Flight-Report

Review of Delta Air Lines flight Seoul Detroit in Business

Airline Delta Air Lines
Flight DL158
Class Business
Seat 3A
Aircraft Airbus A350-900
Flight time 12:35
Take-off 31 Dec 17, 11:15
Arrival at 01 Jan 18, 09:50
DL   #59 out of 129 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 599 reviews
Rewardflying
By SILVER 2274
Published on 26th February 2018
photo dl158 cover

Hello Flight-Report #avgeeks. Welcome to the final installment, the highly anticipated Delta A350!

I hope you enjoy the trip!

Flight Segments


ORD American Airlines Flagship Lounge - click to view
Japan Airlines ORD-NRT First Class 777-300 - click to view
NRT Japan Airlines First Class Lounge - Main Terminal - click to view
Japan Airlines NRT-SIN Business ClassSkySuite III 777-200 - click to view
KLM SIN-DPS Business Class 777-300 - click to view
Garuda Indonesia DPS-ICN Business Class A330 - click to view

Delta ICN-DTW Business Class A350


Delta DTW-ORD - No report

During January 2017 the rumor mill was Delta would be retiring their remaining 747 fleet by the end of the year. In fact the rumor from Flyertalk was specific, retirement was to be on 12/31/17. Being a year away much could change, but I thought it'd be worth a shot to see if I could book a saver ticket on the last flight. Obviously once a last flight is announced, getting a saver ticket on Delta, or any carrier for that matter, would be next to impossible. My scheme almost worked.

One Saturday early in February I found a saver award from Bali via Shanghai which was on a 747 to Detroit on December 31st. I booked it feeling pretty clever even though it didn't include a flight to ORD.

photo dl158 ticket dl 1

Immediately I set an alert on Expert Flyer to be notified of an aircraft change. Delta routinely makes changes to their schedule on Saturdays. To my surprise the very next day I woke up to a notification that my aircraft had been changed to a 777! This fortunate stroke of luck allowed me to opt out using the 24 hour cancellation rule which meant I'd save the Delta $150 redeposit fee.

Back to searching I found a saver award on their 747 from Seoul to Detroit on December 31. Plus I was able to include Detroit to Chicago. The only problem I faced at the time was when you cancel a Delta award ticket, the points don't go back into your account immediately. It takes a couple days, even after pleading with the Delta agent. So with nerves in hand I had to wait 3 days. Apparently no one had the same plan as me so 3 days post when my points hit I booked DPS-ICN-DTW-ORD reserving seat 77A on the 747 flight and set another aircraft change alert with Expert Flyer.

photo dl158 ticket dl 2

I scoured Delta's schedule to find other 747 flights after the one I'd just booked. Flight 158 from Seoul to Detroit was the last scheduled 747 flight from anywhere.

Then the bad news. On March 25th I received the alert from Expert Flyer. My 747 was swapped for a 777. Delta moved the last 747 flight up by 2 weeks where it remained as the last schedule international flight, until they had a few more flights to celebrate the last international flight, but that's another story.

photo dl158 ticket exf 1

Knowing Delta's intentions were to replace the 747's with their new Airbus A350, I set another aircraft change alert.

Then the good news. On June 17th the alert triggered. A350!

photo dl158 ticket exf 2

So while I would have preferred a trip on the ancient 747 in the upper deck, I was settling for a brand new state of the art aircraft with Delta's brand new highly praised Delta One Suite. Reward flying sometimes has to make sacrifices!

One more note on the aircraft. Had my trip been on the 30th all would have come crashing down as Delta swapped out the A350 for a B777 on this day. It prompting a thank you on Twitter.

photo dl158 twitter

Garuda was a bit tardy arriving at ICN's Terminal 2. After saying goodbye I headed off to the KE lounge to take a quick shower. The shower rooms were nicely appointed although now that Korean Air and Skyteam have moved to the new Terminal 3, I don't know if they will maintain this lounge or some other carrier will take it over.



