengers to allow all first-class passengers to deplane first.

Thanks for the ride!

This was a perfectly average flight aboard one of my favorite aircraft. I love the B757 series aircraft and will always look forward to a flight aboard this aircraft type. However, the Delta Air Lines inflight service during COVID-19 on short domestic hops still leaves a lot to be desired.

Since I had some extra time on my hands, I decided to check out the Delta Sky Club at MCO. It was located on the second floor above the concourse.

To the left of the main entrance were the bar and buffet area.

The rest of the lounge had multiple seating areas with individual couches and tables.

I used the self-serve coffee machine to make myself an Americano.

Food options included a variety of fresh cold food including wraps, sandwiches, salads, and fruit.

Other snacks included chips, crackers, nuts, and more fruit.

Sweats included cookies, brownies, rice crispies, goldfish cookies, and bars.

There was also self-serve iced tea, lemonade, and water available.

This was an excellent lounge at an outstation that Delta had at Orlando. The Sky Clubs remain my favorite domestic lounges that are offered by major carriers (United Clubs or Admirals Clubs).

Trip Report: Delta Air Lines (A321) Domestic First IND-ATL

The Details

  • Flight: DL1710
  • Aircraft: A321
  • Class: Domestic First
  • Seat: 5A
  • Route: Indianapolis International (IND)-Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL)
  • Distance: 476miles
  • Flight time: 1hr 7min
  • Departure: 5:59AM
  • Touchdown: 7:19AM

The Preflight

This flight was a special one today, as it was the first time flying out of my new home airport Indianapolis International. My SO and I had moved to Indy from Chicago for work and I was looking forward to experience the nationally ranked IND travel experience. I parked my car in the economy lot at 4:45AM and took the free shuttle which dropped me off at the terminal 15 minutes later.

While there are multiple airlines that fly out of IND, there is only one lounge, operated by Delta Air Lines. I decided to fly Delta on my trip down to Orlando, Florida with a layover in Atlanta to check-out the Sky Club.

The check-in counter had a dedicated Sky Priority lane which was a bit slow since there was only one agent staffing it. Once I had my boarding passes, I made my way through the TSA Precheck lane. Luckily, it was empty and I was the only one going through.

The Sky Club is immediately to the right of the security area on the inner side of the airport which meant no windows. A friendly agent checked me in and told me that what gate my flight would be departing from. I had about 20 minutes before boarding was scheduled to begin at 5:25AM.

Directly behind the front desk was the bar and an area with sofas.

Along the wall there were additional chairs.

Next to the bar was a toast station with pastries and bagels.

There was also self-serve water and orange juice.

The main buffet area to the back of the lounge featured hot and cold dishes. Hot options for breakfast included bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits.

Cold options included egg breakfast wrap, granola, yoguhrt parfait, fresh fruit, hard boiled eggs, and strawberry smoothies.

At the end was some cereal and bars.

Once I grabbed a breakfast sandwich to go, I made my way to the gate area which was packed with passengers. A quick look online showed that the first class was entirely full and economy was roughly 90% full. Boarding began promptly at 5:25AM.

Our A321 today, registration N110DX, was fairly new at less than one year old. She had been delivered to Delta in January 2021.

The Flight

Delta’s newest A321s feature 20 First class seats arranged in a 2-2 configuration.

I was seated in 5A which was in the last row of the First class cabin. Each seat offered roughly 35 inches of pitch and 21 inches of width. I feel that Delta First class seats to have a tightest pitch up front compared to Alaska, United, or American.

However, unlike Alaska, American, or United, Delta does offer seatback entertainment screens for their passengers on narrowbodies. The seatback also had a variety of pockets of different sizes for storing items.

I loved the screen. It was both crisp and responsive to touch. The inflight entertainment system also provided information on our specific aircraft.

The legroom was a bit tight, especially once I stored my bag down there.

It between the two seatbacks was the individual power outlets. Each passenger had a 110V outlet and USB port.

The recline button was located in the left armrest.

