My Experience Flying Delta’s New A350 Business Class

Hello from Beijing! Tiffany and I just flew Delta’s new A350 business class (which they refer to as “Delta One Suites”) on the 13 hour flight from Detroit. I couldn’t wait to experience this new business class, and in particular to see how it compared to Qatar Airways’ Qsuites (which I recently flew between New York and Doha, and which I think is by far the world’s best business class seat).

Both Qatar Airways and Delta have suites with doors, so what did I think of the Delta One Suite?

I’d say Delta’s new business class exceeded my expectations, and is the world’s second best business class seat. However, it’s a distant second, in my opinion, as the difference between Qatar Airways Qsuites and Delta One Suites is significant.

Delta’s A350 business class cabin consists of a total of 32 seats. The cabin itself is gorgeous, largely thanks to what a great plane the A350 is. The cabin feels especially spacious thanks to the lack of overhead bins over the center seats.

Seats are in a 1-2-1 configuration, with each seat having a door.

Delta has essentially used a modified Vantage XL business class seat (as you’d find in SAS business class, for example), so I was expecting that the seat would feel pretty tight.

In that sense I was impressed. I found Delta’s new business class seat to be wide, and most importantly, I found it to be extremely comfortable in bed mode. I was expecting that the footwell would be small and that I wouldn’t be able to sleep comfortably, though that wasn’t the case. I had plenty of room to sleep with my knees bent, so in bed mode I thought this seat was excellent.

While the seat exceeded my expectations, the design just comes nowhere as close to being as good as Qsuites:

  • While the Qsuites door slides open and closed really easily, the Delta One Suite door was extremely difficult to use, and required using two hands; the door was so hard to move that a flight attendant assumed there was something broken, and then the purser came and just said that we had to push harder
  • The “true” window seats in this configuration have extremely limited storage, and even the counter next to the seat isn’t ideally designed due to how it bends, so you can’t even store a laptop on it without blocking the seat controls
  • The suite door doesn’t close all the way (there’s maybe a half inch gap, which isn’t a big deal, but I still find that to be strange), and it’s not as high as in Qsuites, so you don’t get as much privacy
  • The seat feels significantly more compact than on Qatar Airways, which is no surprise since each seat here has a smaller footprint
  • There were minor aspects of the seat design that I found annoying, like the entertainment controller and seat controls not being very responsive

I’ll have more on the soft product with the full review, though overall it was alright. The crew did their jobs (and nothing more), the food was good, the bedding is in need of a refresh, and the amenities were nice (including pajamas, slippers, and Tumi amenity kits).

Delta’s A350s have wifi, though it left me disappointed. They supposedly offer Gogo 2Ku on their A350s, though it only worked for the first and last three hours of the flight, and was extremely slow.

Bottom line

The new Delta One Suite exceeded my expectations. I think it’s the world’s second best business class seat, after Qatar Airways’ Qsuites, and I’d choose this over a reverse herringbone seat or Apex Suite. I was pleasantly surprised by the width of the seat and the footwell (which was my biggest concern), while I was disappointed by the lack of attention to detail in terms of the little touches of the seat, especially in comparison to Qsuites.

What do you think of the new Delta One Suite?

Comments

  1. I think your opinion may have been trained slightly by having just flown the amazing Qsuites. Perhaps if you had flown this product before Qatar Airways’ we would have heard a slightly more positive review?

  2. My experience is based on the inaugural flight between DTW and NRT: I found the seats to be uncomfortably soft and the leg cubby to be too tight for a good rest. For reference I prefer harder beds found in Qatar QSuites and SQ’s new suites.

    Most of all, I disliked the experience as it was Delta – but whenever I fly the big three from the US, I go in with zero expectations anyways.

  3. Personally I find the Delta One seat on the A350 to be very cramped and claustrophobic. It’s not as bad as the God-awful seat on the 767s and 777s, but it still it leaves a lot to be desired. The finishes also appear to be cheap and the lack of overhead bins for the center seats makes it very difficult for late boarding passengers to stow their bags. As for the uninspired catering, I’ll let that speak for itself. There’s nothing here that makes me WANT to fly Delta, or frankly, any of the U.S. carriers overseas. Delta has the means to vastly improve their business class product. Apparently they simply don’t want to.

