Review: Delta One 767 Los Angeles To Tokyo Haneda

Introduction
Review: Delta One 767 Los Angeles To Tokyo Haneda
Review: Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills
Review: Park Hyatt Tokyo
Review: Delta One 767 Tokyo Haneda To Los Angeles


Ben just recently reviewed Delta’s international 767 Delta One service on his London trip report, and I recently reviewed Delta One on the transcontinental 767, but I’d actually never flown Delta’s business class internationally before, so this was a bit exciting for me, even if it was still on a 767-300, which is one of Delta’s least exciting products.

Once again, I entered LAX through the Delta ONE Lounge at LAX, which is a generally nice (if somewhat meaningless) experience and has been reviewed recently both by Ben and by me, as has the Delta SkyClub, where I also spent time before boarding. Generally, my experiences with both the Lounge and the SkyClub were on par with expectations, which is to say very agreeable, though of course the SkyClub isn’t comparable to the nicer business class lounges in the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Delta 637
Los Angeles (LAX) – Tokyo Haneda (HND)
Friday, October 2
Depart: 6:40PM
Arrive: 10:30PM +1
Duration: 11hr50min
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
Seat: 3A (Delta One)

Although Delta’s flight to Haneda Airport is not its flagship route to Tokyo from Los Angeles (that honor goes to the Narita flight, where Delta operates a regional hub), and its timing is considered somewhat strange for an Asia-bound flight, it’s hard to beat the convenience of Haneda Airport (which is a twenty minute taxi ride or a train ride from central Tokyo — and indeed, is officially Tokyo International Airport) as opposed to Narita, which is extremely far from the city.

Delta 767-300 parked at the gate at LAX
Delta 767-300 parked at the gate at LAX

Boarding was incredibly smooth, as the flight had a reasonably light load.

Boarding gate
Boarding gate

The seat map showed several business class seats empty at the time of boarding, though as we boarded the flight we noticed that the seats ended up all being filled. I’m not sure if the seats were unofficial upgrades to Diamond Medallions, but anecdotally they appeared to be taken mostly by native Japanese speakers, which made me wonder if they were paid upgrades, instead.

Delta One cabin
Delta One cabin

In any event, the Delta One cabin was one of the newer 767 cabins, with the quilted “Delta One” racing-stripe style seats, which in my opinion are a major upgrade from the fairly revolting puke blue Business Elite seats of the past.

Seat 3A
Seat 3A

I got to my seat, 3A, and found the usual array of goodies. For its international flights, Delta gives you two Westin Heavenly pillows (a large, fluffy one and a smaller back pillow), as well as a light comforter.

Delta One's Westin Heavenly bedding
Delta One’s Westin Heavenly bedding

There was a hard-cased Tumi amenity kit on the console, along with noise-cancelling headphones and a full-sized bottle of water (as opposed to the mini-bottles Delta provides even on its Delta One transcontinental flights), which I thought was nice. A pair of slippers was placed in the magazine pouch.

Delta One in-flight amenities
Delta One in-flight amenities
Seatback pouch
Seatback pouch

The Tumi kit was packed with the usual Malin+Goetz toiletries, mouthwash, a nice toothbrush with a fairly generously-sized tube of toothpaste, striped socks, an eye mask and, most usefully, a pen (and a very good one at that).

Tumi amenity kit
Tumi amenity kit

Service was friendly off the bat, with the flight attendant offering to take our jackets as soon as we sat down. Shortly after being seated, the attendant returned with a tray of Jacquart champagne, orange juice, and Miller Lite beer. I chose a glass of champagne (which was served in a real glass, even on the ground – as distinguished from other U.S. based airline practices). The Jacquart Brut Mosaïque champagne was quite good, even if it isn’t Krug.

Jacquart Mosaique Brut champagne
Jacquart Mosaique Brut champagne

With the champagne, the flight attendant offered me a package of Sahale glazed almonds, which I didn’t really eat. Although I’m sure this limits some liability as it relates to passengers with nut allergies, I find a bowl of mixed nuts (even unheated) to be vastly preferable. The nut package is a little tacky, if you ask me.

The dreaded nut pack
The dreaded nut pack

Menus for dinner service were already at our seats.