The center console and a small table top area for drinks. Below was a pull out tray for additional cocktails.

The bi-fold tray table was stored in the center console. It was large and sturdy.

Upon boarding, each passenger was given a sanitizng wipe.

Boarding doors were closed at 5:55AM and was pushed back a minute early at 5:59AM. The taxi to runway 5R was short and we took off a few minutes later. The climb out of IND featured beautiful sunrise views of downtown Indy.

Service began 15 minutes later with drink orders taken from front to back. Next a tray of snacks was distributed. Options included Biscoff or roasted almonds.

I had a Bloody Mary which came pre-poured and mixed. No full size cans were provided.

The rest of the flight was unremarkable as we cruised above thick clouds.

We began our initial descent into Atlanta just 35 minutes after take-off.

It was a gloomy day in Atlanta but we had a smooth landing on runway 8L at 7:19AM.

The taxi to the gate took just five minutes. Thanks for the ride!

Delta in my mind offers a fairly generic Domestic First class experience. The seatback screen was a definite pro but otherwise nothing really elevated them above the competitors.

Trip Report: Delta Airlines (B757-200) Domestic First ATL-SEA

The Details

  • Flight: DL2123
  • Aircraft: B757-200
  • Class: Domestic First
  • Seat: 5A
  • Route: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL)-Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA)
  • Distance: 2,322 miles
  • Flight time: 5hrs 22min
  • Departure: 1:40PM
  • Arrival: 4:11PM

The Preflight

After arriving from Chicago, I had about two hours and 40 minutes until this flight to Seattle was scheduled to depart. Since I was in Concourse B, I decided to head towards the Delta Sky Club near gate B18. Access was thanks to my AMEX Platinum card which allows holders to use any Sky Club when flying Delta.

The entrance was up the stairs and then down a very long hallway.

The B18 Sky Club is the largest one at Atlanta and is considered a flagship lounge with newer facilities and nicer food. The club was essentially one large open 25,000 square foot space with the food and bar area in the middle.

Along the floor to ceiling windows were seating and tables each with individual power.

Along the backwall was a self-serve espresso machine station and self-serve coffee.

The food was in a buffet style with individually packaged portions located in the middle of the lounge.

Two large refrigerators offered cold options which included a variety of salads, grilled chicken, mini-ham rolls, and mini-wraps.

Hot options included a make-your-own soup station as well as hot oatmeal station.

A bar was behind the food area and a menu was on the plexiglass divider. Next to the bar was water and tea. The self-serve soda machine was in-activated, presumably due to COVID-19.

With an hour until boarding was scheduled to begin, I decided to go check-out the Sky Club in Concourse A (by Gate A19) close to my departure gate at A29. This lounge was right next to the PF Chang’s up a set of escalators.

Compared to the Concourse B lounge, this Sky Club was empty. There was a long room with comfortable seating and then another room with views of the apron.

The food was located in between the two rooms and was similar to the offerings in the B Sky Club.

Along the wall was a self-serve espresso machine and the bar. The menu for the bar was identical to the one above.

The separate room behind the buffet had amazing views of the apron.

On my way to gate A29, I passed by a few Delta narrow bodies including another B757. I loved how the windows at ATL have great views of the aircraft.

Our beautiful B757-200, registration N820DX, was originally delivered brand new to Shanghai Airlines in June 2004. She was actually stored in March 2015 before being purchased used by Delta Airlines a year later in March 2016.

There were a total of five B757-200s purchased by Delta Airlines from Shanghai Airlines and all were retrofitted with Delta interiors by December 2017.

Boarding began promptly at 1:00PM and was done from back to front. Delta elites and first class passengers were invited to board at their leisure. Since boarding was done via door 2L, I was lucky enough to turn left towards the front of the aircraft.

