Review: Delta One 767 Tokyo Haneda to Los Angeles

Introduction
Review: Delta One 767 Los Angeles To Tokyo Haneda
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Review: Delta One 767 Tokyo Haneda To Los Angeles


Since we had plenty of time to kill before our 12:30am flight, we took an “Airport Limousine” bus from the Park Hyatt to Haneda Airport leaving at 9:20pm, which was very reasonably priced at about $10 per person. It was a 25 minute drive to the airport through a just-opened tunneled expressway, which apparently is the second-longest road tunnel in the world.

Haneda’s International Terminal is huge, and seems brand spanking new (it was constructed in 2010). There are two beautiful shopping and dining areas pre-security — Edo Village, which is a meticulously constructed — and physically attractive — Japanese village of sorts containing shops and restaurants, and Tokyo Pop Town one level up, which celebrates the weirder, more design-forward aspects of Japanese culture. However, most of the pre-security shops close before 10pm, which isn’t much use for a 12:30am flight. (Post security shops and restaurants, of which there are plenty, are open quite late.)

Delta 767 at Haneda Airport
Delta 767 at Haneda Airport
Delta boarding gate
Delta boarding gate

Delta 636
Tokyo Haneda (HND) – Los Angeles (LAX) 
Thursday, October 8
Depart: 12:30AM
Arrive: 7:15PM -1 (October 7)
Duration: 10hr45min
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
Seat: 4A (Delta One)

Boarding proceeded quickly and rather quietly, and I took my seat, 4A, which was a window seat with the seat itself closer to the aisle and the console located between the window and the seat.

Delta One cabin
Delta One cabin
Delta One 767 seat 4A
Delta One 767 seat 4A

I actually much preferred this seat, which had more storage nooks by virtue of the console placement and thus a convenient place to, e.g., store shoes, as well as extra magazines (or other items) in a second pouch.

Delta One seat 4A storage
Delta One seat 4A storage

Westin Heavenly bedding and pillows, slippers, and headphones were placed on my seat.

Bedding, slippers and headphones
Bedding, slippers and headphones

Meanwhile, a full-sized bottle of Evian and a Tumi amenity kit were placed on the console.

Tumi amenity kit and water
Tumi amenity kit and water

The standard reading light, USB port, and electrical outlet were to the right of the seat, above the console.

Electrical plugs
Electrical plugs

This particular amenity kit was a soft-sided Tumi kit. Delta offers hard-sided kits on westbound flights, and soft-sided kits on eastbound flights, which is a nice touch.

Tumi amenity kit
Tumi amenity kit

The seatback video screen was, as with all Delta 767s, small.

Delta One seatback screen
Delta One seatback screen

Shortly after being seated, a flight attendant came by with a tray of champagne, orange juice, and beer. I chose to have a glass of the Jacquart Brut Mosaïque champagne, and passed on the packaged glazed nuts.

Jacquart champagne
Jacquart champagne

Because of the timing of the flight and the 12:30am departure, my intent was to sleep for the first two hours of the flight, and then be awake for the remainder of it, basically waking up in the late morning, Los Angeles time.

The purser, Pamela, passed out dinner menus. I asked her if it would be possible to order my dinner and save it for when I wake up (as opposed to dinner service shortly after takeoff), and she assured me it wouldn’t be a problem at all, which was nice.

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

Because of the late-night nature of the flight, the entire menu was composed of “Dine and Rest” options on one tray, rather than the typical coursed dinner service we received on the outbound flight. It’s a bit tacky there wasn’t the option of a longer coursed dinner as opposed to a supper, but there didn’t seem to be any demand for one, and in fact it was the last thing I wanted.

I ordered the “Asian Selection” (as opposed to the Japanese Selection and Western Selection), which was the pork broth ramen. Pamela said she’d reserve it for me and that it would take about 20 minutes to make, so just to give her a heads-up whenever I was hungry.

Just before pushback, the captain welcomed us aboard over the PA system and announced a flight time of 9 hours and 41 minutes.

I put on my eyeshades as we pushed back from the gate and dropped my seat into fully-flat bed mode just after takeoff. I slept for about two and a half hours.

When I woke up, I slipped the shades open just a little bit to bright daylight, and closed them again so as not to bother the other passengers. I noticed Pamela had brought me a fresh bottle of water while I was asleep, which was a nice touch.

I ordered a cup of coffee and Pamela came by to offer me my ramen course. While I waited for it to be heated up, I turned on Delta Studio and decided to watch a documentary I’d heard great things about, Finding Vivian Maier, about a photographer who gained fame only after her recent death.

