Delta has been slowly taking over Seattle as another major hub for the airline. Their wide variety of flights offer a good selection to the US and Asia. While I didn’t take Delta international on this flight they’ve setup Seattle as their Asia hub with many international flights to strategic Asia-based hubs.
My flight was only to the east coast, I got an amazing deal for a red-eye flight from Seattle to New York and decided to splurge on a 2-day trip to visit the big apple. On the Seattle to New York route Delta operates a wide variety of aircraft including 757s, 767s, and 737s all of which have a varying seat configuration layout.
While I was booking this trip I noticed that on all weekdays except for money they offered a lie flat-bed option for first class passengers while their monday service had normal first class seats. I ended up changing my days around to actually accommodate for the lie flat first class seat as I was going to be taking a red-eye to New York and felt that would allow me to sleep the maximum amount of time.
For the lie flat seat options you need to pick either a 757 or 767 flight as the 737 does not come with this option. For the 757 it’s set up in a 2-2 configuration with the seats facing the exterior of the plane giving both seat mates privacy from each other.
On this leg of the journey I redeemed 25,000 Merrill+ points through their travel portal. My seat was valued at just over $500 for the one-way journey making my redemption a little over 2cpp (cents-per-point). I love the Merrill+ card for this fact that redeeming on travel you can get $500 tickets for 25,000 points which is about the maximum value that you can get out of the points as there are no transfer partners. With your Merrill+ points you can also redeem for hotels, rental cars, or statement credit but those are usually at a 1cpp value.
Booking with their travel portal is not as bad as everyone says it is and I found that it was pretty easy to book my flights and compare other redemption options available to me. Unlike some other travel redemption portals I was able to pick my seats directly and even attach my frequent flyer number to it showed up automatically in my account and I got full credit for the flight.
If I had one thing to complain about it would probably be the personal preferences, if you want it to fill in your travel details it seems to only work half of the time I tried to book flights and I would manually have to fill out my frequent flyer number, TSA Precheck number, and the standard security questions it asks you.
Check-In & Boarding
Check-in was a breeze, I took my flight right when the app updates to Delta’s app came out enabling automatic check-in 24-hours prior to your flight. When I arrived at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport I went straight to the Sky Priority check-in desk to grab a paper ticket. When you’re a Delta Medallion member or flying in premium service you get access to these special check-in and security lanes especially for you to breeze through the airport.
I usually get a paper ticket as a backup to my phone, plus I was planning on trying to get into the Sky Club in JFK and didn’t want to mess with my electronic ticket. The red eye flight arrived at 8AM and I needed some time to kill before heading into the city to my hotel as it wouldn’t be ready that early.
With the 757 you embark through the second door on the side of the aircraft conveniently the separation point between first and the rest of the cabin. This means you don’t have the entire aircraft walking by you as you settle into your seat. It was actually quite quiet and pleasant being separated away from the rest of the flight boarding. I was able to quickly get to my seat, get everything situated, and get comfortable for the long flight ahead of me.
As I mentioned before the first class cabin is set up in a 2-2 configuration, meaning you’ll have a seat partner but with the way the seats are situated where you’re angled towards the walls of the cabin you won’t actually have to look at your seat mate or feel like you’re encroaching on their space.
There was a nice separator keeping them from me and preserved privacy from each other. The seat was fairly comfortable, the seat was well padded and firm, and you had a nice foot rest to prop up your feet and stretch out.
Overall the service was excellent, staff were very friendly and accommodating to those who wanted to have their meals closer to touchdown than right after take off. We were served a variety of drink before takeoff including wine and beer, and all meal orders were put it prior to takeoff as to not disturb them during the flight.
My scheduled departure time was just a few minutes after 11PM and was surprised that Delta was offering an after departure dinner instead of a pre-arrival breakfast. I would have much rather had a pre-arrival breakfast than a dinner offering when most people wanted to get some sleep instead of eating during the red-eye flight.
I ended up having an alright dish, it was the cold option which was a piece of salmon over a bed of rice with red peppers and asparagus. The meal was fairly tasty, the salmon was very flavorful but I felt the rice was undercooked and pretty hard to chew. I pushed most the rice off to the side and only ate the vegetables and salmon.
Prior to arrival drinks were served and a snack basket was passed around with some dry options including granola bars and fresh fruit.
While I attempted to sleep for most of the flight I did get a chance to check out the inflight offering of entertainment. The screens were large and great for viewing and had a variety of content including the standard assortment of tv shows, movies, and on our flight we had equipped live TV.
I did have one issue that never got resolved, after viewing live TV for a short time my entertainment system would freeze up and I would be unable to return to the menus or switch channels. The flight attendant tried multiple times to reboot it but it would sill freeze. I got in contact with Delta via Twitter and they made it right by offering some extra miles for the problem.
As this was a red-eye flight and my goal was to get a good sleep in before arrival and I wasn’t as bummed that my IFE wasn’t working, however if you would have been on a day time flight it would have seriously killed my experience.
The flight itself was quite bumpy but I can’t blame Delta for the weather, the seat was very comfortable and the service was excellent. Other than changing their dinner service to a breakfast service before landing I thought the flight was excellent and played well to my goal of having the entire day to spend in New York City. Any other morning or midday flight would take out an entire day of travel so going east the red-eye was perfect to preserve the rest of the day to do what I wanted. The cabin was nice and quiet for the flight over and the lie flat seats were simply next level compared to economy for getting some sleep and relaxing on the long flight across the United States. For business travelers it’s the service that you want. While it wasn’t the premium Delta One service, they’re the same exact seats and have the same features as the upscaled service however you don’t get an amenity kit or extensive meal options. I thoroughly enjoyed the flight and service and while I have some small things I’d tweak it was better compared to United or American product from Seattle.