This was my final part of my month long vacation extravaganza. You may recall I “just” made it to the airport with 4 million football crazy (and I do mean crazy) fans flooding onto the highway to the airport to cheer on the World Cup winning national team. My what an adventure I do not want to repeat.
Also as a quick review I started this trip flying Iberia on Alaska points for a great value and stayed at the Sheraton in Lisbon on points before my sailing. I stacked a blizzard of deals to get my 21-day Norwegian Forward Suite cruise at an incredible discount and even enjoyed a few days in Buenos Aries on Hilton points before departure.
This flight was another example of how simply bat crazy insane Delta One tickets have become and how I am working hard to spend my SkyMiles down to near zero as any realistic value of them for aspirational travel is now long dead and destroyed by Delta SkyMiles team.
I was, however, able to book Delta Premium Select (Premium Economy) which is very much like a domestic first class seat but nothing more for 89,000 Skymiles. Delta used to offer when the product first launched the same food as Delta One but only on one tray vs. course by course as served in the forward cabin. A few weeks later, I was presented with an upgrade offer with SkyMiles to Delta One for 53,000 Skymiles each. That was a price I could live with in the current environment of the rewards program and half what it would have cost to book it in Delta One to begin with.
The trip home, beyond the nightmare ride to the airport, did not get better once there. Tons of folks, including a massive amount of staff, had made it very early to the airport. However, the Delta staff made us all wait for endless hours and did not open up check-in until 3 hours before the flight – thanks so much for that, Delta!
I chose to pass on the review of the lounge in Buenos Aires because it was loud, uninspiring, and the food choices disappointing. The Delta 767-400ER is one of the latest (the latest in wide body) jets to get a seat refresh. These are a compact but functional upgrade over their previous generation seats that had long outlived their life span.
The crew seemed good and we were presented with some low-quality sparkling wine to begin (for those who don’t know – Delta is currently spending as absolutely little as possible on all wines including putting domestic wine into a soda can). More about these seats.
The tray table is smartly hidden inside the armrest and mine worked just fine. I will be interested in how long they keep working as installed.
In addition to simple controls at shoulder level there are simple and useful seat controls when reclined for sleeping. A good design move. Now to the soft products.
It has been a while since I flew Delta One internationally but I don’t ever recall slippers before. Yes, years ago there were Delta One pajamas (that were amazing and so soft) but those have been gone for a LONG time now. The towel is no longer all on a tray with hot water poured over them but an individual one (it was ok but very thin).
The new Delta One amenity kits are such a disappointment. Rather than Someone Somewhere they should call them NoOne NoWhere as they are flimsy and pointless to reuse for travels later on. The quality of the contents is equally disappointing and all of this went instantly into the trash – I mean if you are going to present something this bad – why bother Delta? On to Dinner.
Before COVID, Delta flight attendants, at least in Delta One, would serve you your meal course by course. It was a leisurely, lovely way to dine. During COVID, this was simplified onto one tray — much like domestic first class service. Now that COVID is less of an issue than before, Delta gives you the option to return to what was – an enjoyable course-by-course service. What do you think happened next?
We did start with a very small snack appetizer and drink service. I did not take photos of the two red wine choices but both were equally dull. Then came the meal service and… wait for it…
All on one tray – all at once.
In fact, the flight attendants seemed truly to be in a rush to get everything away as soon as possible. Now I know this was a late flight but for those who wanted to sleep there was a poor quality eye shade and hard ear plugs provided in the Delta One kit if you wanted to try to sleep right away.
Remember, we were departing from Argentina. One would think that the one place on earth you would be all but guaranteed an excellent beef filet would be Buenos Aires – but you would be wrong. It was dry and overcooked, as you can see. The best part was the nummy mushroom soup that made its return on this flight.
I am told that now in 2023 (this review was at the end of December 2022) the dessert cart with both ice-cream and toppings is back along with the cheese plate option. I hope that is true as the above was just ok.
Bottom line, and another reminder of why I am no longer 100% committed to always fly Delta this year and in the future, the award prices are too high, the service is not what it once was, the soft product is not what it once was, and the food is not what it once was. But at least I was able to get a good night’s sleep on the 10+ hour flight home and reduce my large pile of SkyMiles a bit at a price I could stomach.
This month of vacation was truly memorable. It was another blizzard of puzzle pieces of matching up points in many programs to pay as little as possible for an extravagant adventure and that was accomplished.
Now on to my next trip, that is, a review of the simply stunning Hilton Montego Bay All-Inclusive resort in Jamaica. It was again another many-point program value that saved us thousands of dollars for a 10-day vacation in the sun. – René
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