Delta's odd IFE description
Delta’s odd IFE description

Though Vivian Maier was a mysterious woman, she was not, as far as I could tell from watching the documentary, either a military contractor or an Air Force watchdog.

I asked for a beer with my ramen, and when Pamela came by to deliver my dinner, she brought a tray with all three beers on offer that evening (Asahi, Heineken and Miller Lite), which was thoughtful. I took an Asahi.

Asahi beer
Asahi beer

The ramen was actually quite delicious and satisfying – and a perfect way to wake myself up from slumber. The broth was meaty and delicious. Pamela also brought a bread basket by to go along with the rice.

Tonkatsu ramen course
Tonkatsu ramen course

The ramen came with a somewhat dry fruit salad, as well as sticky rice, which I enjoyed.

Sticky rice and fruit salad sides
Sticky rice and fruit salad sides

The meal wasn’t fancy, but it hit the spot for the oddly-timed flight. I wasn’t especially hungry throughout the flight, considering it left at 12:30AM Tokyo time and would land around breakfast-time — it’s hard to get hungry in the middle of the night when your body is used to being asleep.

Throughout the remainder of the flight, as I finished Finding Vivian Maier, started watching the USA Network show Mr. Robot, and watched Sleepless in Seattle (my stay at the Park Hyatt had gotten me in a 90’s retro mood), Pamela came by frequently to replace my bottled water. She also came by a few times with a snack basket (which had a nice variety of U.S. snacks as well as Japanese onigiri and candies), and gave me a package of chocolate-covered Macadamia nuts (which was part of a gift tray of chocolates a passenger had given her at boarding).

I want to really stress how lovely the service was from everyone on board. Led by Pamela, service was professional, thoughtful and passenger-oriented but also efficient and appropriately unobtrusive for a late-night flight. I was constantly amazed how my bottle of water was refreshed whenever I dozed off, or left my seat, without even knowing it.

The hours flew by quickly with inflight Wifi and a decent entertainment selection onboard — and, thanks to good tailwinds we were making great time. Around 90 minutes before landing the flight attendant came by to take the second round of meal orders. Because I was not particularly hungry (and certainly not for breakfast), and had dinner plans in Los Angeles, I ordered cereal.

Delta One "Almost There" cereal
Delta One “Almost There” cereal

I just had a bite or two of dry cereal and the fruit salad, and a few bites of the croissant from the bread tray. There was also an option for a danish.

Delta One croissant
Delta One croissant

Surprisingly, the croissant felt fresh-baked and buttery and light, quite unlike most dense, Saran-wrapped airline croissants you’d get domestically.

Just on our initial descent, Pamela came by with a colorful box of assorted German chocolate bars with maybe a dozen different flavors as options. I chose a Hazelnut chocolate square.

Pre-landing chocolate
Pre-landing chocolate

I noted that I’d never seen these chocolates on Delta before, and Pamela mentioned that they’d just replaced their Haneda-based caterer so everything was new to her.

Interestingly, my friend – who had ordered the Japanese meal, again – mentioned that his food was actually very meh, and far less tasty than his Japanese meal on the outbound. I found that surprising, since typically you’d expect the Japanese meal to be far better catered out of Japan.

Our approach to Los Angeles was quick, and we landed at “golden hour,” with especially magical views of the city. However, because we landed early (around 6:10pm, when we were due at 7:15pm), the gate was still occupied, so we sat on the tarmac for a few minutes and were eventually towed in to the Delta terminal around 6:40pm. (I had checked a bag, and was able to make it through immigration via Global Entry and through baggage claim and customs in less than 12 minutes, which I found pleasantly surprising.)

Delta One 767 Bottom Line

My flight from Tokyo Haneda to Los Angeles was (relatively) short and sweet. Meal service was truncated due to the late-night nature of the trip, but I enjoyed what little food I did eat on the plane, though I noted my friend did not really enjoy his special Japanese meal.

What stood out for me on this journey was service that I considered exceptional, really almost on par with international carriers and certainly among the best Delta service I experienced. While service on the outbound leg was friendly, warm, and affable, service on this leg was predictive, which I liked. I thought the purser, Pamela, was outstanding (in fact, I’m reminded to fill out a Job Well Done certificate as I type this), setting the tone for a lovely flight with warm service and smiles from all of the flight attendants and just a general ability to cater to each and every passenger on a deeply personal level.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with Delta’s Los Angeles to Haneda service, and especially impressed with international Wifi service, which I didn’t expect these flights to have. Though a sub-10 hour flight isn’t “short,” it did seem to fly by with Wifi, onboard entertainment, a 2 hour nap and friendly service, and I really have to say it was not just painless, but actively pleasant — high praise indeed for a US-based carrier on an international route in business class.

