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Rookie Wednesday: When Is Delta One Not Really Delta One?

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a regular feature on the Renés Points blog. This blog series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this featured topic.

A Delta One business class seat on a Delta Air Lines A330 aircraft.

You’re excited! Why? You’re flying a Delta domestic route on a plane outfitted with Delta One seats — and have a seat assignment up front!

You can’t wait to sleep in your lie-flat seat, tucked in all comfy and cozy under Westin Heavenly bedding.

That won’t be hard. You’ll be so full from a Delta One entree and ice cream sundae.

Delta One dessert cart on a Delta Air Lines 767-300 flight from Atlanta to Europe.

The Tumi amenity kit surely will have eyeshades and earplugs to help you sleep well.

A Delta Air Lines Tumi amenity kit for Delta One passengers.

Your face hurts from that huge smile on your face while you board.

But Then…

A look of confusion crosses your face when you reach your lie-flat seat. There’s no fancy bedding; just a standard, thin blanket. And the pillow is nothing special.

The amenity kit is nowhere to be found. Maybe they ran out?

Once airborne, the meal you’re served is one you’ve eaten before — in plain ole regular first class. And dessert is a pre-packaged cookie. No sundae cart to be found. The only cheese selection available is the one you’ll find in a Flight Fuel box.

You thought this was Delta One! The seats even say “Delta One”!

A Delta One Suite seat is feature in a review post of a Delta Air Lines flight from Detroit (DTW) to Amsterdam (AMS).

What gives?

Technically, You’re Not Flying Delta One

Sorry to break it to you. You’re flying “standard” domestic first class — that happens be in a cabin with Delta One seats.

Delta One is an “experience” offering exclusive amenities, service, food, beverages, bells, and whistles.

Just because an aircraft is equipped with Delta One’s seats doesn’t mean each flight offers the Delta One experience.

All that said, several Delta One domestic lines offer the “experience” (Note: Some routes may get expedited 1 tray meal service vs. international Delta One that is served course by course).

  • ATL – HNL
  • JFK – LAS
  • JFK – LAX
  • JFK – SAN
  • JFK – SEA
  • JFK – SFO
  • LAX – BOS
  • LAX – DCA
  • MSP – HNL
  • SFO – BOS

How Can You Tell Which “Experience” You’ll Get?

Check out these examples from Delta.com.

Both are for a 777-200LR aircraft. The first is LAX to ATL on August 12 (a date I randomly chose).

First class Delta One suite LAX to ATL price on Delta Air Lines.

Notice “Suite” and lie-flat bed icons. The highest offered class of service is First.

Here’s the seat map.

Seat map for a flight on Delta Air Lines. First class outfitted with Delta One Suites, LAX to ATL.

 

The seat map indeed shows the 777-200LR outfitted with Delta One Suites! But “First Class” is the top product offered. You’ll receive “only” the First Class service, meals, and beverages you normally enjoy in non-Delta One planes.

Now, here’s an example for an ATL-CDG flight later that day. (It’s quite possible this is the same exact aircraft.)

Delta One suite prices from ATL to CDG on Delta Air Lines

The “Suite” and lie-flat bed icons are there — except now “First Class” is replaced by “Delta One.”

Seat map for a flight on Delta Air Lines. First class outfitted with Delta One Suites, ATL to CDG.

Same thing. The plane is outfitted with Delta One Suites. Except this flight gets the Delta One treatment.

Delta One dessert and cocktails on a Delta Air Lines flight to Hong Kong

A Couple Other Points

Sky Club Access

Delta One “experience” guests receive complimentary Sky Club admission.

However, in our flying-first-class-but-in-a-Delta-One-seat-outfitted-aircraft situation, you need either Delta Sky Club membership (which is fairly worthless now) or one of the following products giving cardholders complimentary access to Sky Clubs (if you want to enjoy the Sky Club):

Boarding Passes

Delta One boarding passes specifically designate those passengers as being in the “Delta One” boarding group.

A Delta One boarding pass from Tokyo Haneda (HND) to Los Angeles (LAX)

Our flying-first-class-but-in-a-Delta-One-outfitted-aircraft example passengers would have “PREM” (Premium) on their boarding passes. (Regardless, they’re still the first cabin to board. Just pointing this out as an indicator for which “experience” you’ll enjoy.)

Still a Nice First World Problem

Kicking back in a lie-flat seat — even without ice cream sundaes and amenity kits — is still darn nice. I’ve slept just fine in lie-flats when flying between LAX and ATL. (And that’s when the excitement started to wear off only a little.)

In fact, I’ve enjoyed better service in domestic first class — recliner seats included — than international Delta One.

Anytime we fly, we’re lucky to enjoy such a privilege.

No matter what, enjoy your flight!

–Chris

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

4 Comments

  1. Eric Gunderson

    Don’t forget DTW-HNL, new service this summer operated by 767-400. Booked Delta One for 37.5k VS miles.

  2. Berkeley Thompson

    The ticket classification and cost is a dead give a way. I was just looking at seats from RIC to LAX for Sept. Delta One is $5,500 to $6,500 while First with lie flat seats are the standard $1200 – $1600. Still, coast to coast in a seat that has the ability to lie flat is well worth the fine cheese selection present in a Flight Fuel box and some standard Vodka.

  3. Don in ATL

    @Chris, ATL-HNL is sold as Delta One. It used to be called First Class with the lie flat seats on the A330. Now it is on a 767 or A330 – lie flat seats. The service is NOT Delta One. No access to SkyClub either in ATL or HNL. (You don’t know how many passengers in Delta One they refuse entry to.) The meal is single tray with no sundae. In fact when it changed from being called FC to D1, the price went up from approx $2100-$2200 to $2700-$3200. The seats were the same. The meals were the same. I even asked an FA if she noticed any changes when they up’ed the price by $500 and started calling it D1 instead of FC. She said no. In fact, the said the wines were still the domestic FC wines, and not the better international wines. D1 in name only!!!

  4. Barry Graham

    To me the main point of Delta One is the seats. Years ago all you got on these flights was “regular” first class (which was still better than what the poor folks in the back were getting). I’d be happy with this, and my kosher meal, which is nearly always better than the meal served to others.

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