Delta One menu
Delta One menu
Delta One menu
Delta One menu
Delta One menu
Delta One menu
Delta One menu
Delta One menu
Delta One menu
Delta One menu
Delta One menu
Delta One menu
Delta One menu
Delta One menu
Delta One menu
Delta One menu

Our flight attendant, Carol, was delightful and friendly as could be. Before we pushed back from the gate, she’d already come around to take our dinner orders, and was cracking jokes with the passengers and giving meal suggestions. Although she said she’d particularly enjoyed the pork option, I went with beef instead — having had an over-sauced pork tenderloin on my last Delta One flight.

My friend had already pre-selected the Japanese meal, though it’s worth noting that they were widely available for selection at boarding.

We pushed back from the gate and the standard cutesy Delta safety video came on, as well as the dreaded “I’M RICHARD ANDERSON YELLING AT YOU” introductory video, with this one focusing on Delta’s hub operations out of Narita Airport. I know there are many reasons to dislike Richard Anderson, but for me his choice not to modulate the sound and timbre of his voice is incredibly grating, and reminds me of the Will Ferrell SNL character who couldn’t control his own volume.

Anyway, we took off without any delay, directly into a beautiful Pacific sunset.

View at takeoff
View at takeoff

The plane was equipped with Gogo wifi service, which was fairly reasonably priced at $29.99 (still less than wifi on Delta One between Los Angeles and New York).

About 50 minutes after takeoff, meal service began with a buffalo mozzarella starter, served with a side of lentils and olive oil. It was good, though the mozzarella was a bit drier than I’d have expected (and the whole dish could have used more of a sauce). I had another glass of champagne to go with the starter.

Buffalo mozzarella starter
Buffalo mozzarella starter

As usual, Delta’s Delta Studio in flight entertainment system had a wide selection of movie and TV options, though in this case not a lot of new offerings I’d wanted to see. I decided to watch “Inside Out,” which was new to me. My biggest beef with the 767-300 is that the seatback screen size seems almost pathetically small, especially compared with the substantially larger, newer screens on Delta’s refurbished 757s.

Delta's 767 screen
Delta’s 767 seatback screen

Delta had partnered with FOX to actually bring full episodes of new shows that had premiered that week. Unfortunately, John Stamos’ new show, “Grandfathered,” was embarassingly bad and unwatchable.

Delta Studio
Delta Studio

Not too long after the starter course, Carol returned with a tray holding the appetizer and soup course. I ordered a glass of the medium-bodied Spanish wine to go with this course, though it was a bit limp for the altitude. I chose some pretzel bread from the bread basket.

Appetizer plating
Appetizer plating

The corn and poblano soup was very flavorful.

Corn and poblano soup
Corn and poblano soup

Strangely, the chickpea, tomato and spinach salad wasn’t very dressed, and I didn’t notice a side of any dressing, either. It was fine – nothing to write home about.

Chickpea salad
Chickpea salad

For my main course, I switched to the more full-bodied Argentine Malbec, which was quite tasty. I had ordered the beef tenderloin entrée, which was beautifully plated.

Beef entree
Beef tenderloin with morel sauce

The parsnip purée, baby carrots and morel sauce were delicious. In particular, the parsnip purée was fantastic, and like a tangier, healthier version of mashed potatoes. The beef was good, though a bit more cooked than to my liking.

My friend ordered the Japanese plate and told me his meal was very good, although the sesame salmon dish was a bit too fishy for his tastes.

For dessert, I got a bit of everything — cheese, a few of the smaller dessert bites (which were served from a platter), and a bowl of ice cream. All were good, as anything loaded with sugar tends to be.

Dessert tray
Dessert tray

I also ordered a coffee, since it was my intent to stay up for most of the flight. The timing of the flight — leaving L.A. at 6:40pm and arriving into Tokyo at 10:30pm — doesn’t really invite a full night’s sleep, since you’re essentially going to go to bed within a few hours of landing anyway.

Although Ben didn’t find the 767 seat comfortable in its fully flat position, I slept just fine. Seat 3A is closer to the window than the aisle, and it’s more private. The footwell is indeed smaller than it is on the seats staggered closer to the aisle, but (a) I’m a back sleeper, not a side sleeper, and (b) I was tired, so the seat didn’t really bother me much at all. I’m only 5’9″, but I had plenty of room and didn’t feel especially constricted in the least.

