Review: Delta One Suites 5B Delta Air Lines Detroit to Amsterdam DTW-AMS (spoiler alert – I am not that impressed)

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Just over a year ago I flew the inaugural Delta Air Lines A350 (ship #2) from Detroit to Japan. I did not choose to fly in Delta One Suites because I wanted to try the first really new seat Delta has created in years, that is, the Delta Premium Select seat a.k.a. premium economy (also, shockingly, chosen as the new domestic “1st class” seat design on the A220). I redeemed one last 70,000 Delta SkyMiles Level 1 redemption for my wife and I before Delta twice raised prices this year (2018) for a one way business class awards ticket from the USA to Europe to a mind numbing 86,000 SkyMiles each way – when not on “sale” (Delta hides their award charts that they do use).

One of the first choices you have to make when selecting Delta One Suite seats is just where in the cabin you want to sit – and it really matters.

For example, the front two window side seats have MUCH larger foot wells as well as a tiny bit more room compared to all the other seats. But that travel experience can be impacted by galley and lavatory noise if you choose them.

The next is, if traveling as a couple, do you want to sit in the middle section and be able to chat with your travel partner via half the divider sliding away.

Now the downside of the wide open overhead, while giving the cabin a spacious feel, is that you have 1) no overhead storage so you better board early to get side space, and 2) you have no air vents. Both of these are big issues.

I think it is fair, before we get too far into the review, to let you know I am rather disappointed with this new flagship suite and I will try to avoid choosing them over ANY of the other Delta One products – except the horrible herringbone 777 that is being modified with Delta One Suite seats over the next year or so (with the total loss of Comfort Plus or C+ seats fyi).

The main reason why is this “suite” is super small and claustrophobic. Even sitting in the dead middle of the open cabin I felt uncomfortable. The screen, while HUGE, is right in your face. Even the divider between our two seats is only a half way divider vs. other airlines (think Alitalia Magnifica) where the entire space opens up to your partner. Now on to the seat bits:

Let’s start with storage (or the lack thereof). You have a small area under an elevated tray (sorry, my bluetooth headphones are in the way above), where the crummy Delta headphones are that also secures your bottle of water,

…and then one spot between the two seats that can hold your shoes or the Delta Heavenly blanket (#ProTip: remember you have no overhead space for bags or bedding / pillows). You do have a tiny magazine / emergency card spot but as you can see mine was already broken on one side and all but useless.

The seat controls are simple, straightforward and work well. One button to note is the “do not disturb” that let’s the flight attendants know you want to be left alone. A very nice touch. When reclined to full flat there are limited additional controls for the most important choices.

Also next to the seat controls is the tray table release button that is a nice, and solid, improvement over any of the style of tray tables that fold out (and or have a pivot point). Travel of the table was excellent as well.

In addition to the overhead light, far away that will bother most in the cabin, you have a private light that can be set for mood lighting or slid down for a directed reading light.

Just below this light is the release button for your suite door that is locked during takeoff and landing and does not close all the way (by design).

There is s coat hanger fold out but I would never use this. First off it will make this cramped space feel even worse and secondly the Delta flight attendants will hang your coat for you if you would like.

Under your arm rest there is a mirror and video controls. Since the screen is so very close to your nose I see no reason to ever use this other than to play video games.

Very well placed, just to the side of your seat, is the headphone jack and standard US power jack with USB power as well (keep in mind Delta USB power is poor – at best). Next on to the service.

I have always found in Delta One that the flight attendants are outstanding in quickly coming by with sparkling wine or water or orange juice as you board. Service on my flight was near perfect.

Before dinner service you are offered a hot towel that is often scalding hot so be careful (it can also be very wet so another caution there as well).

Delta did send out a few days before flight, the now standard for most international flights at least, offer for me to pre-select my meal choice (unlike the domestic 1st class meal pre-order choice that was promised to roll out nearly 3 years ago).

The head purser confirmed my advance choice so there was no stress of them running out of my choice (however, there are reports this does not always work so sit in the middle if this really matters to you).

Delta covers the service carts in Delta branding and now offers something really impressive if you want it, that is, a quartino so you do not have to bug the flight attendants for a refill in the middle of your meal. Really smart Delta and well done!

Anyone who reads the blog on a regular basis know I am a big fan of Delta food onboard. I think, for airline food, they do a smashingly good job and this flight was no exception. After hot nuts time for the appetizer course.

While not a fan of the butternut squash soup it was good. Salad was crisp with shaved Parmesan cheese and more than adequate. The salami was flavorful as well as the spread – accompanied with a hot roll. All but perfect for a starter.

The beef tenderloin was not perfect but also not cooked to death as some steaks on other airlines I have flown. There is a real issue in timing to provide a good medium beef and this flight missed that mark by a little bit. The spinach was destroyed and bad but I will give it a pass (they should choose another green IMO that holds up better).

For desert I splurged, just this once, and chose both the cheese plate and the ice cream sundae along with a Baileys neat. Just num – num – num!

We had a crazy strong tail wind and our blocked 8ish hour flight took only a little over 6 so the crew quickly was on to the breakfast service after a short break and completing the dinner service – I chose to watch a movie and catch a few hours sleep. BTW the in flight entertainment choices with Delta are outstanding and plentiful if you want to stay awake the entire flight.

So now my overall impression – Delta could have done much, much better. This seat is tight. This suite is claustrophobic. The door does not close all the way and often (I am told) has issues. There are no overheads in the middle seats (nor any air vents). There is no real storage anywhere! A year after introduction wear and tear is evident. The headphones are still cheap LSTN junk. Plus, Delta is rolling these out on all their new jets as well as newly refurbished jets so you will not be able to avoid them at some point in the future if you do not like them.