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Comments

  1. Nice review – always good to get a different perspective on a more “average” business class product for a change.

    Very minor item of note – in my experience, the hard-sided Tumi cases are provided when flying out of the USA while the soft-sided cases are given out on inbound flights (rather than being eastbound/westbound). I’ve traveled to Europe on Delta a few times recently and each time have received the black hard-sided case on the way out, even though it is eastbound.

  2. Don’t you mean ‘AM’ in the last paragraph, when you arrived? You’re talking about PM everywhere, doesn’t seem to match with your breakfast comments ;).

    Let’s hope someone at Delta reads this and praises Pamela (apart from your certificate, of course).

  3. @JMR: We landed in L.A. in the evening (technically, around 6 hours “before” we took off).

    @RH: Thanks for clarifying. I know on transcon Delta One flights you get hard-sided westbound and soft-sided eastbound, so I assumed that was the case worldwide, but that makes sense too.

  4. Looks fairly good for Delta.

    I’m still impressed when I see the 767 on these routes and forget how long range it really can be.

  5. @Bobby: you can use the TIAT Lounge or the TIAT Lounge Annex (you have to choose which one you’re going to use; you can’t go to both). The TIAT Lounge Annex is marginally closer to the Delta gate. At that time of night it had a bare bones staff, plenty of seating, and a self serve bar. Bar was nothing special though it had Japanese whiskey and an Asahi beer keg; there was some food but nothing to note. It’s not an especially nice lounge.

  6. Thanks Nick. We are looking at LAX-HND-LAX next year via Delta and the review is helpful (including your comments about the lounge).

  7. @nick: now I understand your ‘we would land around breakfast time’-sentence: that’s in Tokyo time. I thought you were talking about local times. Thanks for the clarification!

  8. It is a fact that most airlines serve cheaper catering items during overnight hours. Serving a 99 cents bowl of reconstituted ramen noodles, belongs in economy, not business class. A bowl of soba noodles with a selection of pickled Japanese vegetables and sashimi would be more business class. Cost cutting means the airline has problems selling the route.

  9. I just flew from BGI to DAY via GRU-ATL 2 days ago in a Delta One 767 for 30,000 points. I looked up the retail value and it was close to $8,000! that’s over 26 cents per point! Is that insane or what?

  10. @ Nick

    Thanks for the review and your contributions here. Without making this too much about you and your own travel patterns, Lucky introduced you to us as an infrequent but savvy traveler. Now you’re mileage running for DL Diamond (top tier) status. What changed? Did you just become more exposed and hooked like many of us here?

  11. I thought DL served Grey Goose in DeltaOne cabin. Either that was short lived or DL needs to update their menu card.

  12. @Josh G: Grey Goose is listed on the menu card, right after Finlandia. Am I missing something you’re not?

  13. Nice review, Nick.

    In the picture with the “Almost There” cereal: What is that container in between the jelly and the milk? The writing looks like Hebrew.

  14. Finding Vivian Maier is a fascinating story. Glad to see options like that on a Delta long-haul. I wonder what movie that description was for?

  15. I find that the widow seats in the even numbered rows on delta 767s feel very exposed. There is no buffer between the passenger and the traffic that moves up and down the aisle. Window seats in the odd numbered rows have the console between the passenger and the aisle. They afford much greater privacy and offer better views from the window.

  16. @Mark.S and I noted on the review out of LAX, sadly we don’t think the sparking wine on the ground was the champagne. In my experience Delta only serves a much less expensive Cava while on the ground and only open the champagne in the air, and even then don’t put the champagne on the drinks trolley, but keep it in the galley. Jacquart seems the usual champagne for Delta long haul, but every so often they have Pol Roger white foil which is excellent and a big step up. Wish it was more widespread on the internationals.

    Mark’s comment from the ex-LAX review:

    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.

  17. about to take the 767-400 Seatac to Amsterdam in a couple of hours. Any suggestions for the best seat?

  18. Have to agree with you here Nick. Just got of A 767 -400 Redeye flight in DeltaOne. Was afraid by all the negative reviews but the seat is not so bad. Its not as wide as other seats on the market but positioned in recline it is quite comfortable and gives you a feeling of privacy. I am 6 ft 1 and a side sleeper and slept perfectly for 6 hours. My highlights
    – sleeping 6 hours on a plane !
    – cabin crew , 5 attendants working in DeltaOne.
    – i took a chance by taking a steak and it actually tasted good.
    – the wine selection

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