Delta flight 158 was to depart at 11:15AM local time. At 10:19 time my phone gave me this message. So departure was now 11AM? I've never heard of a departure advanced. And boarding had commenced when originally it was 10:30. But wait, there is a warning the flight is delayed. Which is it?

photo dl158 boarding 1

I headed to the gate. Obviously I wanted to be among the first to board so get some decent photos so my plan to stop and buy some fantastic Royce chocolates was foiled. The gate still claimed a 11:15 departure.

photo dl158 boarding 2

But the boarding area was pretty much empty as everyone must be on the plane. 

photo dl158 boarding 3photo dl158 boarding 4

Delta Flight 158 ICN-DTW Airbus A350



Sure enough, everyone was settled in to the new Delta One Suites. Notice that Delta chose not to install storage bins in the center. 

photo dl158 cabin 1

Removal of the bins creates a nice airy cabin, at least in the center seats.

photo dl158 cabin 2

While the window seats still require you to stand slowly. 

photo dl158 cabin 4

Unfortunately Delta needs the center bins. There isn't enough overhead space for 32 passengers. The flight attendants were in unison on this point.

photo dl158 cabin 5

Here is why. 

Singapore and Qatar do not have the center bins. But they only have 26 and 24 seats in the front cabin respectively. Cathay Pacific and Thai have 32 seats in the front cabin and they installed the center overhead bins. China Airlines and Delta have 32 seats in front and no center bins, however China Airlines has a large storage closet at door one for overflow. Now my flight on CI wasn't full so I don't know how it works, but Delta's was full and there were plenty of complaints. Especially, as you will see, there isn't any storage in the seat itself. 

photo dl158 a350 compare seating
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Lavatories were standard and not stocked with anything other than cool amber lighting. 

photo dl158 cabin lav 1photo dl158 cabin lav 2

The Delta One Suite is a Vantage XL product with a door. Vantage XL's can be found on a number of carriers, most notable Qantas and SAS.

photo dl158 seat 1
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photo dl158 seat 2

Personally I really like one of these seats. And it was all in the footwell. 



Here is the ottoman in Delta's footwell. Notice the floor ramps up so there isn't any storage underneath.  

photo dl158 seat foot well

Which means if you extend the bed, anything on the floor such as shoes, computer/travel bags or purses either need to go up in the bins or share the footwell. And there isn't a whole lot of sharing room down there. 

photo dl158 seat bed 4

Qantas seems to have more room, down under. Sorry, couldn't help myself. 

photo qf444 seat 7

And SAS has far more room. My winner.

photo sk945 seat footwell 1photo sk995 seat footwell

When extended into a bed the width of the seat is 22-24 inches according to seatguru. I would be interested to know which seats are 24 inches. While I didn't measure the width of seat 3A, I'd be very surprised if it were 24 inches. 

photo dl158 seat bed 1

I slept okay on the flight. Part of it was the long duration of travel. The Westin Heavenly duvet was comfortable.

photo dl158 seat bed 3

Delta appears to have really squeezed these seats in. Here is the width to enter the "Suite".

photo dl158 seat 4

However my biggest complaint was the footrest didn't rise high enough to support a partially reclined position. Now maybe the seat was broken, it didn't occur to me that might be the case since the plane was all but a couple months old, but the most it rose to was around 20-30 degrees. 

photo dl158 seat controls

Granted the pod was very attractive. I liked the color combinations for sure. 

photo dl158 seat 3

Leather, or faux leather is probably not the best choice for long haul flights as it can be cold and typically is firmer than a cloth covered seat. While Delta doesn't have mattress pads, the Heavenly bedding was very nice. Of course there was no place to put these items. 

Don't get me wrong, these seats are not terrible. But I have a couple of things that keep gnawing at me because they seemed different. Take for example the armrest. It looks innocent enough.

photo dl158 seat armrest 1

But from this perspective it looks to be higher than normal. Why did I take this photo, because it felt higher than normal. 

photo dl158 seat armrest 2photo dl158 seat armrest 3

And finally, while I can't prove it or really show a good example, it seems the pods are lower to the floor than normal. Maybe it was just me being weary eyed from an overnight flight, but I felt lower in the cabin than normal. This photo is shows my fabulous flight attendant working hard to service the cabin. She isn't a tall woman at all and I'm way down here. So much for privacy in this "fully enclosed suite".

photo dl158 seat height perspective

To me  the door is a gimmick. If it's only chest high on an average height person, what privacy is that? What really surprised me is how heavy the door was. It's solid and I have no idea why because why is it important to have a bank vault door? Who's breaking in?

photo dl158 seat priv door 1

And no it does not fully close. Maybe it is so sturdy because it has to hinge out in case of emergency. 

photo dl158 seat priv door 2

Otherwise you release the door from a latch on the side of the pod. 

photo dl158 seat door release

So do you really need the door? In my view no. The seats are offset and the top of the pod goes to the top of your head. (Notice perspective on entryway width.)

photo dl158 seat priv 1a

On second thought, maybe the door is needed!

photo dl158 seat priv 2a

The Suite comes with an instruction card.

photo dl158 suite card 1
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photo dl158 suite card 2

While I certainly have my issues with the seat, the good news it's all uphill for this flight from here!

