Review of Delta Air Lines flight San Francisco Detroit in Economy

Airline Delta Air Lines
Flight DL 1988
Class Economy
Seat --
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 04:30
Take-off 31 Oct 14, 22:50
Arrival at 01 Nov 14, 06:20
DL   #32 out of 68 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 705 reviews
By SILVER 2771
Published on 25th November 2014
Hello everyone, sorry for not participating as often as I wished.

To contextualize better, this FR is part of a series of a trip to California I did last fall, the flights go as follows:

BOG-ATL [Report Here]
ATL-LAX [Report Here]
SFO-DTW [You are here]
DTW-ATL [Will not be covered in a full FR, photos at the end of this report]


After a great couple of weeks in California (it was the first time for me) it was time to return. Basically we spent a week in LA, and then we headed north on a road trip along the PCH that took us to Yosemite and then to San Francisco. (related pictures to be added in the last chapter)

As the cover picture shows, I was there when the Giants won the World Series, everywhere in the city was orange…it was very exiting to see everyone in the city cheerful and so on.

Alas, my time in San Francisco was not as long as I wanted it to be. It is a great city but I couldn't stay any longer. What I managed to do to compensate that was to have a weird routing back to Bogotá. My options where either to take the red eye to JFK and stay in NY for the day and then taking the flight back to Colombia. I had already been to NY that year so I wasn't keen on spending a day there. The other option was a direct red eye to ATL and spending the day in Atlanta and then flying to Bogotá on the first comeback of the 757 to Bogotá. Now this sounds tempting….but what of the 9h there? I wasn't looking forward rushing there…fortunately I could spend the day flying. I could fly to Detroit, and then to ATL. More milage, and what sounded even more interesting, I would manage to ride all the 737 types Delta operates and I would score my first 737-900ER flight.

This gave me the motivation I needed to head to SFO and look forward to my trip.

We stayed in a cheap hotel by the Airport ( sleeping in San Francisco is ridiculously expensive!) and went to grab our bags. Then we were on to SFO on the hotel shuttle.

Check in was swift, not many people travelling that night. TSA was also swift. The terminal didn't look as impressive as the International Terminal, rather your regular 1990s US airport terminal.
photo IMG_6785photo IMG_6786

Dining options were dire, basically one monopolistic priced restaurant that ripped my last USD off….but I knew I needed food for the long trip ahead.
photo IMG_6787

After dining it was just a matter of waiting to board.
photo IMG_6788

Seat pitch was OK…I felt comfortable enough for the red eye I was in for
photo IMG_6790

A rather dated cabin (cfr. the 73G on the BOG-ATL run, and specially the 739 below)
photo IMG_6791

I thought Southwest wouldnt fly to SFO, considering their extensive ops. in OAK
photo IMG_6792

…this may be one of the last US planes I'll see with my own eyes
photo IMG_6793

Some blurry TO pictures (you can make some buildings lit up in Giants' orange…or is it because it was Halloween?)

As of the last year, DL offers free IFE through their WiFi equipped planes. The one I was riding was one of those planes. I had a rather interesting offer, and had my iPad ready for action. But I rather looked through the window during take off, and fell asleep soon after. Ordinary and traditional IFE was also offered.
photo IMG_6801

We were offered peanuts,biscotti and pretzels without being asked which of those we wanted (much better than on the ATL-LAX run)…I ignore whether there were any other options. There were also constant drink runs. DL tries to keep you as hydrated as possible it seems. My main worry was if my bladder could hold so much liquid.

Our 738 at destination
photo IMG_6802

Sleepy DTW after arriving
photo IMG_6803

My ATL bound flight would depart from the gate basically in front of our inbound flight. So I did a long walk around DTW's terminal building. It's nice and modern, full of DL planes, the most interesting being the jumbojets…then it was time for my flight to ATL.


photo IMG_6805
Our plane waiting for us
photo IMG_6809
The view from my seat
photo IMG_6813
The new interiors are great compared to the ones on the 73G and 738

Very short view of Detroit's downtown and environs during take off, the sunrise gave a dramatic setting. Also my first glimpse of Canada in 15 years.

I was so tired that I slept till touchdown in ATL….so a full FR was not worth it.
See more


Delta Air Lines

Cabin crew7.0

San Francisco - SFO


Detroit - DTW



Overall...what can I say, it was a regular US transcon redeye flight. DL did as good as it could considering market options (I guess)...I can't ask for more.