The Flight

Delta Airlines has a total of four different sub-fleets of their B757-200s (not including the charter sub-fleet of B757-200s). One sub-fleet, the 75S, has lie-flat seats and is used mostly on transcontinental and international flights. Two sub-fleets, the 75H and 75D, have 20 first, 29 Comfort+, and 150 economy seats with the difference being that the 75H fleet has ETOPS. The final sub-fleet is the 75G which was the type that I was flying on today.

There were a total of 20 First, 41 Comfort+, and 132 economy seats on this aircraft with First and Comfort+ located between doors 1 and 2. The first class seats were arranged in a 2-2 configuration. Each seat had 37″ of pitch and was 20.9″ wide.

I absolutely love the attention to detail that Delta has on their seats. The stitched Delta logo and nice leather upholstery created a very refined feel in the cabin.

There was nice, responsive, high-definition IFE screen in the seatback which also had a USB port and headphone jack.

I loved how the Delta IFE provided details not only about the flight but also the aircraft itself.

Directly between and below the seatbacks were two universal power outlets.

Due to COVID-19, Delta Airlines remains the last US carrier to continue to block adjacent seats in all cabins. This meant that I was guaranteed to not have a stranger sitting next to me in first class and I had all of the space under the seats available for me.

In between the two seats was a small cocktail table.

The bi-fold tray table was stored in the center armrest.

When fully folded out, it was large and but unstable. One thing I wish Delta added was a tablet or device mount in the tray table or seatback. But if I had to pick, I would definitely prefer the IFE screen over just a device mount.

The seat recline button was located in the right armrest.

Upon boarding, each passenger was given a small sanitizing wipe by the masked and gloved flight attendants.

Boarding was completed at 1:37PM and we pushed back exactly at 1:40PM. The captain announced that we were number three for take-off and after 10 minutes we accelerated down runway 8R.

We had great views of the Atlanta suburbs as well as downtown Atlanta on the climb out.

Due to COVID-19, Delta Airlines has cut back their inflight service to an extreme degree. On flights over 1,500 miles, all passengers are given a snack box and small bottle of water. First class passengers are also given Flight Fuel boxes and a choice between beer and wine. No hot or cold food is served (unlike Alaska, American, and United) and no other alcohol is available (unlike American and United).

Service began with flight attendants passing out a snack bag.

Contents of the snack bag were Goldfish, a Cliff Bar, bottle of water, and sanitizing wipe.

Next, flight attendants came by with a tray of beer and wine. Options included Sweet Water 420, Miller Lite, a red, and a white wine. I went with the Sweet Water 420 which was good.

Then a flight attendant came through with the snack boxes. Options included either the Crave or Crunch Flight Fuel Boxes. I selected the Crunch which had tortilla chips, hummus, roasted almonds, a beef stick and Toblerone.

One thing that I did not like about the seat was how restricted it felt when the passenger in front of me reclined. While the seat recline was certainly generous, if the passenger in front reclined, then there was not enough space for you to get up.

Every 30 minutes or so, the flight attendants would make a pass through the cabin either picking up trash or offering water bottles. They wouldn’t hesitate to distribute the water and I ended up with a total of six bottles by the end of the flight. I guess that was a way for them to make up for the lack of other beverages…

Having drank so much water, I eventually had to use the lavatory. The forward lavatory was very nice and modern. There was both Malin+Goetz soap and hand lotion.

We had great views of the Rockies at 32,000 feet as we passed over Denver.

With about 90 minutes until landing, flight attendants came through the cabin with another round of snack bags and Flight Fuel Boxes.

The contents of the snack bag were identical to the previous one.

This time I selected the Crave Snack Box which included Wheat Thins, Goldfish, Skittles, wafer rolls, salami slices, white cheddar cheese spread, and Tic Tac’s. More water was also handed out.

Delta also offers live TV on their flights and I watched some of the news regarding Day 1 of Trumps second Senate trial on CNN.

As we neared Seattle, the captain came over the PA to alert us that there were views of Mt. Saint Helens off to our left.

On our approach into SEA we had great views of both the airport and downtown.

On our final into runway 16C we passed over Boeing Field with less 737 MAXs than last time I flew over it.

