Traveling in business class has improved by a huge measure in recent years, with lie-flat seats and direct aisle access becoming the rule rather than the exception. It’s no surprise that some carriers have chosen to completely eliminate their first class service. Delta Air Lines is the first to do so in the United States.
Delta international business class travel is redefined with the introduction of the Delta One suite. It combines best features of business and first class Delta experience. Delta One is an international business class product available on all international long-haul flights as well as transcontinental flights between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO). The term “Delta first class” is still used to describe the premium cabin on shorter domestic flights.
Delta One is marketed with three key benefits to elevate your experience on the ground and in the air: Sky Priority service on the ground, Delta One meal services in the air, and the only U.S. carrier to offer lie-flat seats on every long-haul flight. This article discusses the value of each benefit of flying Delta in more detail.
Enjoy Delta’s Sky Priority Service at Departure and Arrival
Sky Priority service includes special queues for check-in and security, complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs, and priority boarding. These can greatly improve the airport experience by resulting in shorter lines and less hassle. No one wants to lead up to a long flight with a frustrating delay in the main concourse.
If you depart from Los Angeles, you’ll also be able to experience the super-premium Delta One check-in lounge. Customers enter through a dedicated curbside entrance at T5 where they can enjoy refreshments during the check-in experience and relax on additional chairs and sofas if there happens to be a line. Afterward, you’ll be escorted to a dedicated security checkpoint, from which you can reach the newly renovated LAX Sky Club and wait for departure.
Lounge Access at Delta Sky Clubs and SkyTeam Partner Lounges
Wait for your flight at one of the many Delta Sky Clubs or SkyTeam partner lounges. Many of these airport clubs have been renovated in recent years. Even locations like San Francisco, which isn’t a Delta hub, have some exceptional facilities. The SFO Sky Club is a two-level masterpiece with hundreds of seats, modern décor, and locally inspired Asian fusion cuisine. At JFK and Atlanta you can enjoy pleasant weather on the outdoor Sky Deck. Many other locations including Seattle, Minneapolis,and Los Angeles have also been renovated.
Sky Clubs feature complimentary beer, wine, and cocktails; a mix of hot and cold snacks, Internet access, and a variety of other reading material.
Lie-Flat Seats with Direct Aisle Access
Soon it will be time to board, and again this is where Delta One really stands out from the competition. Direct aisle access for most Delta One seats means you’ll never have to climb over someone (or be climbed over!) in order to move about the cabin. Despite this, you will still find four main variations in seat configuration between aircraft.
Each aircraft has between 16 and 48 Delta business class seats in the Delta One cabin. On narrowbody planes like the Boeing 757 used for transcontinental flights, seats are arranged in a 2-2 configuration that means window seats will not have access to the aisle. However, widebody planes like the Airbus A330, Boeing 747, Boeing 767, and Boeing 777 are in a 1-2-1 configuration so that all passengers have direct aisle access.
In most cases the seats are arranged in a reverse herringbone configuration, meaning all seats point toward the center or toward the window. This is among the best ways to increase privacy because no traveler is directly facing another. However, there is not much of a divider between the middle seats, and the footrests are very close to each other. Single travelers may prefer a window seat. Delta 777 business class cabin consistently receives a lot of accolades from travelers.
An important exception to the reverse herringbone configuration is found on Boeing 777-200 aircraft. The footrests on these seats point toward the aisle instead of away from it, decreasing privacy.
Finally, all Boeing 767 aircraft have a staggered configuration with forward-facing seats, meaning that each seat faces directly forward with a large counter on the left or right. The position of the counter alternates with each row, so half of all seats will be very private in Delta One business class and passengers will enjoy the privacy and comfort on Delta international flights with direct aisle access, and the other half will be directly next to the aisle.
You might want to visit a site like SeatGuru.com to learn more about your flight before choosing a seat assignment. If there are multiple options when booking your ticket, you can enter the date and flight numbers to determine the exact configuration.
If you already have a purchased Delta ticket on hand, you may be allowed to upgrade it to Delta One. Mileage Upgrade Award is available to all SkyMiles card holders. You can use your miles to upgrade from Main Cabin to Delta One. Just make sure you have enough extra miles as Delta’s business class redemption levels are rising. For future redemptions, and to ensure you have enough miles to redeem, you can use Delta SkyMiles credit cards: Platinum Delta SkyMiles or Gold Delta SkyMiles credit cards.
Luxury Amenity Kits from TUMI and Malin+Goetz
Onboard you’ll find a TUMI amenity kit waiting at your seat with a TUMI pen, TUMI eye mask, socks, and Malin+Goetz toiletries. In addition to these luxury brands, Delta also has a partnership with Westin to provide its signature Heavenly bedding, including a down comforter and two pillows.
Domestic aircraft that provide Delta One on trans-continental routes generally do not provide amenity kits, but you can expect the Westin Heavenly bedding to provide for a better rest on red-eye flights. And for those who truly want to relax, Delta is beginning to offer pajamas to its business class passengers on select flights, starting with service from Los Angeles to Sydney and Shanghai.
Restaurant Quality Meals with Regional Menus
Finally, what about the food? There’s often little to do on a long-haul flight besides eat, sleep, and watch entertainment. Delta One claims to offer “regionally tailored, chef-curated meals” along with wines to match. Travelers generally agree that Delta’s catering is a step above most U.S. airlines. Menu selections are adjusted for each destination.
In addition to the usual selection of multi-course meals, you can also request an expedited meal service if your goal is to get extra rest before arrival. Also in Delta One you can choose from 17 special meals (the same option is available in Delta First class meals and all economy class flights )
Everything about Delta One is designed with a premium experience in mind, and Delta generally succeeds at that, going beyond the amenities and comforts provided by some of its domestic competitors on the same routes. Delta One is one of the best ways to travel long distances with Delta Air Lines.
Remember, not all flights offer Delta One — some shorter Delta international first class flights and most domestic flights still operate with a traditional “first class” cabin. Despite the name, these Delta first class international seats have fewer amenities and recline at an angle. If you’re interested in traveling in Delta business class international product, Delta One, always check to ensure that Delta uses this term to describe your flight.
You might think business class is out of your reach, but it’s surprisingly accessible if you plan it right.