This series covers a recent trip to China with stops in Shanghai, Chengdu, and Jiuzhaigou. The LAX-CTU round-trip was booked through Delta and the 3U and CA tickets were purchased as one-way tickets through Ctrip to complete the routing since there are no SkyTeam codeshare flights to JZH during low season. The routing therefore was booked as:
Part 1 – LAX-PVG [DL 185, Boeing B777-200ER, Comfort+] – You are here Part 2 – PVG-CTU [CZ 3359, Airbus A320, Economy] – Here Part 3 – CTU-JZH [3U 8607, Airbus A319, Economy] – Here Part 4 – JZH-CTU [CA 4482, Airbus A319, Economy] – Here Part 5 – CTU-SHA [FM 9404, Boeing B737-800, Economy] – Coming soon Part 6 – PVG-LAX [DL 186, Boeing B777-200ER, Comfort+] – Coming soon
This report will cover the flight from LAX to PVG aboard a B772 in Comfort+. The lounge visit will be to the KAL Lounge in TBIT.
Online check-in on Delta’s website was a failure and we received a message saying to see an agent at the airport. With that information in hand, we showed up to LAX T5 at 9:30am.
Inside, we joined a long queue for Sky Priority. Only 3 agents were working and a 4th was going around kicking people out of our line to send them to the normal check-in area. We eventually got our bags tagged to PVG and were handed boarding passes after a thorough document check.
Heading upstairs towards security.
With TSA PreCheck, we were able to skip the long lines at T5 and were airside in less than 5 minutes.
T5 airside looks old and drab like all the terminals at LAX (sans-TBIT). They have the standard shops and a large area in the middle with restaurants.
We elected to walk over to TBIT to use the KAL Lounge in order to kill some time and stretch our legs.
MU A332 preparing for the LAX-NKG-CTU trip.
CA B789, which now operates their 3rd LAX-PEK flight of the day.
TBIT tail line-up.
The KAL Lounge is located across from the OW F Lounge. The entrance is a lot more grand than what is contained inside.
At the front desk, an agent slowly checked us in.
The lounge is not that big and it was filled to the brim at 10am. With impeding MU and KE flights, the lounge was bloated and we struggled to find a pair of seats. I read that they won’t let PriorityPass customers use the lounge around the KE departure times, interesting move to try and protect their passengers. After the KE/MU flights departed, the lounge cleared out a lot, so here are some photos of the seating areas.
The buffet is equally disappointing, with food on the same level as a UA Club. Only fruits/vegetables, sandwiches, and snacks. There were no hot buffet items and the only espresso machine was broken.
The bathroom was not well maintained and had the trash over flowing.
After enduring the disappointment of the KAL Lounge, we trekked back over to T5. Who did they bribe for this award and what is this based on?
We briefly stopped by the Delta SkyClub at T5, which was nicer than the KAL Lounge, but also too crowded to be relaxing. We stayed in the SkyClub for 15-20 minutes before heading down to our gate where boarding was about to begin.
After DeltaOne boarded, we joined the SkyPriority queue. The only view of my plane that I could get was from the jetbridge where the backend was poking out.
Entering the plane, the FAs greeted passengers. After passing through the mini-J cabin, here is the view of Y.
The Delta Comfort+ seats have the quilted material and red accents, which distinguish them from the rest of Y.
View forward from my seat. The load on this flight would be >95% in Y with only a hand full of empty seats.
Legroom is 35”, which only puts Comfort+ an inch more than most of their Asian competitors that still offer 34” in Y. The normal 31” seat pitch on DL looks very painful and would feel like a prison sentence on a 13+ hour flight like this.
Pre-placed on the seat were pillow, blanket, menu, and comfort kit.
The comfort kit contains eye mask, earplugs, and toothbrush.
The standard pillow and blanket.
The menu for this flight, which turned out to be useless since they changed the meal options.
The seatback contents, which also contained a menu and comfort kit from the previous HND-LAX flight. Shows that the cleaning between flights at their hub is poor.
Since I have the menu, I’ll go ahead and show what DL serves on HND-LAX (DL 6).
There is also a Japanese version of Sky magazine.
The safety card on this B772.
Not sure how many flights have stopovers these days, but an interesting repurpose of the barf bag.
The IFE has quickly fallen behind the times and size/resolution are not competitive anymore. The content was good and both USB/AC power ports are available.
A little pocket on the seatback pocket that can hold a phone or passport.
As boarding wrapped up, the FAs came through and handed out headphones.
The front door closed at 12:30 and we initiated our pushback from T5.
Our gamble to pick the last row of Comfort+ and window/aisle worked out to our advantage since we got an empty middle seat in our row.
The safety video played as we taxied around LAX to takeoff from 24L.
WN B737 lifting up.
SK A333 taxing out to takeoff to ARN.
DL B738 in ST special livery.
LA B789 resting before returning to SCL.
JL B788 leaving for KIX.
AA A321 taxing through all the orange wildflowers.
