Review of Delta Air Lines flight Honolulu Los Angeles in Domestic First

Airline Delta Air Lines
Flight DL1212
Seat 1C
Aircraft Boeing 757-300
Flight time 05:45
Take-off 22 Apr 16, 20:45
Arrival at 23 Apr 16, 05:30
DL   #64 out of 137 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 652 reviews
obelau24
By 2343
Published on 11th June 2016
After a series of stressful weeks at work, my partner and I decided spur of the moment to take a vacation to San Francisco for the weekend. We both have the Delta Air Lines Platinum American Express card which offers a complimentary domestic companion ticket every year. The total price of our tickets without the additional cost of seats was USD$421.00 from Honolulu to Oakland via Los Angeles. Upon checking-in through the Delta app the evening before our departure, we were offered an upgrade to first class for $329.00 per person for the HNL-LAX segment (and $259 for the LAX-OAK segment which was a bit ridiculous for a 1 hour flight). Delta AMEX companion tickets are not supposed to be eligible for upgrades to First or even Comfort Plus from May 16, so I actually called Delta reservations to ask if the upgrade was valid. The agent could only tell me that it was an online special that she couldn't replicate in the system so I went back online and took advantage of the upgrade offer.

That evening, the TSA line was actually very quick, and with access to the "Gold Lane" for premium/priority passengers, we were through in less than five minutes. In the past we have visited the Delta SkyClub but it was only 45 minutes to boarding and neither of us was hungry or thirsty enough to make the $29 access fee worthwhile so we grabbed a drink at a bar and proceeded to gate 21 at 2010 for boarding at 2015.

Though the flight was far from full, everyone was crowding the lines despite the clear announcements for priority passengers. We boarded quickly and were greeted at the door by the inflight service manager, a beautiful, soft-spoken Japanese flight attendant who I later learned through eavesdropping had never operated a 757, a domestic Hawaii, or a Hawaii red-eye flight before. It was cute to watch her learning the announcements on the fly, discovering the location of items in the galley and figuring out how to work the cabin lights. In fact, half the 'meal' service was in practical darkness before another crew member came and asked her to turn the lights up. I tend to like bulkhead seats for the ability to get out of my seat easier, especially if I'm on the window side. I appreciated the nice legroom in 1CD which clearly had more legroom than 1AB where the bulkhead wall was much closer and the legroom definitely more restricted. I can't speak for the non-bulkhead seats but I was very happy with the legroom in 1CD.




Upon taking our seats in 1CD, we were offered a choice of pre-departure beverage of orange juice or Mai Tai. I jumped on the Mai Tai which, although a little sweet, was delicious. That being said, my proximity to the galley allowed me to watch the crew opening up the bottle of Mai tai mix which for me took a little of the exoticism away.

We pushed back a few minutes early and taxied to the reef runway - 8R - for a speedy ascent. The ISM's welcoming remarks once airborne were faint and difficult to comprehend with the noise and her soft tone but I enjoyed watching her speak anyway. Within 15 minutes of wheels up, the crew had pulled out a beverage cart and positioned it in the galley in front of the 1L door with a wide variety of beverages. Naturally, my eyes fixated on the bottle of sparkling wine chilling in an ice bucket wrapped in a white cloth. These small, seemingly insignificant details are what I most enjoy about flying in business/first.

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The ISM began her service my approaching me, kneeling down to ask what I would like to drink. She then told me that dinner tonight was beef sliders and asked if I would like to join them for dinner. It's a bit emotionally confusing to be greeted with such politeness and professionalism while being offered a hamburger for dinner but I so appreciated her service. I gladly accepted the meal and asked for a glass of the sparkling wine which was called Mito by Ca' Di Rajo, an Italian prosecco. I can't remember if she took everyone's drink orders or poured my glass first but it wasn't long before I was sipping the delicious prosecco and my food was in hand. The tray table was draped with linen and the two beef sliders were nicely presented with fixings and a molasses cookie on the side. At first I had to remind myself this was domestic first class but the sliders were actually really good - not dry at all - and quite filling. The ISM was quick to top up my glass when she saw I was running low and I appreciated that my tray was taken away quickly after I had finished eating even though I am an admittedly fast eater and they hadn't even finished serving the full first class cabin. I was a little surprised at how much time service took; I wasn't timing or anything but had I cared much about shut eye the galley light was on for at least half the flight while dinner was served and then the trays collected.