We landed at 4:11PM local time and the taxi to gate A13 took about five minutes. Thanks for the ride!

This was another great flight with Delta Airlines. I really enjoyed having the entire row in first class due to the Delta seat blocking policy and the flight attendants were very friendly. While the food and beverages options could be improved upon to match competitors, I still would choose to fly Delta again.

Trip Report: Delta Airlines (B717-200) Domestic First ORD-ATL

The Details

  • Flight: DL1216
  • Aircraft: B717-200
  • Class: Domestic First
  • Seat: 2A
  • Route: Chicago O’Hare International (ORD)-Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL)
  • Distance: 641 miles
  • Flight time: 1hr 29min
  • Departure: 8:05AM
  • Arrival: 10:56AM

The Preflight

In my effort to fly the B717-200 before Delta retired this aircraft type due to COVID-19, I bought an indirect routing ticket to Seattle which had me flying from Chicago to Atlanta to Seattle instead of a direct flight from ORD-SEA. Delta Airlines currently runs four daily B717-200 flights between O’Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson and I was booked on the second flight of the day.

I arrived at the airport at 6:30AM an hour before the scheduled boarding time of 7:30AM. In addition to being the first time onboard a B717-200, this was also my first time departing Terminal 2 at O’Hare. I made my way to the Sky Priority lane which had just a few passengers this morning.

Thanks to my AMEX Green card, I had a CLEAR membership which helped me through the TSA Precheck lane without having to remove my mask. I was airside within two minutes of getting my boarding pass printed. CLEAR was also distributing passenger packs which included a face mask and sanitizing gel packet.

I made my way to the Delta Sky Club which I had access to thanks to my AMEX Platinum card.

There was a good amount of comfortable seating with individual power ports and great views of the apron. There were two main rooms and the first room contained an island with food and coffee machines.

The food offerings on the island included breakfast pastries, self-serve oatmeal, Nature Valley bars, and Cheez-its. There was also a self-serve espresso machine with Starbucks coffee and a variety of syrups.

Pass the first room was a small circular room with the bar and more food offerings.

Hot options included biscuit sandwiches and there was some fresh fruit as well as cold yoghurt or parfaits.

Alcohol was also available from a bartender from behind a plexiglass divider.

I grabbed a surprisingly good sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit sandwich, chia seed coconut pudding, and Americano for breakfast.

With 10 minutes until boarding, I headed toward the gate area. I passed by one of Delta’s newest A220-100s which just look so sleek.

The flight today was departing from gate E17 which was at the very end of the concourse.

Our B717-200, registration N944AT, was delivered to AirTran Airways back in October 1999. After flying with AirTran for almost 15 years, she was stored in December 2014 when Southwest completed their merger with AirTran.

She was then given a new life with Delta Airlines when Southwest leased all of the old AirTran B717-200s to DL in September 2015. N944AT has been flying for DL ever since.

Boarding began promptly at 7:30AM and was done with Delta’s COVID-19 boarding process from back to front. Delta elites and First class passengers were invited to board at anytime.

The Flight

Delta Airlines offers a total of 12 First class, 20 Comfort+, and 78 economy seats onboard their B717s. The First class seats are arranged in a 2-2 configuration with economy in a 2-3 configuration.

I was seated in 2A in the second row of the first class cabin. The seats are similar to the Zodiac 6810 model recliner seats found aboard most other domestic DL aircraft. Each seat was 19.6″ wide and offered 37″ of pitch.

As part of their Delta Care Standard due to COVID-19, Delta Airlines is the last remaining domestic carrier to block seats in their cabins and have cabin capacity restrictions. In first class, the adjacent seats are blocked which guaranteed me the entire row.

While Delta Airlines offers seatback entertainment screens on virtually all of their aircraft in all cabins, the B717-200 is one of the exceptions. There were no IFE screens and all streaming options were via a personal device.

The legroom was fairly generous, especially since I did not have a seatmate adjacent to me.

In between each seat was a small cocktail table.

