Flight Review: Delta One, Transcon First
JUN 6 2017
Procrastination is usually a bad thing.
Looking for a good grade on a course? Probably not the best idea to first crack open the textbook on the night before the final. Feeling compelled to spit game and wax poetic with someone you just made eye-contact with at the bar? They’re not interested if it takes you longer than 3 seconds to say anything.
Trying to book a last-minute plane ticket? Your pockets will likely be taking a hit. Here’s how much a one-way from JFK to LAX was on Delta, both 2 weeks before and 1 day before the travel date:
Would you drop $837.40 for a transcon Economy seat, let alone $2,519.00 for First?
The plane ticket procrastination predicament highlights one of the perks of points: price doesn’t proliferate. Want to book a round-trip Economy flight on that same Delta LAX-JFK route 4 months prior? That’ll be 65K SkyMiles. 2 months prior? 65K. The night before? You guessed it, 65K. When using points / miles, the only thing you’re fighting when you’re a tardy booker is availability.
(Editor’s note: these fixed award redemptions only apply to the legacy carriers: Delta, United, American, Alaska, Hawaiian. If you’re flying jetBlue, Virgin, or Southwest, award flights using your miles is proportional to the always-adjusting cash price.)
I had a healthy cache of Amex MR points (1:1 transfer partner with Delta SkyMiles), so I cashed some in to review their First Class product dubbed “Delta One.”
The flight was aboard Boeing’s 767-300ER, with the First cabin in a 1-2-1 configuration. Waiting for me in seat 3D (as always, use SeatGuru before picking your seat) were a pair of noise-cancellers, a Tumi amenity kit, a bottle of water, and a Westin Heavenly In-Flight Bedding set.
Standouts from the amenity kit: The Tumi case is slick. The Kiehl’s lip balm and hand lotion was a nice touch. They hooked it up with the Crest 3D White. Easily one of the best amenity kits given domestically.
There was a headphone jack, USB, ethernet, a single 110 V, and an angled reading light.
Settling in, the seat’s leather was a bit stiff. Def not as plush as other carriers. Seat space and legroom was appropriate, but the cabinetry just felt a little outdated. On this particular plane, Delta didn’t come correct with the IFE screen. Way too small and didn’t even work most of the flight. But thanks to the ultra soft and smooth bedding, I had no problems getting a few minutes of shut-eye before dinner was served.
The in-flight meals came courtesy of Dan Jackson, Executive Chef at NYC’s MoMA. My apologies, foodies. Nothing too detailed I have to offer here. I was hungry and it all went happily down.
I knocked out cold for the rest of the flight after dinner. As we approached our descent, the well-meaning flight attendant gave me a couple of nudges to wake up. Delta’s fully reclined bed ended up being too cozy and I had such a good snooze that I got up mad cranky, leading to this awkward exchange with her. Sorry, Jenn.
Overall, a solid product from Delta. Its underwhelming aspects were overshadowed by the friendly service, comfy bed, and surprising award availability so close to the travel date. Not bad for a flight that would've cost over $2,500.
If you could leave this rambling review with only one takeaway, let it be this: stack points and miles, they’re incredibly useful in last-minute bookings on legacy carriers.