Review of Delta Air Lines flight Reykjavík New York in Premium Eco

Airline Delta Air Lines
Flight DL246
Class Premium Eco
Seat 5D
Aircraft Boeing 757-200
Flight time 06:05
Take-off 29 May 18, 10:55
Arrival at 29 May 18, 13:00
DL   #59 out of 122 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 528 reviews
KévinDC
By SILVER 1711
Published on 11th June 2018
Hello and welcome to the second review in this new short series of flights.

This year for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, we decided on a trip to Iceland. There would be 6 of us meeting up in Iceland, with 3 flying from Washington, DC. There is no shortage of nonstop flights to Iceland from the DC area, with 2 daily back-to-back Icelandair flights from Washington-Dulles (IAD) and 2 daily WOW Air flights along with 4X weekly Icelandair service from Baltimore-Washington (BWI).

Being a oneworld loyalist, I don't often venture out-of-alliance, but as new American Airlines service from Dallas wasn't due to begin until June 2018, we decided to go with the most convenient option for the outbound flight, a nonstop with Icelandair from IAD. For the return from Iceland, however, we burned some Delta Skymiles which routed us through New York JFK.

This report will cover the first leg of the return with Delta Air Lines in the premium cabin of a domestic equipped Boeing 757-200, recently re-branded as Premium Select on short Transatlantic routes.

Reports in this series:

Washington-Dulles IAD ✈ Reykjavík-Keflavík KEF | Icelandair, B757-200, Economy
Reykjavík-Keflavík KEF ✈ New York Kennedy JFK | Delta Air Lines, B757-200, Premium Select
New York Kennedy JFK ✈ Washington-Reagan DCA | Delta Air Lines (Endeavor), CRJ900, Domestic First

Pre-Flight & Booking



After an awesome long-weekend in one of my favourite places in the world with some great friends, it was time to head back to the U.S. For anyone who is interested, I have Iceland tourism bonus photos at the end of this report.

As mentioned in the last report, we'd held on to some Delta Skymiles for a few years since we switched to American, and have been watching their value drop more and more over time without finding any good use for them. Being that Delta flies to two of its hubs from Reykjavík-Keflavík, we decided this would be a good opportunity to finally burn some Skypesos for a return flight from Iceland in the premium cabin.

At the time of booking, Delta had recently decided to re-brand the premium cabins on some shorter Transatlantic routes operated by domestic-equipped B757-200s to "Premium Select" (Premium Economy) rather than "Business". A few routes from the U.S. to Iceland, Ireland, and Scotland were affected. I thought this was a good move on Delta's part as it feels more honest to call a domestic First class recliner seat "Premium Economy" on a long-haul flight, since it's essentially the same seat. One thing that sets Delta Premium Select apart from other carrier's Premium Economy products is that domestic U.S. connecting sectors are booked in domestic First class. Despite the lofty name "First class," this actually makes for a very consistent experience between the long-haul and short-haul flights.

With this re-branding to Premium Select came slightly lower award pricing for this route. We booked the one-way from KEF to DCA via JFK for 54,000 Skymiles. Of course, I remember when you could redeem 100,000 Skymiles for a round-trip in transatlantic Business class, just a few years ago, but in the new world of devalued miles, this was an OK deal.

As mentioned earlier, Delta operates domestic 757s to Reykjavík from its JFK and MSP hubs. Over the past several years Delta has overhauled older aircraft, like the 757, to install brand new interiors featuring more spacious overhead bins, mood lighting, and nose-to-tail IFE. However, in retrofitting the 757s, Delta has reduced the size of the premium cabin. Previously, the domestic First class cabin took up the entire space between the 1st and second set of doors with seats laid out in a 2X2 configuration over 6-7 rows. Since the retrofit, the premium cabin has been reduced to 5 rows of 20 seats with 2 1/2 rows of Comfort+ (Extra legroom economy) added behind.

photo dl kef-jfk 757 seatmap

It will be interesting to see what this odd configuration looks like in real life.


Airport & Check-in




With the Delta JFK flight scheduled just before 11AM, it it thankfully well after the big Icelandair and WOW Air morning departure banks. Whereas there had been a good 2 hour wait to pick up our rental car upon arrival, right in the middle of the morning rush, dropping off the rental car was thankfully much faster.

We arrived at the terminal right about 2 hours prior to departure. There wasn't much of a line for the regular Delta ticket counters.

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Though the SkyPriority lane, to which we had access, was a bit busier.

