Welcome to a regular feature on the Eye of the Flyer blog. This blog series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this featured topic.
You’re excited! Why? You’re flying a Delta domestic route on a plane outfitted with Delta One seats — and have a seat assignment up front!
You can’t wait to sleep in your lie-flat seat, tucked in all comfy and cozy under Westin Heavenly bedding.
That won’t be hard. You’ll be so full from a Delta One entree and ice cream sundae.
The Tumi amenity kit surely will have eyeshades and earplugs to help you sleep well.
Your face hurts from that huge smile on your face while you board.
A look of confusion crosses your face when you reach your lie-flat seat. There’s no fancy bedding; just a standard, thin blanket. And the pillow is nothing special.
The amenity kit is nowhere to be found. Maybe they ran out?
Once airborne, the meal you’re served is one you’ve eaten before — in plain ole regular first class. And dessert is a pre-packaged cookie. No sundae cart to be found. The only cheese selection available is the one you’ll find in a Flight Fuel box.
You thought this was Delta One! The seats even say “Delta One”!
Technically, You’re Not Flying Delta One
Sorry to break it to you. You’re flying “standard” domestic first class — that happens be in a cabin with Delta One seats.
Delta One is an “experience” offering exclusive amenities, service, food, beverages, bells, and whistles.
Just because an aircraft is equipped with Delta One’s seats doesn’t mean each flight offers the Delta One experience.
All that said, several Delta One domestic lines offer the “experience” (Note: Some routes may get expedited 1 tray meal service vs. international Delta One that is served course by course).
How Can You Tell Which “Experience” You’ll Get?
Check out these examples from Delta.com.
Both are for a 777-200LR aircraft. The first is LAX to ATL on August 12 (a date I randomly chose).
Notice “Suite” and lie-flat bed icons. The highest offered class of service is First.
Here’s the seat map.
The seat map indeed shows the 777-200LR outfitted with Delta One Suites! But “First Class” is the top product offered. You’ll receive “only” the First Class service, meals, and beverages you normally enjoy in non-Delta One planes.
Now, here’s an example for an ATL-CDG flight later that day. (It’s quite possible this is the same exact aircraft.)
The “Suite” and lie-flat bed icons are there — except now “First Class” is replaced by “Delta One.”
Same thing. The plane is outfitted with Delta One Suites. Except this flight gets the Delta One treatment.
A Couple Other Points
Sky Club Access
Delta One “experience” guests receive complimentary Sky Club admission.
However, in our flying-first-class-but-in-a-Delta-One-seat-outfitted-aircraft situation, you need either Delta Sky Club membership (which is fairly worthless now) or one of the following products giving cardholders complimentary access to Sky Clubs (if you want to enjoy the Sky Club):
- The Platinum Card® from American Express (learn more)
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN (learn more)
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (learn more)
- Delta Reserve for Business American Express Card (learn more)
Delta One boarding passes specifically designate those passengers as being in the “Delta One” boarding group.
Our flying-first-class-but-in-a-Delta-One-outfitted-aircraft example passengers would have “PREM” (Premium) on their boarding passes. (Regardless, they’re still the first cabin to board. Just pointing this out as an indicator for which “experience” you’ll enjoy.)
Still a Nice First World Problem
Kicking back in a lie-flat seat — even without ice cream sundaes and amenity kits — is still darn nice. I’ve slept just fine in lie-flats when flying between LAX and ATL. (And that’s when the excitement started to wear off only a little.)
In fact, I’ve enjoyed better service in domestic first class — recliner seats included — than international Delta One.
Anytime we fly, we’re lucky to enjoy such a privilege.
No matter what, enjoy your flight!
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