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Flight Review: Delta Transcontinental JFK-LAX BusinessElite

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TPG Content and Community Manager Ryan Gaines recently flew from New York’s JFK to Los Angeles on Delta’s 767-300 in BusinessElite—after he was able to confirm upgrade space and use 12,500 miles to upgrade. Here are his thoughts about his flight.

Back in December, I decided to leave chilly New York City and head to Los Angeles to visit friends and family, booking a last-minute H class coach fare on Delta for around $450 one-way. I inquired about using SkyMiles to upgrade to BusinessElite, and to my surprise, there was plenty of upgrade space available. As we’ve written about in the past, the carrier doesn’t officially offer Medallion upgrades on this route, so I decided to use 12,500 SkyMiles to secure an upgrade to BusinessElite.

Delta BusinessElite
One of the features of Delta’s BusinessElite is that every seat has direct aisle access.

On the Plane

On transcon routes, Delta BusinessElite customers have Delta SkyClub access, but since I got caught in a lot of traffic on the way to JFK, I didn’t have a chance to swing by the lounge. Instead, I sprinted straight for the gate, where boarding for my 9 p.m. flight to L.A. had already begun.

Delta BusinessElite
At my seat, I found a Westin Heavenly pillow, duvet and amenity kit

My Seat 

Delta currently has 8 daily departures between New York JFK and Los Angeles (LAX), all on either the 757-200ER or 767-300ER, both of which now feature fully lie-flat seats in BusinessElite. My particular flight was aboard a 767-300ER, which has 36 BusinessElite seats in a 1 x 2 x 1 configuration, providing every passenger in the cabin with direct aisle access.

At my roomy, 21-inch-wide seat, I found Westin Heavenly In-Flight Bedding, with a thick comforter, and a well-stocked amenity kit packaged in a sturdy black Tumi case that I’ve since employed as travel storage for my electronics and chargers. The BusinessElite lie-flat seats on the 767-300ER are great if you want to doze off or simply relax, offering a pitch that ranges from 76.5 to 81.4 inches. I’ve previously flown this route on the 757-200ER with Delta’s new lie-flat BusinessElite seats, but I personally feel that the 767-300ER’s version are superior in terms of width and padding.

On the touchscreen at my seat—which wasn’t technically high-definition, but certainly looked like it—I found plenty of in-flight entertainment to watch, with a choice of 300 on-demand movies, as well as games, TV shows, and music. While onboard, I purchased Delta’s newer version of Gogo Inflight WiFi, which was pretty fast and allowed me to get some work done and watch a couple of downloaded movies. And happily, the 110-volt electrical outlet and USB charging port at my seat allowed me to keep my laptop and phone charged for the whole flight.

Appetizer
Delta’s big, tasty appetizer on their transcontinental routes

Food Service

Delta’s BusinessElite transcon appetizers are always as good as (or even better than) its entrees, so I wasn’t too surprised by the huge plate of antipasti that was set down before me. My hearty appetizer consisted of an eggplant caponata, an asparagus and spring-pea spread, some crostini dusted with fennel, a marinated chickpea salad, and a side of baby green baby greens and parmesan—all which were very tasty.

Entree
My entree of braised beef short ribs was served with sides of polenta and spinach

My three entrée choices were braised beef short ribs, cocoa-crusted pork tenderloin, or a fettucine pasta dish. I opted for the braised beef short ribs served with a rich, creamy polenta and some lightly sautéed spinach, as well as warm, soft bread roll. The short ribs were surprisingly tender and the entire meal was refreshingly flavorful for an airline meal, but would have benefited from being served piping hot rather than lukewarm.

After dinner, they offered a choice of dessert—either a selection of cheeses or gelato—but I passed on both in favor of kicking back to watch some movies. I had only a small twinge of regret when I saw the people around me smiling as they enjoyed their scoops of salted caramel gelato.

Milk and Cookies
Who could say no to chocolate chip cookies and milk?

Just prior to arrival, I was offered warm chocolate chip cookies and milk—just as I was in the mood for a treat!

Final Thoughts

Overall, I was very pleased with Delta’s BusinessElite service between JFK and LAX, especially the extensive meal service, which was really satisfying and helped me relax. I found it a welcome surprise to upgrade for only 12,500 SkyMiles one-way, especially at a time when last-minute BusinessElite tickets were running for around $2,000. Delta SkyMiles may not be the most valuable currency, but it’s good to remember that they can come in handy for upgrades.

Have you recently flown between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles in Delta’s BusinessElite? How was your experience with this route?

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