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It took about 15 minutes to get through the queue as there were security agents asking each passenger some very in depth and personal questions, such as "what is your profession?" and "how long have you been with you present employer?" I've been through this security questioning prior to a U.S.-bound flight before, but these were particularly thorough.

Once past the security questioning, the check-in was very fast with a friendly agent who also happened to be French, so we got to be checked in in French on our Delta flight from Iceland to the U.S.–what a small world.

Being that we were outside of the peak departures banks, there were very few people at the security checkpoint and we were through in minutes.

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After some quick duty free shopping it was time to head to the gate.

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It was a very rainy and windy day, making it impossible to get a good shot of our aircraft with the sideways rain hitting the windows.

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As we were headed out of the airport's Schengen zone, we had to go through passport control prior to arriving at the gate. We were through in seconds as there was no one in line at all.

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Boarding



As we got to the gate, boarding had already begun a few minutes early. We queued up in the Sky Priority lane, and once again there was a short round of security questions–they are very thorough in Iceland!

A man with an American accent, who I think may have been the Delta Station Manager, stood by the boarding door wishing everyone a pleasant flight and thanking passengers for flying Delta. A nice touch.

The wind was howling as we boarded through the glass jetbridge.

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It's always nice to turn left when boarding a 757! However, with the additional rows of Y+ between the door and the premium cabin, it felt a bit cramped.

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Here is my seat in the last row of the premium cabin. As you can see there is no bulkhead wall dividing classes, only a small plastic partition hanging from the overhead bins. I'm definitely not a fan of the lack of privacy up front. More and more carriers are getting rid of bulkhead walls between cabins on narrowbodies, which is an unfortunate trend.

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Pre-placed on the seat were a bottle of Icelandic water and Delta's signature Westin Heavenly bedding, which consists of a full-sized pillow and quilt. In my opinion, while the Westin Heavenly bedding is nice, it's too bulky for a domestic First/Premium Economy configuration like this.

Nice sized IFE screens.

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Decent legroom with the standard Domestic First/Premium Economy 38" seat pitch.

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Each passenger has a universal power port below the seat in front as well as a USB port by the IFE.

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Shortly after we settled in to our seats, a Flight Attendant came by with pre-departure drinks. Options were sparkling wine, mimosas, or water.

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Menus were handed out a few minutes later.

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I'm impressed that Delta makes an attempt to translate everything into Icelandic for their KEF routes.




The Flight



As boarding had begun early, it was completed well ahead of scheduled departure time. We pushed back a good 15 minutes early.

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The safety video played as we taxied. Delta was known for humorous safety videos, but this latest video was mostly serious.

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At the same time one of the friends who had joined us on the trip was boarding this UA 757-200 to EWR

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We later learned that the UA flight, and all other flights departing right after us were delayed following a ground stop due to the very high winds.

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After the safety video, the IFE system kicks on.

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A cool #AvGeek feature of Delta's IFE, although the numbers aren't quite right before takeoff

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Today's flight time will be a short 5 1/2 hours.

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WOW Air A330 taking off just before us

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Lining up for departure on runway 19

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And we're off for a 5.5 hour flight to New York.

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As is to be expected, the Delta IFE offers a robust library of movies, recent and older, as well as TV series, and music.

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Shortly after takeoff, the service began with drinks. I had more sparkling wine.

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Although flight attendants took main dish orders from the front of the cabin, meaning we were the last to order, I was pleasantly surprised that my preference was available. This is almost never the case on AA if I don't pre-order.

I was very impressed with the meal tray, keeping in mind that this is a Premium Economy product–the quality appears more on a Business class level.

Appetizer:

Grilled chicken and pinneaple skewer
Prosciutto and melon


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The chicken had an interesting curry flavour.

Main Course:

Roasted Salmon with Lobster Mousse
Asparagus, roasted potatoes, and lobster sauce


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Cheese and dessert plate

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Everything was delicious, fresh, and well presented.


By the end of the lunch service, we'd overflown the southern tip of Greenland and were almost over Labrador, Canada.

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Almost the halfway point of the flight.

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I had a nap after lunch and woke up as we were beginning to make our descent over Boston.

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BOS Logan in all its glory

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FAs ready the cabin for landing

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Some aerial views of southern New England and Long Island



Just prior to landing, the lead FA thanked each passenger in the premium cabin for flying Delta and passed out dark chocolate mints. AA does a similar thing, so it was nice to see this on DL.

