Preparing for what could easily be my best flight ever was definitely thrilling, but I was also not ready for this trip to be over and have to go home afterwards. No matter, it was definitely time to get this trip started!
After arriving from Chicago-Midway, I made my way out to the North Side parking garage at the Domestic Terminal to get a chance at spotting our aircraft, N512DN, arriving from Tokyo-Haneda! Runway 9R, usually used for heavy arrivals was closed today, so as a rare treat, I was able to catch our A350 landing on 8L at Atlanta, which is apparently pretty rare for heavy arrivals, so that was awesome! Now, onto the airport and actual flying part of this trip report.
Here in Atlanta, Delta is the sole tenant of the "South Domestic Terminal" and there are multiple doors along the departures drive that take you into check in. The parking garage where I went to spot our inbound aircraft is located directly behind me, so it was only a quick walk back to the terminal afterwards.
Delta Check-In is absolutely massive here in Atlanta, so whether you need full-service baggage drop or just a kiosk to print a boarding pass, both are scattered plentifully throughout the terminal. Sky Priority passengers have their own dedicated Check-In area at the East Side of the terminal for those traveling Delta One and First Class.
Looks like we'll be on time today, departing at 6:15pm. The kiosk didn't even know what gate we would be departing from so that was kind of annoying, since almost every other Check-In kiosk I've used in the past knows the departure gate this close to departure but so be it.
I had assigned myself 42J, a window seat just behind the third door, right behind the wings, but since the flight was empty, I did end up with a WAY better seat, but more on that later. ;)
I did have PreCheck for this trip, so I headed to the South Security Checkpoint for access to PreCheck. ATL has 3 separate checkpoints located in the domestic terminal, with the South Checkpoint offering PreCheck and CLEAR, while the North Checkpoint was closed at the time and the Main Checkpoint was offering General screening.
Since we'll be flying up to Seattle on a widebody this afternoon, its off to Concourse F, gate F4 for the flight home. Since all the concourses at ATL are separated by gates and the ramp, the "PlaneTrain" is definitely an important (and fun) part of the ATL experience, so down to the train we go!
Riding the train from end to end (Main Terminal to the F Gates) takes a little under ten minutes, much faster than walking for sure. All the trains are equipped with visual and audio announcements before and at each stop, so that all passengers could find their way around the airport.
Arriving at F4 just a little bit before boarding, here is the beauty! N512DN, Delta's 12th A350-900, delivered new to Delta in January 2019 parked waiting for us to board and take me home to Seattle tonight.
We'd be boarding from F4 today, located in Atlanta's newest terminal for international passengers. Boarding was scheduled to begin at 5:35pm, about 40 minutes prior to scheduled departure. These gates are equipped with new facial biometric boarding machines, but since we were traveling domestically, these would not be in use for boarding today.
For the sole purpose of making the most of this trip, the total avgeek in me asked the gate agents for today's flight to pre-board for photos of the stunning cabin onboard this jet, and they happily obliged. Here's the view of our beautiful jet that would be taking about 70 of us up to Seattle tonight.
The A350 features Delta's flagship "Delta One Suite" onboard, which are setup in a 1-2-1 configuration, for a total of 32 suites, all located between doors 1 and 2.
The A350 is also outfitted with Delta's variant of Premium Economy, branded as "Premium Select" laid out in a 2-4-2 configuration across 6 rows. This product is also available on Delta's A330-900neo and B767-400s, and will soon be available on certain reconfigured B767-300s.
And finally, Main Cabin onboard the A350 is laid out in a standard 9 across, 3-3-3 configuration. There are 226 economy seats, each offering 31 inches of legroom with 18 inches of seat width, some of the widest in Delta's fleet.
After a quick chat with the FAs onboard, I was able to move from 42J to 41J (the exit row seat pictured) for the flight up to Seattle. Delta was selling this upgrade for almost $120 at check-in but the crew said it was a relatively empty flight, so they didn't really care. In fact, the FAs were actively encouraging people to move around so they weren't sitting so far back and "wouldn't be lonely" LOL.
The legroom at this seat is REALLY impressive, sporting lots of extra room compared to the other seats in this row. Do keep in mind that there is (normally) no underseat storage at this seat, and your things will need to go up in the overhead bins, but as nobody was sitting next to me in this row, my backpack and jacket fit easily under the two seats next to me. The seat pocket is actually located on the wall next to you.
This seat sports quite the view of the wing and that absolutely gorgeous winglet that the A350 sports. This seat, 41J, actually sports two windows so you'll be guaranteed plenty of viewing space during the flight. We should be pushing off the gate in just a few minutes now.
After pushing back from the gate, we were informed by our flight crew today of a flight time of 4 hours and 47 minutes up to Seattle, and that it would be mostly clear and smooth.
We took off from Atlanta on 8R right on time at 6:20pm, bound for Seattle with only a 28% load onboard. I was excited for this flight because the A350 is my favorite Delta aircraft and the fact that it wasn't busy made it all the more of a personal experience from the crew.
Each seat in Economy features a half-fold tray table that can be opened and extended to a larger size, as well as a cup holder depression in the table for cups and glasses. By my count, the tables were a little smaller than average but otherwise they seemed sturdy and spacious.
