Ramon is the creator of Traveling Companion. He focuses on flight review, hotel reviews, and helping stretch your travel dollars, miles, and points further.
Our first experience with Delta domestic First Class meal service had average food but impressive service. The Delta 737-800 was a bucket of bolts and really needed a refresh.
Pros- Impressive Service, Strong Amenities
Cons- Old and Loud Plane, Ancient In-Flight Entertainment System
After matching to Delta status in November 2019 Christina and I had our first upgrade to Delta First Class that included meal service due to empty Friday after Thanksgiving flights. I am going to focus this review on the flight. While we visited the Delta Sky Club at Salt Lake City (SLC) before this flight Delta has since opened a new Sky Club. Therefore, I am going to skip a review of the lounge and look forward to checking out on my next time through SLC.
As we headed to the gate it was a very snowy day at SLC, however, I was impressed by how the airport was able to handle the snow and I barely noticed any impact to airport operations. Christina and I were upgraded 24 hours out from the flight based on our Delta SkyMiles Silver status. At that time there were still nine free First Class seats because of very light after Thanksgiving loads.
We really appreciated receiving the upgrade in advance since it gave us access to these Sky Priority Benefits including priority check-in and priority baggage handling. Delta doesn’t give Silver elite access to Sky Priority benefits so as Delta Silver’s our best way to get access to these was to get upgraded in advance or purchase and upgrade. Because the upgrade we were among the first people on the flight.
Plane and Seats
The plane was literally a bucket of bolts with a screw falling from above when I went to put my bag into an overhead bin. Delta is known for keeping planes longer than other airlines and fixing up the interiors but this plane was not yet refreshed.
On the flight we were originally seated in 3B and 3D across from each other. After all elites and one employee were upgraded there was one open seat left in First Class and the flight still had 23 free seats in economy. The First Class seat was like a throwback to 1990s and didn’t include Delta’s modern look. Because I was seated across from Christina a friendly flight attendant who ended up working economy said we’re okay to switch seats and if someone else showed up we should ask them to take my original seat.
The seat I switched to, 3C, had a broken arm rest. The flight attendant was very apologetic about the broken seat. Another negative aspect of these old seats was that they had no headrest. The positive aspect of these old seats was that they contained far more padding than the modern slimline seats. This padding made the seat more comfortable but the material made the seat hold in more heat. This Boeing 737-800 was loud and I was very glad that I had noise canceling headphones or the sound would have driven me crazy. Right before take-off the captain let us know that the flight time was a little over three hours with a strong tail wind.
Amenities and In-Flight Entertainment
When we boarded at our seats were a thin pillow and a blanket. The blanket was thin but comfortable. I appreciated that Delta had bottled water, though it is not environmentally friendly, at the seat when we arrived because I am often dehydrated in flight. I hope Delta is able to find a more environmentally friendly container to provide passengers with water prior to departure.
While I don’t typically comment on airplane bathrooms, I have to commend Delta on the high-quality bathroom amenities on this flight. The amenities included Malin+Goetz hand soap and lotion. While cost doesn’t always equate to quality just one 8.5 fluid ounce bottle of the Malin+Goetz lotion retails at $36 as of October 2022. I thought these were strong amenities since many airlines don’t even include any lotion on most domestic First Class flights yet alone a high-quality variety like Malin+Goetz.
The in-flight entertainment screens on this flight were tiny (about the size of an iPhone Plus), old, and slow. The seats still had manual dials for overhead IFE showing you just how old the plane was. As I clicked through the IFE it was not responsive and needed significant updates.
Food and Drinks
After we got settled into our seats one of the flight attendants working First Class offered us a pre-departure beverage. Christina declined while I ordered a Sprite.Afterwards she confirmed our pre-orders then went to take the passengers orders.
After some turbulence subsided, the dinner meal service started with a hot towel service which was warm and had refreshing scents. The dinner came on one tray with broccoli, side salad (parmesan, baby tomatoes, and iceberg lettuce), white bread butter, and steak with potatoes. My salad was boring but at least came out fresh. I found the bread was soft but below average. The steak and potatoes were well cooked and seasoned and the broccoli was good. Christina found her salad to be plain and the bread stale. Christina’s ravioli was lukewarm but overall good and she thought light years above American Airline’s First Class meals.
Overall, I found the dinner to be the perfect serving size and I really liked the silverware by Alessi. Christina was also impressed by the silverware and thought it was strong and classy. Moreover, she was impressed that the tray was well made, had a Delta pattern, and a strong grip. Both of us agreed that the highlight of the meal service was the Ben & Jerry’s Americone Dream ice cream served for dessert.
Prior to landing the flight attendants came around with the snack basket which included the following choices: 1) Kind Bars, 2) El Augustin, 3) Oreo Thins, and 4) Cheez It. Christina got Augustin and Oreo Thins and I had Oreo Thins. We both liked our choices and the wide Delta snack selection.
On this flight there ended up being two flight attendants working the 16 seats in First Class much better than American Airlines which typically only has one flight attendant for domestic First Class on narrow-body planes. Having two flight attendants made service really fast as these flight attendants divided and conquered service. For example, even with strong turbulence the flight attendants came by with more bottles of water, continual refills, and were quick to clear our dishes.
The only minor hiccup was that towards the end of the flight the flight attendants brought our coats from the closet but forgot my suit bag. Later I reminded the flight attendant and she brought my suit bag before departing the plane. Overall, the flight attendant service was professional, kind, and accommodating.
On our first Delta First Class flight with meal service Delta delivered impressive service, strong amenities, average food and drinks, but the bucket of bolts plane and IFE left a lot to be desired. Despite being only average Delta’s food and drinks were still miles ahead American Airlines First Class and its service was in a different category all together. I hope Delta upgrades all of its domestic narrow body planes with the new look and feel. In particular the IFE systems really held back our otherwise good experience on this flight and are sorely in need of an upgrade. Despite these drawbacks I would likely choose to take Delta on domestic First Class on this route again.