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Looks like a nice neighbourhood

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We landed early after the short flight.

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We pulled in to the gate 30 minutes early. Not bad! Early arrivals are always a good thing.

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Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy the Iceland bonus below!




_____________________________________


↓ Iceland Tourism Bonus below ↓ 🇮🇸

Bonus : Click here to display
See more

Verdict

Delta Air Lines

8.5/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment8.5
Meal/catering9.0

Reykjavík - KEF

7.5/10
Efficiency7.0
Access6.5
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.5

New York - JFK

7.6/10
Efficiency7.0
Access7.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

As a Premium Economy experience, Delta's Premium Select offers a solid product. U.S. carrier cabin class branding can be confusing, with names such as "First class" on domestic flights, and "Business" or "DeltaOne" on international flights, but I think that Delta's decision to call the premium cabin "Premium Select" on these short transatlantic flights operated by domestic-configured aircraft is an honest move in a sea of confusing branding. The cabin crew were friendly and did their jobs with a smile. The catering is particularly impressive for a Premium Economy product. In my opinion, it is basically Business class level catering, and in fact, I've had worse meals in long-haul Business class. The only aspect that resembles more Premium Economy than Business is the fact that the entire meal is served on one tray.

Related

12 Comments

  • Comment 449613 by
    757Fan 442 Comments

    Great report, Kevin. I wasn't aware that Delta had done this, but it makes sense as you said! I wondered what kind of service was offered on the MSP-KEF flight when I saw the 757 leaving from here one night last summer. Good to see the meals are of high quality - my wife and I were upgraded coming home last night from CA and the meal we had was excellent.

    Looking forward to your next report!

    • Comment 449788 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 4311 Comments

      Hi Matthew, thanks for your kind comments as always!

      "I wasn't aware that Delta had done this, but it makes sense as you said!"
      - It's very recent (maybe April-ish?). Before that they were calling this same cabin "Business" --I'm glad they switched the naming convention to "Premium Select" which brought the price in miles down from 70K to 54K for the one-way. DL doesn't offer lounge access in KEF anyway, so it made little sense to call the cabin Business class.

      "I wondered what kind of service was offered on the MSP-KEF flight when I saw the 757 leaving from here one night last summer. "
      - Now you know :-) I'm sure it's identical service on MSP-KEF. Same aicraft type at least.

      "my wife and I were upgraded coming home last night from CA and the meal we had was excellent."
      - Congrats! LAX/SFO-MSP is always a hard Medallion upgrade! It seems DL's Domestic F catering has improved recently.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 449668 by
    marathon GOLD 8675 Comments

    Two hours to pick up a rental car at KEF ! That is not something they advertise... :(

    I often felt quilts and pillows were more a bulky nuisance than any help: the quilt does not help much if the A/C is too cold for comfort, and pillow are useless to me when the seat has a decent headrest built in. My two ISK...

    This bilingual menu make me wonder how many passengers on board could only read Icelandic ? :)

    Great aerial view of BOS !

    These pre-flight questionings are one of many reasons why the US dropped out of my destinations wish list. Who needs to travel to Yellowstone NP when Iceland's geysers are much closer anyway ? Thanks for sharing the flight and this awesome bonus !

    • Comment 449789 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 4311 Comments

      Thanks so much for your comments Marathon! I'm glad you enjoyed the report and bonus!

      "Two hours to pick up a rental car at KEF ! That is not something they advertise."
      - Definitely not a selling point! Iceland has been of victim of its own success--the tourism industry has developed faster than the local tourism infrastructure can handle. I've been going to Iceland for over 20 years. I can remember when it was truly Europe's best kept secret. I've been shocked at how crowded it's gotten, but at the same time, I'm happy that so many people are falling in love with the country.

      "I often felt quilts and pillows were more a bulky nuisance than any help"
      - I would tend to agree. Even if the a/c is on normal American levels (i.e. subarctic cold), I get too hot under a quilt. A nice quality blanket is enough for me. Also, I like a fluffy pillow, but I don't want a huge full hotel-sized pillow, even in a lie-flat Business class seat...just too big.

      "This bilingual menu make me wonder how many passengers on board could only read Icelandic ? :)"
      - I'm going to guess zero. I've never met an Icelander who couldn't spear any English at all. Nevertheless, I think it's great that DL make the effort to print a bilingual menu in Icelandic--I can't imagine many other non-Icelandic carriers are doing this, if any. So DL definitely gets some cool-points here

      "Who needs to travel to Yellowstone NP when Iceland's geysers are much closer anyway ? "
      - And Geysir (well technically Strokkur) blows every 5-10 minutes unlike Old Faithful in Yellowstone which can take up to 1.5 hours between eruptions.

