Revisión: Delta Air Lines 737 Primera Clase – Una milla a la vez


Translating…


To finish off the trip, Ford and I flew to Tampa, both so we could see my mom, and also so we could pick up Winston, because he had spent the past couple of weeks hanging out with her. Any flight where Winston is waiting on the other end feels as long as a Singapore to Newark flight, given how excited I am to see him.

Winston (yes, my mom may have bought him a few too many toys)

Delta, JetBlue, and Spirit, all fly nonstop from Boston to Tampa. We ended up flying Delta, given their reasonable first class fares.

Booking Delta first class

Of the “big three” US carriers, Delta is my favorite airline to fly with. Being based in Miami, I always struggle with the prospect of completely switching my loyalty to them, though. One of the reasons I don’t feel the need to switch my loyalty to Delta is because they pretty consistently price their first class reasonably, at least in the markets I’m flying.

While I forgot to take a screenshot at the time I was booking, I took one just now, and I think this pricing exactly matches what I saw on my flight. We booked first class on this route just a couple of weeks out for $272 per person. Ford had a checked bag, so we were saving $30 there by booking first class (at the time neither of us had a co-branded Delta Amex, or status with Delta).

But Delta really is smart with their pricing, in my opinion:

  • It’s worth paying an extra $15 to avoid Basic Economy
  • While I’m not necessarily sure it’s worth paying an extra $54 to upgrade from Main to Comfort+, I do think it’s worth paying $139 to upgrade to First Class on a plane that you’ll be on for four hours (3hr22min block time, plus boarding starts 40 minutes before departure)

So we booked first class, and I do have to say that’s one of the most reasonable first class fares I’ve ever booked.

If you want to earn Delta miles, see this post for the best credit cards for earning Delta miles.

Delta first class review

I wasn’t initially going to review a domestic flight, but then I figured why the heck not? While international flights are perhaps more interesting, a lot more people are flying domestic than international, so hopefully this is useful (you guys can let me know if you want more of these, or if I should just stick to international reviews).

Delta starts boarding flights 40 minutes out, and sure enough at 7:38AM boarding was announced.

Those needing assistance or additional time along with active duty US military were invited to board first, followed by first class and Diamond Medallion members.

It’s interesting to note that while American and United pre-board select elite members, the premium cabin passengers on Delta actually get to board first. Personally I prefer that system, but to each their own…

Delta 2913
Boston (BOS) – Tampa (TPA)

Friday, August 16Depart: 8:18AMArrive: 11:43AMDuration: 3hr25minAircraft: Boeing 737-800Seat: 4C (First Class)

At the door I was greeted by two absolutely lovely flight attendants — “good morning, welcome aboard! How are you today?”

This flight was operated by one of Delta’s more outdated Boeing 737-800s. First class consisted of a total of 16 seats, spread across four rows in a 2-2 configuration.

Many of Delta’s 737s have newer interiors than this, but even so, it was still better than most other interiors you’ll find within the US.


Delta 737 first class cabin

There was a personal television at every seat, as is the norm on all of Delta’s 737s (and on 700 of their mainline aircraft, for that matter). However, these screens were on the small side.


Delta 737 first class cabin

Delta 737 first class seats

Legroom wasn’t amazing, though was sufficient. The legroom certainly wasn’t as good as American’s old 737-800s, but they’re reconfiguring those planes with less legroom, and by comparison these planes do seem more comfortable.


Delta 737 first class seats


Delta 737 first class cabin

Delta 737 first class seats

I had assigned us the seats on the right side in row four. I like how Delta’s seatbacks have several different pockets where you can store things.

Delta first class legroom

There were power outlets underneath the center armrest.

Delta first class power outlets

One thing I didn’t love is that they don’t have a proper bulkhead between cabins, but rather only a small divider and a curtain. On the plus side, this means legroom is excellent in the first row of economy.

Delta 737 cabin divider

While this wasn’t Delta’s best plane out there, it’s ultimately the service that makes the airline. Waiting at each seat upon boarding was a bottle of water (which American and United don’t offer).

Delta first class bottled water

There was also a pillow and blanket. On most domestic flights American just offers a blanket, and no pillow, in first class.

Delta first class pillow & blanket

I was also offered a pair of headphones.


Delta first class headphones

Within minutes of settling in one of the friendly flight attendants came through the cabin to offer everyone pre-departure drinks, beyond the bottled water. I passed, since I had enough coffee and water in the SkyClub.

Right at departure time the captain came on the PA to inform us of our flight time of 2hr40min. He added “unfortunately we have some bad news…”

I guess I’m too used to flying American, because my mind immediately went to thinking we’d have to get off the plane, find a new plane, etc.

“Unfortunately we have a minor mechanical problem, and we’re also still waiting on some bags to be loaded.” The captain provided an update at around 8:30AM saying that they were just waiting for some paperwork (which at American sometimes never comes), and by 8:40AM we were told we’d be departing shortly.

