Delta Air Lines is arguably the best of the three major airlines in the USA - offering excellent service in all classes of service including its top cabin, Delta One. With flat-bed seats, celebrity chef partnerships for meals served on designer Alessi dishes and Tumi amenity kits, the airline chooses to partner with high-end brands that match its own ethos.
Delta offers a First Class and a Delta One fare, albeit never for the same flight. Confusingly, Delta One is the airline’s premium offering – and is available mostly on its long-haul international flights. First Class is available on domestic/shorter flights and invariably does not provide a lie-flat seat.
The Delta coast-to-coast network in the United States is unrivalled, and its international route map includes six continents, all of which are flown with the Delta One product. The airline invests in the customer experience, and its fliers are fiercely loyal to the airline and its associated SkyMiles program.
A founding member of SkyTeam, Delta has nearly a dozen airline partners with whom passengers can earn and redeem miles for their flights including Aeroméxico, Air France, China Eastern, Kenya Airways, KLM, Middle East Airlines and Vietnam Airlines. There is also the opportunity to codeshare with these airlines - travellers can fly multiple SkyTeam airlines on the same ticket.
SkyTeam Elite Plus members from other partner airlines can enjoy special benefits when flying with Delta, even if in economy class.
Delta’s international hubs span the globe, but one thing SkyTeam does well is the ground experience. SkyPriority is a priority-lane service for premium cabin passengers and elite members of all SkyTeam members. Signage indicates where passengers can check in, use fast-track security lanes, board flights early as well as access lounge facilities.
Delta’s Sky Club network is extensive spanning dozens of airports around the United States and a handful of overseas locations. The lounges feature workspace, free wireless internet, and complimentary bars with wine, beer and cocktails. A unique amenity to Delta’s SkyMiles program is that in many Sky Clubs, members can redeem miles for premium drinks like a bottle of Dom Pérignon or specialty cocktails.
Some Sky Clubs offer showers, and a few (Atlanta, Austin and New York JFK) have outdoor viewing decks where passengers can watch the planes - as they quaff pre-flight cocktails.
Food service in Sky Clubs is a step above the domestic competition with salads, sweet and salty snacks, soup and often a hot option. In its international gateway cities including Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York JFK and Seattle/Tacoma, there is an upgraded option of hot and cold buffet items. In cities where there is no Delta Sky Club, international Business Class passengers may have access to a partner lounge, sometimes affiliated with SkyTeam. The only exception is in domestic U.S. cities without a Sky Club, Delta typically does not partner with other U.S. airlines for access.
The airline’s long-haul fleet consists of Airbus A330 and A350 plus Boeing 757 and 767-300/400 aircraft. All of these are fitted with the Delta One Business Class seat, but the product can vary wildly as the airline has updated its fleet in stages leaving some planes with more archaic seats than others. All have flat-bed seats with leather covers featuring the airline’s logo, but the width, screen quality and layout varies.
Its best equipped aircraft are the Airbus A350s which boast suites that feature doors that slide closed for maximum onboard privacy. They feature a spacious side table, easy access power and USB outlets, and the largest screens on the airline’s fleet. Second best is the Airbus A330, which can come in various configurations, with the newest 900 models sporting the best product. All of them have a reverse herringbone layout in a 1-2-1 configuration. The seats can feel partially exposed since there is no aisle divider, but those in the centre section have partial separating panels. Those travelling together will prefer a seat in the centre section.
While most Delta A350s feature the Delta One suites, the airline also operates a small sub-fleet of nine former LATAM A350s that offer a sub-standard 2-2-2 configuration. Delta gave the aircraft a nose-to-tail cabin refurbishment, but retained the original seats. Annoyingly, the window seat passenger on these planes must step over their seatmate to access the aisle. Similarly, the narrowbody Boeing 757 that Delta uses on some international sectors have a 2-2 layout.
In 2019, the entire twenty-one strong 767-400 fleet underwent a retrofit in Business Class – creating a contemporary 34 lie-flat seat cabin - in 1-2-1 configuration. The Delta One product on the 400s has been well received and the seat is a huge improvement on the old offering.
One thing Delta does well is that it provides storage space for small items as well as air vents on these planes so that passengers always feel comfortable inflight. When possible, opt to fly on an Airbus A330 or A350 for the best experience, especially those with the Delta One suite experience so that you can close the door and relax.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes images, videos and seat maps for most airlines and aircraft Search results also include details such as seat pitch, width and recline. This way you can see the seat and cabin configuration of the flight in which you are interested, before making your choice.
Delta’s onboard service has many fans as it is oft-viewed as the friendliest long-haul American airline. On many flights (it can vary based on the catering facility), Delta partners with celebrity chefs to provide tasty and modern meals. It is also working with high-end caterer Do & Co, which prepares meals for airlines like Austrian and Turkish Airlines to handle its Delta One service on many flights. No matter which destination you are flying to, you can expect a lot from Delta One cuisine when it comes to a North American carrier.