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After my meal, I watched a little bit of TV. I find Delta has a great selection of inflight entertainment but nothing really appealed to me at that late/early hour. The monitors at the bulkhead are located against the wall so at first I did find the screen a little too far away (or too small) for my liking. However, I'd much prefer this setup than to have the monitor in the armrest which is the case in the bulkhead on other airlines. I slept for a little while - I have never been able to sleep well on airplanes, but the seats were comfortable and the legroom sufficient so I was at least relaxed. Almost as soon as I had woken, the ISM was by my side again asking if she could get me anything. I was in mid-sentence saying, "I'm fine," but she asked specifically if I wanted coffee and I immediately thanked her and said, "Yes, please." Again, I had forgotten I was in first class because she presented me with a mug followed by the snack basket which she offered with a large smile. By then we had begun our descent into LAX and the rest of the flight I enjoyed sitting against the window watching the city lights as I enjoyed my coffee.

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Verdict

Delta Air Lines

8.0/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering6.0

Honolulu - HNL

9.5/10
Efficiency9.0
Access10.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness10.0

Los Angeles - LAX

9.0/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

In hindsight I wondered if it was worth the extra $300 to upgrade and I honestly think it was for a number of reasons, including the extra mileage and MQDs I need to get to Elite status. But more importantly the overall comfort is just worth it to me. I didn't drink $300 worth of prosecco and the sliders were certainly not worth more than $20 at an airport restaurant but knowing full well what economy is like, it was worth it to me to have a relaxing evening and space to stretch out and enjoy my flight rather than feel cramped in the back.

In a snapshot, here are a few points about this flight:
- A predeparture beverage (PDB) was offered upon boarding: orange juice or a premade mai tai with a pineapple and cherry garnish
- The rows are slightly staggered so that 1AB is a few inches further forward than 1CD. The hard bulkhead means there is very minimal legroom on 1AB but acceptable on 1CD.
- Row 1 is missing a window. There is space for two windows but there is only one located directly next to the window seat which requires you to stoop slightly and turn almost 90 degrees to look out
- Flying time was under 6 hours with service taking approximately 3 hours of that time so if you want uninterrupted sleep or just rest for your eyes, row 1 is right behind the galley and therefore the glaring galley lights are on for about half the flight
- In addition to the galley light, row 1 is easily within earshot of all crew conversation and has a bird's eye view to the entire service. You may or may not like to see behind-the-scenes
- A beverage service began approximately 15 minutes after departure with the Japanese ISM greeting each passenger and asking for their drink order - writing it down on the passenger manifest - and informing us that the meal was going to be beef sliders. "Will you join us for dinner?" she asked at least three of us.
- There are a wide variety of beverages but I am partial to sparkling wine/champagne. Onboard this flight we were served Mito by Ca' Di Rajo, an Italian winery. My partner initially ordered Fresca but when he saw the bottle he said he wanted a glass. I try not to be a pest to crew so I asked for a second glass in my broken Japanese. She said, "of course!" and poured him both a glass of sparkling wine and Fresca
- The dinner/snack service consisted of two beef sliders with a molasses cookie and potato salad. This particular flight is not worth the extra money if you're just looking for dinner alone, but it was nevertheless quite tasty
- The entertainment choices were respectable in first class with the tv monitors either in the seat back or the bulkhead wall. The screen is a little further back if you are in 1CD so if you have bad eyesight, it may make this point slightly annoying. The screens are, however, larger than economy with more entertainment choices
- With 24 seats, the beverage and dinner/snack service and subsequent clean-up took over an hour. By my observation, the meal was not widely welcome as many plates were returned only partially eaten. Of course, the later departure time might mean most have already eaten dinner
- The flight attendants are readily available in the first class cabin but will not disturb you. However, as soon as she saw I was awake, the ISM quickly knelt down next to me and asked if she could "offer...anything, tea or coffee?" I asked for coffee and she asked if I wanted cream and sugar. She brought my coffee already prepared in a glass coffee mug and then returned with the snack basket and asked if I would like to take something.

Information on the route Honolulu (HNL) Los Angeles (LAX)

2 Comments

  • Comment 352370 by
    757Fan 578 Comments

    Nice report of your experience in Delta F. I always find the service on Delta to be very good, regardless of cabin. Food looks pretty good for a red-eye flight!

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Comment 353157 by
    socalnow GOLD 976 Comments

    Thanks for the report OBELAU24.

    I have had great HNL based crews on a number of HNL-NRT/KIX/NGO and HNL-LAX/SFO. It sounds like the purser on your flight is one of them. It takes the sting out of leaving paradise!

    Thank you again and happy flying.

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