Delta 757 BusinessElite Seattle Transcon Service

On December 26 of last year Delta had a massive fare glitch whereby most domestic tickets were pricing out ridiculously low, in both economy class and first class. I would have published a post on it, but it was dead before I could finish writing a post.

For example, Seattle to New York roundtrip in BusinessElite cost $43 including all taxes, so I figured I would book a few of them.

Delta-Mistake-Fare

While I don’t credit miles to Delta, it seemed like a great opportunity to get a head start on Alaska MVP Gold 75K requalification for the year. Alaska and Delta partner (reluctantly so, admittedly), so it’s great to be able to fly Delta (which had a decent product) while earning Alaska Mileage Plan miles, which are substantially more valuable than Delta SkyMiles.

Good thing I booked this before Delta’s revenue based program kicked in and wasn’t crediting to SkyMiles, or else I would have earned a grand total of 100 SkyMiles for my 4800 mile roundtrip (since you earn five miles per dollar on the base fare, which was $19.92). 😉

Delta-Revenue-Based

Anyway, on to the flights. I did this trip a few times, so I’ll stick to overall thoughts.

For what it’s worth, all my flights were operated by Delta’s 757-200s equipped with BusinessElite seats. Delta uses these on a majority of their “premium” transcontinental routes (from New York to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle). In addition to that they fly 757-200s to some of their secondary European destinations.

I flew the following flights in both directions:

DL418 Seattle to New York departing 7:00AM arriving 3:11PM
DL442 New York to Seattle departing 6:40PM arriving 9:56PM

Delta 757 BusinessElite transcon seats

As I mentioned above, my flights were operated by 757-200 aircraft. They feature a total of 16 seats in business class, spread across four rows in a 2-2 configuration. Per SeatGuru, here’s the business class seatmap for the plane:

Delta-Business-Elite-757

The seats have roughly 55″ of pitch, and are recliner seats. The seats are controlled electronically, and there’s a screen that pops out of the side of the armrest with entertainment. These planes feature Gogo wifi, so truth be told I never actually watched anything on the entertainment system, though it’s on demand and the selection was fairly extensive.

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Delta 757-200 BusinessElite seats

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Delta 757-200 BusinessElite seats

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Delta 757-200 BusinessElite seats

The seat recline was good. Not amazing, but good. The seat reclined maybe 160 degrees, so I would stay away from it on a redeye, but it can’t be beat for lounging, since it is a very comfortable seat.

It’s worth noting that Delta will soon be installing new, fully flat seats on their 757-200 aircraft. They’re a bit behind the game on this one, because United already has the same seats on their entire premium transcontinental 757-200s, while a majority of American’s transcontinental flights are already operated by A321 aircraft.

What’s interesting is that eventually Delta, American, and United will more or less have an identical business class hard product. The only airline with an advantage is American, which still has a three cabin configuration on their A321s with a first class cabin.

American-A321-First-Class-03
American A321T first class seat

American’s first class seats are really reverse herringbone business class seats, the same found on Delta’s 747s and American’s 777-300ER aircraft.

Delta 757 BusinessElite transcon food

Breakfast was served on the eastbound transcontinental flights, given that they were early morning. The breakfast menu read as follows:

Delta-757-BusinessElite-05

I have to say the food was top notch. Service began with drinks and almonds (which seemed odd for a morning flight, but whatever). I loved the fact that Delta not only had a selection of tea, but also had teapots. Awesome!

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Delta BusinessElite tea

Breakfast was served in two courses. First there was the starter, which consisted of fruit with honey cinnamon dipping sauce (congrats Delta, you’ve managed to make fruit unhealthy!) and smoked salmon. There was also a bread basket, from which I selected a bagel.

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Delta BusinessElite breakfast starter

One flight I chose the quesadilla as my main for breakfast.

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Delta BusinessElite breakfast main course

While the next flight I chose the lemon ricotta pancakes.

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Delta BusinessElite breakfast main course

Both were phenomenal.

Prior to landing there were a selection of cookies and a cheese plate, though I was too full to partake.