Below this was two 110V outlets and USB ports.

The bi-fold tray table was stored in the center armrest.

It was not the biggest tray table and was slightly unstable when fully opened.

The recline button was located in the left armrest.

Upon boarding, each passenger was given a small sanitizing wipe.

At 8:05AM the doors were closed and the captain announced that de-icing would commence, taking about 10 minutes at the gate.

We pushed back at 8:15AM and had a nine minute taxi to runway 10L.

At 8:26AM we rotated off 10L and had a very smooth climb out of O’Hare.

Once in the air, I opened up the Delta inflight entertainment selection on my tablet. Unfortunately, there was no inflight map available.

Due to COVID-19, Delta has cut-back on their inflight services. On flights over 350 miles, Delta offers each passenger a snack bag and small water bottle. No other beverages are available in any cabin. First class passengers on flight over 500 miles have the option of having beer or wine as well (but no hard liquor). This service cut was probably the most severe and worst of any other US airline (such as American, United, or Alaska).

Contents of the snack bag included Goldfish, a Cliff Bar, water bottle, and sanitizing wipe.

The flight attendant also came by an asked if I would like a beer or wine. Beer options included Miller Lite, Heineken, Sweet Water IPA, or Sweet Water 420. I had a delicious Sweet Water IPA.

We had a very smooth flight at 37,000 feet. Flight attendants made two more passes through the cabin during the flight, collecting trash and offering additional water bottles.

As we neared Atlanta, I used the forward lavatory which was basic. There was Delta branded soap and Malin+Goetz hand lotion.

Flight attendants prepped the cabin for landing about 15 minutes before touching down in Atlanta. We began our final approach into 8L with cloudy skies and landed at 10:49AM local time.

The taxi to gate B34 took about seven minutes and deplaning was done in an orderly fashion by cabin. Thanks for the ride N944AT!

On my way to the Sky Club, I passed by quite a few other DL B717-200s.

I thought this was a very enjoyable flight with Delta Airlines, especially since it was my first time aboard the B717-200 type aircraft. While their service has been cut-back the most during COVID-19, I appreciate how Delta continues to block adjacent seats which ensured that I was not sitting next to a stranger. The Sky Club food offerings made up for the lack of good inflight snacks and I did enjoy the IPA that I had.

Trip Report: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (E190) Euro Business AMS-BHD

The Details

  • Flight: KL947
  • Aircraft: E190
  • Class: Euro Business
  • Seat: 1A and 1C
  • Route: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)-George Best Belfast City (BHD)
  • Distance: 466 miles
  • Duration: 1hr 17min
  • Departure: 12:20PM
  • Arrival: 12:28PM

The Preflight

After arriving from Chicago aboard the KLM B747, my SO and I had five hours until our final flight to Northern Ireland. We headed towards the KLM Non-Schengen Crown Lounge which was currently being renovated. There was a good amount of seating and a variety of breakfast foods.

Both my SO and I decided to take a shower and which had a line that lasted for 30 minutes. We left the lounge 20 minutes before boarding was scheduled to begin at 11:30AM. Our gate was a bus gate and all passengers were loaded onto a single bus. The perk of priority boarding was that we got to spend more time in the freezing bus waiting for all the economy passengers.

Our Embraer E190, registration PH-EZV, was leased from Tlc Rosemary Ltd to KLM Cityhopper in April 2012.

The Flight

Europe Business aboard KLM can be described as a glorified economy seat with a meal. The seats are standard economy seats in a 2-2 configuration. No seats are blocked and you will have a seat partner if you are in the window seat. My SO was seated in 1A and I in 1C. There are a total of 100 slimline seats onboard.

Since the “business” and economy class seats are identical, KLM can adjust the size of the business class cabin simply by moving a small cloth divider. There were only two rows of Europe Business on this flight with a total of four other passengers. I found the seats to be very uncomfortable and worn down.

