Finding business class award space on a Delta flight from Frankfurt to Orlando (via Detroit) was a pleasant surprise. My excitement was quickly dampened when I saw that the flight was being operated by a Delta 767-400, which has the oldest Delta One product of the entire fleet. It still was a one-connection flight home and was a daytime flight. That meant the comfort of the seat as a lie-flat bed wasn’t the most important thing I was considering.
Even when our original flight was taken off the schedule and we were rebooked on a connection through New York JFK, the equipment on the flight stayed the same. How was it to be on an 8+ hour flight sitting in what’s considered the worst Delta One product out there?
Delta Airlines 767-400ER
Pre-Flight and Airport Experience
Before our flight, I pre-booked our meals. Unlike Singapore Airlines who lets you pick from a vast selection of meals, Delta’s service only gives you the option of what’s available on that flight anyway. This way, they won’t run out of your desired meal before they get to your seat.
Getting to the airport by train was easy. I had looked in advance and saw that there is no lounge access for Delta One passengers in Frankfurt, so we had no reason to get to the airport early. Check-in was unmemorable except for the difficulty we had in finding the Delta check-in area. You had to walk past the rest of the SkyTeam airlines to the next section. I chalk this up to my unfamiliarity with Frankfurt Airport and lack of coffee that morning.
We were at the gate about 20 minutes before boarding time and there was a Starbucks directly across from the loading door area. We spent our time here until we heard the boarding call for our flight.
On the plane
When we were re-booked onto this flight, they assigned us seats 1C & 1D, the first row bulkhead middle seats. These are not highly recommended on SeatGuru because of noise from the galley, but since this was a daytime flight, I wasn’t worried about it.
The seats looked exactly like I expected.
There was a pair of headphones that I never used so I can’t vouch for their quality.
It was evident when taking a closer look that the plane needed some TLC. Here are the basic seat controls on the console.
Good thing that all the 767-400 fleet will eventually be updated with the new Delta One seats (but they’re not getting suites with doors because of space restrictions).
The seats do offer plenty of legroom and because we had the bulkhead, there was no lack of space for your feet.
The purser came around and introduced himself to the passengers. He also confirmed our meal choices with us, including, since we reserved them ahead of time, if that’s still what we still wanted. We overheard that the crew was understaffed because one of them was out because of a cold (as it turned out she was sitting in 2F).
Here’s the menu for the flight:
Time to settle in for our flight.
Once we were in the air, I checked out the entertainment options. It’s easy to see that these screens are way behind the current tech on other Delta aircraft.
I was glad to see that Delta agrees with me that Die Hard is, in fact, a Christmas movie 🙂 (Note from Sharon: No, it’s not)
We were offered some nuts and a choice of beverages. Sharon paired hers with a glass of wine and I ordered a Woodford (which came with too much ice). Note that this was when we noticed Delta was still using their infamous napkins.
We had lunch, dinner, maybe breakfast. Who knows with the time change. Out first was the starter course which included salad, bread, soup and beef with cauliflower. We both picked the pretzel bread, which was really good.
For my meal, I had the beef dish and Sharon ordered the chicken.
And for dessert, I had the fruit and cheese plate with a glass of port while Sharon went for the ice cream sundae.
After the meal, I decided to try and get some work done. Delta offered WiFi through GoGo and a full flight pass cost $22.55. The speed wasn’t fantastic, but it was good enough for me to get emails, load webpages and look at Facebook and Twitter without any noticeable lags.
That’s when I decided to watch a movie because it’s just not Christmas until Hans Gruber falls from Nakatomi Plaza (Note from Sharon: SIGH….)
Around then, we were offered our mid-flight snack. Who can resist warm cookies! I think we were a little too excited about this. or we still don’t understand how to take good selfies 🙂
Rest of flight review. Do a little more work, put feet up and recline for a while for a short nap. Wake up. Time to eat again. Sharon skipped this course but I took one for the team and tried the pastrami sandwich, which was better than I’d expected.
Then it was time to land at JFK.
We don’t fly enough in international business class to make a comparison between every product out there. We can’t even compare this to any of Delta’s other long-haul fleet. While the seats were old and showing some wear, they were still comfortable for an 8-hour daytime flight. I don’t think they’d be great for sleeping if I was flying in the other direction. The meals were actually tasty, except for the rather bland salads. The IFE screens are past their prime but the selection was great.
Would it have been nicer to fly a better product home? Sure it would. But this flight got us home in comfortable, albeit older, seats. It’s easy to get jaded and say how bad this product is compared to what else is out there, but if you compare it to sitting for 8 hours in the economy section, I’ll take a lie-flat Delta One seat any day. Even if it is the worst seat in the fleet.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary