Today I will talk about my recent flight experience on Delta’s Airbus A330-900neo (A339) business class from Seattle to Shanghai. The A330-900neo is the latest improvement in the Airbus A330 family, and it competes directly against the Boeing 787 “Dreamliner.”
I. Delta Boeing 737-900ER (YVR-SEA)
The flight from Seattle to Shanghai departs at 4 PM. To maximize my time, I booked a 7 AM flight to Seattle. The Check-in and going through the US Customs at Vancouver International Airport was very smooth.
The flight this morning was a Boeing 737-900ER. At first, I was wondering why Delta uses a 737-900ER for such a short route, but the plane was full. I guess since there are many people flew to Seattle in the morning, Delta uses a larger aircraft to accommodate the demand.
II. Delta Sky Club Lounge Terminal S, Seattle Airport
After arrival at the Seattle, I went to Delta’s Skyclub lounge in terminal S since I will board my next flight in the same terminal. The Delta Sky Club lounge in the terminal S is much smaller than the one in terminal A, and the food offering is also simpler, but I prefer this lounge, somehow. Speaking of the service at Delta, I think the Delta Sky Club reception has the most persistent and excellent service. Once settling down in the work area, I took out my computer and iPad to start working.
Lunchtime has come. The Delta Lounge in Terminal S does not serve hot food, but they usually offer a selection of healthy food.
Delta Skyclub Lounge offers snacks and specialty drinks.
After lunch, I took some photos of the lounge. I can still remember how I especially liked this modern wave-like design of the ceiling when I first visited this lounge a couple of years ago.
One hour before boarding, I decided to go to take a shower. The showroom in this lounge is inside of the washroom, and it is pretty small.
Time went by quickly. After staying in the lounge for almost six hours, it’s time to go to the boarding gate.
Delta’s departure gates at domestic US airports always seems chaotic. Today is no exception. Due to the delay of a return flight, the boarding was pushed back for over an hour. I came to the boarding gate and saw the A330-900neo that will fly today. It’s a beautiful day outside, and you can see the famous Mt. Rainier clearly in the distance.
I was among the first group of passengers boarded the plane. After entering the plane, turning left, it’s Delta’s Business Class, Delta One.
Unlike many other business-class cabins, Delta’s A330-900neo has overhead bins above the middle seat. Although this design sacrifices internal space, the advantage is that every business class passenger has their own overhead bin. Delta’s A330-900neo business class has very narrow asiles due to the suite seat design. I don’t think it’s a big deal for passengers, but I can imagine it won’t be so easy for the flight attendants to provide in-flight service.
The Delta One business class has a 1-2-1 configuration, and the Premium Select cabin has a 2-3-2 configuration. Delta’s A330-900neo has the same Premium Select seats as A350, and the only difference is the cushion uses memory foam. It is a new feature for Delta’s A330-900neo, and it is for the seats in all cabins.
Delta brought their Comfort+ seats back to A330-900neo as they were missing in the A350s. Both Comfort+ and economy cabin have a 2-4-2 configuration.
In order to distinguish the regular economy class seats behind, the Comfort + seats have red edges.
Now, back to the business class cabin:
Delta’s new generation of business class seats has a design with doors, and Delta calls it a “Suite.” Due to the staggered layout, there are two different seats by the window. In contrast to Delta’s A350, the even-number business class window seat in an A330-900neo is a real window seat, and it has the most privacy.
The odd-number window seats have a storage table next to the window, and the seat itself is next to the asile. Without the door, this seat has the least privacy; but having a door has made this seat is just as private as those even-number window seats.
Going back to my seat and let me explore it in detail. The first is Delta’s redesigned TUMI amenity kit.
Delta provides business class passengers with slippers for their Asian flights. The slippers are thin and don’t feel in good quality. Delta also provides bedding with the Westin “Heavenly” brand. The quilt is thin, but the pillow is very fluffy and comfortable.
One of the main feedbacks on the Delta A350’s business class seats is the lack of usable storage space. On the A339, Delta has made some improvements to make storage space more efficient. Now the A339 uses storage slots similar to Qantas’ next-generation business class, which can conveniently place small items. There is a control panel to adjust the seat and light, a hook for hanging headphones, and a controllable bright LED light. It also provides two USB charging sockets and a power outlet.
There is a deep storage space under the storage table, and a small space under the lifevest storage, which can store shoes. Overall there are plenty storage space and that’s fantastic. However, I learned it from the return trip that this design is unique to even-number windows seats.
The foot space is a lot bigger than what I expected. Although the foot space is not small, the overall design feels restricted in the sleep mode.
The seat is in sleep mode.
Each business class suite features Delta’s latest 18.5-inch HD entertainment system. The highlight of this new system is entirely wireless, which can save the space and weight from the wired box, and it’s easier to perform system upgrades. The HD display is beautiful, and the touch screen is responsive that feels no lag.
The armrest next to the storage table has a small mirror and a wired remote control but is yet functional.
Delta One Suite has a door design. Before taking off, the flight attendant would come over to make sure the door switch is in the lock position. After the meal service, the flight attendant would come by to unlock the door switch with a small spoon. By then, passangers can close or open the door freely. The flight attendant would also remind everyone they will not provide services when the door is closed.
IV. In-Flight Dining and Service
After settling down, the flight attendant brought a full glass of mimosa as a welcome drink.
The purser of this flight also came to greet me and let me know I have pre-selected the meal for this flight. I received an email from Delta three days ago to pre-select the meal, and here is the English description of the Chinese meal, and it sounds pretty bland, so I pre-selected a western meal option.
After the purser showed me the actual menu, I regret my choice that the Chinese option looks much more impressive!
I asked the purser if I could switch to the Chinese meal, but she said I have to wait to see since each flight only carries a limited amount of Chinese meals. Luckily the passenger sit in front of me made a switch to a western meal, so I was able to get the Chinese meal.
The meal service begins, the first is the drink and heated mixed nuts. I ordered Delta’s special cocktail for drink.
Next comes the appetizer:
Before serving the main course, the cabin manager also brought me a bowl of western-style creamy pumpkin soup. Then she brought the main dishes:
After the main meal, here comes the dessert: Delta’s traditional sundae and raspberry mousse cake.
After finished them all, the purser came by and asked me if I wanted to have another one! Of course I wouldn’t refuse the offer!
After the meal, I closed the door and started to browse the Internet. Delta’s A330-900neo has the latest generation of high-speed 2KU band satellite networking, and the connection speed is very fast.
I did take a nap and slept for almost four hours. After waking up, I went to the bathroom. The purser asked me if I wanted anything to eat, and I told her I would like to try noodles.
After eating, I fell asleep again. I don’t know how long I slept; then I heard the broadcast from the captain that we would arrive in Shanghai in about one hour. The breakfast service will soon start, and I chose the Chinese option again.
Just before the landing, the purser came over to hand everyone some chocolates, and she specifically asked me to take more. After the landing, the purser came to say goodbye, and I took the opportunity to thank her for the 5-star service.
V. Overall Impression
The hard products on Delta’s A330-900neo business class are excellent: great suite design with a door, the latest generation of in-flight entertainment systems, and stable high-speed satellite internet connection. Delta’s Chinese meal offering is also excellent that surpasses many other Chinese airlines. The service from the purser was very attentive, and we had many small interactions, which made the trip very enjoyable. Overall, this is a five-star flight experience.