Time to go. Amazing A350 wing flex!



Some photos of the Seoul area on departure.



Amenities stacked on the seat were slippers, a kit, two pillows and the Westin Heavenly duvet. 

photo dl158 amenity stack

US bound flights don't get the Tumi hard cover amenity kit. 

photo dl158 amenity kit

You get slippers but no pajamas. I don't get why a 7,137 mile flight from Shanghai to Detroit get PJs, but not a 6,636 mile flight from Seoul. Unless of course the distance cutoff is 7,000 miles, but that's not it because Shanghai to Seattle is 5,122 miles and those pax lounge in Delta pajamas. Sorry I digress, I promised it was uphill.

photo dl158 amenity slippers

The side table consists of headphone storage, power, seat controls along with an odd upper partial table.

photo dl158 seat storage 1

Inside the only storage compartment that is doorless are the LSTM headphones on a hook. 

photo dl158 amenity headphones 2photo dl158 amenity headphones

And hidden back in the corner is a bottle of Evian water.

photo dl158 amenity water

Below are the power ports conveniently placed.  

photo dl158 seat power

The regular Vantage seats have a bad habit of placing the seat controls on the armrest, which means you can constantly rearrange yourself without wanting to. On the XL version Qantas and SAS placed these controls out of the way so you can't accidently touch them. 

photo qf444 seat acc 3photo sk945 seat acc 5

Delta put them back on the armrest where I found a way to move my seat simply by having my arm resting on the armrest. Since the tray is stored in the armrest that area is elevated so you have to fold your arm.  Doing so makes it easy to have your elbow hit the seat controls, which I did this numerous times.

photo dl158 seat side table

The armrest folds up for the IFE controller which is only needed for games. There isn't a small display on the controller where you might have the airshow playing while watching something on the fantastic touch screen monitor. Inside the armrest is a useless mirror. 

photo dl158 seat ife control

The outer wall has a sconce for lighting. 

photo dl158 seat sconce

Upper air vents! I assume the center seats have vents as well but can't tell from my photos to be sure?

photo dl158 seat ventsphoto dl158 seat coat hook

The Airbus A350 has nice oversized windows. 

photo dl158 seat window 1

Delta installed manual window shades that unfortunately are showing some age, after just a couple months in the air. The windows are so big that the large shades awkwardly slide down shifting from side to side.

photo dl158 seat scuff 2

And the pods are getting scuffed up as well, which I guess is to be expected when there really isn't a lot of room to maneuver. 

photo dl158 seat scuff 1

WiFi was on board. 

photo dl158 amenity wifi 1

Fortunately my AMEX free gogo passes came in handy on this flight. 

photo dl158 amenity wifi 2

And it was impressive in speed. However I understand there are dead spots in upper Canada as well as over ocean. I was testing this while over Japan. 

photo dl158 amenity wifi 3

Delta does a cart service for beverages. Kudos for covering the cart with fabric so it looks nice.

photo dl158 food cart service
 
The beverage menus.

photo dl158 menu bev winephoto dl158 menu bev

A narrow wine list didn't offer a full body red, but for a glass with lunch the Rhone worked fine. 

photo dl158 food nuts

Lanson champagne.

photo dl158 bev champ

Apparently the Rhone is very popular in France. 

photo dl158 bev red wine

Only a single choice from the Korean side. 

photo dl158 menu food korean

The Western menu would be holding my choice today. Why not see how Delta cooks their beef?

photo dl158 menu food western

The full size tray is released. Obviously you are planted in your seat when the tray is out. 

photo dl158 seat tray

The starter course consisting of the appetizer, salad and soup was served on a single tray.

photo dl158 food main pres

An interesting appetizer it was. I guess you could call it a surf and turf appetizer. Regardless it was very creative and tasted quite good.

photo dl158 food main app1

Next in the first offering was a mixed green salad that was fresh, crisp and plentiful.

photo dl158 food main salad 1

The chestnut soup was rich and flavorful. 

photo dl158 food main soup 1

Then the main course. An attractive presentation.

