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We recently examined all the premium seats on American Airlines, and while that airline may have the most diverse fleet of premium products, Delta has a large variety all its own. From one end of the spectrum to the other, here’s our guide to the best of the best, and the worst of the worst.
If you’re looking to ride in one of Delta’s finest seats while keeping the passport at home, be sure to check out our guide to flying Delta’s best business class seats domestically.
1. Delta One Suite
As of late 2017, there’s a new king when it comes to Delta seating: the Delta One Suite. The seats are set up in a 1-2-1 configuration, are exceptionally spacious, and are extremely private thanks to a sliding door. The Delta One suites will face stiff competition from Qatar Airways’ QSuite product. You can find our review of the Delta One Suite on both the A350 and the retrofitted 777.
A350 routes and flight dates:
- Detroit (DTW)-Tokyo Narita (NRT) — since October 30, 2017
- Detroit (DTW)-Seoul (ICN) — since November 18, 2017
- Detroit (DTW)-Beijing (PEK) — since January 17, 2018
- Detroit (DTW)-Amsterdam (AMS) — since March 2018
- Atlanta (ATL)-Seoul (ICN) — since March 24, 2018
- Detroit (DTW)-Shanghai (PVG) — since April 19, 2018
- Los Angeles (LAX)-Shanghai (PVG) — since July 2, 2018
- Seattle (SEA)-Tokyo Narita (NRT) — starting March 1, 2019
- Los Angeles (LAX)-Tokyo Haneda (HND) — starting March 31, 2019
777 routes and flight dates*:
- Minneapolis (MSP)-Tokyo Haneda (HND) — starting November 16, 2018
- Atlanta (ATL)-Paris (CDG) — from December 13, 2018 to March 29, 2019
- Minneapolis (MSP)-Paris (CDG) — from December 13, 2018 to March 30, 2019
- Atlanta (ATL)-Tokyo Narita (NRT) — starting March 1, 2019
- Minneapolis (MSP)-Seoul (ICN) — starting April 1, 2019
- Los Angeles (LAX)-Sydney (SYD) — starting sometime in 2019
*Note: As of August 2018, Delta has one retrofitted 777 in service, which is flying on various routes.
2. Reverse Herringbone
Aside from the Delta One Suite, the reverse herringbone seat is the best option Delta currently has in the sky. It’s private and offers a ton of personal space and ample storage. These seats are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration. The one downside of this product is that the IFE screen is a little small and old, but that seems to be a common theme for all the current Delta seats.
Where to Find Them: With Delta’s 747-400s retired, you’ll need to find an A330-200 or A330-300. You can find this product by flying routes from Detroit or Seattle to Asia as well as on some transcontinental routes from Atlanta (ATL) to Los Angeles (LAX) — and occasionally on a rare hop from Atlanta to Detroit.
3. Thompson Vantage
The Delta Thompson Vantage seat is nearly identical to the American Airlines Thompson Vantage seat — Delta’s are set up in a 1-2-1 configuration. Just like its American counterpart, the Delta seat is not very private and when the bed is fully flat, you feel very close to the floor of the plane, however it does offer direct-aisle access for every passenger and there is a fair amount of storage space. The main difference between this seat and AA’s version is that Delta opted to put in a built-in IFE system.
Where to Find Them: Delta operates nearly 80 aircraft with these seats, making it the most widely used product in its premium fleet. You can expect to see them on many routes to Europe and on transcontinental flights from Atlanta and New York JFK to San Francisco (SFO) and LAX.
4. Transcontinental 757
The Delta transcontinental 757 seat falls in line with the rest of the legacy airlines. Set up in a 2-2 configuration, the seat goes fully flat, and sports an in-flight entertainment screen, USB ports and power outlets. While the seats are not private in any way and there is limited storage, they are perfectly acceptable — and even deservedly coveted — on transcontinental routes. We still maintain that JetBlue’s Mint product is the best domestic business class out there, though.
Where to Find Them: On specific transcontinental routes, which can be found here. They have also been spotted on some international routes, such as Boston (BOS) to Paris (CDG) in the slower winter season.
The herringbone seat is the worst long-haul product Delta flies and is usually found on the longest-haul flights it has, such as Los Angeles to Sydney (SYD) and Atlanta to Johannesburg (JNB). It’s an old product and the carrier has begun to replace it with the Delta One Suite. Every seat faces toward the aisle and is set up in a 1-2-1 configuration. They all lack any form of personal storage space, have small IFE screens and are so packed together you’ll feel like you’re sitting on the lap of the person next to you.
Where to Find Them: These seats are luckily only aboard the company’s not-yet-retrofitted 777, on routes to Asia from Minneapolis (MSP), Seattle and LAX and from LAX to SYD, ATL to JNB and JFK to Tel Aviv (TLV).
6. Delta Premium Select
Along with the Delta One Suite, Delta announced a new cabin — premium economy, or as the carrier likes to call it, Premium Select. Each seat comes with its own footrest, power port, adjustable headrest and a large IFE screen. These seats are set up in a dense 2-4-2 configuration — to compare, the American Airlines 787 is set up in a 2-3-2 configuration and the A350 and 787 have an almost identical cabin width. One interesting thing to note: When you’re redeeming miles for a Premium Select seat, your domestic connection will be in first class rather than coach.
Where to Find Them: This product debuted in October 2017 with the arrival of the A350 in the fleet, and you can read our review here. The seats are also being fitted onto the 777 starting in 2018, and we also reviewed it.
7. Delta Domestic First Class
While Delta’s domestic first class is nothing to write home about, it’s perfectly acceptable on short hops.
Where to Find Them: On most routes within the US as well as some shorter international routes to Mexico, the Caribbean and Canada.
Delta’s hard products don’t all live up to the competition, but where it lacks, the carrier more than makes up for it in terms of onboard service. The food options are a step above what’s offered on American Airlines, and the Westin Heavenly bedding, though older, holds its own against AA’s Casper bedding and United’s Saks Fifth Avenue offering. The introduction of the Delta One Suite has certainly given the carrier a leg up on its US-based rivals.
How to Book
If you’re looking to book an award ticket on any of these routes, you’ve got options. While SkyMiles aren’t highly valued per TPG’s own valuations, you can boost your SkyMiles balance by adding a co-branded Delta Amex to your wallet.
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
- Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
What we’d recommend instead, however, is booking through a partner in order to score seats for less. Delta seats can be found and booked via the Flying Blue search calendar, as well as the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club calendar. Both of these portals, while they have their quirks, generally price Delta award tickets out cheaper than Delta’s own booking engine.
Remember, you don’t need to have ever flown Virgin Atlantic to book Delta award tickets through its Flying Club program, and the same is true for Flying Blue. Once you find the flight that works for you, you can transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards (instant transfer), Citi ThankYou Points (instant transfer), American Express Membership Rewards (instant transfer) and Marriott Bonvoy (1-day transfer). Here’s a sampling of credit cards you can use to earn points in these programs:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express for Membership Rewards
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for Ultimate Rewards
- Citi Premier Card for ThankYou Rewards
If you’re on the fence about which card will serve you best as a Delta flyer, we’ve assembled a guide to help out.
Do you disagree or agree with our rankings? Sound off, below.
Additional reporting by Darren Murph.
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