I’d note how lovely the crew was during this. They kept coming into the cabin to offer people more drinks. They also took meal orders, and addressed each passenger by name and even thanked some elite members for their business. The breakfast choices were between an egg sandwich and yogurt and granola. Delta now lets you pre-order your meals, so we had ordered one of each a couple of days before departure.

At 8:45AM we began our pushback, and by 9AM we were airborne. Since this was a Friday morning I had work to do, and I connected to the Gogo 2Ku wifi. While I have a monthly membership with Gogo, the pricing was otherwise as follows:

  • One hour cost $10
  • A flight pass cost $25

As usual, Delta offers free texting inflight.

About 20 minutes after takeoff warm towels were distributed.

Delta first class breakfast — warm towel

Next up tablecloths were distributed, followed by drinks. I ordered a coffee.


Delta first class breakfast — coffee

Then breakfast was served. Ford had the egg sandwich, which had turkey and bacon, and was served with a side of fruit and some blueberry Chobani yogurt.


Delta first class breakfast

Delta’s domestic food consistently isn’t great, in my experience. I’d say it’s on par with what American serves, if not a bit worse. You don’t fly Delta domestically for the food.

Delta first class breakfast

Then when it was time for the flight attendant to serve my meal, she came up to me with a horrified look on her face.

“Mr. Schlappig, I am so sorry. You pre-ordered your meal, so you should have had your first choice in getting this. I just discovered that we messed something up with catering, and the number of each dish that my sheet says should have been loaded doesn’t match the number actually loaded.”

So basically I could have the egg sandwich, but they didn’t have any of the yogurt and granola left. She offered me the sandwich, or asked if I wanted something from economy.

She genuinely felt way worse than she should have. I said the sandwich was fine, and that I’d just take off the bacon. There was a snack basket, and before offering it to the rest of the cabin, she came up to us and offered us our choice of what we wanted.

Delta first class snacks

She literally came by my seat three times to apologize for this. First she got out her portable device to offer me compensation. I just had to enter my SkyMiles number, and I’d get 2,500 miles (go figure these still haven’t posted — Delta front line employees are great, but sometimes their back-end stuff confuses me).

She then asked if we were traveling for fun or business. I explained we were visiting my mom, and she asked if my mom prefers red or white wine. She then offered me a bottle of white wine to take with me for my mom.

This wasn’t a big deal at all for me to begin with, but seeing how proactive and apologetic the flight attendant was is something you just don’t see at other airlines. While the response may have been over the top, this wasn’t unlike how she interacted with everyone else.

She was constantly roaming the aisle to see if anyone wanted anything, had a big smile on her face, and made everyone feel truly welcome.

I spent most of the flight working, and didn’t really use the entertainment, other than looking at the map. I’ve fairly consistently found Delta’s maps to be a bit off. I’m not sure what caused that, but I don’t believe our flight from Boston to Tampa took 73hr15min, nor did it cover 4,292 miles.

Delta personal television


Delta personal television


Delta personal television

The only other thing I’d note is that the lavatory was nicer than your typical US airline 737 lavatory, and I particularly like that they have Malin + Goetz soap.


Delta first class lavatory 737

As we started our descent the flight attendant came up to each passenger to thank them for flying Delta and for their business. I thanked her for her great service, and explained what a treat it is to fly Delta compared to American, given that we live in Miami.

She was still apologetic about the meal situation at this point — “well we had the chance to win you over and we blew it. I’m really sorry.”

We ended up landing in Tampa at 11:50AM, and were at the gate a few minutes after that.

Delta has a 20 minute baggage guarantee for checked bags. The app sent a push notification as our bag was entering the belt, and it arrived 13 minutes after arriving at the gate. Impressive.

Delta baggage claim

Delta 737 first class bottom line

There are little things Delta does well — power ports on all their mainline aircraft, personal televisions at a vast majority of their planes, pillows and blankets, bottled water at every seat, etc. Then there are things that Delta doesn’t do well, like their food on domestic flights, in my opinion.

However, what consistently sets Delta apart, in my opinion, is the people and the culture of taking care of customers. It’s so refreshing to fly an airline where virtually every person you interact with is invested in making your journey as good as possible, and that’s a feeling I consistently get at Delta.

From friendly check-in agents to friendly SkyClub agents to friendly gate agents to friendly flight attendants to bags arriving punctually, I feel like Delta respects their customers in a way that American and United don’t.

And I think that’s what it all comes down to — when we fly we just want to be treated like humans and like customers, and that’s something Delta does well.

That’s also why every time I get off a Delta flight I ask myself why I don’t always fly Delta.

Every time I fly Delta I ask myself why I don’t always fly Delta…

— Ben Schlappig (@OneMileataTime) August 16, 2019

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