The Seat:Seat 32G, an aisle seat toward the front of the economy cabin is normally set aside for elite level frequent fliers but offers no advantage other than being at the front of the cabin. While legroom and seat width are typical, the entertainment options provided with their seat-back TVs is enough to keep your mind off of being on a long flight. Delta is also slowly integrating standard power-ports into the first several rows of economy (although we found none on our flight). All seats have adjustable headrests and movable armrests (movable armrests not available in bulhead or exit rows).
Service:Service from the flight attendants was slightly above average for economy, yet short of extraordinary. Meal and beverage service was timely and additional coffee, tea and duty free offerings were plentiful to fill the gaps in between.
Notes:I passed up on the rear exit row seats on both sides (the middle section has a restrictive bulkhead) after doing some research to find many people complained of other passengers congregating and waiting for the lavatories in the immediate area. They weren’t lying. Several inspections revealed a horde of people milling about, stretching and waiting for the rest room. Not good if you want to sleep or not be bothered. The coveted economy seats on this aircraft may be in row 30 on either side (not the middle bulkhead) where sites like seatguru.com claim that you’ll find up to an additional 8 inches of legroom in the window/middle seats and even more in the aisle seats (30C and 30G) as the bulkhead only extends so far into the aisle. Plus you’re nowhere near a galley or lavatory so you should rest easy without odors or annoyances. Good luck getting them though…They’re reserved in advance for elite fliers and tend to go the fastest.
Summary:It’s not saying much, but the experience aboard this particular aircraft is better than you’ll find on most US carriers flying overseas. Entertainment options are plentiful, seats are nothing more (or less) than standard and food options are…well let’s just say they’re available. If you can get your miles and fly a more luxurious partner airline, I say do it. If not, you won’t be too dissatisfied with this aircraft in economy.
Rating:2.5 hops (of 5).
Strategy: If you’re an elite member of Delta’s SkyMiles program, you’ll be able to choose these seats when you book your flight. Otherwise You can wait until the day of your flight and request this or another premium seat (like a bulkhead or exit row) at the gate. Just get to the airport early and go to any gate that isn’t particularly busy if there’s no one at yours yet (Most agents can help you with seating or ticketing regardless of what gate they’re working.) Calling Delta in advance with a smiley demeanor might yield some results…but not as likely.
How I got it: SkyMiles Silver Medallion (elite) member.
The Seat:Seat 4A is a window seat in the forward-most section of business class. These are recliner seats with a generous recline but don’t compare to more luxurious seats on many European or Asian carriers . Seat controls are automatic and relatively easy to use once you get the hang of it. Legroom and seat width are more than acceptable. Delta plans to have have most or all of their overseas fleet outfitted with new lie-flat seats by the end of 2013.
Service:Well above average on this flight. Our cabin was pretty empty so flight attendants were able to respond to passengers quickly and even stopped to chat a few times. Very friendly crew.
Notes:There aren’t any notable seats in this cabin that may offer extra space although I highly recommend choosing a seat in the forward most portion of business class (there are 2 sections separated by a galley) to cut down on noise from other parts of the airplane.
Summary:If you can manage your way up to business class, It’s worth the effort if you don’t end up shelling out too much extra money or miles. Despite not quite comparing with other carriers Business Elite is still far and above what you’ll find in economy with regards to roominess and service.
Rating:3 hops (of 5).
Strategy: The best way to upgrade on trans-oceanic flight on Delta is to use miles. You can do this by calling Delta…Or if you want use miles to book the flight to begin with, You can do so at delta.com. Book well in advance if at all possible as you’ll stand a better chance of finding non-stop itineraries early.
How I got it: This particular flight was booked while Northwest Airlines was still operating as a separate airline. Now that they and Delta have completed their merger (and websites), the option I used to upgrade (cash and miles) is no longer offered. We hope that Delta comes up with a way to offer this again in the future.