I had been wanting to try the new Delta One Suite in their new Airbus A350 for some time now. Since it is pretty infrequent that they fly it domestically, I wanted to grab it when my schedule allowed. In came the red-eye repositioning flight from LAX-ATL on March 29th, 2019. Since I live in DEN, I had to take a flight from DEN-LAX in order to catch the A350 flight from LAX-ATL. Then, after the LAX-ATL red-eye, I wanted to come straight home, so I jumped on a flight from ATL-DEN. Around 17 hours later, I was back in the car on the way home. All I brought with me was my back-pack. No luggage to worry about. Three time zones in less than one day’s time. Also, I traveled in three different cabin classes on three different airplanes. My first flight was horribly delayed, and I am not sure if it was weather, or maintenance related, but the weather was uncharacteristically bad at the time in Denver. We got a rain and snow storm which rolled in right around the time I entered the airport. Leg 1: DEN-LAX
Date of Flight: March 29, 2019
Departure Time: 6:46 PM MST (3:01 PM MST Scheduled)
Departure Gate: A29
Landing Time: 7:51 PM PST (4:27 PM PST Scheduled)
Gate Arrival Time: 8:03 PM PST
Arrival Gate: 32
Flight Time: 2 Hours, 5 Minutes
Taxi Time: 12 Minutes
Flight Number: DL 1491
Plane Type: Airbus A319-114
Plane Call Sign: N370NB
Cruise Altitude: 38,000 Feet
Max Speed: 499 MPH
Seat Number: 28C
My seat on the A319 was 28C. This was the second to last row on the plane. By chance, I had the entire row- which was the first time I had ever flown like that. While I was able to put the center arm-rests up, and stretch out, the arm-rest against the wall was fixed and extremely hard, making it very comfortable. I ended up sitting in the center seat, 28B, with the arm-rests down. I really liked how the seat base cushion slides out when you recline. I experienced this in United’s new domestic first class, but to see it on a coach product is very nice in my opinion, not to mention very comfortable. The row behind me and the row next to me were also occupied by one passenger each. The rear rows (row 29) did not have any windows however. Taking off was pretty scary. The plane was catching the wind very bad and was violently rocking from side to side as it got off the runway. Once we were underway, it was a smooth flight. I thought it was interesting that the A319 does not have a no-smoking sign with the buckle-up sign and wi-fi sign. Instead there is a sticker above the tray table. Maybe this is because you can smoke on certain A319 flights ROW, but it was still interesting to me. The flight attendants were very nice, and were wearing their new purple uniforms well. During the flight, I was given a choice of a snack and a drink. I chose a bag of peanuts and a ginger-ale. I was able to watch the live dish TV in this part of the country and enjoyed a few of the channels. Boarding PassActual A319 (At Gate LAX)A319 IFE ScreenCoach Seat 28C (Aisle Seat)Cabin Looking ForwardSnack (Peanuts and Ginger Ale)Scenery Leaving DENScenery Entering LAX Leg 2: LAX-ATL
Date of Flight: March 29, 2019
Departure Time: 11:40 PM PST (11:15 PM PST Scheduled)
Departure Gate: 26
Landing Time: 6:02 AM EST (6:18 AM EST Scheduled)
Gate Arrival Time: 6:09 AM EST
Arrival Gate: E12
Flight Time: 3 Hours, 22 Minutes
Taxi Time: 7 Minutes
Flight Number: DL 192
Plane Type: Airbus A350-941
Plane Call Sign: N503DN
Cruise Altitude: 39,000 Feet
Max Speed: 703 MPH
Seat Number: Suite 5A
This was the whole point of the trip- To try out the new Delta A350, and the new Delta One Suite. When I arrived in LAX, I had to switch terminals from terminal 3 to terminal 2. In order to do so, I had to get on a bus, which had security escorts at the entrance of the terminal. The bus took us to the other terminal where the security escorts were also waiting. It was very well coordinated. While on the bus, I saw a brand new Porsche Cayenne that said “Delta Elite” on the side. Very cool perk to get chauffeured to the planes.