On westbound flights dinner was served, and Delta’s business class menu read as follows:

Delta-757-BusinessElite-10

The dinner was just as good as the breakfast, if not better.

To start there was a marinated chickpea salad, along with marinated bocconcini and cherry tomatoes, coppa, eggplant caponata, and roasted butternut squash spread. It was really, really good.

Delta-757-BusinessElite-11
Delta BusinessElite dinner starter

For the main course I chose the braised beef short ribs. They were fairly good, though couldn’t even begin to compete with the amazing braised beef I had in Delta BusinessElite from Sao Paulo to Detroit.

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Delta BusinessElite dinner main course

Then for dessert they offered gelato. It was good, though I’ll take one of American’s sundaes over it any day of the week. 😉

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Delta BusinessElite dinner starter

On the whole the food really impressed me, though.

Delta 757 BusinessElite transcon amenities

Delta blows away both American and United when it comes to their amenity kits on domestic transcon flights. They have the same Tumi amenity kits they offer on international flights, which  after Rimowa are probably my second favorite amenity kits.

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Delta BusinessElite Tumi amenity kit

Delta offers Westin Heavenly Bedding on their premium routes, which is hands down the best business class bedding in the sky, in my opinion.

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Delta BusinessElite Westin Heavenly Bedding

Delta 757 BusinessElite transcon service

The flight attendants on all my Delta segments ranged from excellent to average. I didn’t have any bad crews, but definitely had one that was indifferent. Others were excellent, and I’d definitely say that on the whole Delta on average has better crews than other US legacy carriers.

Delta BusinessElite transcon bottom line

Overall I feel like I got decent value for the fare I paid, and wouldn’t hesitate to fly Delta again for a similar fare. 😉

In all honesty, Delta has a solid transcontinental product with great catering and good service. Their seats are lagging the competition on the 757, though once they install their fully flat seats their hard product will be on par with American and United, and their soft product might even come out ahead.

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Comments

  1. The one really neat thing about that seat is that the tray tables have a little kickstand thing that comes out and allows you to set the tray table in an easel-type arrangement, which is perfect for reading a book or using an iPad. Unfortunately it’s not at all intuitive how you do that, or obvious that it’s even possible, so I don’t think anyone ever takes advantage.

  2. Lucky how come you did not have time to post it but you had time to book. Clearly you put yourself before your readers. A few negative points to you for that. I am sure others will feel the same.

  3. So how do people hear about these fares? Is there a blog or forum that posts these kind of glitches? I

  4. @Ivan – Definitely agree.

    I like the blog, but it is a bit disingenuous to say, “Oh, no time to post about it, but plenty to book a few round trips!” It would have, most likely, taken all of about 30 seconds to put up a quick post “Check out Delta SEA-JFK fares!” and then explained later why it was not more descriptive.

  5. @Ivan – I agree, BUT
    Ben is not a not-for-profit foundation. He’s running a business. So in terms of capitalism its him first… I can’t blame him. To be successful requires a bit of arrogance and self-centeredness. He has both. Having said that, I learn a great deal from the blog and I am an avid reader.

  6. @ Ivan @ Al @ Nick — Sorry, let me clarify. It was dead on delta.com by the time I found out about it. Someone emailed me to suggest a random site on which it still worked. So I wanted to book one roundtrip to make sure it actually still worked. I could book one, at which point it stopped working. Then someone suggested another site. I could book one there and then it stopped working.

    I literally had to book three roundtrips on three different sites over probably a five minute period as the deal was being pulled. I got in on it at the very tail end of the offer.

    There’s simply nothing useful I could have written. I’m sure you’d agree I should make sure it works before posting about it, and in each case it stopped working, and I was getting the information as I was going along.

    Last time I posted about a deal and it was being pulled right as I wrote about it (Lufthansa first class award space far in advance to Asia) I got crap for not “researching” properly, even though it was working at the time I posted and I didn’t have another option.

  7. I can’t believe people are capping on Lucky because he booked before posting. Even if the offer were wide open and he booked three tickets before posting, I wouldn’t blame him. That way, he gets to sample the product multiple times and provide his readers with the benefit of a well-informed review.