The meal begins with an aperitif and a ramekin of nuts delivered at the seat by a flight attendant in each aisle. They lay linens on the tray table at the same time. While they use a clunky economy class-style cart, they try to make it look attractive by covering it with a cloth and using attractive wine caddies and silver baskets from Alessi.
Next up is another pass of the beverage cart for refills as an Alessi-designed tray with bespoke dishes and silverware made for Delta. On the tray is a bread plate (filled with a warm roll from the basket), appetiser, salad and soup. These are the same for all passengers, and the airline goes to great detail to explain what is being served in its printed menus.
The main course, which can be ordered online in advance, soon follows as flight attendants collect the appetiser plate and replace it with the main dish. Most of the time this consists of either beef, pasta, seafood or poultry, and on many routes (like those from Atlanta or New York) one dish is usually prepared by a local signature restaurant. Occasionally, there are additional specialty options available for pre-order taking the entrée count up to six or seven choices on certain routes. This is more than any other North American carrier offers.
Once the tray is collected, an elaborate, two-tiered dessert trolley passes through the aisle with cakes, ice cream sundaes made to order, and a selection of fruit and cheese artfully presented on yet another silver Alessi design piece. Cordials, coffee and tea round out the service, which is a beautifully delivered service.
A snack basket offering is available between meals, and on longer flights, such as those to Asia, a mid-flight snack is served on a tray (usually a salad or sandwich). Ninety minutes before landing, a pre-arrival meal is served on a tray and varies based on the time of day. There is a choice between a hot or cold selection.
Special meals are available for pre-order, which can be facilitated online or via the app within a week of flight departure. Travellers can request a variety of vegetarian, low-calorie, Kosher, or bland meals (among others) if they wish. There is no “dine-on-demand” service, but there is an option to have an express meal served all at once after takeoff. The flight crew is willing to oblige special request if time allows.
Before takeoff, a tray of water, orange juice or sparkling wine is passed around to each seat. After takeoff, more beverages from the bar are available including two white wines, two red wines, port, several international beers and Champagne, currently Canard-Duchêne Brut Cuvée Léonie.
A list of spirits and liqueurs are available including Woodford Reserve and Amarula - with mixers plus juice, soft drinks, Starbucks coffee and tea. The beverage selection can sometimes vary depending on the destination with things like sake or green tea on flights to Asia.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on which Champagne is served in Business Class and First Class on many airlines. We do our best to keep track of any changes, but feel free to let us know if there is something we missed.
Another thing that really sets Delta apart is the hospitality and care of its people. Its flight attendants are not part of a union, and their interest in inflight service is a hallmark of the experience from most of them. Delta is regularly considered the friendliest and most caring of North American airlines. While this is a generalisation, it is often evident.
Delta has so many international aircraft that its entertainment product can vary. On the Boeing 757 and 767-300ER, the screens are rather small while on the newer Airbus A350 and A330s, they are larger. All have a solid mix of films, short-subject programs including sitcoms and documentaries, and music selections. Delta often shows off the work of independent producers and writers, which is a refreshing change. Programming is available in many languages with noise-reducing headphones available before takeoff at each seat.
A moving map display is available on international flights, but it is generally a lower-quality offering than its competitors. Where Delta does shine, however, is in its wireless internet offering. It is available on almost all Delta flights for a fee, which is charged based on time limit (not bandwidth).
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on inflight entertainment and Wi-Fi.
Tumi-branded amenity kits, many of which can be monogrammed for free at any Tumi retail store, stock basic toiletries like dental kits, lip balm and lotion. Notable additions include designer-branded socks, breath mints and hand sanitiser. Delta’s large pillow and duvet are part of the Westin Hotels Heavenly Bed collection and are incredibly plush and soft. These are available at every seat before takeoff. On flights to Asia, slippers are also available.
Families travelling with infants can request a bassinet on long-haul flights to use at certain seats.
In addition to long-haul, widebody flights, Delta One (and its flat-bed seating and premium menus) is available on domestic transcontinental flights between New York and Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco. Delta One is also available on other select routes including transcontinental flights from Boston among a few others. A similar menu to long-haul flights is available based on the time of flight. The same excellent Westin Heavenly Bed pillow and duvet as well as amenity kits are on offer as well.
The airline offers a similar open bar on domestic Delta One as on most international flights. It should be noted that on these planes, Business Class seats can vary based on the aircraft used, and Delta is known to fly different narrowbody and widebody planes on these routes.
Like many of it´s North American competitors, Delta brands the premium cabin on most domestic flights as First Class. The onboard experience is largely akin to a Business Class product. Comfortable recliner seats and an open bar are trademarks of domestic First Class within the US, with only a limited food offering even on relatively long domestic flights.
Delta is a leader in sustainability among North American carriers. The airline was one of the first to introduce an onboard recycling program in the 1990s, and it continues to do so today while also making an effort to reduce single-use plastic.
The airline is heavily invested in the communities it serves taking part in nonprofit events and supporting them financially. One such organization is Habitat for Humanity where Delta employees regularly build new homes for the less fortunate.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on CO2 emissions for each flight. Our quality algorithms also give a higher score to flights operated by the most modern and environmentally friendly aircraft.
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