Celebrating the 747: Delta One to Paris

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Delta’s premium international business class product is Delta One. You will also find Delta One aboard cross-country flights between JFK and LAX or SFO. While planning an anniversary and birthday trip to Paris, I noticed that Delta had scheduled a 747 on the route from Detroit to Paris when we hoped to travel. What could make a trip to Paris more awesome? Flying Delta One on the upper deck of a 747 to Paris! A Delta One review was definitely in order. (Feature image credit: Delta Air Lines)

Booking the Trip

Finding SkyMiles award availability on the flight was not difficult, but it did require some patience. I routinely checked the flight, and when seats at the price point formerly known as “Level 2” appeared (80,000 SkyMiles each way) I booked them. In the end, I was spending a few more miles than my previously booked SkyMiles partner award, but I believed the 747 experience would be worth it. (Hint: I was correct!)

Celebrating the 747

Our trip began at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Saturday afternoon. While there are a handful of nonstops to Paris from Atlanta, none are operated with Delta’s 747-400, so a connection in Detroit was in order. After a visit to one of the Atlanta Sky Clubs, we boarded our flight to Detroit, which arrived just a few minutes early. We did not have a terribly long layover, so we skipped the Sky Club and headed directly to our gate where our beautiful Boeing 747-400 was waiting for us.

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Boarding began right on time via two jetbridges with one being for Delta One customers and the other for everyone else. This setup made the Delta One boarding experience much more peaceful overall, and being seated on the upper deck made things even better. After a friendly greeting from the flight attendants, we proceeded to our seats.

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Stairway to heaven? – Image © 2015 by Marshall Jackson

Seats and Amenities

The upper deck is equipped with only 14 Delta One seats which contributes to a very exclusive feeling. Some say it has a private jet feel, and I’d tend to agree. While I was tempted to book one of the adjoining seats downstairs since I was traveling with my wife, I am glad we booked adjacent seats on the upper deck. This was a different kind of flight.

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Front of the upper deck looking aft. – Image © 2015 by Marshall Jackson

And my seat, 77K. My wife was across the aisle in 77A.

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Seat 77K, My Home for a Few Hours – Image © 2015 by Marshall Jackson

I settled in with a welcome aboard glass of champagne.

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Settling in with a welcome glass of champagne – Image © 2015 by Marshall Jackson

I also checked out the Tumi amenity kit which contained all the necessities you might expect like an eye mask, socks, toothbrush, etc. My favorite thing – a handy Tumi pen. Having tried every Delta One widebody seat currently on the market, it did not take long to determine that this would be my favorite. Power outlets and lighting were sufficient, the video monitor was large and easy to view, and the space just felt right for both working and relaxing. I far prefer the 747 seats to the 767 product, or even Delta’s 777. Delta’s A330 product is a close second to Delta’s 747 Delta One experience overall, but nothing beats the upper deck of a 747!

For international business class, the number one factor for many, including myself, is whether or not the seat is comfortable enough for sleeping. Perhaps that is the only Delta One review that matters! The verdict for the 747 product – a resounding win! Coupled with Delta’s Westin Heavenly bedding, I found the Delta One seat to be quite comfortable, both on my side and on my back. Here are more photos of the entire Delta One cabin.

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Delta One Dining

While I am not one to be excited about airline catering, meals are an important feature of a premium cabin product. Delta’s catering tends to be good, and Delta One featured a respectable meal presentation. Menus were waiting at our seats when we boarded, and some orders were taken prior to takeoff, including mine. Feel free to peruse the menu.

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The Argentinian red I ordered was not catered, but a wonderful Bordeaux was featured in its place. I was not disappointed. I enjoyed the shrimp and avocado appetizer very much. The salad was fresh and tasty and the soup was delicious. I chose the beef tenderloin for my main course. I loved everything about the main course except the steak. Honestly, I don’t know why I ever order beef on an airplane. I am almost always disappointed. To put it simply, the steak was as hard as a rock. To say it was “dry” would not quite do it justice. Other than that, the meal was very good. I skipped the ice cream dessert and went with a fruit and cheese plate as my meal was more than enough. But I did cap things off with a bit more of that wonderful Bordeaux! Food photography is not a strength of mine, but I tried.

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As is my custom, I opted out of the pre-arrival meal and just enjoyed a cup of coffee to prepare for arrival. Upon landing, we made the long walk to immigration and followed the Sky Priority signs to a very short queue to clear formalities and begin our Parisian adventure.

Delta One Review – The Bottom Line

This was a very enjoyable flight. Without question, the 747-400 features Delta’s best international business class product and I hope to enjoy it again before Delta retires the remainder of its 747 fleet. The seat was superb, and importantly, service throughout the flight was top notch, something I have come to expect from Delta flight attendants. I am looking forward to my next Delta One flight.

Overview

Release Date

December 1, 2015

Pros

The seat was spacious and comfortable.
Flight attendant service was excellent.
Food was good overall.
The upper deck experience on the 747 felt exclusive.

Cons

The steak was a tad dry. Yes, that's really all I can complain about.

Service

Comfort

Food and Beverage

Amenities

Value

Overall Rating

Conclusion

Delta One, especially aboard the 747, is a phenomenal way to get to Europe.

4.4

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Comments

  1. Dom says

    Those who suggest that the upper deck of a 747 “has a private jet feel,” have never been on an intercontinental private jet.

  2. Jonathan Klapp says

    I just checked with Delta today and the 747 is no longer doing JFK-LAX so I guess I missed out. Is the 747 flying anywhere conus now?

    • Marshall Jackson says

      Jonathan,

      I don’t remember Delta’s 747’s flying that route but they could have at some point. Right now, domestic 747 ops by Delta tend to be one-off events. I remember ATL-MSP around the holidays, and ATL-HNL for a while, but those aren’t currently scheduled if I recall correctly.

  3. Jonathan Klapp says

    Marshall,
    Thanks that will keep me checking for the one-off possibility. I called Qantas to try to get on QF11 or QF12 LAX-JFK on a 747-400 with lay flats in bus but the agent said I would have to book to/from Sydney??? The Qantas agent was very nice and put me on hold to call AA for me but didn’t have any luck. I may try to call AA myself but it doesn’t look good. Neither website will allow it.
    I guess I’ll have to figure out which Airbus is comparable to the 747?

    • David Rufo says

      Unless there has been a change in reciprocity rules, that is a “no-local traffic” flight. Most foreign airlines are not permitted to carry passengers on a US domestic route and that rule applies to US carriers abroad as well.

  4. Jonathan Klapp says

    Good news!! I just booked my CA trip on United, found a 747 on the way out ORD-SFO and a 787 Dreamliner on the way back SFO-IAH. There’s 2 other planes on both legs and its not the fastest or cheapest especially after upgrading to first all the way but its like a “dreamliner come true”.

    Thanks for your help

  5. Kate says

    Looks pretty swanky. I’ve yet to be on a 747, let alone the upper deck! I’ll have some MR points soon after my Platinum sign up bonus comes in, maybe I’ll look into this :).

    I got a first class flight on AA to Japan from Dallas on a 777 which was pretty incredible. I find that you feel exclusive there too since you have everything all in the cabin and don’t have to go to the back.

  6. promotion pari sportif says

    of course like your web site however you have to take a look at the spelling
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  7. Jonathan Klapp says

    Hi Kate, How’d you get a “Platinum” sign up bonus? Is that from AMEX?
    I know nothing about the newer wide bodies like A380 and the Boeings, need to learn.

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