SFO Terminal 1, Concourse C: Rather dated, but clean. Pathetic shopping and dining options. SFO is rather easy to reach via BART, but it is quite expensive.

DL: The 738s cabin looks dated compared to newer options available in their fleet. I hope they can achieve a more consistent product eventually. Nevertheless the seats were as comfortable as possible for the long(ish) flight, and the IFE thorugh WiFi seems OK. I'm sorry I couldn't test it thoroughly. The crew was OK, and endevoured to keep us hydrated, and I thought that it was a nice detail to hand out all food options (little as they are) without asking.

DTW: It seems like a very effective hub, boring plane geek-wise, being DL monopoly...but a nice, modern and clean building with loads of food and shopping options.

Information on the route San Francisco (SFO) Detroit (DTW)


If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 134489 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    ..fortunately I could spend the day flying. I could fly to Detroit, and then to ATL. More milage, and what sounded even more interesting, I would manage to ride all the 737 types Delta operates and I would score my first 737-900ER flight.
    - Spoken like a true aviation enthusiast. People don't understand us when we go through great lengths to satisfy our vice.

    The terminal didn't look as impressive as the International Terminal
    - Unfortunately T1 (B & C gates) is the oldest and most boring terminal in SFO. However, I think that now there is a corridor once you pass security connecting the C gates (DL) to T2 (AA/VX)where the dining and shopping are much better.

    We were offered peanuts,biscotti and pretzels
    - Pretty generous for a domestic U.S. flight.

    Alas, my time in San Francisco was not as long as I wanted it to be.
    - You should come back again. SF is a great city and if you love to eat this is one of the best places in the U.S.

    Thanks for sharing this exciting report.

    • Comment 314394 by
      Chibcha SILVER AUTHOR 460 Comments

      -Thank you, I'm happy not to feel weird along fellow AV-geeks.

      -Didn't find it...didn't have much time anyway.

      -...its a way to see it. heh heh

      -I crave to go back, the few days I spent there left me wishing I had spent a pair of weeks there...but first I have to bolster my purchasing power. Not the sort of city for budget travelers from developing nations.


  • Comment 134516 by
    lagentsecret 12449 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR

    Nice routing even if these red eye flights are very tiring

    Like Jetsetpanda said the food offer was very generous... for an U.S. flight

    SFO is rather easy to reach via BART, but it is quite expensive.
    It's possible to reach SF downtown by train (South San Francisco station) but it's not that simple

    • Comment 314395 by
      Chibcha SILVER AUTHOR 460 Comments

      -Indeed...those itineraries take a toll on you, that's when one begins to feel old I guess.

      -Taking the CalTrain to SFO you say? It was not an option for me in that particular trip, but I'm always eager to explore alternative methods of arriving to an airport.

      Thanks for commenting!

  • Comment 134523 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR!

    9h in ATL wouldn't be terrible, you could quickly get into town to see Olympic Park, Coca-Cola Museum, CNN, and get robbed at gun point... but alas, you chose the better of the two options IMO to get two flights for the price of one.

    The BSI cabin you had from DTW-ATL looked much better, but those old cabins on the B738 look more comfortable for sleeping.

    Sounds like the DL crew lived up their standard with excellent service.

    WN has a decent network out of SFO, they probably just arrange their flights to minimize the number of gates they need at any single moment.

    • Comment 314396 by
      Chibcha SILVER AUTHOR 460 Comments

      -I have been in Atlanta before, so there wasn't much to see for me...and sincerely its the sort of city I'm not eager to have second visits.

      -The seats on the 738 did feel more cushioned....but by that time my body was basically numb.

      -DL is my favourite US airline, and to the moment it is the best in America for me ( not that I have travelled in many airlines though)

      Thanks for commenting!

    • Comment 314397 by
      Wingslover 667 Comments

      Another good option when transferring in ATL is the Delta Museum next to the airport. I've heard it's very good!

      Btw, great FR, thanks for sharing :)

  • Comment 134533 by
    SKYTEAMCHC GOLD 8702 Comments

    Thanks for your report ! The cabin shown in the bonus track is much better than The one you had from SFO . I agree with your comment about this concoures in SFO and the limited food and shopping options !

  • Comment 134668 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5655 Comments

    Hey! Welcome back :-)
    I thought DL was now running mostly 739s from SFO to DTW--guess not. The 738s are about 70% with newer cabins with PTVs so it was bad luck you got one of the older ones. They should all be equipped with PTVs and the new seats like on 739 soon.

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