  4. I fly Delta One to Europe twice a month from MSP so I get 767 (LHR) or A330 (AMS). Although the product is OK it is time for a refresh. Their planes look old , seat area look worn out and usually dirty. Service is what you can expect from a US airline and depending on how luck you are you can get a extremely nice and efficient FA or an unionized robot like I got last week. Food menu is OK but wine menu is very disappointing. Agree that bedding is in deeply need of a refresh and adding a mattress pad would be very welcoming. When you pay $9k for a seat I expect way more than what any US airline delivers.

  5. Lucky, could you explain why you think that this is better than the Apex Suites for instance? Is it just because of the door, or is there more to it? I’m asking because even if I haven’t flown the new Delta One suites, the Apex ones look far far better and more comfortable…

  6. @Santistico – DL flight attendants are not unionized. Only the pilots and dispatchers belong to a union. Otherwise, I agree with what you said.

  7. @Mike – Surprising to me. To be fair I fly over 150k MQM with Delta a year and most of my interrelations with their people are great. They have several young FA in more regional flights and they try to be nice and efficient at the same time. What really kills me is when you get an old one that clearly looks unhappy to be doing what she is doing but she is still there. I was on Delta One for almost 9 hours and she was serving my side of the plane. Not once during the entire flight she used a full phrase to talk to passengers. Instead of saying “Would you like a glass of wine?” She would just say in a very rude way “Wine??”. Seriously, she was completely monosyllabic. She was the perfect robot with no smile on her face at all. She basically dumped my tray on my seat with no towel covering the tray table, I asked sparkling water and usually they ask if you want ice, lemon, lime, etc… She literally dumped a very full glass of room temperature sparkling water and gave it to me while looking elsewhere. Again, first world problem but when you pay $9k for that service you feel you did not get your money’s worth.

  8. I flew the inaugural DTW-PEK flight and was impressed with the seat as well. Food was good as was service, nothing to complain about. For $1,800 round-trip, well worth the money (well, points, in this case).

  9. No thanks on anything Delta. Good review and its nice to see innovation, just can’t bring myself into that SkyPesos world.

  10. How is that shoulder belt when you’re lying down? It looks very uncomfortable.

    It it strapped over you in two directions all the time? And does that metal mounting hook dig into your neck?

  11. Me and my wife flew on the DTW-ICN flight on January 29th. We definitely enjoyed it. And believe it or not, I only paid 80,000 skymiles per ticket for that, because when I had booked it 330 days before the flight, it had a different type of aircraft scheduled. Only later they changed it to the A350 with the suites. Now I was looking at the skymiles price of the same flight: 450,000!!!

  12. Cool to see, but pretty irrelevant for my travels given the rates Delta is asking for. 150k -250k Skypesos 1 way? LMAO. And if I’m paying cash to East Asia, you better believe I’m flying ANA/Asiana/Cathay etc. Not an American carrier.

  13. @LAXJeff: Unless you only fly non US carriers which I would agree they are far superior it is hard to imagine that you like AA or United more than Delta. All 3 are terrible but in my opinion Delta is less terrible than the other two. BTW, I would never fly a US carrier to Asia or ME with the options out there. I fly them to Europe for convenience (non stop vs changing flights) and since most of the European airlines are not that much better than what you get in the US.

  14. Hey Ben, as Clem mentioned I’m a little surprised you would choose this over the apex suite. I seem to remember you being pretty happy with how the space and controls were configured so could you maybe shed a little more light as to why you think this Delta seat is better than an apex suite on Jal let’s say. Or maybe could you just compare the three seats based solely on the hard products and how their configured?

    Ps. Sounds like you and Ford are separated by some distance today but I hope you two have a happy Valentine’s Day !

  15. So I have flown on enough A350 flights by now to confidently state that feel an unusual low frequency vibration when I am on the A350 in comparison to anything else I fly frequently. Has anyone else experienced it too? (a low frequency vibration consistently for the whole flight, which is quite irritating and not easily isolated by my NC headphones).

  16. Agree with others just don’t see how this beats the apex suite. The apex suite you get about the same amount of privacy when the dividers up, is way less claustrophobic, and there is no confined foot well. Maybe a comparison article on why you think its better would help.

  17. Having flown both I’d choose Qatar Qsuites any day of the week.

    Vote with your wallet and stop supporting the US 3 scandal propaganda.

  18. Well to each their own, but I found this suite to be a bunch of hype, for these reasons:
    1. The door is a gimmick. You don’t need it for privacy.
    2. The foot rest does not raise up high enough to support a relaxed leg position (unless mine was broken, I was on the first delivery so it had to be 2 months old.
    3. There is no storage for anything.
    4. There is no storage under the ottoman. So if you have a small carry on it has to go on the ottoman, ditto shoes. When you sleep both these items are in footwell.
    5. The armrests seemed to be positioned higher than a normal seat. So instead of your arm at a bent 90 degree angle your upper arm was angled forward.
    6. It’s a Vantage XL seat which aren’t the best. SAS did a nice job with them but that was in a wider A340 cabin.

    I’ve been on Singapore, Cathay, China Airlines, Qatar and Thai A350’s. Only Thai gives Delta a run for the worst, at least for me. The IFE, Delta FA’s and service were good. Thumbs down on the seat for me. I like reverse herringbone however, others don’t. So Cathay, China Airlines and especially Qatar are preferable.

  19. The door just seems like a gimmick added at the last minute once the Q-Suites rolled out. Especially given the height, like you said. Typical.

  20. Agree with earlier comments. Can’t see how this beats the space and size and even privacy of a true window seat in Apex config.

  21. If there’s no overhead bins in the middle rows, then where do people in the middle put their stuff?

  22. Airlines are getting pretty loose with the word “suite” these days. According to the Oxford Dictionary, a suite is “a set of rooms designated for one person’s or family’s use or for a particular purpose.” The only true suite I’m aware of on a scheduled passenger plane is the Residence on Etihad, though I suppose one could consider that when combined the four center section QSuites on Qatar could be considered to be a suite.

    Anything else is just another seat.

  23. @Rowyourboat – it’s a problem on Delta. Removing them gives the cabin a much more spacious feeling. Singapore and Qatar do not have center bins, but they don’t have as many seats in the front cabin; 26 and 24 respectively. China Airlines has 32 seats in the front and removed the center bins but they have a big storage closet in case they run out of room.

    Cathay and Thai have the center bins and 32 seats up front. Delta has 32 seats upfront, no center bins and no closets. The FA’s on my flight were complaining about not enough room. Plus there isn’t any room on the floor of your seat to keep anything of any size either, like under the ottomans or in storage bins that Qatar/Cathay have which can hold purses, computer bags, etc.

  24. Hi Lucky,
    I’m a Jewish-American and was wondering what your take on wearing a Kippah onboard an U.S. airline is.. do you find that a lot of people embrace their religion especially in premium cabins?
    I’ve only flown on ELAL twice so I don’t have much experience in international travel and am planning on flying to Europe this summer.

  25. I feel like everytime you try something new you get so excited that you automatically label it as “best whatever class/seat out there.”

  26. There are 2 Mark’s on this thread. I am the the one with the expanded seat comments. The one line insult is another Mark. Just for clarification. Further posts if any by me will be MarkRF

  27. Did the flight last week DTW to NRT.

    Seat is a little more comfortable. Door was no big deal. Overhead storage was definitely at a premium as less overhead space (big screw up there by designers of cabin). Food on my flight was definitely lacking with a chicken main course that leaves you hungry (as a delta diamond since first year of diamond I noticed fancy names of food choices and better design looking does not make it taste better).

    I did hear comments that the flight attendants were not trained on how to use certain things. Oh yes be careful the door sometimes sticks when it is closed and warning he Internet I don’t believe works over Canada (not deltas fault) and out oF DTW on a 13hour trip I would guess most of the trip is over Canada or water so no internet so buyer beware.

  28. I was just in Beijing for a week, we probably just passed each other! I also flew their new A350-900 but from PEK-DTW; however couldn’t get upgraded. Though, I was very impressed with their premium economy section! Hope you have a blast in China! 🙂

Leave a Reply

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