DL 069, Atlanta to Santiago de Chile, Business Class
Since Delta revamped their business class to “Delta One” class, we hadn’t had a chance to try out their product. And, since we had to do all this stuff last minute, we had to get whatever flight we could down to South America. Enter Delta flight 69 from Atlanta to Santiago de Chile.
Boarding was delayed about 20 minutes with no real explanation, so we patiently waited at the gate area along with all of the other passengers.
Down the jet bridge and boarding through the middle door, business class to the left, and
muggle coach class to the right. Since we were the first ones on board, I managed to grab a couple snapshots of the seats before everyone filed in.
At each seat there was Westin Heavenly Pillow and mattress cover, bottle of water, and Tumi amenity kit.
While I have to give Westin credit for having one of the more comfortable bedding options on the plane, it really doesn’t matter if the seat still sucks.
The seats are pretty narrow, and for some reason, the monitors are positioned lower than eye level. When you’re sitting, you have got to slouch in your seat in order to properly see the screen. The screen also has zero aesthetic value. It’s encased in a grey, boring plastic frame and is smaller than most other business class monitors. It tilts a little bit, but still not enough to really make a difference, especially when you’re reclined.
Menus were distributed as were pre departure drinks. We opted for our standard, the mimosa 🙂
I’ll let you guys peruse the menus, as we took some shots. The food selection was pretty subpar for a business class flight. If I had to guess, it was the same stuff they were serving in economy, just plated a little bit better with a better dessert.
Notice that they do offer a “Dine and Rest” option. I’d recommend this as a general rule, as the service…on…this…flight…was…so…freaking…slow. We came to find out that we had a training crew on board. The purser was seasoned, but everyone else on the flight was being trained. Either in the galley, or on the service, even in economy class. You could tell in the way they would approach you. Everything followed a very predictable script.
The tray tables were pretty big, and located in the side arm rests.
When it came time for the food, we had already made our selections with the purser. We both opted for the beef dish. If the dish looks sad, it tasted even sadder. The beef was really tender, but in a sort of chewed up and spit out kind of way. As you can see it was bathed in sauce, served with veggies that shouldn’t be that dark. Truly a disappointing “meal.”
The soup/salad/veggies/bread were actually not too bad, but it’s kinda hard to screw up lettuce and celery.
Halfway through dinner, my TV monitor stopped working. It was playing with about a 10 second delay between the audio and the video, so I asked for a reset. FYI, the resets take about 8 minutes to cycle through.
The only bit of good news? While we waited for the fix to come, we got served Ice Cream… mmmmm… Ice Cream….
A word on the Delta One seats. As a 6-2 male, and having a seat that measures 6-2, it’s a bit hard to find a comfortable position. Ben measuring 5-7 also had a tough time finding a good way to maneuver into a comfortable position. The reason? You can feel every seam and break in the seat, and they are extremely narrow. I needed to ask for an extra pillow as, since I had to sleep on my side, the one pillow wasn’t going to cut it. I had to maneuver myself too far back in the seat, and my neck was not in any kind of a good position.
So, I pushed the call button. Nothing. I saw FA’s walk by. I turned it off, and turned it on again. DING! Nothing. I saw more FA’s walk by. I turned it off AGAIN and back on. DING! Nothing. Now I was getting pissed.
I turned it on and off in rapid succession 5 times hoping that the DING DING DING DING DING would get someone’s attention (or ire). Nothing.
Here’s the thing about the call button. Not only does it create this eerie blue light all over the seat, basically calling out HERE I AM, I NEED HELP, it also signals in the galley. The ding isn’t the same as all the other dings on the plane, so they are trained to listen for it. Nope, nothing.
So when the last FA walked by and didn’t say anything, I did.
“Hey!” he stopped… “Can’t you see the call light is on?”
“Oh, I just came from economy, I didn’t notice… What do you need?”
“Right now? I think I need to speak to the purser.”
So when the purser came by, she asked if everything was ok.
“No, everything isn’t ok. I’ve seen your crew walk by 4 times and no one has stopped to ask if we needed anything. I’ve rang the button 5 times, on and off, and it has gone completely ignored. What’s going on?”
It was at this point that she shared with us that she was training a new crew and that she appreciated me bringing this to her attention. One of the points that she would on work with the crew is using both their eyes and ears to spot customer needs. After that, I explained that I needed an extra pillow because I couldn’t get comfortable. She obliged, and I was off to a very uncomfortable 5 hours of on and off sleep.
We were woken up by the sounds of forks and knives clanging against plates. Must be breakfast!
After a quick scarf down of the food, we were given the forms for customs/immigration in Chile.
Chile is extremely strict with their agricultural restrictions coming into the country. If you even remotely think you’re carrying something that could be considered an agricultural good, you MUST declare it. If you declare and they find that you’re OK to bring it, no problem, pass through. However, if you don’t declare, and they find something, you’re looking at a fine and hours in an airport detention facility. Don’t play around.
We told them that we had LaraBars and Kind Bars, and they were OK’d without any further inspection.
I have to say that this flight was a huge letdown. For a service where Delta prides themselves on being a step above, and having the “most exclusive cabins in the sky,” they really need to work on their soft product. The food wasn’t that much of a step above economy, the crew was unresponsive, and the seats were uncomfortable. We did have a good chat with the purser afterwards, and she gave us 15,000 miles for our troubles. I appreciate her being proactive in offering the miles as an apology, but hopefully the service would change for the future.
One could hope.