Bumpertunites, weather and your Delta options (and what NOT to do) – Part 1
Airport Express SFO stood me up (a service to avoid) & UBER saves the day – Part 2
Delta Air Lines DeltaONE 757 seats and service SFO to NYC (and back) review – Part 3
The Radisson Blu Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco review – Part 4
Delta Same day change, regional upgrade certificates and open space – Part 5
Are Delta Mileage Runs still worth it anymore? (a hard look at the numbers) – Part 6
I have really been looking forward to flying DeltaONE 757 service, but clearly did not want to pay retail ($1-3k) for the privilege. I had a chance once before from JFK, but my bird was downgraded to the older cradle seats even though the seat map showed the new full flat ones. To say I was disappointed is putting it mildly! But this one worked.
Let’s start off with the basics on upgrades. On the JFK-LAX/SFO route you can only get complimentary upgrades as a Diamond. The upgrade is what Delta calls an “exception” and you will, if you call at the 24 hour mark before your flight and before you check-in, have the “stand by” for upgrade activated by the medallion rep. Many are reporting that if you just wait that you will auto-activate at the 6 hour mark. I called and I would call if I were you. I attempted to try to be added a bit before the 24 hour mark but it did not work (i.e. rep attempted but even though she said she had, when I called at 24 hour mark to confirm, it was wrong). As you can see from the GIDS shot above I cleared with about 1 hour to go before flight. I also had to call back at the 24 hour mark for the return and cleared just before boarding.
Two quick shots of C+ seats as I boarded. I had originally picked one of the two seaters up front and it would have been fine. Both the outbound and the return flights were very light passenger wise and folks in C+ moved around to have seats open between them.
First impressions was that the cabin has squeezed as much seating into a small area as possible and that feeling only deepened during the flights. The aisle is narrow and the cabin “feels” tight. They have really used every inch they could. But the seats themselves are nice.
Unlike the 777 herringbone seats, these are only slightly angled and after a bit you really don’t notice. Shoulder width and such was fine and other than my seat mate spreading out her “stuff” and hogging the shared space I had no issues.
A single power and USB power port are behind you as well as the IFE sound jack. I both like and hate where this is located. I like it is out of the way but I hate that you have to have the cords snaking over and around you. I would rather have them in front or closer to the bottom of the seat. Not the best design if you ask me. It was a good place for the TUMI kit. I am just shy of 6 foot tall and leg room was ample and great as you can see. A bit cramped, yes, but again there is only so much space to work with.
Seat controls were very nice and very simple. A good design and the plus was it is close at hand. The minus is you can hit it now and then accidentally. Overall good. IFE (in flight entertainment) control is standard touch screen or you can use the remote in your seat. Both worked well (when the IFE was running). The tray table is in the side pocket and worked well and gave you ample extension and space. I like this design for function.
Nothing like starting the day with a mimosa and nice to see this extra touch on this route. I would like to see this more as it is not like Delta is using a top notch champagne anyway and how much more could a bottle of bubbly wine add to the cost of say an ATL-SFO route etc? Just a thought.
Drink service began with the now consistent cart service just like on international flights, that is, a cart covered with a black DeltaONE cover. Some prefer the personal service like other airlines do that is running back and forth to the galley. I guess I really don’t care one way or the other as long as the service is quick and I think the cart service does provide that.
While it is nice to see a menu for breakfast, the actual breakfast was not “that” impressive. Compared to the standard business class breakfast we started with a smoked salmon and fruit starter course and then after that the standard Delta omelet. They also ran out after me with a full row to go in DeltaONE class. Not good if I had paid over $1,000 for this flight. Over all good but not anything “that” special and the same ugly brown faux wood grain trays.
Let me break in here and say what was special was the service. It was truly impressive. The FA in charge of the cabin was just about always around. I never had to wait for anything and was asked most times if I needed anything or wanted a refill. The service was SO good I gave up one of my few Delta provided Job Well Done certs. I will contrast this with the return trip later on.
The only real issue was a mechanical delay out of SFO. There was not enough pressure to fire up the engines. This happens more often than you might think and is not a major issue. Once one is running they can draw power to start the next one. Our issue was we were pushed way out and had to be dragged all the way back to the gate to power up. The result was an hour delay departing. The crew made up almost all the delay in the air, but then we had to circle inbound to JFK.
The result was I had VERY little time to make my connection back to SFO but it worked. My first ride was parked next door to my next ride and I all but walked off one flight and onto the next to fly back.
My return flight was nothing like my outbound. We departed on time but that was one of the high points of this JFK based crew return flight. To start with the IFE was buggy and had to restart. Next, the service was just about the worst I have had in over 50 segments on Delta this year. I had to, for the first time all year, hit the “ding” button just to get a water. What a complete let down after the amazing outbound crew.
Much like the outbound, dinner was two courses (I removed the ugly tray btw). I have often referred to the Delta transcon service as international “lite”. I think a better choice would be domestic plus or D+ service as it is better but nothing like Delta international. The starter course, prosciutto, cheese and asparagus was quite good. The dinner, while it may not look like much, was a little bit of chicken, sausage and spicy jambalaya and it was good too. Nice fire for the taste buds. I enjoyed it.
I am really happy I got to test this out and at a decent price. I earned 5,172 MQMs for this round trip (and a few thousand SkyMiles I no longer care about) for just $310.60. That would have resulted in 6CPM (not all that great) but I used a bump voucher so my net cost was zero. I even used a voucher to fly out to SFO, so my positioning cost to try the product was also zero and I scored an extra 4,178 MQMs for those flights.
Some final thoughts. If you are flying with a partner it really is no big deal not to have direct aisle access. However, the space is REALLY tight and getting out if your seat mate does not get up is a challenge. I had window out and aisle back and was happy to pop up when my seat mate wanted up. Please do this if you are in these seats.
I have to say my overall impression, maybe partially due to half amazing half lack luster service, was underwhelming. Yes, this is a nice product and a step above normal Delta business class service but I would not pay hundreds more over standard business class. I would NEVER EVER use a global upgrade certs for this flight alone unless it were incorporated into an international trip with this as one of the segments.
Lastly, with confirmed seats, Delta is currently upgrading the Skyclub food choices preflight. An interesting idea and I think we may see more and more of this as Delta does focus their attention on improving the Skyclub experience overall.
Have you had a chance to fly the Delta transcon service? Have you been impressed? – René
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