Delta Air Lines introduced its Delta One Suite to the world in 2016. Highlighting the increased privacy the seat offers, Delta boasted the doors on the seat, dividers in the center seats, and the lie-flat bed. In service for about just under four years, Simple Flying took a look at how the product is holding up.
Delta One on the Airbus A350
Delta Air Lines outfits its Airbus A350s with 32 Delta One Suites. The entire cabin fits between the first two doors on the A350-900. Delta brands the plane as its “flagship” aircraft and took its first Airbus A350-900 in 2017.
Since then, the jets have found their way on a host of international long-haul routes. The A350 has flown to Tokyo, Amsterdam, Sydney, Shanghai, Seoul, and other cities worldwide. As such, the Delta One Suites mark the pinnacle of Delta’s international business class products.
The suites are outfitted in a 1-2-1 configuration. They are all lie-flat and are staggered forward-facing seats with doors.
Where to sit in the cabin?
There are not really many bad seats in the cabin. However, note that different seats offer a different kind of experience. For solo passengers looking to travel with the most privacy possible, window seats in odd-numbered rows are the best choice.
These seats offer the most privacy, as they are flush against the window. The benefit of these seats being removed from the aisle is that, while sleeping, passengers are further away from the door and the aisle, which gives a little more privacy from any potential conversations your neighbors across the aisle may be having.
The next best options are even-row seats against the window. These seats are closer to the aisle, with the side console against the window. The seats are staggered because the footwell for the seat is located in the console of the seat in front.
The pair of seats in the center also stagger. One seat in each pair is closer to the aisle, and the other is closer to the center divider. The partition between the center seats can slide back so that you can chat with a travel partner. If you are traveling alone and sitting next to someone you do not know, the sliding privacy divider is helpful.
For privacy and removal from the aisle where passengers may be walking up and down or collecting items, the center seats further away from the aisle are a better choice. If you fly with someone and choose to select center seats, one of you will be sitting closer to the aisle.
At the end of the day, there is little in the way obstructing a passenger’s privacy thanks to the door at all seats. All of the seats will provide generous amounts of privacy, and there are few bad options. The footwell in each seat also felt generous enough for a forward-facing configuration.
In bed mode, the seat was plenty wide and was comfortable enough for an aircraft bed. I found it a little harder than my liking, but it was still fine for a flight.
The highlight of the Delta One Suite is the door. The door extends to the top of the Suite, which does not give it full room-like privacy that other products provide, but it still great for getting some privacy. Note that there is a little gap as the door does not close all the way.
The doors are unlocked by flight attendants after takeoff and are locked again before landing. Passengers must keep the door open for taxi, takeoff, and landing. After the doors have been unlocked, passengers can release it through the side lever and then manually shut it all the way and open it if they need to exit the seat.
When it comes time to dine or to work, the tray table was plenty large. There is a button located adjacent to the seat control panel to release the table.
The seat functions
The seats are adjustable, and the control panel is located on the side table, facing toward the passenger, allowing for easy access. Delta outfitted the seats with this second tier on top of the console, which provides a place to store a smaller device that’s charging while storing a larger item like a laptop on the lower shelf.
The controls are easy enough to use. In addition to the preset options, passengers can adjust individual parts of the seat. The preset options are upright, relax, lounge, and bed mode. For taxi, takeoff, and landing, passengers must keep their seats in the upright position. Other options include working with the lighting of the suite and turning on the do not disturb button.
A second horizontal seat control panel is right at the side of the console, so passengers can adjust the seats while in the lie-flat position.
Just under the silver tier of the tape, passengers can find the headphone jack and a universal power outlet. Above this, there is a storage compartment for smaller items like headphones or a passport.
Tucked away within the exposed console was a place to store a water bottle. I found the position of it a little strange, but it seemed to be a use of space that would have gone to waste otherwise.
The inflight entertainment
The inflight entertainment screen was large, of great quality, and came loaded with the standard vast array of options.
If the screen is too far away to reach or you prefer not to use touchscreens, there is a remote control. It is hidden inside the side console. Lift up the panel to reveal the remote and a personal mirror.
Holding up well
The particular aircraft I flew on was over three years old at the time of flight. It was one of the first jets to be delivered to Delta and, so far, the seats have held up well. There were scratches and nicks on the outside white walls of the suites, but inside, there was minimal wear beyond what would normally be expected.
I was quite pleasantly surprised between the similarities of the Delta One Suite and the Delta One Seat on the Boeing 767-400ER I flew down to Los Angeles. Aside from the door, the standardized seat control functions, location of various seat controls and amenities, and the forward-facing configuration.
Delta is flying the A350 domestically. For example, I flew this plane from Los Angeles to Detroit. However, this cabin is being sold on most domestic routes as a “first” class cabin. This means no amenities.
Passengers will receive a snack box in lieu of a meal and a full service of beverages. However, quite bizarrely and almost entirely due to cost-cutting measures, Delta has foregone providing passengers with even the small blanket and pillow previously available on domestic first class routes. It seems very strange to offer lie-flat seats without even a cheap blanket or pillow, and there is no indication of when that service will be coming back, so pack your own items.
This does not apply to international flights. Delta will provide full bedding and proper meal service on long-haul flights to Asia and Europe. In markets where the product is sold as Delta One, passengers can also expect the upgraded bedding and dining experience.
At the end of the day, the product is holding up well, and I would gladly fly it again. I am curious to see how the suite holds up on a long-haul route, but on a red-eye from Los Angeles to Detroit, it was certainly a plus to get a lie-flat seat.
Have you flown in the Delta One Suites? Let us know in the comments!