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InFlight Review: Delta Air Lines 767-300 Business Elite

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InFlight Review: Delta Air Lines 767-300 Business Elite

InFlight Review: Delta Air Lines 767-300 Business Elite
March 25
09:09 2014

MIAMI — I’ve always found Charles de Gaulle airport to be a bit confusing, and my visit early one morning to catch a flight with Delta back to Seattle was no exception. It took several minutes to find the premium check-in desks, several more to locate which one applied to me, and then more still to figure out how to get to immigration/security (in hindsight, I was probably just too tired from the night before). In any case, both immigration and security wound up being a breeze and off I headed to the lounge for breakfast and a little rest.

(Credits: Author)

(Credits: Author)

While Delta maintains a healthy presence at Charles de Gaulle, it is SkyTeam alliance co-member Air France that runs the show here in Paris.  Consequently the experience begins in the airline’s sprawling premium lounge in the M gates, which hosts Delta travelers. The space is classy, modern, and professional. Having arrived early it was pretty empty, though quickly began to fill up as the morning wore on. As I usually do I left early to do some exploring before heading to the gate for my flight to Seattle.

(Credits: Author)

(Credits: Author)

Boarding was fast and straight forward, no surprises here. Stepping on board the Boeing 767-300, I filed up the row to my original seat, 9A, only to discover it did not have a window. Perhaps seeing my disappointment a crew member asked if they could do anything for me, and I requested a row with a window, should one be available. Sure enough, a few minutes later, they handed me a new ticket and I moved to 3D: score.

With the premium cabin roughly half full, bags quickly found a home. A very cheery flight crew came by shortly thereafter with pre-flight drinks and passed out lunch menus.  We pushed back from the gate on time, and began the scheduled ten hour journey to Seattle.

Once aloft, the cabin crew set about the lunch service. A white table cloth was placed onto the tray, which extends out from the work space table. Appetizers included smoked salmon with caper onion relish, mixed green salad with feta cheese, and cream of asparagus soup. The soup, as it always is with Delta, was excellent. The salad was decent, and I took a pass on the salmon. Per usual it looked good, I just don’t eat it. It was accompanied by an excellent mixed drink (I chose the surprise me option), though I couldn’t tell you what it was: just ask for the pink one. Whatever it was, it was good: Very good.

The main dish followed not long after. Confronted with the usual beef tenderloin and pasta options I decided to roll the dice and try the chicken cordon bleu instead. The classic French dish is difficult to pull off well even on the ground, and thus I was quite surprised to bite into tender chicken filled with gooey cheese and ham. It was good: very good. The tomato sauce, with a smidgen of heat, added a nice, savory touch. Accompanying buttered green beans were also excellent. Unfortunately a side of sautéed potato slices wound up rather dry, though this is common in air travel.

 

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(Credits; Author)

 

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(Credits; Author)

 

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(Credits; Author)

(Credits; Author)

(Credits; Author)

Though there was hardly any room left after the appetizers and main entree, I decided to go for the vanilla ice cream sundae for desert. Covered in hot fudge, strawberry sauce, and whipped cream, it made for an excellent capstone to an excellent meal.

(Credits; Author)

(Credits; Author)

Once finished with lunch, a late evening in Paris the night before began to catch up to me: It was time to go to sleep. I pressed the “ZZZZ” option, which transitioned the seat into a bed, snuggled up with a comfy pillow and duvet, and fell asleep for several hours. While I fit comfortably into the space, I have found it works best without shoes, as the space tapers down by the feet.

Delta utilizes the Zodiac Aerospace Vantage product in its Boeing 767-300s, having installed them during retrofits a few years back. Unlike the carrier’s 747 and 777 products, both of which are arranged in some variation of 1-2-1 herringbone, this seat faces straight forward in a 1-2-1 configuration. The seat features adjustable lumbar support, a 10.6-in screen with tethered remote, a power port, reasonably-sized work space and table, and an adjustable reading light. In-seat storage is about average, with three small spaces spread throughout.  Total pitch varies but generally falls around 80 inches with a 21 inch width.

Once having woken up, I moved to getting a little work done, enabled by the in-seat power port. The work space is a little bit awkward, as the bulk of is located to your side. The table is decently sized, but not quite enough to balance multiple items. In fairness, my laptop is (now was, RIP), exceptionally large, so this likely would be less of a concern now.

Having finished a few hours of work, I moved on to finish out the flight relaxing with a movie. I had played around with it a bit during lunch, watching some classic Simpsons (a surefire way to win my heart if there ever was one), but I dug around a bit more this time. Nothing terribly novel or surprising, the intuitive system is well designed and very well stocked – just like our experience on the carrier’s Boeing 777-200.

 

(Credits; Author)

(Credits; Author)

(Credits; Author)

(Credits; Author)

About an hour before landing a small meal service was offered. Passing up the cheese burger I went with the chicken cobb salad. Crisp vegetables and tasty chicken made it a satisfying decision. Much like my Business Elite flight to Dubai the follow-up meal stole the show.

We landed a bit late, though it was perhaps a blessing in disguise: the morning international bank had already cleared immigration while the afternoon bank had yet to arrive. Translation? Curbside in fifteen minutes.

Bottom line


While my favorite premium cabin for Delta is the upper deck of the iconic Boeing 747-400, the carrier’s Boeing 767s are a very close second. The product was good, and enabled meaningful choices when it came to productivity whether it was relaxing, sleeping, or working.  When aided by a good meal service and further bolstered by a superb inflight staff, the flight was, without a doubt, one of the better I’ve had in a long time.

(Credits; Author)

(Credits; Author)

As Delta gears increasingly toward putting its weight behind the high-yield business class passenger, the question is whether the improvements made are worth spending hard earned dollars or points on. In short, my opinion is yes for one primary reason: consistency. Delta might not have the best international business product in the US (sorry, that crown goes to the American 777-300), but it far and away has the most consistent (and one of the newer) product(s) fleet-wide. With the A330 sub fleet nearly converted every long-haul aircraft will have in-seat entertainment and lie flat in the premium cabin. Hard to beat that.

Disclosure: Delta paid for the flight, though our opinions are our own.

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A Global Review of Commercial Flight since 1994: the leading Commercial Aviation publication in North America and 35 nations worldwide. Based in Miami, Florida.

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