Delta Business Class – A Review Of What Has Changed

It has been 12 years since I first experienced Delta Business Class and over those years it has never seemed to change. My views on the experience were documented a few months ago. Based on this I was not overly excited to be scheduled to try Business Class with Delta again.

The new Delta Business Class leather seat

The new Delta Business Class leather seat

However, things have suddenly changed or at least they are starting too. This means that it is only fair that I revisit my Delta Business Class Review. And are these changes for the better?

 

I was to travel Delta on the long haul flight number DL65 Manchester to Atlanta.

 

On check-in there was a sign displayed telling us that the plane being used was different to the one scheduled. My electronic ticket claimed that we were due to fly on a Boeing 767, yet somehow the replacement plane was a B767-300ER(G) (wow very technical model number!).

 

The crux of this is that seating arrangements were muddled up. There was a different seat plan so chances are you’ll end up with a different seat to that initially allocated. I’d been pre-assigned seat 4G yet on check-in I was now in 6D. I was slightly concerned by this since I prefer window seats.

New 1-2-1 Business Class seat plan on Delta B767-300

New 1-2-1 Business Class seat plan on Delta B767-300

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No need to panic though, on boarding it became clear that the Delta Business Class B767-300 has a 1-2-1 seating plan. So I got a window seat! Yay! Erm, but it was a window seat without a window. Hey where did my window go? It turns out I was in the last seat in the Business Class cabin of this Delta flight.

I had a window seat, oh hold on, where is the window?

I had a window seat, oh hold on, where is the window?

 

Negatives over for now, so what was the new Delta Business Class like?

 

Well for a start they’ve changed the seats. They are still leather but they are not the overly spread cow skins of before. I must admit I don’t think they were particularly any more comfortable but at least Delta had invested in change.

 

With the new 1-2-1 seating plan (which reminds me of Emirates Business Class on the A380) I had a reasonable amount of privacy at my seat.

 

To the right of me (before where my window was supposed to be) there was a side table area. It was from here that you could bring out the dining table.

Opening the table from the side arm rest

Opening the table from the side arm rest

 

This side also had the controls for the seat recliner and massage function. Yes, I’m glad to say that the Delta Business Class seats still have a massage function.

 

The seat was fully reclining into a flat bed which is great. However as I lay flat on my back I had to turn my hands in and rest them on my chest. The simple reason was that the armrests were fixed and there was literally no elbow room. I’m not a large person, or indeed exceptionally small, I’m around 5’11” and not particularly broad. I’d hate to imagine how an oversized American would cope in one of these flatbed seats.

 

My seat also had access to an electrical power socket, USB port and the headphones socket. Oh yes, the headphones are still the same, such a shame. I had to be careful with the cable and avoid any twisting or knocking of the cable otherwise there would be lots of crackling sounds down the line.

Electrical power socket, headphones socket and USB socket on Delta Business Class

Electrical power socket, headphones socket and USB socket on Delta Business Class

 

As for putting them to use well there was also no improvement in the TV monitor. The screen size is just as small as ever only this time it is embedded into the back of the seating in front. I also noticed that occasionally the picture froze then started again. Far from perfect but I was able to watch a film and keep track of it.

The TV screen compared to the size of my iPod

The TV screen compared to the size of my iPod

 

In fact the entertainment system played up at first. On taxing to the runway we were told to watch the safety video yet the crew performed a manual safety demonstration. Only after take off did the crew apologise and reset the entertainment system. At this point we were able to watch the safety video whilst flying.

 

Having said all that I must admit that the film selection on Delta Business Class was extensive. A lot more than I remember. There was a wide mix of old classics to modern day releases.

 

The main meal consisted of 4 main course options, pretty much like United. In fact the Delta Business Class menu on this flight was:-

 

Pre-dinner: Antipasto (bresaola, pecorino romano cheese, artichoke and olives)

Starters: Caprese Salad and Cream of Mushroom Soup (although I found the soup to be very salty, not great when I don’t like salt)

Main dish choices:

  • Grilled Lamb Chops
  • Feta crusted roasted chicken breast
  • Panzerotti Pasta
  • Chilled deli plate (salmon with marinated greek salad and grilled asparagus)

I remember the chicken being very dry when I last flew with Delta so I opted for the lamb. (I was also less restricted now with my dietary requirements.)

Desserts:

  • vanilla ice cream sundae (yummy)
  • a tasting of sweet treats (I only saw about 2/3 options on the trolley)
  • selection of fine cheeses

Pre-arrival consisted of either pizza or grilled shrimp salad.

 

Although to be fair a basket of fruits and snacks was frequently passed around during this 9 hour + flight.

 

In addition to all this the Delta Business Class flight came with a complimentary toiletry bag plus bottles of water already set at the seat.

 

So what of the service? Well I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve found Delta Business Class crew to vary from polite and respectful to overbearing and even sometimes forgetful/ignorant crew.

 

Thankfully on this flight I didn’t find anyone overbearing. The Purser (Ashley) was very pleasant. The crew member serving meals to me looked like a crew member I think I’ve seen before. A real enigma of a character. He comes across as very dry in character then suddenly breaks out into a random smile. I wasn’t quite sure how to take him but he didn’t mean any harm. I’ll give benefit of the doubt.

Decent legroom on Delta Business Class

Decent legroom on Delta Business Class

 

So if the new Delta Business Class an improvement? Well based on my prior experiences I would say a resounding yes. I suspect that Delta are finally investing in their fleet. Maybe they are inspired by the Asian and European airlines who I always rated higher. To be honest I still rate these higher than Delta.

 

I do however like the extra privacy and leg room. The side desk space is great for spreading out. Such a shame that storage space is so limited, the headphones are cheap and the screen too small. The lack of elbow room on the flat beds was also a big issue. Having flat beds is a big plus but if you can’t lie flat comfortably then how are you going to sleep? Having said all that I do still think that Delta Business Class is moving in the right direction. Let’s hope it continues.

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Comments

  1. Very thorough review. Sounds like a nice way to fly. Good to see some airlines upgrading their planes and services. I still won’t eat airline food as I find it gross. I always prepare a meal to bring on board in my carry on. Healthier too.

    • Many thanks Phil. I’m glad you appreciated the review. My flight back home last week was on an old style plane so they haven’t refitted the full fleet yet.

      As for the food thing, I tend to find it acceptable in Business Class (usually) but I understand where you are coming from.

      Hope you have a great Christmas. Will you be going away or staying at home this year?

  2. I have been a loyal flyer of Delta for about 30 yrs – due mainly to the fact that I live in Atlanta and that makes travel life a lot easier. I say that it bums me their business class lacks luster when compared to Asian (well, everyone does) or European airlines. I’d like to see it at least compare to European ones. TV screens are tiny, not all planes have individual TVs in coach, etc. Lots of work to bring it up to decency. Having said that, I agree with you, they have taken steps to upgrade. It wasn’t long ago where business class seats didn’t go flat – that’s almost a must (like air bags in cars) for any business class. And next time you fly to Atlanta, holler!

    • Hi Raul, I agree that Delta and the US airline industry need to up their game to appeal like European or Asian carriers. I think the fact that so many North Americans don’t leave the continent means that many don’t get to experience what flying can really be like.

      Thanks for the shout out about Atlanta. In the previous decade I spent quite a lot of time there, mainly in the Decatur area. However we stopped doing business there a few years ago now. I haven’t been outside Hartsfield since. I merely use it as a transit hub between international and domestic flights. However if things change then I’ll remember to give you a shout :-)

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