As you may have figured out by now I very frequently fly Delta. Laura and I flew their Business Elite product this past week en route to our San Francisco and Sonoma trip. What a blast. The market for flights from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco has gotten very competitive. A few airlines offer innovative new flat bed products including: Jet Blue's Mint, American's First and Business, United First and of course Delta Business Elite. A paid round trip Business Elite ticket will run you somewhere north of $1500 out of pocket or 65,000 miles if redeeming via Skymiles. For that kind of change you really want a bed and thankfully that is what nearly every airline is offering. If you don't get a flat bed you are basically paying five times the price of a normal ticket for a glass of champagne and more food. Not worth it. If you are interested in taking one of these flights you will find some fantastic options using Points & Miles. You could go one way in one of these premium products from one standard credit card sign up such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred!
We arrived at JFK about 7:00AM for our 9:30 flight. On the ground Delta really gets it right at JFK Terminal 4. Delta has a great ground product (the terminal and check in process). There is a dedicated quiet and cozy area when you arrive at the airport for Business Elite/Virgin Upper class passengers and it feeds into a dedicated security area for fast processing. The Delta Sky Club in Terminal 4 is nothing to write home about but nice for a cup of coffee, a beer and some snacks. All in it took us about twenty minutes from the car to the gate which is pretty top notch.
We flew the 757-200 which is still configured in the "Angle Flat Business Elite" configuration. A huge bummer. Basically its a very dated product compared to what the other airlines are offering on the JFK-LAX/SFO (flat beds). The food on Delta though is a step above the rest. They have very cleverly teamed up with celebrated chefs and sommeliers to create a 3 course food and wine experience. The seat angles back fairly far and has a footrest that pops out but it is still just a seat. The cabin features an amenity kit from Tumi which is very nice and includes many useful travel items such as: toothbrush, chapstick, moisturizer, socks, sleeping mask and a few other knick knacks. The highlight by far however is the Westin Heavenly Bedding pillow and blanket that it comes with. The blanket is a real quilted duvet and the pillow is similar to memory foam and is definitely enough to help you relax even in an older seat such as this one.
The fact that the seats were not flat was a huge downer. Delta is currently changing them out to a brand new 757-200 cabin on the JFK-LAX/SFO route and should be finished by the summer. The new cabin looks really great and I think that it will be competitive and possibly superior to the other offerings out there especially with Delta's food service. When this new cabin has been completed I would be very eager to try the product again...hopefully for miles and not money.
It didn't make enough difference to keep me from sleeping....
As I mentioned Delta has curated a fantastic food and wine experience. Michael Chiarello is the Executive Chef and celebrated sommelier Andrea Robinson created pairings to match. Let's have a look at the menu....
I managed to snap a picture of the charcuterie starter before inhaling it but sadly inhaled both the beef tenderloin and salted caramel gelato before getting a snap. The beef tenderloin was average but the accompanying sweet potato gratin and dijon sauce was fantastic. The salted caramel gelato was unreal. A true salted caramel, one thing of which I am definitely a connoisseur.
All in all minus the seat snafu it was a great experience. You have to love being served a three course meal at 30,000 feet. It is certainly an experience and I highly recommend it especially if you can do it with POINTS & MILES. If you are going west, for now take the JFK-LAX route because all the flights are flat beds. The SFO route will get a full go ahead recommendation from me once all their flights also feature the flat beds. Like I said, its just too much money to pay for anything less considering everyone else is offering one.
Anyone looking into a transcontinental flight?