This is my review of the Delta One business class service between London Heathrow and Atlanta.
Last week we ran an article showing how you can redeem Virgin Flying Club miles for Delta’s Business Class service and pay just £4 in taxes and charges.
As that article explains, the cost of a one-way business class flight on Delta Air Lines from the USA to Europe, excluding the UK, is just 50,000 Virgin Atlantic miles plus £4 in taxes and charges. You will need to book a connecting flight back to the UK, of course, but this is just a small dint in the savings you will make.
Delta One – the brand name that Delta gives to its business class product – will not be familiar to most HFP readers.
I flew Delta One last Autumn from Heathrow to Atlanta, so Rob asked me to put together a quick review for anyone considering booking one of these £4 Virgin redemptions. My flight was on an Airbus A330-200 – be aware that Delta flies various different aircraft types to Europe, with different types of seating, so check your aircraft type if you want to get the same seat I review here.
On board the Delta A330-200 in Delta One
I should be clear about something up front. The seat I flew is NOT the best seat that Delta is flying. If you fly one of the new A350 aircraft or a refurbished Boeing 777, you will get the Delta One Suite. This is very similar to the new British Airways Club Suite and comes with a fully closing door. Here is a USA Today review of the Delta One Suite and this is how it looks:
The chances of you getting the suite are not huge, especially if you are flying to a secondary European city to take advantage of Virgin’s £4 taxes. The seat I am reviewing here is more likely to be closer to what you get.
The Delta One cabin on board the A330-200 has 34 fully flat seats in a ‘reverse herringbone’ configuration. This is a layout that you have probably seen before in business class, as it has become the most popular configuration in recent years – albeit one that neither British Airways or Virgin Atlantic embraced.
The A and G seats have the table to the left and the C and J seats to the right. The window seats – A and J – are perfect for those travelling alone as you have a lot of privacy. All rows face away from the aisle, although this does mean that your head is adjacent to it – it is easy to get disturbed by trolley movements. For extra privacy there is also a short screen that you can put up, but it doesn’t go higher than your waist when you are sitting up. It is a bit pointless unless you are asleep.
The middle pair, C and G, are better for people travelling together. As with the new British Airways Club Suite, though, you are not actually sitting next to your seat neighbour. The herringbone configuration means that your head is nearer to the person in the window seat than the person in the adjacent seat, although your feet do meet your neighbour’s feet – albeit with a foot wall between them.
Below is a stock photo showing the C and G seats in upright and fully flat. What this picture doesn’t show is the cubby hole where your feet go when your seat is fully flat. I personally didn’t mind this, but know that taller people can find them uncomfortable. That battle has been lost anyway, with both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic introducing ‘cubby hole’ seats this year.
Boarding and take-off
I was sat in 6A which gave me two and a half windows. There was the usual headphones, an amenity bag, a water bottle and thick duvets as well as a full size pillow. The bedding was branded Westin and has a good reputation for comfort, although I didn’t use it on this day flight.
Row 6 is directly in front of the galley but it did not disturb me. You might want to sit further forward on an overnight flight, just in case.
The seat felt a little narrow compared to others I have flown, although they are officially marketed as 21 inches wide. The new Virgin Atlantic seat, for comparison, is 20 inches wide although the seat design plays a big part in how wide it feels in reality.
Once seated everyone was offered a welcome drink – champagne or orange juice.
There was a USB charger as well as a US plug charger by my seat.
The amenity kit was by Tumi and had a dental kit, earplugs, an eye mask and socks, lip balm and body lotion by Kiehl’s and hand sanitizer. I don’t think I’ve ever seen hand sanitizer in an in-flight amenity kit before, but the size is perfect for small handbags and I made sure I didn’t leave it behind.
Delta One’s in-flight entertainment
Delta offers wi-fi on all of its long-haul flights. Messaging (Whatsapp, iMessage and Messenger) is free and so is wi-fi for US T-Mobile customers. Everyone else has to pay $9 for one hour, $25 for three hours or $29 for the duration of the flight. Delta also offers a subscription service for $70 per month. Note that you cannot make video or voice calls.
The IFE had a large selection of international and US movies as well as TV shows. I watched Pitch Perfect 3, Bad Mom’s Christmas and a German movie about two girl who were swapped at birth because the nurses in the hospital got drunk. There were probably some other films that had won prizes and stuff on there too somewhere …..
The TV screen – which, frankly, is not the biggest in the sky – needs to be stowed for take-off and landing so you don’t get ‘gate to gate’ IFE. One upside of this is that the screen is angled towards your face when you pull it out, which means you don’t get much glare from the seats around you. This can annoy me on aircrafts where all the screens face the same direction as they do in Economy and Premium Economy.
The noise cancelling headphones are branded LSTN for Delta and did the job, although they didn’t seem as impressive as others I have used. This is very subjective, of course, because the aircraft type and your proximity to the engines has a far bigger impact on ambient noise.
Food and drink
I’m not the biggest fan of cocktails, but whenever there are gin based drinks that don’t sound too sugary I give them a try.
The signature cocktail on board was Bombay Sapphire with cranberry and apple juice and ginger ale, which sounded delicious. There was way too much gin in the drink and I had to wait for the ice cubes to melt before I could drink it, but it was still good and change from the usual welcome drink.
First of all I must say that I did enjoy the food on board.
Delta One passengers can pre-order their main course online, but I decided to take a chance with what was available on the day.
Starter was a mozzarella tomato salad and black forest tuna with pickled carrots (which was delicious!). I also tried the cauliflower soup which was very good.
My main course was 25% disappointing! I ordered the fried cod loin with potato mash, leeks with summer truffles and asparagus on a red pepper-tomato relish. Everything except for the fish was very good, but the fish itself was pretty dry and I didn’t finish it.
The other main course options were Thai Chicken Curry, Grilled Beef Tenderloin and Trofie Pasta (vegetarian).
Desert was served from a trolley. The options were Vanilla Ice Cream Sundae, White and Milk Chocolate Mousse Gnocchi or a selection of cheeses.
I had to try the ice cream and it was good – just a little bit too much.
After desert the cabin lights were dimmed but as I wasn’t tired I started my movie marathon.
About an hour and a half before landing we were served a further meal. The options were a burger with potato salad or a chicken salad. I chose the latter which was good, but had a bit too much cheese on top – welcome to America!
Conclusion – is this worth £4 of taxes and charges?!
All in all I enjoyed Delta One. The cabin crew was attentive, the food was good and the seat comfortable for a day flight.
You may be tempted to fly US to Europe, excluding the UK, on Delta just to save money. Given that the one-way flight will only cost you 50,000 Virgin Flying Club miles + £4, I don’t blame you. I hope this brief review has shown you that, whilst the taxes and charges are certainly low, you don’t get a low cost experience.
How to earn Virgin Atlantic miles from UK credit cards
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Flying Club miles from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Flying Club miles. That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.
(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles? Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)