Most bloggers who have tested Delta One Suites have gone uber “ga-ga” over this product and saying it is one of the best business class seats around – but I am simply not impressed. I would and will book the A330 with the reverse herringbone product any day over this Delta One Suite. In fact I even like the old beat-up 767 seats over these due to the open feel of the cabin. The only jet Delta One Suites beats hands down is the old 777 reverse herringbone that no one should ever pay for in dollars or SkyMiles to fly.

What do you think? Are you now, one year after introduction, impressed with the Delta One Suites on the A350? – René

 

 


 

10 comments

  1. I completely agree with your review, René. My brother-in-law and used our GUs to fly from LAX to Shanghai on the A350 just to have the Delta One experience. We were both less than impressed. Certainly not worth specifically flying this particular aircraft. Did not get upgraded on the return, so flew in Premium (Economy) Select. Ironically, there were so few people in Economy, some were able to take over a full row. The FAs we spoke to do not like the A350.

  2. We flew the “New Flagship” LAX-PVG in these boxes. My least favorite of all Delta One seats. We could -sorta- talk to each other with the privacy wall opened (it only opens halfway) but why not make it removable, like Air France? The lack of storage is not a minor issue on a 14 hour flight. We ended up feeling like we were in cubicles, like in Office Space, and cheap plastic cubicles at that. I’m sure they took out the overhead bins to prevent the onset of claustrophobia but it was not successful. I will not ride in this seat ever again if there is another type available.

  3. I’ve flown in Delta One Suites 3 times – twice on the A350 and once on the refurbished 777. I like the larger food tray and the larger LCD screen. On the A350, I hated that there were no overhead bins for the middle seats. Eventually the cabin ran out of overhead space and the FA’s had to store bags elsewhere, in their secret compartments or in coach. NOT GOOD for the upper class in an international flight. What were they thinking when designing this??? I don’t use the air vent, but my spouse was very bothered that there were no vents. Two out of the three experiences, the doors to the suite did not operate properly.

    All in all, I like the slightly better improved individualized storage space within the suite.

    But Delta could have done better.

  4. We just flew to Korea from Detroit and will return on Thursday. We were not impressed and my Trip Advisor review mirrored Rene’s exactly. The lack of storage, the door that I needed help with each time I tried to open or close it, no air vents, no where to put blankets, the narrow aisles and smaller lavatories and I am only 5’*4” and wear a size 0 or 2. Very disappointing and we will chose another ride next time if at all possible. Sorry Delta, another bad example of Keep Climbing!

  5. I have flown the Delta One Suite on the Detroit to Tokyo A350 and agree with René’s review, not a fan at all. I agree with the commenters and would not pay a premium for it and would try and book on other aircraft types.

    A flight attendant told me that do not forget if you are in a Delta One Suite that if the door is closed they are not to “disturb” the passenger. So you get no service since you have sent “I want privacy” message to the crew.

    I have given up on selecting steak on in Delta One as it has been over cooked, dry and not very good. I had one on a KLM flight in October that was amazing so I know it can be done. Also, was on a KLM 747 business class which was very nice as long as you can get one of the single seats if you are traveling solo and do not want to climb over or be climbed over to get in and out of the 2 plus 2 seating arrangement. Lots of space. Lots of overhead and storage and individual air units.

  6. My wife and I are booked premium select (128,000 miles each) for a DTW-AMS round trip next May. We are leaving on a Friday and the recent Delta One mileage sale completely missed our dates.

    We would very much like to try the suites, and as infrequent Delta One’rs I think we’d love the experience knowing it’s limitations. My bride would insist upon the air vents which mean window suites are mandatory.

    But these mileage redemption costs are beyond belief. Does anyone really redeem 460,000 miles for these seats?

  7. Agreed. The “suites are cramped especially foot well and floor area. I like the color scheme and video screen size and sharpness. Slapping a door on a tight business class seat and calling it a suite is a joke.

  8. I was fortunate enough to have been in the A350 D1 Suites a few times. I think the privacy of the door really compensate for some of the issues raised, at least for me. However, I do agree it feels cramped.

    While the door is the coolest part, it’s also the most problematic one. The latching mechanism malfunctions a lot. Every flight, I see people struggle to retract and secure the door. There is a latch safety rod and the door latch, (beyond the exterior lock out control for the FA), none of them are adequately explained…

    I didn’t notice people complain about elbow width limitation. One of your arms can lean on the large flat table area (the remote control compartment lid/arm rest) which is not an issue, however, the other arm is resting on this funky narrow arm rest below the accent light, which is mounted on the wall, so your elbow is constantly hitting that wall or slipping off that narrow arm rest. Be it eating or working on your computer, I lost the count of times i bang into the wall or have my arm slip off that arm rest, and I am a 5’8 small framed guy…

    I also agree that the removal of the center overhead bin is silly and almost an afterthought. It felt impressive to have that much open space initially, but after a few flights, I think it’s not practical at all. You lose a lot of usable storage space, AND those digital LCD/LED display signage are the the same size as other ones, and with them so far up in the ceiling, you can’t barely see the display – what’s the point of this?!

    The seat/light control panel, while cooler and more logically laid out (no need for manual), the touch sensing is terrible. It’s incredibly difficult to change the brightness of the light with any level of precision. If you tap just once, nothing happen.. if you hold your touch just a little longer, then..zoom… the light goes to the brightness or dimness setting.

    I am hoping with the 777 and 767 retro, they will make a few tweaks based on our feedback to improve these issues. They are fixable issues.

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