Flying from London the USA, there are so many airlines to choose from. We have travelled with British Airways a couple of times, and with Virgin Atlantic Airways an awful lot, but on a recent work trip, I finally got to experience the Delta business class (Delta One) offering. It is a first class and business class fusion (a little like the three cabin configuration on Virgin Atlantic). This is my full London to Salt Lake City, International Delta One review.
Delta Business Class Review / Delta One Review
Delta One Airport Experience
About four years ago, Delta moved its London Heathrow operation from Terminal 4 (Skyteam’s traditional home) to Terminal 3. This was all to do with the Virgin Atlantic Airways joint venture. Check in, security and lounge provisions are all provided by Virgin Atlantic Airways. This is great if you travelling in Delta One but if you hold status with other Skyteam carriers, you may notice a considerable difference.
Checking in online, I didn’t need to stop at the check in desks but I know from experience that Delta One passengers are checked in at the Upper Class check in area. You can also take advantage of Virgin’s Upper Class Wing. If you arriving by car, just ask your driver to find the Upper Class Wing check in. This is a drive up service so someone will meet you at the car, your luggage will be taken care of by porters, and you are already in the area for fast track security. It’s all pretty swish.
Delta One Fast Track at Heathrow Terminal 3
Virgin Atlantic and Delta have their own fast track security, meaning you should be through security in good time. If you check in at the main bank of desks, a dedicated lift brings you up one floor to the door. All you need to do is scan your boarding card to open the door. It feels nice and exclusive, a world away from the main fast track at Heathrow.
Lounge Access for Delta One at Heathrow Terminal 3
Here again, you will be welcomed into the world of Virgin Atlantic. Delta doesn’t have its own lounge at Heathrow. Instead, Virgin redesigned their lounge to provide more seating and ensure lounge access for Delta One at Heathrow was possible. Delta One passengers can use the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse without it feeling overcrowded thanks to this redesign. Unlike in most of the airport, in the lounge, boarding for flights is announced. This allows you to relax without worrying that you’ll miss your gate opening.
The Clubhouse is regularly listed among the top airport lounges in the world, and you can see why. The food options are all delicious and there are a lot of them. You can have a full three course dinner, an afternoon tea or a variety of small dishes. I may have mentioned the smoked salmon in my Virgin Atlantic Upper Class review, but I’m going to mention it again! The smoked salmon is DELICIOUS!! Gravalax, peppery or beetroot cured; there is a salmon (or three) for any smoked salmon fan!
The Gates at Heathrow
Delta likes to open their gates a little early at Heathrow so don’t panic if they don’t announce it for a little while.
Boarding at Heathrow runs a little differently from the open style gates in the USA. Here, you usually have your boarding and passport checked as you enter the gate room and you are then asked to take a seat as you await boarding. The lounge will try and ensure you don’t have to wait at the gate and arrive as Delta One boarding is underway.
Delta One Interior
The Delta aesthetic is clear, even in Delta One. Lines are clean and the lighting is plain. I have always thought the blue was nice but the white/grey palate is a little boring. It would be nice to see more of the purple that was introduced into Delta’s funky new uniforms. To be fair to Delta, the 767-300 is an older plane and so the newer aircraft are probably a bit snazzier.
Delta One Seats
If you have travelled on a Delta service before, you will recognise the design of the seat. Delta keeps the same upholstery through all of their seats. No matter which cabin you are flying in, you will have the same blue leatherette seat with the cross-hatching on the back panel. On the Delta One seats, there is no headrest adjustment, which makes sense as you can recline the whole thing into a bed.
Delta One Seat Adjustment
You can operate the seat in three different ways.
- Lift and lower the leg rest
- Recline and raise the seat back.
- Use full bed mode which will flatten the whole thing into bed mode.
I felt perfectly comfortable in my seat throughout the entire ten-hour flight. It wasn’t crazy wide at 21 inches, but it was absolutely fine for me to curl up in, which I adore. There was tons of leg room (around 80 inches) but I wouldn’t expect anything less in business.
A Quick Look Around the Delta One Seat
I liked having the seat close to the window, with all the arm rest etc closer to the aisle. Delta One seats aren’t particularly private so this distance from passing traffic made it feel like my own space.
Speaking of privacy:
The layout of the Delta One cabin on the 767-300 is 1,2,1. There is no privacy screen between the two middle seats. Paying for a full Delta One ticket is quite expensive and to be that close to a stranger seems a little off to me. I would always opt for a window seat if I was travelling alone. Of course, if Mr Fluskey was my travel buddy, the middle two would be fine.
In the armrest, you will find the entertainment handset, the tray table and the console of control buttons. Armrest seems a rather miserly word for it as it was very wide and I had my belonging strewn across it for most of the flight. I just don’t know what else to call it.
The armrest/side table has a back to it as well. In this were two plugs, one for USB cables, and one from normal plugs. This would allow you two charge your phone, whilst working on a laptop. There was also a socket for headphones, but we will get to that later.
On the front of the armrest, and on the wall in front of the seat were two elastic pockets. These contained the in-flight magazine, the safety card and duty-free offerings. Nothing special or that exciting.
Delta One Entertainment
Delta Studio is Delta’s inflight entertainment system. They have a good selection of films and TV series. I enjoyed a Mary Poppins Returns (released about 5 months previously), Forgetting Sarah Marshell (a guilty pleasure film of mine) and many episodes of the latest series of Modern Family. It was all super, however, the hardware was outdated and felt a bit cheap.
The screen was a touch screen, which was good in theory, but the right-hand third of the screen didn’t work. This was the case for two of my fellow travellers as well. I have used Delta domestically in the USA, and even their those small planes have more effective touch screens. The handset, stored in the side panel, did work but it felt very old-fashioned. I guess the 767/300 is one of their older planes, but this could really do with a revamp.