      Thank you!

  • Comment 449726 by
    SKYTEAMCHC TEAM GOLD 6233 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this great report Kevin and to see you back on Delta ! ;-)
    Very good premium cabin with large seats , IFE and USB ports. I am also very pleasantly surprised by the quality and the size of the meal . It looks very tasty and fresh . The crew is smiling and efficient as often on DL. Great views of Boston Logan : i just love this city and airport where i have landed many times.

    • Comment 449790 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 4311 Comments

      Thanks for your comments Christophe! Yes, it was very nice to be back on Delta after so long! I'd missed my old friend, and she's as good as ever!

      "I am also very pleasantly surprised by the quality and the size of the meal"
      - This was certainly the highlight of the flight! It's funny how U.S. carriers avoided Premium Economy for at least a decade, but now that they've introduced it, they've really gone all the way and done it right! Dare I say the U.S. carriers may be doing Premium Economy better than many carriers who have had it for years. For example, if one compares this product to Skyteam BFF AF's Premium Economy...Delta's Premium Economy blows AF out of the water.

  • Comment 449851 by
    TheWindowSeat 90 Comments

    A stunning and detailed report with crispy clear photos and a amazing detail !
    Love it in every way ! Thanks Kevin !

  • Comment 449968 by
    socalnow GOLD 687 Comments

    Greetings Kevin and thank you for taking the time to create such a lovely report. You have no doubt added to the over-stressed Icelandic tourist infrastructure as my curiosity is now piqued for a visit.

    "As you can see there is no bulkhead wall dividing classes, only a small plastic partition hanging from the overhead bins. I'm definitely not a fan of the lack of privacy up front."
    -Oh yes the 757 used to be such a special ride in F. Oh well, when you give something away there has to be a correction in the value proposition. The new cabin is clean and sleek looking so points for that.

    The meal did seem more refined than the domestic first class fare. Good for Delta to align the food and beverage more towards international J.

    Thanks again Kevin and happy flying.

    • Comment 450043 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 4311 Comments

      Hey Socalnow, thanks so much for your comments!

      "You have no doubt added to the over-stressed Icelandic tourist infrastructure as my curiosity is now piqued for a visit."
      - Great! There's certainly no shortage of options to get to Iceland these days, even from the west coast. It's crazy to think even 10 years ago that Icelandair was pretty much the only game in town, now everyone's flying to Iceland!

      "Oh well, when you give something away there has to be a correction in the value proposition."
      - Assume you're talking about complimentary Medallion upgrades? That may have been true 3-4 years ago, but DL has done a great job of filling the forward cabin with paid F fares recently. Majority of pax up front are now paid rather than upgrades. Nevertheless, I understand DL's reasoning for reducing the F cabin size...just wish they'd put in a proper bulkhead, or at least a curtain that goes below the top of the seats.

      But yes, except for the last of separation, the new cabins do look sleek!

  • Comment 450385 by
    loukas SILVER 221 Comments

    Thanks for this fantastic report, Kevin! Delta seems to improve its services like AA and it's only United that stays far behind. Your meal looked really good and tasty and you couldn't tell the aircraft age judging by the cabin - it looked quite fresh. Do you know how long they are planning to use the 757 fleet? I hope to be able to flight this bird one day... The bonus pics are simply great, Iceland is definitely unique! Have a good one!

    • Comment 450819 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 4311 Comments

      Hi Loukas, thank you for your comments!

      "Delta seems to improve its services like AA and it's only United that stays far behind."
      - How true that is! UA recently tried to cut catering in F on most domestic flights--UA is actively trying to be worse! Haha

      "you couldn't tell the aircraft age judging by the cabin - it looked quite fresh"
      - The new interiors are beautiful. They've replaced everything from the bins to wall and ceiling panels to give the planes that Boeing Sky Interior look. You definitely cannot tell the aircraft is 20+ years old, beautiful.

      "Do you know how long they are planning to use the 757 fleet?"
      - Knowing Delta and the fact that they just retrofitted the cabins, I would imagine a good 10-15 years still. Just look at how long they kept DC-9s around, only retiring them a few years ago. They'll at least need the 757s for these kinds of missions until the Boeing MoM aircraft begins operating, which won't even be until almost 2030.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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