Each seat was 17″ wide but our bulkhead seats were slightly narrower due to the tray table stored in the armrest. Pitch was 32″ but slightly less at the bulkhead. The literature pocket was directly in the wall in front.

No predeparture beverages were offered. Boarding was completed at 12:19 and we had a very quick taxi to the runway. Soon we were rotating out of AMS with views of the English Channel.

Service began 15 minutes after takeoff with a small breakfast box. The flight had been incorrectly catered and had breakfast despite the noon departure time. Contents included fruit, yogurt, boiled egg slices, ham, roast beef, cheese, and granola. I did like the “design” of the box which kept had KLM china theme.

A round of beverages was offered I had had a cup of black coffee served in a beautiful china mug along with a glass of water.

Britain disappeared under the clouds for the remainder of our flight an soon we began our descent across the Irish Sea.

On approach into Belfast, we had some stunning views of the Northern Ireland country side.

We landed at 12:28PM local time and deplaned via air stairs. Customs took just five minutes and soon we were on our way to the Titanic Hotel.

In summary, Europe Business was sub-par compared to what legacy US carriers offer on their E190/E195s. The standard economy seats with a breakfast box should not be in my opinion called “Business” class.

Trip Report: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (B747-400M) World Business ORD-AMS

The Details

  • Flight: KL612
  • Aircraft: B747-400M
  • Class: World Business
  • Seat: 78A and 78B
  • Route: Chicago O’Hare International (ORD)-Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)
  • Distance: 4,201 miles
  • Duration: 6hrs 55min
  • Departure: 5:59PM
  • Arrival: 6:54AM

The Preflight

This was going to be a very specials flight for my SO and I since this would a few firsts. This was the first time that my SO and I were going to be flying in business class together, the first time that I was going to be flying in business on a 747, and the first time that I was seated on the second floor of the Queen of the Skies.

Naturally, I was looking forward to this flight and we arrived at Terminal 5 at Chicago O’Hare International more than three hours before departure. Terminal 5 is the main international terminal at ORD where most of the non-AA, UA flights depart from.

There was a slight line at the two KLM Business Class/Skyteam Elite check-in counters but we had our boarding passes in 15 minutes. Terminal 5 has a dedicated TSA PreCheck lane which allowed us to get airside in about five minutes.

There was a rather disappointing Air France-KLM Lounge at T5 which had a selection of cold sandwiches and packaged chips/snacks on offer. The lounge was incredibly crowded and seating was difficult to find.

Boarding began exactly on time at 4:45PM from Gate M9. Unfortunately, there were no amazing views of our jumbo jet from up close but the blue nose was unmistakable from afar.

Our B747-400M, registration PH-BFT and named “City of Tokyo”, was delivered brand new to KLM back in May 1997. She was one of only 61 of the specialized “Combi” passenger/freight B747s ever produced by Boeing.

The Flight

KLM offers a total of 35 business class seats aboard their B747-400Ms. They also have 36 premium economy, and 197 economy seats for a total of 269 passengers. The business class seats are B/E Aerospace Parallel Diamond that are all too common among other carriers.

Each seat was 20″ wide and pitch was 63″. Between each pair of seats was a non-adjustable privacy shield.

We were seated in 78A and 78B, which was the last row on the left hand side of the upper deck. There were a total of 20 business class seats arranged in a 2-2 configuration on the upper deck which had a very intimate private jet feel (not that I have even been on a private jet…) The remainder of the 15 business class seats were in the nose on the lower level.

There was a 110V outlet, USB port, and headphone jack to the left of the headrest in addition to a water bottle holder. The bi-fold tray table was stored in the center console.

The IFE screen was touchscreen but it felt dated and had very poor definition. Below the screen was a small cubby perfect for passports and wallets.

I loaded the inflight map and was surprised at just how old-school it was.

The main reason I am not a fan of the Parallel Diamond seat is the fact that the footwell is incredibly narrow. Even though the footwell was open on one side and had more space due to curvature of the hull, I still found it constrictive.

The seat controls were located in the center console and had an option for lumbar support.

