a sign in a airport

Delta Flight 2604 San Francisco (SFO) To New York (JFK) December 30th, 2015.

What’s one less than two, the loneliest number and the name of a U2 song? Ah yes, One. Delta One is the airline’s highest level of service, available on all international long haul flights and transcontinental direct flights between New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Though Delta was my first true frequent flyer love, and the airline I’ve held status with for the longest consecutive amount of time, for no apparent reason it’s been over a year since I’ve actually flown with them. To get home from a quick stint in San Francisco, I thought buying an economy ticket and using 12,500 miles would be “one” great way to experience their “upgraded” product, Delta One…

Check In

a sign in a airport

Check in at San Francisco Terminal One was a breeze. The Sky Priority sign is on large, borderline obnoxious display directly after entering the door. Easy.

Delta One Sky Priority Check In SFO #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

At check in we encountered an extremely friendly agent who promptly and efficiently checked us in, priority tagged our bags and gave us directions to the somewhat new lounge location. She also informed us that she’d never been to New York. I told her Delta should hook it up. Right?!

The Lounge

a sign with a couple of circular lights from the ceiling

I’ve flown with Delta long enough to remember the grand ole’ days in their Sky Clubs and the more recent years where they turned into bus stations with paint stripper for alcohol. Upon entry It was an inspiring pleasure to see just how much they’ve improved things since I gave up on them. Sounds like an Adele song or something…

Sky Club 360 SFO. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

The club offered very functional and wide ranging spaces, large wide comfy seats, a dining area, where this 360* is captured, a business center and most importantly great views of the tarmac and runway the length of the room.

a bar with bottles of alcohol

If you have the eyes of a hawk, you may see an advertisement on the bar “Here’s a neat gift”. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that through the holidays Delta was offering any of their credit card holders two free premium drinks, including their top shelf wine and cocktails. I took the opportunity to grab two chef inspired Thai Spicy Basil Mojitos with lemongrass infused rum and vodka. I suppose the bad news is that these “premium drinks” should always be free, it’s a lounge after all…

a room with tables and chairs

Did Richard Branson and Virgin Atlantic share their decorators phone number? Fun quirky loft style room dividers, great colors and excellent natural light. 

a picture of a bridge

Along the back wall of the club you’ll find an amazing mosaic style art piece depicting the Golden Gate Bridge. It was pretty awesome.

a group of bowls of food

Perhaps the greatest overall surprise was the food, which is a great step from the old days, with offerings of cold asian noodles, chicken salad, pasta and a few other savory plates. Of course there were also cookies, which I managed to inhale.

The Seat + Bed

a woman sitting in a chair

We chose seats 1A, 1B for one major reason. Ok, maybe two reasons, we love being first off, and on Delta 767’s the first row has a much larger foot cubby area for when you’re stretched out. 

Delta One Welcome. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

It wouldn’t be a welcome on a plane from us without some unfortunate facial expressions, nonetheless, welcome aboard!

a seat on a plane

These fresh new seat designs, with quilted fabric and very “Italian sports car” inspired color schemes really create a sense of prestige and quality.

a glass of wine next to a ticket

I’ve lectured about not taking photos of your boarding pass for security reasons, but based on my knowledge of those security issues, I’ve managed to avoid including my frequent flyer number, record locator, full name or any bar codes. I did manage to include the welcome glass of champagne, which was served very jovially by our top notch crew, holdovers from the pre Delta-Northwest days! 

a woman lying in a plane

With a flying time just around five hours from west to east, it was a race to get the seats flat as quickly as possible. On that note, Delta offers arguably the best bedding and pillows in the sky, featuring Westin “Heavenly” bedding. Pretty cool.

Delta One Flat Thumbs UP. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

It’s always better to experience it for yourself isn’t it? As you can see the seat reclines to a fully flat position. It even has a massage function?

a person's feet in a seat

Though it doesn’t look gigantic, the first row foot cubby is larger than those found in other rows. With size twelve feet it makes a big difference for me. Needless to say I highly recommend snagging the front row…

a seat with a pillow and a white pillow on it

Since we’ve already covered most of the seat, this is a great time to mention the Tumi amenity kit, which has also seen a nice refresh. I’ll probably even re use it. Also, love the 360* VR photos and videos? That tiny electronic device pictured next to the phone is all it is!

Delta One Solo Seat #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Tip? All Delta One seats offer direct aisle access. If you’re a solo traveler, I’d highly recommend grabbing a window seat with the desk and tray area exposed to the aisle, offering greater privacy and less chance of getting that classic feel good moment where a service cart bashes you in the elbows while you peacefully sleep…

a seat on an airplane

See? Better view out the window and less chance of an elbow bashing. It’s a great way to travel….

Food + Drink

a plate of food on a table

On transcontinental flights between New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Delta One features a Michael Chiarello designed menu. Food here. Beverages here. I found the starter very tasty, even if it was larger and more spanning than most main courses I’ve had in my life. 

a plate of food on a table

In this edition of steaks on a plane, we feature a very tasty dijon glazed filet mignon with sweet potato gratin and spinach with toasted pine nuts. It was a great bite!

a plate of pasta with tomatoes and cheese

Laura went for the penne in pesto sauce, which tasted just like…. penne in pesto sauce. I suppose easy comfort food is always good. 

The Experience + Tips

a screen with text on it

Delta has really elevated the number One. I was extremely pleased with the lounge experience, based on comparable U.S. standards. I adored our crew, who had been together for over twenty years and offered the kind of banter, service and efficiency you can usually only dream of. I think Delta One is a great way to fly. It’s not my favorite bed, solely because of the foot cubbies, but I don’t see how anyone could ever really complain. It’s a bed in the sky after all. It means you’re doing something right, or alternately you’re getting some great tips on using your miles from a really nice guy on the internet….

As Always, Get In Touch: GodSaveThePoints@gmail.com

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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