Is the Delta One JFK to LAX really competitive? Is it a premium product / experience / seat anymore?

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Delta One JFK to LAX Review RenesPoints blog (1)

Boarding JFK to LAX Delta One

Nothing like departing a tropical dreamland and landing in something that seemed white like sand but was nothing like sand. At least I did not have to go out and “enjoy” it. After my quick visit to the Spa in the Delta Sky Club in JFK it was time to rush onboard my premium Delta One transcon experience.

You know rush is maybe not the right word. Boarding was a “hot mess” to put it mildly. Delta has real boarding issues. They know it. They have for YEARS done a boarding lane test at certain gates in Atlanta and every now and then I will get a tweet or e-mail from a reader who says “Hey René, have you seen this?“. Well something needs to happen as the current setup in JFK is just ridiculous.

westin blanket delta one 757

Now I am not going to review the seats again as you can take a look at them on my review of the SFO to JFK transcon a while back.

tight foot space delta one 757

What I want to consider in this post is simply whether this flight worthy of all Delta makes and markets it to be as I am not so sure anymore with competition from products like Jet Blue “Mint” and others. Let’s start with the 757 that is often used. I no longer like it at all. For sleeping it is so cramped and tight that even I feel claustrophobic. Getting out is an adventure even when your seat mate gets up. If I were to ever book this again I would look for an internationally configured bird like the 767 or A330 as you have individual aisle access and a much better seat.

Delta One JFK to LAX Review RenesPoints blog (2)

Next up we have the service. The Delta people, as always, were very good and attentive. I have not one single word to say against them. They are rocking this route clearly. But then we have the “rest” of the experience. The meal attempts to be special compared to a normal Delta 1st class flight.

Delta One JFK to LAX Review RenesPoints blog (4)

So you get an individual appetizer and soup. The soup was just nasty and the rest was OK but nothing to get overly excited about. Yes, it was snowing a bit but catering should do better than this.

Delta One JFK to LAX Review RenesPoints blog (5)

Then we have the main course. Are you impressed? Me neither. It was again just OK and did taste a bit better than it looked, but is the worthy of a premium product that requires a Regional or Global upgrade certificate for an elite to enjoy an upgrade?

Delta One JFK to LAX Review RenesPoints blog (6)

Lastly the desert choices were ice cream (with cookie crumble) or a cheese plate. My partner had the cheese and both were fine. I asked about a Cognac with the dessert but was told that was only catered on international flights. That should be fixed.

Delta One JFK to LAX Review RenesPoints blog (3)

I guess the bottom line is this really is simply a Delta domestic 1st class trying to look amazing to me and does not quite pull it off. Even the satellite TV came and went during the entire flight really frustrating my partner who was trying to watch a rather exciting championship game.

From the LAX check-in that has it’s own lounge but is all but pointless to what you see above. It is a nice flight but to me it is not worthy of what the marketing builds it up to be and not on the level of the competition. You tell me. Is this “that” special of an experience? – René

 

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16 comments

  1. Look at the wine list – they tend to serve wines that cost $20-$30 retail.

    Many are nicer than what they serve international because they know the California pax really pay attention to wine.

  2. @Greg – LOL on my flight there was 1 red choice and 1 white choice. That was it. It was OK but nothing special.

  3. This was competitive five years ago. Not so much anymore, if only because, as Rene said, the 757 is a tired aircraft.

    As for sleeping, I would be curious if anyone — outside of red-eyes from the West Coast — actually sleeps on daytime flights.

    I think if this was a truly successful product then you would have seen it on more routes. The fact that Delta tried it on New York-Seattle and then pulled it back speaks volumes. The fact that it doesn’t exist on say Atlanta-Los Angeles speaks volumes.

    My guess is it’s only sustained by the Wall Street types on corporate contracts and then media/entertainment industry shuttling between L.A. and N.Y. I know of a certain TV personality who flies it every Saturday to do a Sunday TV show in N.Y. before returning Sunday night.

  4. I had a great meal on my last Delta One flight from LAX-JFK. I agree about the 757, not great. American has the same seats on their A321s to be fair, but American has a nice Sundae cart for desert. Both my Delta One flights featured absolutely pitiful crews. The worse in the Delta system.

  5. I’ve only flown Mint and AA A321 Sharkletts and not Delta. Of the two, I think I still prefer the AA business class seats. Maybe it’s the sundae with hot fudge that comes at the end of the meal. 🙂

    Have you flown the other two to compare to them to Delta’s product?

  6. I flew that similar routing recently and think you are being rather nice with your comments. Again the flight crew is amazing as always. As I am 5″9″ I found that it was impossible to stretch out in a full flat position in order to sleep. I cringe when thinking of how a taller person deals with this. I actually resented being forced to use a RU for what I was lead to believe would be the most amazing experience ever. I cannot imagine how angry I would be if I had to pay full price for this flight. I feel for those who must travel this routing frequently even if they have reimbursement from employers.

    Did I mention that it was difficult to use the touch screen on the IFE because the seat does not move forward?

    Also am I missing something in that those headphone adapters that have been discontinued by all airlines are now required to be used with headphones on Delta? Hint: If you use the single plug head phone jack and barely insert it in one side of the 2 pronged receptacle it will eventually work for your head phones.

    I know some will “flame” me for these comments but I believe that Delta should provide the product they promise instead of a smoke screen. AND yes I have flown the same routing for many years behind the curtain and the difference is miniscule.

  7. Funny you posted this-just flew ATL to SD on an international 767 this week, and felt it was much better (window seat, lay flat, etc), and no RUC needed.

  8. Completely agree with the post. An RUC should only be used on this route for the 767 or A330. All of the 767s are configured for international (10 rows, all aisle access), so it is a completely different, and quite enjoyable, experience than the 757.

  9. Great review. Having flown this route and this product multiple times JFK-LAX/SFO, it just never seems to live up to the hype. The Westin bedding and sparking wine/ premium (ballast point) beer are nice, but does not justify the price tag, IMO. Given the (always) full cabin, apparently others feel differently? As for boarding at JFK, have you seen the rest of Kennedy? This is tranquil by comparison.

  10. I’ve had that pasta a couple of times. Was it as dry as it usually is? Like you said, it wasn’t terrible, but it could really be a decent dish if it didn’t suck the moisture out of your mouth lol

  11. I have a question about lounge access in Amsterdam and Paris. Rene -your emal link not working on your site.
    Thanks.

  12. I’m perfectly fine with flying domestic first-class on a transcontinental flight, as it’s significantly cheaper than the “premium” New York-Los Angeles/San Francisco. I’d be curious to know what flight on Delta is a 767 from Atlanta to San Diego. Is it only once per week? I assume it’s a repositioning flight.

  13. I do this round-trip every other week. The problem is the variation not only on the plane (767 vs 757) but more so its age. The 767 is best for sleeping, I actually prefer the 757 if I’m going to be awake because of the larger screen and the (usual) availability of satellite TV. I probably sleep 75% of the time so I generally don’t take the meal. When I do, I go with the pastas as the fish/beef dishes have been dry or take only the first course. The crew is always friendly.

    I agree Delta One is nothing really special but it does beat sitting in the back.

    The boarding is a problem. If Southwest can make their free-for-all seating be somewhat orderly, certainly Delta can find a way to solve this.

    BTW, I still laugh at the “Delta One” entrance at LAX. It’s actually faster to use the normal entrance – not sure what they were thinking.

  14. I go out of my way to take these routes so I can use my RUC. They way I see it is the wisest way of using those certificates.

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