    Good restaurant critics will visit a restaurant multiple times before writing a review. Where possible, travel product reviews benefit from the same multiple sampling procedure.

  8. I notice that many whiners on travel blogs, be it cc commission or else, have a male name. Something that I never expect from a male character or quality. This is a travel blog not an advice column like Dear Amy. Successful people are generally not petty and tend to look for more opportunity for advancement. I read travel blogs for entertainment and educational purposes and prefer not to be subject to divisive comments or characterization. Ask him about his knowledge and experiences or sources and it’s his perogative to share it with us.

  9. you people are so ungrateful. want all of the benefits of the frequent flyer lifestyle with none of the effort. if you want to capitalize on glitch fares, why not comb FT (most of you probably don’t even have accounts) or stay on top of the game yourselves. unbelievable.

    keep up the excellent work, lucky.

  10. @snic @globetrotter @pavel – You may want to read the description of this blog, because you seem to misunderstand why it is being written. I may be wrong, but if a good deal on AA J to/from China is worth a post, this great deal is worth one too.

    Anyway, no one was whining about not getting in on the deals (for example, 1. I have a 9-5 job and don’t have time to fly back and forth across the country on 2. an airline I don’t fly and 3. I don’t live in NYC or SEA), it was about the lack of transparency in the post. Personally, I would not have said anything had the (good) reasons for not posting been disclosed in the post.

    @Lucky – Thanks for the solid information, I think you would agree that more transparency (a la the disclosures you often make) is much preferred than “I was writing a post, but didn’t get to it, though I was able to make a bunch of bookings!”

  11. Lucky doesn’t owe anyone anything – especially explanations – because he doesn’t charge anyone anything to read his blog.

  12. DL saw the problem and fixed very quickly, I got a test from a friend who told me about it while he was booking his flight, I was at my computer, I got a killer deal PHX-SLC-HNL-SLC-PHX for $99 for 2 people in FC. I tried to book a 2nd on and DL stopped it. These mistake fares go away just as quick as they happen…

  13. Lucky, you mention UA has flat-bed on all premium transcon 757s. Curious how this is defined? I flew IAD-SFO on 757 2 weeks ago and it was the legacy UA first class seat. Have a EWR-SFO run in June and curious if it will be lie-flat. SeatGuru still has it listed as the legacy UA seat. Thanks for any insight you can offer. Love the blog!

  14. @ Greg — Sorry for any confusion, I was referring to their premium transcontinental product available between New York and Los Angeles/San Francisco.

  15. Pretty unimpressed with that hard-product. Recliners? Really?

    Food blows UA away though.

    @Greg, those are not premium transcon routes for any of the three legacy carriers. You will not have lie-flats EWR-SFO. Only JFK-SFO/LAX.

  16. Hmm… maybe with new earnings rates, Delta won’t pay as much attention and these deals will last longer? 😉

    P.S. The food looks really good!

  17. @ Ivan @ Al @ Nick – It might do us (and you) good if you stopped putting these anger-provoking comments on this blog. If you can’t control yourselves, you have the choice not to read his posts, right?

  18. Fares do indeed disappear in a blink of an eye — a say or two ago missed an awesome fare to PRG which was gone in an hour or so. So it’s totally understandable that Lucky wouldn’t have a chance to post a fare deal. A best place for that is FT, IMHO, anyhow.

    Also, just to be clear, I’m not the same person as “Ivan”, the troll.

  19. Boarded SEA-JFK red-eye this morning VERY disappointed. Despite various indications such as this site and billboards touting Delta’s upgraded transcon service, and having paid a substantial premium over a nonstop ordinary business class nonstop from PDX on UA, we got an old-style arrangement. Food was poor, too.

  20. No amenity kit, either. Had the fanciest blanket I’ve ever had on a plane, but that was small comfort and no consolation.

  21. @ Planestrainscomputer — I don’t think it’s quite at that level, though for a US airline it’s quite good.

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