Review of Delta Air Lines flight Shanghai Los Angeles in Economy

Airline Delta Air Lines
Flight DL186
Class Economy
Seat 32F
Aircraft Boeing 777-200ER
Flight time 11:10
Take-off 19 Mar 17, 21:20
Arrival at 20 Mar 17, 17:30
DL   #35 out of 74 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 753 reviews
NGO85
By SILVER 796
Published on 13th November 2022

Background


This series was a trip to China back in 2017 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 is:



Pre-flight


We arrived to PVG by car around 6:30, about 3 hours before departure. DL, like almost all of SkyTeam, uses T1 so we will head off to the right.


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We were required to do metal detector screening and bags were scanned to enter the terminal.


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Off to DL's check-in counters.


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Using the Sky Priority line, there was little wait and we were quickly helped by an agent who checked our bags, provided boarding passes, and lounge instructions. It is a nice gesture that they offer water bottles and candies at the counter.


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With documents in hand, we head towards security and immigration to join the queue.


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30 minutes later due to some long lines, we are airside.


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Our first stop will be MU's Lounge at Gate 36 as instructed at check-in. Interesting to see that JS uses this lounge. Shame there were no Tupolevs to spot.


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The lounge was quite new at this time and we were quickly scanned in to go explore its offerings.


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The main buffet area had stations where made to order food could be ordered as well as an abundance of hot dishes.



The lounge was quiet at this hour with plenty of empty seating sections.


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My offering.


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I'm not 100% sure what the rational is for these computers whose monitor serves as a table…


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In the seating areas, there were satellite buffets with more limited options.


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And clearly they hire someone just to ensure the drinks are perfectly aligned.


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Documentation.


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Our flight is next on the queue so we left the lounge and headed down to Gate 19. Our boarding passes showed the flight at 21:20, so I am not sure if this is a mistake on the FIDS or if our flight was actually moved up to the same time as MU577 who was going to race us to LAX.


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flight


Delta Airlines, DL 186
Equipment: Boeing B777-200ER [N862DA, delivered July 1999]
Departure: 21:20 (ATD: 21:33)
Arrival: 17:30 (ATA: 17:34)
Flight time: 11:01


Reaching our gate, we were met with a long line of people crowding the area as expected for a US-bound flight.


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This guy was keeping things orderly and allowed us to cut over to the Sky Priority line that was already well into boarding.


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Down we go.


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Our B772 preparing for the return to LAX.


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As standard in China, HSBC plastered jetbridges.


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Boarding through 2L, we were greeted in Chinese and English and directed to the right through the mini J cabin and into the first Y cabin. We were booked into the last row of Comfort+, pre-placed on the seat were pillow, blanket, menu, headsets, and comfort kit.


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We had booked the 2 aisle seats in the middle section hoping for the middle seat to be empty like on our outbound flight, but this plan failed. Someone asked to cross into the middle seat, so I volunteered to slide over to sit next to Mrs. NGO85 and let him take my aisle seat. Thus, I get to enjoy this lovely 11h flight crammed in a middle seat, but at least it wasn't between 2 strangers.


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Seat pitch is of course fine in Comfort+.


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Standard industrial blanket and pillow.


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Menu and comfort kit.


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Menu for this flight, back when DL was feeling the pressure to improve its TPAC services.



Pre-COVID seatback contents.


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The IFE is standard size and had a good quantity of content. USB outlet was next to the screen and AC outlets were between the seats.


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We pushed back on time and during the long taxi, we had the safety video play.


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After leveling off, service started with hot oshibori and distribution of water bottles.


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We both took the chicken and rice option, which was handed to me on a tray with the hot meal plopped on top. ON the outbound flight, the crew at least tried to organize the tray before distributing it.


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The contents of the tray.


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The salad was really just a bunch of chopped vegetables (nothing leafy), but did have 3 slices of duck breast. Protein on a Y appetizer is very rare.


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Pickled radishes to spice up the entree.


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Scallion flavored crackers.


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The main was stir fried chicken and vegetables with rice. The taste was good although the quantity of chicken was on the small side. With the duck slices on the salad, it is well compensated.


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Cutlery and condiments.


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Drinks were served by cart following the trays. I took a Tsingtao.


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The dessert was a vanilla cake.


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After the meal, trays were cleared and coffee/tea service was conducted. A coffee and Baileys to finish off the night.


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Meal service completed as we were near NGO^^


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Cabin shot as the cabin lights are dimmed. J is only shielded by those mesh curtains.


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I watched movies until we were approaching the date line when the mid-flight snack was distributed.


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Bags were handed out along with a drink service, I just took a cup of water.


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The bag contained a sandwich, dried banana chips, and a Hershey's chocolate bar.


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I went to the lavatory in the rear of the plane to stretch my legs before sleep, which was about as clean as one could expect.


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Rear Y cabin. It was a very full flight with maybe only a handful of empty seats.


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The crew was through the cabin regularly offering drinks. A tea mid-flight.


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I napped until we were about 2h out from LAX, lights were turned on here for the pre-arrival meal. Oshibori were again offered before the meal service, which is a nice touch in Y.


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The pre-arrival meal was breakfast with your choice of Eastern (dim sum) or Western (scrambled egg) options. We both went for the dim sum which was plopped down on top of the tray again.


