“We’re going to do all we can to ensure an enjoyable flight,” the Delta Air Lines cabin service manager promised over the PA system, but a great flight was already being had (for me at least) in a super spacious Comfort+ seat.
A few days before taking off from Sydney to Los Angeles on my first Delta Air Lines flight, I downloaded the carrier’s mobile app with the sole intention of changing my middle seat to an aisle.
Signing in as a guest, the app clearly displayed my flight details and immediately underneath, a bolded offer I couldn’t believe – ‘Upgrade to Comfort+ for $116’.
The saying ‘you can’t put a price on comfort’ may not necessarily convince me to fork over thousands for a Business Class ticket, but $116 (that’s less than some Kindles BTW and they don’t come with pre-stored books) for a roomier seat and extra legroom, that’s a price for comfort I was more than willing to pay.
Read on to find out what it was like being a first-time flyer with Delta Air Lines, and find out whether you should upgrade on your next flight to the City of Angels:
CHECK-IN & PRE-TAKE OFF
As I approached Delta Air Lines’ check-in counter (F) at Sydney Airport, I prematurely grimaced at the sight of two planeloads of passengers (for two flights taking off 10 minutes apart) being checked in at the same time. “I’m going to be standing in line for ages,” I whined to myself before realising how efficient ground crew were operating.
The counter was well-equipped to handle the rush of flyers with two people taking care of the 9.25am queue (my flight) and another two working through the 9.35am line-up. There was also a couple of other employees handling the SkyPriority flyers.
In less than 20 minutes, I did my USA security interview, checked Instagram (no new notifications #boo) and successfully checked-in.
As I walked away from the incredibly friendly and professional Delta team member, I realised that it was the first time in a while that my check-in was done via human interaction, not technology.
As much as I enjoy a working check-in kiosk and luggage drop off, it’s just not as stress-free and enjoyable as old school human interaction.
Boarding began an hour before take-off, with Comfort+ passengers receiving priority boarding. However, all guests received adequate time to find their seat and store their luggage.
Stepping onboard, the aircraft felt new, especially the sold-out Comfort+ area where the leather seating and carpeting looked fresh.
Upon first interaction with cabin crew, I knew I was going to LOVE them because similar to ground staff, they seemed genuinely happy to help (and they remained this way throughout the 13.5-hour flight).
Once boarding was complete, the aircraft was moved through the runway on time and within minutes after watching an entertaining safety video animation, we were up in the air.
You know those annoying people on planes who take photos of their seat before they sit down, as they sit and throughout the flight. That was me in 40D.
I was snap, snap, snapping away to capture the extra space and ‘comfort’ of the upgraded class along with the additional leg-spreading aisle room (not that I really needed much more, my feet barely reached the seat in front) from my self-selected spot in front of the lavatory.
“You’re crazy, why would you choose a seat near the toilet it’d smell and people would constantly be going back and forth,” judgy people would say. But what they don’t know is that most passengers sleep on a trans-Pacific flight so there’s hardly any foot traffic PLUS lavatories don’t smell outside of the lavatory (sooooo no smell).
Delta Air Lines’ Boeing 777-200 is fitted with 90 Comfort+ seats, each with three extra inches of legroom, up to three inches extra in width and dedicated overhead space.
If that wasn’t worth spending an extra $116 on the fare, then the first-fed service, an amenity kit (with toothpaste, an eye-mask and earbuds) and early boarding (mentioned earlier) definitely was.
My Comfort+ seat had its very own personal USB outlet (#neededotkeepmyphonecharged) AND it had a regular earphone port so that I could use my own headset.
One thing I really appreciated about Comfort+ (in addition to everything else that made the upgrade worth it) was the back-seat pocket, which had a mini space for my smaller items.
ENTERTAINMENT & FOOD
Would you like to re-watch a classic like Hocus Pocus or view a new release like Captain Marvel? Or how about reminiscing over a 2000s Hit, an 80s & 90s flick or checking out a documentary? Or maybe you’d rather watch a family-friendly Disney movie or sit through the Harry Potter movies?
There was SO MUCH choice on the Delta Studio (the name of Delta Air Lines’ inflight entertainment system).
Seriously, after landing I had to know how many movies, TV shows and music records were available (it seemed endless) and although I couldn’t find an exact number, Delta’s online description of ‘large’ doesn’t do it justice.
What’s even more amazing is that I wanted to watch them all and the 13.5-hour flight suddenly seemed too short.
In the end, I opted for the award-winning Greenbook, the could-pee-yourself-hilarious Little, the I’m-going-to-have-nightmares-after-this The Curse of Llorona and too adorable Sound of Music.
For the sitcom fans, there was no shortage of TV shows with everything from comedies to dramas, world and reality.
But of course, the highlight of Delta Air Lines’ inflight entertainment is the FREE MESSAGING service, which allows guests to send texts, Whatsapp messages and Facebook messages to those on the ground (I don’t know if Delta knows, but I was also able to send Instagram messages – it was a little slower than the others but it worked).
Inflight wi-fi was also available with prices starting from US$6.95 for a one-hour pass and going up to US$21.95 for a full flight pass.
Equally as impressive as the choice of entertainment was the selection of food.
Meals began shortly after take-off with lunch (Thai Green Curry Chicken, Penne Pasta, or Sweet Potato Chicken Salad), followed up with a mid-flight treat (Spinach and Feta Stuffed Flatbread with Ice Cream) and a pre-arrival breakfast (Cheesy Scrambled Eggs or Waffles with Apple and Raisin Compote).
A food highlight for me was the Connoisseurs Mini Ice Cream (I wanted a second so much) and the Cheeze-It crackers handed out during lunch (I’ll take a box of those please and thank you).
Delta staff handed out warm towels before the main meals and drink service came regularly throughout the flight.
There’s nothing worse than flying long-haul with unhelpful cabin crew, fortunately, Delta Air Lines’ inflight team were on top of every request, engaging in conversations with guests and (as mentioned earlier) genuinely happy to be there.
While I can’t tell you what to do with your hard-earned money, for me the $116 extra spent on Comfort+ was worth every cent. I had an enjoyable experience, I appreciated the extra little perks and my body felt relaxed upon arriving into LAX, especially my legs which can often ache from sitting for long periods.
Flight: DL0040 Sydney-Los Angeles
Seat: 40D – Comfort+
Flight Time: 13 hours and 30 minutes
Schedule: Dept. 9.25am (AEST) Arr. 6.30am (GMT-7)
Click here for more information on Delta Air Lines.
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