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