Awaiting at each seat was a packaged blanket and dense pillow. The blanket was fairly comfortable and thick

We were also given a pair of KLM branded noise cancelling headphones. There were not as good as my own pair of QC35s.

Each passenger was also given a Jantaminiau amenity kit. Contents included socks, eye mask, dental kit, ear plugs, a pen, and Rituals branded lip balm and hand lotion.

Once my SO and I were situated, flight attendants came by with predeparture beverages. Options included sparkling wine, orange juice, or water. Hot towels were also passed out.

Menus were also distributed.

Boarding was completed at 5:30PM and we pushed back 10 minutes later. The Dutch pilot welcomed all passengers aboard in perfect English and announced that our flying time would be six hours and 55 minutes.

We had a fairly quick taxi to the runway and in no time the four GE CF6 engines were roaring to life. There were some good views of the Chicagoland sprawl on our climb out.

The first hour of the flight was fairly bumpy and service did not start until an hour and 25 minutes after take off. Flight attendants came around with a second round of hot towels followed by a beverage service. Cold salted mixed nuts were served in the signature KLM china. Beautiful.

Flight attendants were professional and addressed passengers by last name during the service. Interestingly, they used a tablet to enter the dinner choices. Appetizers where served two hours and 10 minutes after take-off. I opted for the crab Daikon roll which was excellent. Fresh, crisp, and with the perfect amount of sweet and sour sauce.  I’d order this at an Asian restaurant on the ground. The bread (whole grain or white) was served cold from a basket. The salad was generic with a single mozzarella ball and cherry tomato. Salt and pepper was provided in adorable little red shoes!

Forty minutes after the appetizer was served, the main course was delivered. I chose the stewed beef shank which was tender and the sauce flavorful (albeit heavy and greasy). It was clearly pre-plated as the flight attendant brought it to my seat covered still covered in aluminum foil. Instead of a red wine I opted for a 4th glass of champagne…

Three hours after departure and nearing the half-way point of the flight, the cheese and dessert service began. All 3 choices sounded good so I had cheese, fruit, and the Lemon Mousse with hazelnut brittle. Calories don’t exist on vacation right? The cheese and fruit were average. However, the Lemon Mousse was superb and the hazelnut brittle deliciously crunchy. So good that I was tempted to ask for more. A nice glass of port was my fifth alcoholic beverage of the night.

Cute Belgian chocolates of the famous KLM houses were handed out. Options included Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, or White Chocolate. The milk chocolate was definitely worth the extra calories.

Water bottles were also distributed.

After the plates were cleared, flight attendants dimmed the lights. We only had about three hours and 30 minutes left in the flight due to the initial delay in service from turbulence and the relatively slow speed of service. I dutifully made my own bed and tried unsuccessfully to get some rest.

After finishing the movie Sicario: Day of the Soldado I ventured back to the galley for some snacks. Options included stroopwafels and packaged nuts. I decided to also have a black coffee.

Just two and a half hours after dinner service concluded the lights were turned back on for breakfast. Flight attendants came around with fresh orange or apple juice and a hot towel.

Even though I was still full from the enormous dinner service and mid-flight snack, I decided to have breakfast. Why not? I picked at the Swiss Cheese and Turkey Bacon egg strata. The croissant was hot, crunchy, and inside fluffy. Flight attendants also came through the cabin offering a hard boiled egg which I declined.

After breakfast, classic KLM houses were passed out. The one on the right was the newest 99th edition “De Witte Os”. In my opinion, not as good looking as the 83rd edition on the left.

Soon we began our descent to a beautiful sunrise over the canals and landscape of the Netherlands.

We landed at 6:54AM local time in Amsterdam and taxied directly to the gate. We passed by another beautiful B747-400 in the KLM blue.

Thanks for the ride!

Overall, the flight was perfect for a red-eye trans-Atlantic. The service was professional and genuine despite being slow. The food was better than average and plated in beautiful china. And of course, any flight aboard the 747 is always a delight.