photo dl158 food main stk 1

The steak was medium to medium well, probably a little more well done than I like, but not cooked into oblivion as is often the case at 36,000 feet. 

photo dl158 food main stk 2

For dessert Hãagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream, a strawberry tart or a selection of cheeses were offered. 

photo dl158 food main des 1

The tart eaten with the heart shaped spoon was delicious.

photo dl158 food main des 2

After lunch I took a look at the IFE system. Appears we took the avoid Kim Jong-Un route.

photo dl158 ife avoid kim jung route

Already having attempted to watch a few of these unwatchable movies I was left to the audiobook. 

photo dl158 ife movies

The IFE screen is really nice. Besides being very responsive to touch, clarity was great as well. This is with full natural light in the cabin during the safety video. 

photo dl158 ife shades open

After a few hours I was hungry and decided to try something from the anytime menu. I looked around for the the call button to order and couldn't find it. After a some time I got the attention of a flight attendant and they pointed out where the button is. Click on "My Flight" on the screen and that emoji waving is your call button. 

photo dl158 ife call button

The cabin purser on this flight was a lady named Dee. She was outstanding. When she introduced herself at the beginning she apologized in advance if service was slow. She explained this was their second time on the A350 and were still getting used to the galleys. When the flight was over I told her there was no need to apologize as she and her crew did a great job. 

There was a little hiccup. The flight attendant I flagged down to make my mid flight order was the male FA on board. I asked for a cheeseburger. He responded by making some snarky comment that maybe he could run out and get a burger for me. I said it's on the menu. He said it wasn't. Okay then. 

photo dl158 menu food anytime.brk

A couple minutes later he returned with Purser Dee and apologized. I was armed with the menu showing in fact that was the Mid-Flight snack. 

photo dl158 food snack 1

It would fall into the edible category, and I didn't get the chocolate. 

Sunrise over a frozen Canada.

photo dl158 scenic sunrise

Gorgeous!

photo dl158 scenic plane 1

Soon enough we were closing in on Detroit and it was time for breakfast. Determined not to have an airplane omelette, I ordered the Citron Teriyaki Chicken with black rice and vegetables. 

photo dl158 food bk 1

Excellent choice!

photo dl158 food bk 2

Arrival to a chilly Detroit. The midwest was experiencing a cold snap with temps below 0, fahrenheit. 

photo dl158 scenic arrival 1photo dl158 scenic arrival 2

Cost: Since Delta has changed so many things over the past year, without notice I might add, what I paid for this flight was great for me at the time but would just irritate you because you can't get it anymore. As of this writing they like to charge anywhere from 150,000 to 240,000 points for a ride on their "flagship". 

Flight Path

photo dl158 flight path

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Verdict

Delta Air Lines

7.0/10
Cabin5.5
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering6.5

Korean Air Prestige Class Lounge - Terminal 1

6.0/10
Comfort5.0
Meal/catering5.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Services9.0

Seoul - ICN

8.3/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness9.0

Detroit - DTW

6.0/10
Efficiency6.0
Access5.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

Out of 22 international business class reviews on my website this one ranks near the top, yet I'm not compelled to fly Delta's A350 again. Or at least really wanting the experience again like I've had with some other carriers. One of the reasons it ranked so high was because of the A350. This is such a nice aircraft, quiet,roomy with big windows. I love this aircraft. Like I've said before, the A350 is like floating in the air.

The food was good on this flight as well, better than the other US domestics on trans ocean flights. And the crew was great too. They weren't overly personable, but they did they job, were pleasant and I think they enjoyed flying the A350 as much as the passengers did.

That leaves the seat. I may be wrong but it's one of my least favorites. Nothing can be worse than VS/NZ silly coffin seat so Delta can't take last place. But they were only a hair above Thai on the A350 and well below Qatar, Singapore, Cathay and China Airlines in my view. Others may like it but for me it ranked below United's Polaris, unless on Polaris you have an aisle seat. American has the B/E Super Diamond which I really like. I image Delta's is better than AA's Concept D however. But comparing the US big 3 new business class products, for me it's AA,UA,DL In fairness I haven't flown AA's product, just the seat on other carriers like Qatar and Garuda Indonesia.

Thanks for riding with rewardflying in 2017. Have a GREAT 2018. No flights planed until later in 2018, but they are going to be amazing! Think Q! Plus QRA380, KL747-400 and KE 8i. And keep your fingers crossed EK fulfills promise to send the new 777 FC suite to ORD by year end!

