Final thoughts: Will the Delta One Suites last & is the Premium Select “too good” or not good enough?

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Let’s get the obvious out of the way – the Delta One Suites (D1S) is a mistake and will not last 100% “as is” right now. They are cramped. They are not a “real” suite i.e. the doors are only half doors (think baby-gate). The aisle is ridiculously narrow for passengers and for crew. Even one of the Delta tech ops folks onboard my flight stated to me about the suites “The doors will either be gone or screwed [in the] open [position] in 6 months!“. Further, boarding was and will be impacted. I was told the reason for using the forward and middle door was to avoid luggage impacts on the suites. To me the herringbone seats on the A330’s is hands down the best seat Delta has ever chosen and it is sad Delta did not select this excellent seat design for the A350 as well as for the coming 777 mods next summer.

Premium Select (PS). This product and offering will be tweaked. Let me again say they are a real game changer for Delta. I told the A350 support folks onboard it really is almost too good (I may live to regret this honest evaluation). I state this because on a 6-8 hour daytime flight from Europe really there is no need for anything better than PS. True, the seats are not as big as other airlines premium economy seats but compared to coach it is a night and day better travel experience.

In addition to the nice seat, the service from the PS dedicated FAs is also tremendous and worth it almost for this perk alone. If the Delta folks servicing PS keep the “1st class feel” in their approach to PS, rather than treating it as a coach experience, that also will drive folks to book this cabin. But there could be problems on the way.

I was told that for the first 3 months of A350 service that A350 support staff will be onboard flights. That itself is stunning and shows how important it is to Delta corporate to get this new flagship jet right. Afterward the D1S cabin will have 4 FAs – that is, two serving meals and two prepping meals. In PS you will see 3, two serving meals and one preparing meals. One less FA for that many seats will be a real challenge. For my flights it barely worked with all the A350 support folks running around helping. Something will have to give and I doubt that Delta will add another FA to the mix. Likely something will be cut and cheapen the PS experience. I hope I am wrong here.

IFE control and other bits. The hand unit in the seat is pointless and I have no idea why it was installed. It is hard to get to and when the passenger in front of you reclines, the on-screen controls are only inches away from you (so simple to reach). I like most of the other controls but the leg rest is only good for shorter passengers. My biggest gripe is the dual prong audio as it makes it much harder for you to use your own headset without an adapter. The simple fix would have been to have a mini port next to the screen like in coach so you could go either way with the provided headsets from Delta or your own.

The LSTN headsets (same as in Delta One). I was told by a number of Delta folks these are on the way out. They are a mistake. The old ones were even better quality. For all the PR hype about these things, and the “thank you” sets sent out in the mail, they are really bad.

Global Upgrades to PS. Please just don’t – EVER! PS is nice but it is not ever going to be Global Upgrade worthy. Only request coach to D1S not ever “best available” upgrade.

The A350 feel. What an aircraft. It is so quiet it is almost scary. You can whisper and hear yourself. Oh and I do agree that your body does not feel as taxed compared to flying an older aircraft. I will always try to fly the A350 when I can.

Storage issues. Both in D1S and in PS Delta does not seem to get it. Storage, on ALL Delta jets, is always an issue. In PS the seat back storage is maybe a cell phone or tablet or a magazine. After that – nada. I wish someone would yell at Delta seat designers that we need some extra space to put stuff.

Lastly let’s talk about the role the A350 will fill. It is not a 747. I think not having the capacity of a 747 is a mistake that will cost Delta one day. Having a small fleet of 747-8s would be brilliant but clearly they did not ask me. Time will tell on this one. – René