Nonetheless, I couldn’t fight off sleep, and ended up dozing on and off for much of the remainder of the flight. Still, when I was awake, Carol roamed the aisle and proactively offered me coffee refills and more water, which I gladly took.

For whatever reason, this westbound trans-Pacific flight felt particularly long, and indeed took nearly the entire allotted 11 hours and 50 minutes. By the last hour, despite chugging water, I’d gotten quite a headache from dehydration and stale air and was looking forward to landing.

Because I was feeling a bit headache-y, and wasn’t particularly hungry anyway, I passed on the final meal course and had more water instead. It’s funny to me that the “Almost There” meal was breakfast, despite it being (at that point in the flight) 9pm Tokyo time and 5am Los Angeles time.

We landed on time and parked at a gate that, it turns out, was a good 15 minute walk using moving sidewalks from the immigration hall. It’s fascinating to me that Haneda is Tokyo’s “secondary” airport (though I recognize it’s the primary domestic airport) and yet the international terminal was absolutely gigantic – seemingly twice as large as LAX’s.

Delta One 767 Bottom Line

Though I’d managed my expectations based on my own disappointing experience on the 767 between Los Angeles and New York, and based on Ben’s disappointing experience from Los Angeles to London, I was very pleasantly surprised by Delta’s LAX-Haneda service.

While the 767 remains one of my least favorite configurations, the cabin felt much fresher and newer thanks to something as simple as a seat cover switch — if anything, it got rid of the powder blue color which always seemed so jarring on Delta flights. Of course, the seats aren’t nearly as comfortable or private as they are in Delta’s reverse herringbone configuration, and the tiny seatback television sets remain a pet peeve of mine.

Service was friendly and proactive, and while I’ve had certainly had better food in Delta One, it was perfectly decent. I do wonder, given the meals I’ve had in Delta One most recently and given Ben’s and Tiffany’s experience to London, whether Delta has let the quality of their food drop ever so slightly, given that they were once known for having the best food of any U.S. domestic carrier. Is Delta resting on its laurels, or have we just had a few one-offs in a row, food-wise?

Enjoy this review? Check out hundreds of other reports on airlines, hotels, and airport lounges worldwide!

Comments

  1. I have also been wondering if the food quality has been dropping lately. I’ve had a few so-so experiences lately as well.

    One of the challenges with DL is that they have certain “premium food” routes with excellent food, and other routes with more so-so food. For example JFK-LHR, CDG, AMS, and a few others offers an outstanding premium meal from Blue Smoke, while JFK-MAD, MXP, etc. offers the “normal” Delta One meal which simply isn’t as good. I think similarly from the west coast I believe there are special meals to NRT but maybe not to other Asian ports, even HND? I’m not sure of all the details.

    In my opinion even if some routes are not quite as prestigious it would be great if all routes got the same food service. I think Delta is being short-sighted in not considering that someone flying JFK-MAD this week might be using that experience to decide whether to fly them on JFK-LHR next week.

  2. Nick’

    I flew this route when it first came on line. It may had only been on line for a few months. Then, they flew the 777. On the way over business class had 10 people (two seats were filled with two very excited you Delta flight attendants going to Tokyo for fun) the rest of the bird was not even half full. On the way back, I was the ONLY person in business class. It is really strange to have the whole f not of 777 to yourself. The FA said they were going to be bored to death and spent a good amount of time talking to me. It was a fun trip!

  3. That headache is called a hangover. You get them from drinking to much wine. The headache is made worse cuz your body is feeling the effects of the 8000ft cabin pressure.
    Skip the champagne and only have ONE glass of wine next time.

  4. Review seems a bit melodramatic with an overuse of italics, as well as the hand-wringing over the ‘dreaded’ non-bowled nuts and the ‘dreaded’ Richard Anderson video, etc.

    Sample size is way too small to question whether the entire Delta catering wing is ‘slacking’ on meal quality because a couple of you weren’t floored by recent meals…akin to having a 30 minute delay on a regional flight and doubting DL’s status as the premier operational carrier.