Information on the route Seoul (ICN) Detroit (DTW)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Seoul (ICN) → Detroit (DTW).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Delta Air Lines with 7.3/10.

The average flight time is 12 hours and 5 minutes.

  More information

2 Comments

  • Comment 434110 by
    socalnow GOLD 839 Comments

    Thanks for sharing another great review, Mark.

    "So while I would have preferred a trip on the ancient 747 in the upper deck, I was settling for a brand new state of the art aircraft with Delta's brand new highly praised Delta One Suite. Reward flying sometimes has to make sacrifices!"
    -So selfless and brave. But yeah, I'll take 77A too.

    " The shower rooms were nicely appointed although now that Korean Air and Skyteam have moved to the new Terminal 3, I don't know if they will maintain this lounge or some other carrier will take it over."
    -I think the move was to T2. There is not a T3...yet.

    "You get slippers but no pajamas. I don't get why a 7,137 mile flight from Shanghai to Detroit get PJs, but not a 6,636 mile flight from Seoul. Unless of course the distance cutoff is 7,000 miles, but that's not it because Shanghai to Seattle is 5,122 miles and those pax lounge in Delta pajamas. "
    -Yeah, for some reason it's all China flights and then some other long flights. Strange.

    Pitty about the bins/lack of storage. Perhaps this will be remedied based on feedback.

    Is the door of no value even considering people/carts moving past and the occasional bump. I would think the door insulates a little from aisle traffic.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the meal and crew. So wildly inconsistent with our US carriers.

    "That leaves the seat. I may be wrong but it's one of my least favorites."
    -Thoughts vs. the Apex Suite? So aisle seat on Polaris is < Delta "Suite"?

    I'm going to be in PVG next weekend and am thinking about going through the hassle to get up to ICN for the ride home. I'm so curious to try it myself. I'll probably take the easy path home on the nonstop.

    "No flights planed until later in 2018, but they are going to be amazing! Think Q! Plus QRA380, KL747-400 and KE 8i. And keep your fingers crossed EK fulfills promise to send the new 777 FC suite to ORD by year end!"
    -Wow, wow, and wow. Looking forward to 2018. Happy flying Mark.

  • Comment 434121 by
    Rewardflying SILVER AUTHOR 447 Comments

    Hi Christian, glad to hear your perspective as a DL flyer.

    I think the move was to T2. There is not a T3...yet.

    -So if there is no T3 then I'm okay as you can't get lost if it doesn't exist. I just had it in my head that the satellite terminal was #2.

    Pitty about the bins/lack of storage. Perhaps this will be remedied based on feedback.

    -Or build a closet. The FA's (and the pilot who I spoke to after the flight) do not like the galley arrangement, which amazes me. You'd think they'd involve the FA's in the design.

    Is the door of no value even considering people/carts moving past and the occasional bump. I would think the door insulates a little from aisle traffic.

    -No, take a look at the photo with the guy in row 3 next to me. He's on the aisle and his door is open. Is a door necessary for his privacy? Encapsulating the pod the way they did was plenty for aisle privacy. The door isn't necessary. If you fly the A350, notice the weight of the door. Multiple that x32 and image how much added weight is on that aircraft because of a useless door.

    Thoughts vs. the Apex Suite? So aisle seat on Polaris is < Delta "Suite"?

    -Believe it or not the Apex Suite has more storage space and is more comfortable in my opinion. The UA Polaris aisle seats are really exposed. So Delta for sure as the encapsulation shields you on the aisle. However I found the Polaris seat to be more comfortable with much more foot room.

    I'm going to be in PVG next weekend and am thinking about going through the hassle to get up to ICN for the ride home. I'm so curious to try it myself. I'll probably take the easy path home on the nonstop.

    -Awesome - Go to ICN and take the A350!!! It's a fantastic airplane. I'd love to hear your perspective on the suite as well. I'm sure you can punch holes in my analysis.

    Wow, wow, and wow.

    -I bit the bullet and booked EK from HKG-DXB-ORD, no surcharge and a few fewer miles than AS. Difference is AS rarely gets ORD. Plus I got limos and Dubai connect. Should be fun, especially if they put the new 777 on the route, fingers crossed. Just not sure how ORD fits the high premium demand they want for that aircraft. EK phone reps are awesome to deal with.

    Happy Delta A350 flying!!!

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