We were #2 for takeoff behind this WN B737.
As soon as they rumbled down the runway, we aligned onto 24L.
Our Rolls Royce engines wind-up and we begin our run down to the coast past an AC B789, AM B788, and AV A321.
TBIT line-up. You can see the 3U tail marking their new LAX-HGH service. They will also have a LAX-TNA route soon.
We lift up through the low clouds and head up over the Pacific Ocean.
As we leveled off, the FAs came through and handed out immigration cards for China.
Service started with a hot towel.
About an hour into the flight, meal service started.
Instead of 3 options like on the menu, we were given the option of chicken or beef. Very bold choice by DL not to offer a non-meat option. Vegetarians and those with dietary restrictions should be careful and pre-order special meals. I went for beef and Ms. NGO85 went for the chicken. My tray as delivered.
Ms. NGO85’s tray, which was lacking several items on my tray. She had a different salad, didn’t get a fruit cup, and had a different dessert.
The meal uncovered.
Another Tsingtao with the meal.
The beef was well seasoned, but didn’t have any heat since it was advertised as “Kung Pao Beef.”
The salad with water chestnuts on top.
Condiments and cheese (no crackers).
In addition to chopsticks, there is also a plastic cutlery set that includes a toothpick, salt, and pepper.
I had Milano cookies on my tray, but Ms. NGO85 had this brownie for dessert.
After the meal, trays were cleared and coffee/tea was offered.
The meal serviced ended off the coast of the Oregon/Washington border. The lights were dimmed for the rest of the flight.
Water bottles were handed out (500mL).
Throughout the flight, the FAs came through often offering water. Either water bottles or hot water (this is a flight to China after all) were offered from trays as they passed through the cabin.
The lavatory was clean midflight and had the J lotion (Malin+Goetz).
Blurry shot, but they had a basket with snacks and water bottles outside of the rear galley. They put the extra snack bags here later in the flight if you wanted more food.
Halfway through the flight, the FAs handed out a snack bag, which contained a ham and cheese sandwich, apple, Milano cookies, and mayonnaise.
A drink service was done with the snack bag. I just took a glass of ginger ale to ease the stomach.
Fast forward another 5 hours and we were crossing between Korea and Japan. The lights of the cabin came on and the pre-arrival meal was conducted 1.5 hours before arrival.
Hot towels were offered.
The menu was wrong again, and this time the options were pork or pasta. We both went for pork. The tray as received. It was the same roll as the first meal, but this roll was actually decent tasting for packaged bread.
The tray uncovered along with a cup of coffee.
The main was good and well seasoned.
The salad was unique, but it was a lot of pickled vegetables and I could only eat a little bit of it to save my breath.
We were quickly descending into PVG and cabin preparations were made 30 minutes before landing.
A rainy day in Shanghai as we come in for a smooth landing from the south.
We have a 30-minute taxi to T1 since we landed on the other side of the airport. We followed the MU B77W that beat us in from LAX. Behind us was the UA B789 also from LAX. We were just missing the AA LAX-PVG flight to complete the full operations between these airports.
Construction of the new terminal at PVG.
We pull into Gate 14, since there is no Gate 13 at PVG.
Deplaning was quick and we were ushered out through the HSBC plastered jetbridge.
We had a short walk to immigration and I promptly took my place in the “Foreigners” line. It was ~25 minutes to clear immigration with no questions asked.
Down to the baggage claim where the priority bags were already circulating.
We collected our bags and then headed out to start our 3-night stay in Shanghai. I’ll leave of this series here.
Delta Air Lines
Korean Air Lounge
Los Angeles - LAX
Shanghai - PVG
Delta offers the strongest TPAC service of the US legacy carriers, but is only middle of the pack compared to what the Asian carriers offer. While the catering and service was good on this flight, the IFE is outdated and the cabin comfort in Y is probably not very good (Comfort+ is acceptable). Given the fare paid, not too much to complain about.
Cabin comfort: The Comfort+ seats are of good comfort for Y standards, but only on par with what some other carriers (NH/OZ) offer as standard legroom in Y. The normal Y seats look like they would be extraordinarily cramped on a flight of this length, albeit retaining the 3-3-3 configuration. The inclusion of menus and comfort kits are ways that DL try to distinguish themselves from their competition.
Crew: A good crew on this sector. The pilot was out joking with passengers in Y before the flight and thanking passengers during deplaning. The FAs were very attentive throughout the 13-hour flight making frequent runs with water between meal services.
Meal and catering: The catering was quite good for LAX standards. I thought both meals were well seasoned and the trays were very full. The midflight snack is average, but at least they offer one. Snacks in the galley between meals. Both Ms. NGO85 and I agree this is the strongest part of DL’s offering on this leg.
Entertainment: No newspapers offered. Standard seatback content. The IFE is starting to fall behind the industry standard with small screen and average resolution. The content was good and the USB/power ports were both convenient to use. WiFi was only available along the US coast, so don’t waste your time buying GoGo inflight.
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