The ultimate guide to Delta One Suites
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Delta made global headlines in August 2016 as the first airline in the world to unveil an all-suites business-class cabin, where each seat had its own closing door for privacy. The airline announced plans to install the suites on its order of new Airbus A350s followed by other long-haul jets in its fleet.
Delta was ultimately scooped by Qatar Airways, which revealed its own all-suites business class in March 2017 and debuted the first Qsuite cabin in flight a few months later, in June. However, Delta sent its new Delta One Suites into service in October of that year and has been steadily rolling out new routes from its hubs in Atlanta (ATL), Detroit (DTW), Los Angeles (LAX), Minneapolis (MSP) and Seattle (SEA) to destinations in Europe and Asia ever since.
Though Delta One Suites are still only available on a limited number of routes, as the airline takes delivery of more Airbus A350s and A330-900neo aircraft and continues retrofitting its 777s, we are seeing more and more flying every month.
For now, here’s where you will find the new Delta One Suites, the aircraft they’re on, and how you can use miles to book them.
Delta One Suites can be found aboard the Airbus A350, Airbus A330-900neo and some Boeing 777-200s. According to Delta’s fleet-information page, the airline has 13 A350s currently in service, with 26 more coming. So far, the airline is operating two A330-900neos out of the 35 it has ordered from Airbus. It expects to complete retrofits on its 18 777-200ERs and 777-200LRs by the end of 2019.
The A350 has 32 Delta One Suites, while the retrofitted 777s have 28 suites (compared to the 37 old Delta One seats the unaltered planes have). The A330-900neos have 29 Delta One Suites. On all of them, Delta One is in a single cabin at the front of the aircraft, so your experience should be pretty similar from plane to plane.
We’ve compiled a list of the routes Delta is already flying or has announced it will fly with the new Delta One Suites aboard at the time of publication.
A350: The airline’s main Airbus A350 hub is Detroit, with flights from the Midwest hub to Amsterdam (AMS), Beijing (PEK), Seoul (ICN), Shanghai (PVG) and Tokyo (NRT), as well as the following additional routes:
- Atlanta (ATL)-Seoul (ICN)
- Los Angeles (LAX)-Shanghai (PVG)
- Los Angeles (LAX)-Tokyo Haneda (HND)
- Minneapolis (MSP)-Seoul (ICN)
- Seattle (SEA)-Tokyo Narita (NRT)
Boeing 777: Retrofitted Boeing 777-200 routes now include the following:
- Atlanta (ATL)-Johannesburg (JNB) starting Oct. 28, 2019
- Atlanta (ATL)-Paris (CDG) until Oct. 25, 2019
- Atlanta (ATL)-Tokyo Narita (NRT)
- Los Angeles (LAX)-Paris (CDG)
- Los Angeles (LAX)-Sydney (SYD)
- Minneapolis (MSP)-Paris (CDG) until Oct. 24, 2019
- Minneapolis (MSP)-Tokyo Haneda (HND)
- New York (JFK)-Mumbai (BOM) starting Dec. 22, 2019
A330-900neo: The airline also expects to launch service from Seattle to Tokyo Narita using this jet, but for now, it’s still scheduled with an A350. Here are the other two routes currently operating:
- Seattle (SEA)-Seoul (ICN)
- Seattle (SEA)-Shanghai (PVG)
As always, aircraft are subject to change as airlines alter their networks, deliveries get delayed, and jets get swapped between various hubs. Keep up to date with TPG posts on the topic, especially if you plan to fly a 777 with the suites aboard.
Beside closing doors, just what makes the Delta One Suites so special? Each is 22 to 24 inches wide and 76 to 81 inches long in bed mode on the A350. They are 22 to 24 inches wide and up to 79 inches long on the 777. On the A330-900neo, they are only up to 23.3 inches wide and up to 81 inches long. All recline to fully lie-flat beds with memory-foam cushions.
The suites themselves are fairly comparable across aircraft, though there are design differences on the newer iterations of the suite on the A330-900neos that those with a keen eye will notice. We found the aisles on the A330-900neo to be cramped, though the Wi-Fi was fast. The 777 cabin did not feel as spacious because of overhead bins, though the seats did feel wide, and the A350 seems to be an all-around favorite. Also keep in mind that the A330-900neo and 777 have just two lavatories for business class while the A350 has four.
On all three jets, the suites are arranged in a staggered 1–2–1 configuration. Their footprint is basically the same as the Delta One business-class seats on the rest of the fleet. The suites on the sides of the cabin alternate between being closer to the aisle and closer to the window. Those in the center of the cabin shift either right or left of the preceding row to maximize seat pitch.
Passengers can illuminate “Do Not Disturb” indicators, adjust their own lighting and take advantage of numerous personal stowage areas.
The suites have 18-inch, high-resolution touchscreens, 2Ku Wi-Fi (for a fee), high-powered USB ports and universal power outlets.
Business-class passengers can enjoy hallmark Delta soft amenities including new Tumi kits with Le Labo skincare products, LSTN headphones and Westin Heavenly In-Flight Bedding. Menus created by celebrity chefs like Linton Hopkins and wines chosen by the airline’s sommelier are all presented with the airline’s Alessi glassware, plates and cutlery.
Though we have found a few incredible award deals on flights featuring Delta One Suites, even on long-haul routes, finding low-level awards can be challenging, if not impossible. All the more so since Delta stopped publishing award charts and switched to a dynamic pricing model for award tickets.
Luckily, Delta.com does have a few useful award-search tools that make the process easier. Be sure to use the flexible-dates calendar to look for awards five weeks at a time. And if you’re just searching routes where you know an A330-900neo, A350, or 777 with the suites is in service, select the option for nonstop flights so you can narrow down your query quickly.
Now for the good news: It’s not hard to tell when low-level award availability exists. The bad news? For the most part, Delta prices flights in suites at exorbitant levels, ranging from 280,000 to 505,000 miles each way. Yes, you read that correctly.
However, there are dates when you’ll see noticeably less-expensive awards. Those are your “saver-level” ones, and ones that should (mostly) be bookable using partner currencies like Air France-KLM Flying Blue miles or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles.
Speaking of which ….
Using Miles and Points
If you want to use miles to book Delta One Suites, you’ve got a few choices.
First, you could use Delta’s own SkyMiles. The program is a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards if you have a card like the Platinum Card® from American Express or the Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card.
Miles needed: 86,000 to 505,000 miles each way, depending on destination and saver-level availability.
Another good option is Air France/KLM Flying Blue. This program is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards (if you have a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card), Citi ThankYou Rewards (if you have a card like the Citi Prestige® Card or Citi Premier℠ Card), and Capital One Rewards (at a 2:1.5 ratio) if you have a card like the Capital One Venture or Capital One VentureOne. There have even been transfer bonuses as high as 25% from Capital One and Citi in the last few months. The information for the Citi Prestige, Citi Premier has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Two major caveats, though. First, you’ll only be able to use these miles to book saver-level awards on Delta, so expect extremely limited availability. Second, you will typically pay more taxes and surcharges on these tickets than using Delta SkyMiles.
Miles needed: Again, this varies by route, but ranges from around 72,000 miles each way to Europe or 85,000 to Asia … if you can find any saver-level availability.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Your best choice will probably be Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, which has offered phenomenal redemption values specifically for Delta One Suites in the past year or so. That’s even more true if you can take advantage of frequent transfer bonuses from its credit-card partners.
While searching for awards on Virgin Atlantic’s site is pretty straightforward, the award availability it displays generally does not match up to what you’ll see on Delta.com. So if you plan to use these miles for a ticket, you’re better off just searching right on VirginAtlantic.com or calling their Flying Club customer-service desk.
The program is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, so flyers have a lot of choices when it comes to boosting their balance. Not only that, but both Amex and Citi offer occasional transfer bonuses, meaning you’ll need even fewer points than normal to book awards.
Miles needed: 50,000 to 60,000 each way to Europe and Asia, respectively.
Now we’re getting to the fun part: finding awards. I looked at a cross-section of flights with Delta One Suites aboard for now through the middle of 2020.
Let’s start with the bad news: Low-level awards are extremely scarce, and that does not seem to change even as more aircraft with Delta One Suites come online and start flying.
For now, when you search awards, you’ll see eye-popping numbers as high as 505,000 miles each way. The lowest-level awards, like 80,000 miles one-way to Europe, are only available on major holidays like Christmas and New Year’s Eve. That said, most awards seem to be falling within a range of 140,000 to 320,000 SkyMiles each way.
You will need to be flexible, perhaps willing to travel on holidays when other flyers are staying home or are already on vacation, and to pay special attention to specific routes like the airline’s flights between Mainland China and the U.S., which seem to have the most low-level availability of any of them.
Just to demonstrate that awards are out there, though, here’s a bargain from Los Angeles to Paris aboard a 777 in the middle of the holidays for just 80,000 miles:
More likely, you’ll find awards like this one from Seattle to Seoul for 180,000 miles:
Or Atlanta to Seoul either nonstop or via Minneapolis for 120,000 miles.
Or this one from Tokyo Haneda to Minneapolis for a whopping 240,000 miles:
If 240,000 SkyMiles don’t bowl you over, why not spend 360,000 SkyMiles to fly from Tokyo Narita to Detroit instead?
Before you get too discouraged, it’s still possible to find more reasonably priced awards using the partner miles mentioned above. With Flying Blue in particular, prepare for wonky routings, thanks to the program’s dynamic pricing, such as this one from Shanghai to Los Angeles via Tokyo Haneda for 115,000 miles:
Though you might find gems, like this Los Angeles-to-Paris nonstop on several dates in January for 72,000 miles:
Flying Blue’s partner award availability does not seem to match Delta’s own calendars, and the engine prioritizes flights on Air France and KLM in search results, so you might have to do some digging.
The one bright spot is that Virgin Atlantic still seems to pull in a decent amount of saver-level availability. That means nonstop flights between the U.S. and Europe for just 50,000 miles each way.
And between the U.S. and Asia for 60,000 miles each way. The routes from Mainland China specifically seem to have the best award availability, including this one from Shanghai to Los Angeles:
For a little context, here is a calendar of dates with the least-expensive Delta SkyMiles awards from Beijing to Detroit I could find. They priced out at 120,000 SkyMiles each way on a lot of dates this winter:
You should be able to replicate these results on VirginAtlantic.com for 60,000 miles, but perhaps not on the same exact dates.
Basically, you can search on Delta for some context. But in the end, you will need to search separately on Flying Blue or Virgin Atlantic if you hope to use their miles instead. That’s probably still worth it, considering you could save half the miles on the same itinerary!
Delta changed the game with its all-suites business class. Closing doors, up-to-the-minute tech and signature soft amenities all ensure a comfortable and memorable flight aboard the A330-900neos, A350s and 777s that sport suites.
However, the exorbitant award pricing of many flights with these new suites means they’re out of reach for most flyers looking to redeem miles to book them at all but the most inconvenient of times. Hopefully Delta will begin releasing more saver-level and partner award availability as additional suites go into service so that more travelers can experience the next evolution in business class.
Featured photo by Zach Honig / TPG.
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