First-class on a long-haul flight is expensiveeeee. Like, my-entire-grocery-budget-for-five-years expensive. Or, I-could-buy-a-car-for-that-price expensive. But I’ve been lucky enough to do it three times on Delta Air Lines, at no cost. Let’s be real, I can’t afford it.
How did I do it? I’m lucky. My dad is an expert at collecting SkyMiles and has Diamond status with Delta. They give those elite members several free international upgrade certificates every year, and he’s been kind enough to upgrade me a few times. It’s a treat that I greatly appreciate.
When you fly Delta One, you get upgraded on every leg of your flight. In our case, we were flying from Chicago to Brussels with a connection in Atlanta. You get access to the SkyLounge on every leg of your flight, too.
This ended up being a great perk because our flight from Chicago to Atlanta was delayed by several hours due to bad storms. It was much more comfortable to wait in the lounge.
I’ve been in several of Delta’s lounges, and the one in Chicago (ORD) is one of my favorites. I had eggs, a parfait and a muffin for breakfast, along with a macchiato.
Because our flight was delayed, we also had lunch in the lounge. I had soup, salad, mac & cheese and brownie bites. The mac & cheese was AMAZING. So were the brownie bites. Honestly, everything was good.
There was an open bar, including a mimosa bar for breakfast, but I opted not to booze it up so early in the day.
Usually, you board Delta One first, but we were last on the flight out of Atlanta because of our delays out of Chicago. Yes, we ran to our gate. I didn’t mind, though.
Once you board, there’s a pre-flight drink of either champagne or orange juice to sip on while you get settled.
The seat has plenty of storage space, a reading light, a power outlet and two USB ports. There’s a bedding set with a duvet comforter and a standard pillow for later when you want to go to sleep. The seats fully recline into a bed and have a massage feature.
The Delta Once experience also comes with a Tumi amenity kit that includes a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, tissues, earplugs, hand cleanser, lip balm and an eye mask. There are noise-canceling headphones for use, but I had my favorite Boise headphones so I didn’t need them.
After takeoff, the dinner service started with a drink. I opted for the Signature Cocktail, which was served with warm mixed nuts. I swear, the seasoning on those nuts must have crack in it.
Then the appetizers are brought out. They are so plentiful, I would have honestly thought this was the entree if I didn’t know any better. It’s so much food.
The appetizer included a caesar salad, butternut squash soup and a charcuterie plate. Everything tasted too good to be airline food, but especially the goat cheese with some sort of fig jam incorporated into it.
By this time I was full, but then the crab cakes came out for the main course. They were, of course, delicious as well. We all had the opportunity to order our meals ahead of time online. Drinks were refilled diligently throughout.
Finally, the dessert cart came around. We got a choice of tiramisu, an ice cream sundae bar or a cheese and fruit plate. I’d had the ice cream sundae before, so I got tiramisu.
The entertainment selection is great — it’s the same throughout the whole plane, in every cabin. They have movies that are still in theaters available for viewing, which I appreciated. I watched a movie during the meal service but turned off the TV so I could get some rest after dinner. After making my bed, I slept for a few hours before I could smell the coffee brewing for our breakfast service.
I hardly touched my breakfast because I was still full from the large dinner service, but I chose an egg and mushroom frittata with bacon and fresh fruit.
Our return flight was during the day, so we received lunch. It was equally delicious and just as filling as all of the other meals. The best part? They came around with warm chocolate chip cookies during the middle of the flight a few times.
We got a Cuban pork sandwich and salad as our “snack” before landing. I say “snack” because it was a full meal, and I was too full to eat more than a few bites even though it was tasty.
I don’t know what it’s like to have enough money to justify the cost, so I can’t say that I’d ever “buy” the Delta One ticket personally. This roundtrip flight to Belgium in Delta One, if I had paid for it, would have cost anywhere from $7,000 up to $14,000, depending on the time of booking.
Fortunately, if you’re a Diamond Medallion member you’ll receive annual upgrade certificates to use as a treat. If you’re a Silver, Gold or Platinum Medallion member, you can get free upgrades into domestic first-class on planes that are outfitted with a Delta One cabin. The service will be domestic first-class, but it’s a great way to test out the flat-bed seats. I’ve done that many times with success.
If you can afford the ticket, it’s a great experience and the flat-bed seats are the best part. Being on a flight for 10 hours, even in the middle of the day, is much more comfortable when you have room to spread out and relax.
I walked to the back of the plane on the way home because I love airplanes and hadn’t been past the third row on my entire journey. I’ve flown all of the cabins, including Comfort+, Main Cabin and Basic Economy, but for someone who doesn’t mind being anywhere on a plane — as long as I’m on the plane — Delta One is the best it gets.
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