I am never a fan of the two-prong headphone jack. It’s not the 90s and nobody needs to steal the onboard headphones! It means that if you want to use your own, which I unfailingly do, you have to balance the cable in one side. You can’t pull on it at all, or push it in fully. Either way, you’ll lose the sound.
For me, as a visually impaired traveller, the screen was much too far away. There was no way to move it closer so I had to recline bed and perch on the end, leaning forward, to watch a movie.
The Delta One Amenity Kit
I was excited to have a rifle through the Delta One amenity kit. I hadn’t looked it up ahead of time and so I felt like a kid with a Christmas stocking.
The kit comes in a Tumi pouch in a rather dull grey colour. Other than the colour choice, I did like the design, as well as how much you could fit inside it, and I can easily see myself using it for future trips.
Inside the pouch was:
- One pair of stripy socks. I really liked that they were proper socks rather than the weird tubey flight socks I have had on other carriers.
- A dental kit with a toothbrush, a reasonably large toothpaste, and even a little sachet of mouthwash.
- A set of ear plugs and a nice eye mask. The front felt a little like leather which made it feel a little luxurious.
- Hand sanitiser. I am sure many people appreciate this but I find it overkill.
- Tissues. Always handy when you get to your destination.
- A lovely Kiehl’s lip balm and a Kiehl’s grapefruit body lotion.
Overall, I think it was a great offering.
The bathroom wasn’t much bigger than the standard bathrooms on board but I really liked the mirror. It was well lit and had a maginfied section as well. It was great for a make up touch up I need to do before i disembark.
The lime hand wash was nice and zingy. It woke me up nicely after my little nap. I also loved the tap. It is the first time I’ve seen a mixer tap like this on a plane, and it made life so easy. I know it is only a small thing, and may not be exclusive to the Delta One cabin…but it is worth mentioning.
Delta One Food and Drink
The flight started with a quick glass of champagne. When I first looked at it, I thought it was a cheekily small serving, but soon realised that the stem was thick and full of bubbles too. I guess it gives it a better centre of gravity.
Just before the first meal service, the cart came down with a drinks service and we all got a small bowl of warm nuts. Who doesn’t love their nuts warm!? I asked for another glass of champagne and it was forthcoming. It was nice that it was readily available. I have been on some flights where there is only enough for everyone’s welcome drink.
Looking through the menu, there was a very good selection of wines, beers and spirits. I switched to diet coke after my first two drinks. Delta has its hub in Atlanta, Georgia, as does Coca-Cola. You will always find a strong relationship between the two. I liked the paper napkin with the little maze on, it made me smile.
The Delta One Meal Service
Looking at the menu, I thought we picked one starter, one main (entree) and one dessert. Turns out, we were given all three starters. Win!
The salad was a touch uninspiring. It had three types of greens and a few slices of cucumber. I nibbled at it but focused on the other two options.
The salmon tataki was delicate and perfectly pink. The sauce was quite creamy compared to other versions of this that I have tried but that may be to cater fussier eaters? I would have eaten a whole dish of this salmon very happily.
Finally was the parsnip soup with a hint of truffle. It was very tasty and went beautifully with the buttered dinner roll. The truffle stopped it being too sweet, which was great.
The food came on the tray in plastic crockery akin to that I would expect a cabin down. I would have thought Delta One would have come with proper plates and bowls. I did like the odd little salt and pepper shakers though.
For my main course, I picked the Thai prawns. I didn’t know what to expect but it tasted great!
The bok choi on the side, a Chinese vegetable with a Thai dish, was a bit limp and I would have preferred it to be integrated into the dish properly. The prawns weren’t over-cooked, but just right and lovely and big. The rice was just al dente and the sauce was perfect. It had bags of flavour with a medium spice. It could have been whipped in a beachside cafe in Thailand! I scoffed the lot.
The dessert choices were really fun. I loved that you could have a personalised ice cream sundae. They brought a dessert trolley (like the good old days) with the ice cream, toppings and sauces.
It was very cool but thought I’d stick with cheesecake. It was very flavourful, packed with sweet and sour strawberry, but I didn’t love the texture. I was very light and kind of mousse-y. I think it was set with gelatine. The bottom was cake-y rather than buttery biscuit. Maybe it’s a cultural difference. It didn’t entirely satisfy my cheesecake craving. I kind of wish I’d gone for the sundae….next time!
Oh, and did you know that if you are travelling in Delta One you can use the Delta One PreSelect Meal Program! This means you can browse the menu ahead of time and make sure you get the meal choice you want.
Second Meal Service
After a nice sleep, I was offered yet more food. (Turns out that as I dozed, I missed a warm cookie service too!) We had the choice of a Cubano sandwich and something else…I can’t remember what because I was excited to have a nice ham and cheese sandwich.
I had underestimated Delta again. This sandwich was brilliant. The pork was thick and tender, and the sauce that came with it (some sort of creamy ranch sauce) was yummy Despite being rather full from my lunch, I ate the whole thing, and the side salad!
Delta One Cabin Staff
Oh, how I wish I could remember the name of the cabin crew member who looked after me. Forgetting it brings an extra layer of guilt as she remembered mine throughout the entire flight, even thanking me by name as I disembarked. Hats off to them! Even the captain came and made personal announcements in the cabin for take off. I have never experienced such kind, genuine and easy service on board a flight.
Final Thoughts on our Delta One Review
To be honest, I wasn’t sure how excited I was to fly in Delta One, I have always found Delta to be a tiny bit dull, but they have totally won me round. The great food and absolutely wonderful staff made up for the dated decor and entertainment system. I would love to try a flight on one of their newer aircraft to see if the improvements in these things make a big difference. One day, eh!?