  5. To access Deltas check in lounge at LAX do you actually have to be flying Delta One out of LAX or can your ticket have Delta One on a different segment but on the same reservation. For example if I was flying from LAX-SEA in first class and then flying SEA-HKG in Delta One on the same reservation would I get access to the Delta One lounge at LAX?

  6. I’m a professional food person and can I just say, mozzarella and lentils are rarely a good Idea. Maybe if you were trying to work the seasonal aspect, served warmed with a perky dijon lemon herbed vinaigrette lentils might play a good foil to smaller, pesto marinated mozzarella, but two parsley flecked slices of dry mozzarella on some under dressed lentils? Mmmmmmmm not so much.

    Just a little foodie rant from a fan, now back to our regularly scheduled programming 😉

  7. Have to agree about the wine comment by others, I really try to avoid too much alcohol on long flights now as it never results in a good finish to a long flight. I’ve also never understood why the food experience is so important to people? I get that you have to write about it for a review, but IMO commenting that the beef was slightly more cooked than you’d like is rather meaningless isn’t it? It is airline food after all! No offense, however, and I actually enjoy “italics”. The things people get upset about! Really. Pass the package of nuts 😉

  8. I love Delta, I do. Even though they don’t have showers on-board. But the food to and from Asia lately has been abysmal. JFK-NRT, SEA-HKG, and especially the return from HKG – inedible.

  9. @Neil

    Food catered from international outstations tends to be terrible unfortunately. I wish that the airlines in general would do a better job at ensuring the quality of catering from non-hub airports. In some cases, the aircraft is catered for both legs from the origin airport. The food served on the return leg has been sitting in storage onboard for 12+ hours in some cases. Yuck!

  10. Interesting that the menu includes Chinese translations for each item in addition to Japanese. I would assume that passengers connecting to China would go through Narita rather than Haneda, but maybe Delta uses the same menus on both routes?

  11. I can’t believe Delta is flying 767s across the pacific ocean.
    The 767 business class seats are terrible: as someone who is 6’ 1″, my feet get very uncomfortable inside the foot well when I put the seat in lie-flat position.
    The food and drinks are also mediocre at best.

  12. Are you sure the glass of fizz on the ground was the Jacquart? I’ve always seen DL pour some cheaper fizz, normally Cava, on the ground. Usually too warm and always too sweet. They only pop the real champagne in the air, (and even then don’t put the bottle on the drinks trolley). They definitely seem to keep the champagne pretty hidden.

  13. @Nick — Delta doesn’t include the second lumbar pillow on all international flights, only those twelve hours and longer. As for the dry salad, the menu indicates that it should have been served with a vinaigrette. Perhaps the attendant forgot to bring it to you? Lastly, as @Bradders notes above, your pre-departure beverage was probably cava (likely the same Segura Viudas Brut served on the JFK-LAX/SFO Delta One routes), not champagne.

    @Bgriff — I don’t believe the Blue Smoke (JFK-AMS/BRU/CDG/DUB/FRA/LHR/ZRH), Michele Bernstein (Mexico and Latin America), Michael Chiarello (LAX/PDX/SEA-HND/NRT; JFK-LAX/SFO), or Linton Hopkins (ATL-AMS/CDG/FRA/LHR) menus are intended to be any more or less “premium” than the unbranded offerings served on other Delta One routes. Indeed, I’ve enjoyed Delta’s unbranded meals just as often as those associated with a chef or restaurant.

    @Michael C — The last page of each Delta One menu indicates the associated routes near the bottom right, along the binding. The pictured menu is for LAX/SEA-HND/NRT.

  14. Im a frequent flier with delta since 2007. I use to starve myself before my flights to japan (either from lax, sfo, dtw, msp, jfk, atl etc) because the food on business class was sooo daaamn good. Especially those aged beef served with that delicious sauce in the in between flight meals. Unfortunately ever since delta changed chef to this Michael guy, the food on the asian route had drastically dropped in quality. The food taste like caferia food trying to do away with it by a little bit of plating skills lol. I use to brag about the food to friends but now i dont. There is hope though, delta business class serves the japanese meal on the japan routes (which thankfully isnt cooked/prepared by this Michael chef) but is limited in number. You can request the japanese meal during booking so you are gauranteed one. I think its been like 3 years now since this Michael chef took over and ruined my inflight meals. Or it could just be that Delta started not caring about their frequent fliers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *