Delta 757 Business Class Philadelphia-London
757 Business Class
BOARDING Delta launched its daily HeathrowPhiladelphia route in April. I arrived at Philadelphia International at 4:30 PM for my 6:10 PM departure on DL194 and took advantage of Delta’s curbside check-in. At present, you arrive at Terminal E but once airside walk through to Terminal D, where the lounge is and from where the flight departs. Starting next year check-in will move to Terminal D. The Sky Club lounge is a good size but at this time of day it was packed, with few seats free. Hot and cold food was available, as well as drinks.
I didn’t hear the announcement as I had earplugs in to block out the noise of the man across from me making calls. When I saw people leaving, I walked to Gate D15. Once I got on board, I was offered orange juice or champagne.
THE SEAT Delta has renamed its international business class Delta One. There are several versions of the seat depending on the aircraft. The 757 has 16 seats in a 2-2 layout, each staggered and slightly angled toward the window. The leather seat is fully-flat, with a 20.2-inch width, which increases to 22.2 inches with the armrest stowed, and a bed length of 76 inches. A Westin Heavenly Bed duvet was provided, along with a Tumi amenity bag with Malin and Goetz products.
Each seat has built-in power and a 16-inch screen for the in-flight entertainment, which includes 18 live satellite TV channels and 350 films.
Generally, it’s difficult to get out from the window seat when either your own or your neighbor’s seat is fully reclined. So if you want to get up a lot, pick an aisle seat; if you want to be undisturbed, choose the window.
THE FLIGHT Our takeoff was delayed because of a problem with an aircraft ahead. We were kept informed but departed 50 minutes late. Food orders were taken before we were airborne – dishes included beef tenderloin with béarnaise sauce, lobster macaroni cheese and asparagus, and grilled chicken with tarragon lemon sauce, roasted Brussels sprouts and paella. Having already eaten and wanting to maximize my sleep, I decided not to dine.
When I pressed the preset button to recline my seat, it descended almost all the way, then began to bunch up against the footrest, causing the bed to slope up around where your knees would be. A flight attendant said I had to lower the footrest slightly, which left a gap between the seat and the footrest. Apparently this is intentional; if so, it’s a strange design that means there’s a bump where your calves are, making it less comfortable.
My neighbor’s food was served with much noise and laughter from the attendants, despite the fact I was lying down with an eyemask on and earplugs in. Eventually, things quieted down and I did sleep, although in the early hours I was disturbed by the crew talking loudly. I woke again when breakfast was served.
ARRIVAL We touched down at Heathrow 35 minutes late, although the captain made no apologies for this. There was a delay for our bags to arrive, and and I then went to the lounge in Terminal 3.
VERDICT There’s a lot to like here. The fully-flat bed offers a good night’s sleep (which I got, despite the disturbance), and colleagues told me the food was excellent. However, the Sky Club was noisy and crowded, the bed was not that comfortable, and the service was sometimes attentive, sometimes indifferent. Still, Delta’s new flight is to be welcomed for the competition it will give the incumbents on the route. BT