The IFE at my seat folded up from underneath the seat, due to there not being a seat in front of me. Each economy seat has a 10" IFE screen (either in the seatback in front of you or as a fold-up screen in the bulkheads) and they're fast, responsive and modern.
The rear economy cabin was pretty empty on our flight, with only about 28 occupied seats from my row to the back. The A350 has these really cool style bins, similar to those on the A321 but with different handles; they're very spacious and easily handled everyone's luggage in all cabins. Delta chose to install a different style of seats on their A350 in economy, and they definitely look different than something you may find on their A330s or refurbished 767s, but I found them to be super comfortable, and the headrest was super helpful and the adjustable feature was a nice touch for this flight.
Just some quick info on our plane and flight today, we'd be flying from Atlanta up to Seattle on Delta's second-newest Airbus A350-900, registered N512DN, delivered new to Delta in January 2019. Our flight time today would be just over 4 and a half hours and we'd be touching down in Seattle just after 8:00pm PST.
30 minutes after takeoff from Atlanta, our crew came around and served the "Delta Snack Pack" consisting of a hand sanitizer pack, a bottle of water, Cheez–Its and a small-sized Toblerone. Delta is currently the only airline not offering full services in economy on domestic flights, which is kind of unfortunate since I think Delta is by far your safest choice for travel right now. I hope Delta moves the other way to reinstate (or at least move towards) full in-flight services on domestic flights.
I definitely support all reviews that this seat offered truly stunning wing views. The A350 winglet is an amazing piece of work and beauty and the Delta logo reflecting the sunlight on the way home was only enhancing to that experience. 41J is definitely worth the potential extra cost, and I recommend this seat to anyone traveling on Delta's A350.
The bathrooms for economy were located in between the two sections of economy, two on each side for 4 total, located between rows 39 and 40. They never seemed to all be occupied, obviously not with such a light load on today's flight, and the crew was very attentive to keeping them cleaned and stocked throughout the flight.
Delta's A350s are equipped with gorgeous deep blue mood lighting throughout the cabin and it's really stunning. The main cabin lights were SO bright on this flight, so I'm glad they switched over to the mood lighting for most of the flight. It really added a more peaceful and calming vibe to our already not busy flight.
About an hour out from Seattle, our crew came around and served another "Delta Snack Pack" identical to the first service, containing hand sanitizer, water, Cheez-Its and a Toblerone. Since I was tired by this point, I didn't particularly care that this service was only a 'snack' style, but on a more regular basis, I hope Delta moves towards upping their Main Cabin services on their domestic network.
Shortly after completing the second snack service, we were informed that we would begin our descent into the Seattle area and that it would get a little bumpy throughout the descent, most of the way down to the ground. Overall, the flight had been super smooth up until this flight, so the FAs advised us to pack up and return to our seats for the rest of the flight. Despite the potential turbulence and having to stow my IFE, the window view never failed to entertain me until we landed.
I don't really manage to have any other photos from the landing sequence, because it was dark and I was absolutely exhausted after we touched down and I was ready to get home. I did, however manage to get one last photo of the cabin as we were heading off the aircraft. These seats may look a little "off-brand" but they were superbly comfortable and I would definitely recommend the A350 "Main Cabin" experience to anyone looking for a comfortable ride.
As a bonus, a friend managed to snap a photo of our aircraft, N512DN, parked at gate S16 in Seattle after we landed. Props to her for getting this beautiful shot for me. This gate unfortunately doesn't offer a lot of viewing of the plane from the terminal, especially when it's dark so that's why I don't really have any photos of our aircraft after arriving.
And as always, I'll save the best for last. This has to be my best photo from this flight, the A350 winglet is truly a beautiful piece of art and Delta choosing to add their logo to the entire winglet just makes it all the better for me. This truly was going to be a trip to remember forever, thank you Delta and the crew of DL472 on September 15th, 2020.
The Delta A350 truly is a stunning flagship, and this aircraft and its cabin 100% earn up to that title. Delta has done a stunning job outfitting this aircraft with over-the-top products, including their Delta One Suite, the new Premium Select cabin and a spacious 9-across Main Cabin, giving the A350 a superior edge over most 777s that have now moved to narrower 10-across layouts. Delta's crew also made this a really memorable flight, for adding in their humor to every part of the service, as well as in casual conversation. I must also give them props for letting me move to the exit row seat 41J that I occupied for this flight for free, that was really a deal-breaker gesture for me that allows to give them a 10/10 for this flight. Getting to fly Delta's flagship product on a route that doesn't require me to travel outside of the country, which also happens to be going to my home, as well as onboard my favorite aircraft in the entire fleet, this will truly be a memorable flight forever for me. Finally, I would like to extend my utmost gratitude to Delta as an airline and the crew of DL472 on 9/15/2020 for working to keep us all safe during the ongoing global pandemic, as well as for really going over the top to keep the mood lively while traveling and making sure our needs and safety come first. Thank you again Delta for a stunning flight and travel experience, I'll be back onboard your A350 someday, I promise.
Safe travels everyone,