DELTA is my airline of choice for most of my domestic and international travel. It was no different with my recent DELTA One flight to Rome, the starting point for a costal and northern Italian vacation. Typically, I don’t bother with flight reviews because flying is a means to an end. The vast majority of flights are pretty ‘blah’. However, I’ve recently changed my tune and I think it’s important to give some perspective on my entire journey.
The Ballad of JFK Inconvenience
I can’’t talk about this before giving the requisite JFK airport complaint. If you live in New York and need to fly internationally, the choice is really down to JFK and Newark. I’d say 9 times out of 10 I’m going to JFK. However, it can be trying to get there during rush hour. Additionally, navigating the lengthy terminal unless you luck out and get a flight near the Skymall entrance is bothersome. There are moving sidewalks along the journey, but that doesn’t account for much when your gate is in the high 30s.
The “JFK hustle” shenanigans aside, boarding the plane and making that left turn to Delta ONE is very satisfying experience. Doubly so when you know you’re going to be in flight for 9ish hours. Some of the amenities include:
- Spacious Seats: A steep upgrade from both Premium Select and Comfort Plus, the lie-flat seats in Delta One can accommodate my 6’3″ frame fairly easily. One of the best things especially for long-distance travel.
- Direct Aisle Access: Underappreciated until you have it, but direct aisle access no matter where you’re sitting ensures that disruptions are at a minimum.
- Premium Bedding: Having a pillow, blanket and duvet are great, but I find these just get in the way and take up unnecessary space. Great to have on overnight flights, though.
- In-Flight Entertainment: Every seat has this, but the larger screen and noise-canceling headphones are a nice touch
- Dining: The gourmet meals and complimentary beverages, including wine and cocktails, are not shabby. Discernment goes into making sure the meals are at least moderately tasty. Usually you can pre-select a meal before you arrive.
- Amenity Kits: Amenity kits that include travel essentials like eyeshades, earplugs, and slippers are great even though my feet can’t really fit in the latter. I do appreciate the hand towels they bring around before dining.
- Priority Check-In and Boarding: Delta One passengers of course benefit from expedited check-in and priority boarding. This is especially helpful for those of us who also have Clear and Pre-Check (witch comes with a Global Entry membership). With the right timing, getting through check-in is speedy.
- Personalized Service: Delta’s cabin crew in Delta One provides attentive and personalized service, catering to passengers’ needs throughout the flight. I think having a great flight leader also helps with this.
- Wi-Fi: This is something that is great to have, but could be better. Delta has the best wifi infrastructure among airlines currently in my opinion, but there are some things that could be improved.
A Few Final Thoughts
My Delta ONE flight to Rome aboard the Airbus A330-300 was a pleasant enough experience. The staff were friendly and pretty thorough in their customer service. Delta ONE is obviously a step above their normal first class, and for a long-haul flight, definitely worth the money.
However, there are some slight nuisances to navigate
Wifi Access Needs Standardization
Delta needs to pick up the pace with their free high-speed internet for streaming even if they do still have the best of the domestic airlines. I get that newer aircraft have this built in and older models need to be retrofitted, but this needs to be a top priority amenity, especially with all of the changes they have been making lately. Value still needs to be added to keep some modicum of loyalty after the benefit program fiasco. Additionally, there is no reason that anyone in Comfort+ and above should have to pay an extra fee for this.
Also, the experience could use a fresh coat of paint…what was shiny and new 10 years ago is currently showing its age. Again, this is an older plane issue, but one that is noticeable.
Those things aside, I am deeply grateful to have opportunities to travel well like this.