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The entree was a couple of dumplings (hidden by the cabbage) on the right and noodles on the left.


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Watermelon and honeydew slices.


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Packaged "croissant" with strawberry jam and butter.


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A peach yogurt.


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Drink service was done by cart right after the food was handed out. A coffee and water for me.


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After the meal was cleaned up, another coffee/tea service was done prior to preparing the cabin for landing.


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Our final route as we landed into LAX slightly behind schedule. Unfortunately for us, we were deposited at TBIT vs. T5 for immigration/customs so were expecting long lines with the rush of TATL/TPAC arrivals in the late afternoon.


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Heading through the quarantine tunnel.


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And down we go into the bowels of TBIT.


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Hmm, already into late March and Obama's portrait has been taken down, but suspiciously has not been replaced yet…


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Global Entry lines weren't too bad and we were quickly on our way down into the baggage claim.


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Again, it's the long wait for bags and the never ending customs line that makes the entire process very time consuming. We eventually were out to collect our car and head home.

Thanks for stopping by this series! 


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Verdict

Delta Air Lines

7.8/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew7.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering9.0

China Eastern #36 Lounge - T1 International

7.3/10
Comfort7.0
Meal/catering8.0
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Services8.0

Shanghai - PVG

7.5/10
Efficiency7.0
Access6.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness8.0

Los Angeles - LAX

6.8/10
Efficiency7.0
Access5.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

This flight was back when DL revamped its TPAC services and it shows throughout the service with enhanced touches (menu, oshibori, etc.) and abundant trays. DL has old planes, but their cabins are generally well maintained with newer hard products.

PVG:
- Fast check-in, but slow immigration/security.
- MU Lounge was large and had a good food selection in the main area where you could order food. The noodles were very good. I didn't check out the shower facilities, but overall had decent comfort and amenities for Chinese lounge standards (much better than any CA Lounge).

Flight:
- About as comfortable as I could be in a middle seat on a TPAC. Comfort+ seats were free at that time to ST elites so made the trip more manageable in Y.
- The IFE is dated, but the selection on DL is good. USB/AC charging were both available, but WiFi was not a thing at this time.
- Catering (as on the LAX-PVG sector) was very strong with 2 substantial meals and a mid-flight snack bag. Drink offerings from a quite substantial menu for Y and frequent drink services made the flight enjoyable.
- The crew was above average in interaction, but they did make frequent passes through the cabin and overall had good service.

LAX:
- Long taxi and long lines in customs, pretty much a standard experience at LAX.

Related

7 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 615525 by
    Thomas TEAM 463 Comments

    Thank you for this report !

  • Comment 615648 by
    Numero_2 TEAM BRONZE 10296 Comments

    Hi Michael,
    Thanks for sharing this report from the « good old days », when we were flying long haul economy class with a smile. ^^

    My offering.

    Do you remember how the noodles tasted like ? :p

    Lounges in PVG have never impressed anybody, I guess.

    but this plan failed.

    Mick Jagger said « you can’t always get what you want ». ^^

    Onboard I find it to be A very good offering from DL.
    Miles ahead of what LH does now in Y…

    • Comment 615656 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1777 Comments

      Merci Clément pour vos commentaires!

      the « good old days », when we were flying long haul economy class with a smile. ^^

      The recent ZRH-SIN-FRA must have jaded you ;) This was also the days of free MileMilgia FFP status, maybe I helped drive them into the ground^^

      Do you remember how the noodles tasted like ? :p

      Past me did not note anything so it must have been palatable (text was written at time of flight). It does look like a poor take on tatammen though, not up to SQ laksa standards.

      We did UA PVG-LAX (will not be reported) for a trip in 2019 and DL service is by the best of non-Asian carriers on TPAC routes.

      A bientôt!

  • Comment 615729 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5963 Comments

    Ah yes, the days when you could just hop on a plane to China or Japan without a second through...feels like an eternity ago. Soooo happy Japan finally re-opened at least! It felt like that was never gonna happen. So of course I booked at trip for the next possible time we can get away--for my kids winter break in February right now. So excited!!!

    I'd flown Delta to Asia in Y several times back in the day and always enjoyed it. Aaaah, those seats in 3-3-3 configuration were just so spacious for Y--RIP DL 777s :-(
    It was really sad when the DL 777s were retired so soon after having been retrofitted with beautiful new cabins. A travesty I tell ya!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 615778 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1777 Comments

      the days when you could just hop on a plane to China without a second thought

      China still had visa restrictions, so it was not as free others in the region, but yeah I get the point. Hopefully the trend holds through the winter with the bad flu season we are going to get… and Japan in February sounds a little chilly, not going to hold out for Cherry blossoms?

      The DL B777s were old, the A330neos and A350s were destined to be cheaper to operate so not surprising. Let’s see how much longer the B767s last, UA at least invested to keep them going longer.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Comment 615779 by
        KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5963 Comments

        China still had visa restrictions, so it was not as free others in the region

        True, though they had that 2-3 day transit exception where you could stay a few days visa free before going on to a different international destination (at least for French citizens...not sure about US).

        and Japan in February sounds a little chilly, not going to hold out for Cherry blossoms?

        I wish, but I have to work around my kids vacation schedule from preschool. I figure Japan in the snow has a unique charm too...and there should be a less tourists, while Sakura season this year I'm expecting to be absolute madness.

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