When I got to the new terminal, finding the gate was fairly simple. About an hour before the flight started boarding, the whole crew of the A350 (including the pilot and co-pilot) all arrived near the gate. Everyone had such a jubilance to be working on the plane. I went up to the captain and introduced myself- we got to chat about the plane and how this was the only plane he was certified in now. He was older and distinguished. The crew all appeared to have been working together for years. There were even crew members flying on as stand-by passengers. I didn’t want to get in the way, so I let them get to their routines.
This was the first time I had boarded using Delta’s new categorized boarding. We all lined up in our respective boarding groups (which had clear colored signs), and boarded pretty fluidly. We boarded through the 1L door. I was expecting to board through the 2L door in front of premium select. When we boarded, the captain was waiting and asked if I wanted to come check out the cockpit. I was so excited that I rushed in and was instantly amazed by how sparse it was. I took a picture and went to go back to my seat when he said: “Anyone who is willing to fly around the country for 17 hours to try out the A350, deserves to sit in the pilot’s seat, don’t you think?” It was seriously such a cool experience. The seat pulled out and slid to the left- a cool design.
After my head had exploded, I quickly went to the cabins in the rear of the plane to grab some pictures before they filled up. Then I went back to my suite and started to settle in. There was a bottle of water waiting. I was immersed in the One Suite and all its cool features. Important to note is that this flight was not sold as a Delta One flight- Rather it was sold as a first class ticket. There was no meal, only snacks, which surprised me. I did have a pre-departure drink: a baileys with ice. It was even served in a glass rather than a plastic cup, as were all drinks. Before takeoff, while on the runway, a passenger was having a medical condition. This delayed our departure by about 10 minutes, but the staff handled it quickly and efficiently. The suite doors were locked open during departure and take-off.
During the flight, I was able to chat with some of the flight attendants. They told me that none of them had ever met, and that all of them had chosen this flight to try the A350. They were a great bunch of employees who had a lot of passion and interest in their job! For snacks, they offered for me to take as many as I wanted. I just took chips, and a kind bar. I also had the peanuts from the previous trip. For my drink, I once again chose a ginger-ale.
Now that I had gotten my drink and snack, I wanted to try out the bed function. The suite doors were now unlocked as well. When I turned the suite chair into a lie-flat bed, the flight attendant was even nice enough to offer me a second pillow. Unfortunately, since this was not a Delta One flight, there was no duvet and blanket. As such, I found the sides of the seat very hard and intrusive making it hard to get comfortable. Having said that, this was the first time I could truly lie flat in a flat bed on a plane. Often times, I have to lie on my side with my legs arched to fit in the beds. When in bed mode, the bed was very low to the ground.
Let’s talk about the Suite some more. The door itself, once unlocked after take-off, was relatively simple to use. You pull a release lever in the suite, and the door automatically closes. When you want to open it, you pull and hold the handle, and use your other hand to manually open the door until it latches. I found it a little difficult to open, and I felt that your fingers could easily get caught the way it was designed. There was an emergency exit feature in which the suite door would swing out by unlocking a switch. I tried it, and it was much easier to use than sliding function of the door. This was the coolest function of the suite though- to have the privacy. No other domestic airline offers something like this. Reminds me of when Delta offered the Penthouse in the Sky in their initial 747s which was short-lived, but unlike anything else offered at the time.
The suite itself also featured a lot of cool ideas. Ambient lighting with adjustability as well as a side lamp for reading. There was a life jacket storage compartment near the door to the right of my seat. There were seat controls on the table are, and secondary controls for when lying flat lower to the ground. The screen was extremely large at 18”. Since the overhead lights and air controls were so far above the seat, they were controlled on the touch screen (which is different from other Delta touchscreen devices). There was also an auxiliary remote control for when the touchscreen was too far away. In the remote’s storage compartment was a mirror on the door covering the remote. A very discreet touch! The suite also featured a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. They had a proprietary connector plug (I guess so people don’t take them), and they were sealed when I got on the plane. They stored in a compartment next to the seat along with the bottle of water. It had a little placard that said the storage location was only for the water and headphones- I was expecting it to say no storage during take off and landing (which kind of defeats the purpose in my opinion).
