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Flight Review: Delta One Transcontinental Business Class JFK-LAX

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TPG Content Manager Ryan Gaines recently flew from New York-JFK to Los Angeles (LAX) on Delta’s 767-300 in Delta One — using 12,500 SkyMiles to upgrade. Here are his thoughts about his flight.

Earlier this month, I was headed to Los Angeles for the long Fourth of July weekend, and as a Delta Platinum Medallion, I saw this as a great opportunity to try out Delta’s new Delta One business class product between New York-JFK and LAX. Unfortunately, I’d waited last-minute to book, so the cheapest flights available on this route were in the K fare class — the current minimum fare class needed to be able to upgrade with miles.

Since you’re not able to check online for available mileage upgrade space, I opted to call Delta to inquire, and learned that only one of the eight nonstop flights that day had upgrade space available. I jumped on it, confirming a seat in Delta One business class at 7:20am from JFK-LAX for $420 and 12,500 SkyMiles.

Delta SkyClub at JFK’s Terminal 4

Delta One JFK-LAX
The Delta SkyClub at JFK around 6am was surprisingly quiet.

I got to the airport around 5:45am and found a pretty quiet SkyClub at Terminal 4, and an all-but-empty SkyDeck where it was nice to be able to get some fresh air post-security. This absence of travelers on the Thursday morning of a holiday weekend was a little surprising, and I briefly wondered if it could be due to the fact that in 2014, Delta jacked up membership fees and slashed its guest policy.

Delta One JFK-LAX
The interior of the Delta Sky Club at JFK was also dead early in the morning. Where are all the Sky Club members?

Confirmation in Delta One (even when using miles to upgrade) allows you to access SkyClubs. If I hadn’t scored this upgrade, my other option would have been to use The Platinum Card from American Express to gain access to this lounge.

Onboard Experience

Delta One JFK-LAX
Even though I had booked in Delta One, the particular Boeing 767-300ER I flew still had BusinessElite seats.

Boarding began right on time, about 35 minutes prior to departure. At my seat in 3C, I found a large pillow, a Westin Heavenly blanket, a new Tumi amenity kit and bottle of water.

As I was settling into my seat, I was offered my choice of an orange juice or sparkling wine, which got me thinking about a mimosa — so the flight attendant gladly mixed the two options for me.

Delta One JFK-LAX
Starting my transcontinental flight with a mimosa — cheers!

Delta currently flies up to nine daily departures between New York-JFK and LAX, all on either the 757-200ER or 767-300ER, both of which now feature fully lie-flat seats in Delta One. (Later this year, in the wake of United will leaving JFK and opening up some slots for other airlines, they’ll be upgrading to 10 daily departures between the two cities.)

My particular flight was aboard a 767-300ER, which has 26 Delta One seats in a 1 x 2 x 1 configuration, providing every passenger in the cabin with direct aisle access, and offer a pitch that ranges from 76.5 to 81.4 inches. However, the seats on this aircraft still had the old BusinessElite seat covers, instead of the new Delta One seat covers. I reached out to Delta, who stated that all aircraft seats covers (Delta One and Comfort+) on 767-300ERs should completed in October.

Delta One JFK-LAX
One of the benefits of the 767-300, is that every seat in Business Class has direct aisle access since it’s in a 1x2x1 configuration.

When it comes to in-flight entertainment, Delta provides Delta One passengers with noise-canceling headsets to watch and listen to a large selection of on-demand movies, as well as games, TV shows, and music. Delta’s entire domestic fleet includes Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi, and though not free for Delta One passengers (an all-day pass costs $16, but be sure to purchase ahead of time via Gogo to avoid paying more than double this cost if you were to purchase on-board). The seats were also equipped with a 110-volt electrical outlet and USB charging port.

Food Service

Delta One JFK-LAX
For breakfast, the first course consisted of a selection of cheese and fresh fruit.

About 45 minutes into flight, the breakfast service began which consisted of the following:

First Course

Cheese Selection of Cheddar, Gruyere and Brie

Seasonal Fresh Fruit with honey yogurt dipping sauce

Main Course

A choice of the following is served with either a croissant or bagel:

Garden Omelet with Colby Jack Cheese with parsley potatoes and chicken sausages links

Torrejas French Toast with mixed berry compote and maple syrup

Honey Almond Granola Cereal with fresh strawberries and flavored yogurt

For my first course, I opted for a croissant, which I thought was very tasty — and the highlight of the two courses.

Delta One JFK-LAX
For my main course, I chose the garden omelet with colby jack cheese.

For my main course, I went for the garden omelet with Colby jack cheese. I would give the presentation a C- for dried-out cheese almost falling off my plate, and only a marginally higher rating for the taste quality, since the omelet itself was rather plain and too salty. Next time, I’ll try the French toast, instead.

When it comes to the Delta One meal service onboard Delta’s transcontinental flights, I would opt for a later flight that offers its lunch or dinner service, which is inspired by Northern California-based celebrity chef Michael Chiarello. It would be great if he could also could create Delta’s breakfast menu, as I think it could use an improvement.

Final Thoughts

The Delta ONE seating area is designed to comfortably seat 10 people.
If I’d flown out of LAX on Delta One, I could have visited this quiet, private check-in lounge there. Photo by Melanie Wynne.

Overall, I was very pleased with Delta’s service between JFK and LAX, especially the lie-flat seat and Westin Heavenly bedding. I thought the service was great, and there were always flight attendants in the aisle offering to refill glasses and assist. One disappointment would be the actual main course for breakfast, which could be improved.

If you’re looking to upgrade to Delta One using miles between JFK-LAX, it’s currently 12,500 SkyMiles each-way if you’re booked in a K fare class or higher, though that rate will greatly increase starting June 1, 2016, meaning if booked on a K fare, you will then need 35,000 SkyMiles to upgrade.

I didn’t fly out of LAX on Delta One, so be sure to see TPG Travel Editor Melanie’s Wynne’s review of the new Delta One lounge experience at LAX. Note that a Delta One lounge is presently planned for New York-JFK in early-to-mid-2016, and thereafter lounges will follow in Atlanta (ATL), Minneapolis (MSP), Salt Lake City (SLC), Seattle (SEA) and other Delta hub cities.

Have you flown Delta One between New York-JFK and Los Angeles (LAX)  recently? What did you think ?

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