By David Stewart White
Last week I flew business class on a Delta Boeing 767 jet from San Francisco to Atlanta. This was a plane with a newly upgraded cabin and we were treated to oodles of legroom and seats that converted to lie-flat beds.
A bit cramped for anyone over six feet tall, the beds/seats were also hard and lacking in padding. This flight did not feature upgraded pillows or blankets that Delta provides on its long haul business elite service. The standard little airline pillows hardly sufficed as a bed pillow. But sleep, or at least quality rest, was possible in the lie-flat seats. Overall, the upgraded 767 business cabin was a huge improvement over Delta's traditional business class cabins. Seating configuration on this 767 was 1-2-1 which means all seats have direct aisle access.
Cabin crew assigned to our business class cabin was efficient and professional. This was an overnight flight and the crew respected passengers preferences to rest. Interruptions were minimal.
For the moment, chances of enjoying the upgraded business class experience seem to depend on the routes taken and the aircraft that are assigned. Odds are best on longer flights in larger aircraft.
Although Delta calls it first/business class, this is definitely standard domestic business class. It pales a bit compared to elite business class service on some of Delta's transcontinental and international flights, and it's not quite up to international business class standards found on long haul flights by British Airways and other foreign carriers.
Delta doesn't include airport lounge access as part of it's domestic upper class service. You can buy your way into a Delta lounge by purchasing a $50 one-day pass online when booking your ticket. Holders of Delta-branded American Express cards can access lounges for a reduced rate. Travelers with sky-high Delta frequent flier status, or who have a club membership, get in gratis.
We used a Delta Sky Club at San Francisco International before our late night flight to Atlanta. This lounge is located before security, meaning that departing lounge guests must add time to clear security before boarding flights. That really detracts from the otherwise relaxing lounge experience.
The San Francisco lounge was chock-full of televisions blaring programming like the Game Show Network that don't add much to the lounge's ambiance. Oddly, the designated "quiet area" of this lounge was located adjacent to the restrooms, elevator and reception desk...not much peace and quiet to be found there. The lounge did offer a full service bar with adequate snacks. Lounge staff was pleasant and helpful.