I had noticed a lot of things while on this flight. The large infotainment screens did not offer the satellite TV that the A319 and 737 had. It was not listed at all on the menu. I noticed that the overhead no smoking and seat belt signs looked digital- as though they were configurable which is really modern! On that note, there were no overhead bins in the center of the Delta One cabin, making it feel enormous. While it is not the only plane with shoulder belts, it was the first time I experienced a plane with one. It made me feel more secure during take off and landing. Finally, I noticed during all announcements, when the captain referred to the flight, he always stated “aboard our new A350 aircraft” within his announcement. It made it feel more special which is rare traveling today. Many times they don’t even refer to the airplane model anymore save the safety video.
When we arrived, the cabin lighting was really cool. It had been gradually increasing from the time we were coming in for landing, until the time we got on the ground. I was surprised at how easily I adjusted to the light and time change as a result of feeling less fatigued. Before I got off the plane, I thanked the captain again, and went on my way. It was such a memorable flight for me.Boarding Pass
Actual A350 (At Gate ATL)A350 IFE ScreenFirst Class Suite 5A (Window Seat)Cabin Looking ForwardPre-Departure Drink (Baileys)Snack (Chips, Kind Bar, Peanuts and Ginger Ale)Scenery Leaving LAXScenery Entering ATL Leg 3: ATL-DEN
Date: March 30, 2019
Departure Time: 8:19 AM EST (8:10 AM EST Scheduled)
Departure Gate: A34
Landing Time: 9:17 AM MST (9:37 AM MST Scheduled)
Gate Arrival Time: 9:23 AM MST
Arrival Gate: A29
Flight Time: 2 Hours, 58 Minutes
Taxi Time: 6 Minutes
Flight Number: DL 2241
Plane Type: Boeing 737-932 (ER)
Plane Call Sign: N810DN
Cruise Altitude: 34,000 Feet
Max Speed: 555 MPH
Cabin: Comfort +
Seat Number: 13F
Once I arrived in ATL, I was already mentally done with the trip. While I had to fly back to DEN, I had successfully tried the A350, and had a great time doing so. I didn’t really like ATL that much. I found that the airport staff was much ruder than the staff in DEN or LAX. They seemed bothered to answer questions and seemed like the were avoiding customers. I had been getting my boarding passes printed at each airport (from my digital printed ones), so that I could have a record for the trip report. No one had an issue printing me a ticket except for ATL staff- I ultimately got one, but not without a lot of hassle.
This flight also had the boarding class signs to help with the process, but they were not the same as the signs in LAX. That is something I would think Delta should work on as they rolled this boarding process change out months ago, and it is horribly inconsistent among the different airports. This leg of the trip I was in Comfort +. I originally purchased a coach ticket, and then upgraded it to Comfort + later. I wanted to be in three different cabins since I was going to be in three different planes in three different time zones.
I will say that I do not feel that Comfort + is worth the extra money. They advertise it as extra legroom, extra recline, priority boarding and an alcoholic beverage. The seat back cover is also slightly different in that it has the diamond pattern and a red leather trim around the headrest. The problem was that I picked the back row of Comfort +. Row 13. Right behind it is a normal economy row, and since you get the extra recline, you can imagine how that goes with the already cramped person behind you. The entire flight I had knees in my back when reclined, and ended up not even using that added feature. As for the alcoholic beverage, I got a baileys, but they didn’t even give me a glass- just a bottle which kind of ruined it. As for the extra leg room, I would say I noticed it, but did not need it. This was my second time flying Comfort + on Delta, and I now know I would not do it again.
I was in the window seat which was fine, but it felt unusually cramped because the passengers seated next to me were bulky. The satellite TV on the plane said it was not in service- It may have just been because we were on the east coast versus the west coast when I was using in on the DEN-LAX leg. One of the flight attendants had been conversing with another and said it was her first flight after graduation. She was very chipper and I complimented her personability skills to give her a boost on her first day. She made this leg of the trip more enjoyable with her chipperness given the inconveniences.
When we arrived in DEN, the ground was covered in snow. I knew there was a storm when I had left the night before, but considering it had been 60 degrees that Friday, I was shocked to return to 28 degree snowy covered conditions with just a back-pack and no jacket. I was just happy to be home and happy that the trip had gone as planned. Domestic A350 bliss!Boarding PassActual 737 (At Gate ATL)737 IFE ScreenComfort + Seat 13F (Window Seat)
Cabin Looking ForwardSnack (Cheezits and Baileys)Scenery Leaving ATLScenery Entering DEN