Delta, Business Elite
THE FLIGHT: A Delta Air Lines flight from Seattle-Tacoma Airport to London Heathrow's Terminal 3 during the first week of this new service in April. The nine-hour flight (DL34) was operated by a B767-300ER. I was sat in seat 6A of the 36-seat business class cabin.
THE CHECK-IN: There's a recently renovated priority check-in area for premium class passengers at Sea-Tac which, but for our party, was virtually empty. Security was a short walk away and was quickly negotiated.
THE LOUNGE: A quick train transfer to the South Satellite was required for access to our gate and Delta's Sky Club lounge, opened last year. It still felt new, with smart furnishings, various seating options – including worktops, easy chairs, a quiet area and TV room – wifi and a reasonable selection of snacks. There was also a bar service, with a selection of complimentary and paid-for alcoholic drinks.
THE SEAT: The gate area was busy, but with priority boarding I was soon settling into my window seat in the 1-2-1 configured business class cabin. The seats are staggered so that mine was on the aisle with storage space between the seat and the window, whereas the seats in front and behind were right by the window and therefore a little more private and less prone to disturbance. All seats have aisle access and convert to flatbeds (from 77 to 81-inches long) complete with Westin Hotels 'Heavenly' bedding.
THE SERVICE: An amenity kit, noise-reducing headphones (two sets were broken, but a third did the job!) and drinks were all offered before take-off, and dinner choices taken from a selection of four mains – I opted for the beef tenderloin. The inflight entertainment took a while to start up after take-off but proved to have a good selection of over 300 films and a vast selection of TV programmes. USB ports, power points and a number of useful storage pockets are incorporated in the seats. Breakfast was served around an hour before arrival. Business Elite passengers can use Virgin's Revivals Lounge at T3.
THE VERDICT: A very good business class product and a flatbed seat that enabled me to sleep for much of this night flight, plus pleasing – and plentiful – dining options.
THE DETAILS: Delta flies daily from London Heathrow Terminal 3 to Seattle. Return economy fares start from £729 and Business Elite fares are from £3,362. www.delta.com.
Reviewed by Andy Hoskins (2014)