Delta 717-200 first class: it ain’t as great as the rest y’all

Delta 717-200 first class: it ain’t as great as the rest y’all

Delta 717-200 first class is an experience that hits a little different compared to typical Delta domestic first class.

Yeah, I ate very well on my 2 1/2 hour flight from Charlotte to Minneapolis. Food and drinks were served with a smile. The seat was actually kind of comfortable as well.

However – in-flight entertainment is mysteriously absent (trying to figure out why your seatmate is the way he or she is doesn’t count). There are no video screens. Wi-Fi may or may not be working.

It’s basically the only mainline aircraft in Delta’s fleet that they deemed to be not worth the effort of spiffing up. How did that happen? And what else are they not telling us?

Charlotte, NC (CLT) – Minneapolis, MN (MSP)
Thursday, March 14, 2024
Aircraft: 717-2BD
Registration: N893AT
Duration: 2 hours 19 minutes
Seat: 3F (First Class)

Delta 717-200 (N893AT) side view
Delta 717-200 (N893AT) side view illustration by
DL1517 flight track
Our route from Charlotte to Minneapolis today as DL1517.

My full review of Delta 717-200 first class from Charlotte to Minneapolis

As an airline reviewer, I’m always looking for the most interesting way to get from point A to point B. I needed to get from Charlotte to San Diego on this particular day, and I was happy to see that Delta was running multiple 717s a day between CLT and MSP (where I could very easily connect to SAN).

My Delta 717-200 economy experience was pretty neat, so getting the chance to give first class a go was hard to resist.

Arrival at CLT

After a fairly decent night at the Charlotte Airport Aloft Hotel, the courtesy van driver dropped me off in front of the main terminal approximately one and a half hours before my departure to Minneapolis. See? I don’t always arrive obscenely early.

Charlotte international airport main terminal ticketing hall
Welcome to the main terminal at the Charlotte International Airport! Say what you will about the southland, but they build some pretty darn good lookin’ airports here.
SANspotter looking for TSA Recheck sign at the Charlotte international airport
My only criticism of this place is that there are no signs for TSA Precheck. I looked everywhere!
Delta air lines check-in counter Charlotte international airport
I did manage to find the Delta check-in area (and baggage drop) though. This ended up working out well considering that this *is* a Delta 717 first class review and all.
Photos from inside the main terminal at the Charlotte international airport
What’s big, colorful, and smells like fried chicken? CLT, of course.

The boarding process for DL1517 to MSP

There’s a lot that I like about Delta Air Lines. What matters to me most is that they kinda (sorta) know what they’re doing. They promised boarding time of 12:14 PM, and dagnabbit, they delivered on it. No fuss. No muss.

Gate 5 Concourse A Charlotte international airport
Ain’t no time for fried chicken today, unfortunately. Big Daddy has a plane to catch.
Delta 717-200 parked at gate A5 Charlotte international airport
Big Daddy’s chariot (a Delta 717-200) awaits at gate A5.
Delta CLT-MSP first class mobile boarding pass
Looks like they spelled “Big Daddy” wrong on my boarding pass (again).
CLT airport gate A5 jet bridge
claus·tro·pho·bi·a (noun): extreme or irrational fear of confined places.”
SANspotter walking down gate A5 jet bridge CLT
Irrational my a**. Either this jet bridge is a wee bit cozy, or I’m a total wuss. “Focus on the 717, focus on the 717…”
Delta 717-200 up close Charlotte international airport
< focusing > The 717 is about a small as it can get before calling it a regional jet. < /focusing > Maybe Big Daddy needs to rethink his air travel strategy?
Delta 717-200 boarding door
“One small step for man…”
Walking onto a Delta 717-200
I totally forgot that you basically have to walk through a closet before getting to the seats on the Delta 717-200. It’s been a while since I’ve done this…
Delta 717-200 first class cabin
Welcome to first class (said absolutely nobody in this pic).

The seats

I really wish that I could tell you that the first class seats on the 717 are exactly the same as what you saw in my Delta A321 first class review. I had a lot of good things to say about that experience, and I would’ve very much liked to use this opportunity to explain how Delta is so awesomely consistent from one aircraft the next. But nope. They had to make it difficult.

Delta 717-200 first class seats 3C and 3D
Seats 3C and 3D. Can you guess which one is mine?
Delta 717-200 first class window seat row 3
Like, duh. Window seat or bust baby!
Delta 717-200 first class leg room
Leg room is as expected for Delta domestic first class. This is satisfactory AF.
Delta 717-200 first class no video screens
Plot twist! The 717 is the only mainline aircraft in the Delta fleet without video screens at every seat. If this is a dealbreaker for you, consider reading my Delta 737-800 first class review instead.
Delta 717-200 first class headrests
The adjustable headrests are a little more pointy as well. Be careful.
Delta 717-200 first class complementary water
The complementary bottled water is exactly the same though. Spoiler alert: it didn’t taste like life at all.
Delta 717-200 First Class seat back pockets
Shoutout to my seatmate for demonstrating the usefulness of the seat back pockets. Somebody came prepared for today’s flight!
Delta 717-200 First Class cabin looking forward from row 3
Good news: I’m not being bombarded with credit card advertisements on a video screen in front of me. The peace and quiet is nice (at least until the lead flight attendant makes her announcement about a “special offer”).
Delta 717-200 window smudge
Window smudge check: 4/10. For those of you wondering what a 10/10 is like, be sure to read my Delta Connection CRJ-900 economy review (the one where I couldn’t see jack sh*t all the way to San Diego).

The departure

Even our gate departure was exactly on time. Normally that’s the sort of thing that amuses me, but it’s what I’ve come to expect when flying Delta. *yawn* Will somebody please wake me up when something exciting happens? Thank you.

Delta 717-200 pushing off the gate Charlotte airport
‘Later y’all. That’s how they say it here in Charlotte, right?
Delta 717-200 wing walker Charlotte airport
“I can’t believe he thinks that we all talk like that…”
SANspotter sitting in Delta 717-200 First Class
“I wonder if he drives NASCAR on the weekends too?”
Taxi to runway at CLT
It took exactly 11 minutes from push back to arrival at the threshold of runway 27 (about the same amount of time it takes to stand in line for a hotdog and a beer at the Charlotte Motor Speedway I reckon).
Delta 717-200 taking off from CLT
Screw the L-1011. The 717-200 is the true “whisperliner” (at least for those of us seated here near the front). You could almost hear the ignorant / culturally insensitive thoughts about this region swirling around in my head.
Scenery after taking off from Charlotte international airport
All jokes aside, I have lots of love for this region of the country. It’s beautiful!

In-flight entertainment (and Wi-Fi)

Oh Delta. Your domestic first class product is arguably the best. But why did you have to skimp on the in-flight entertainment so hard on the 717? There are no video screens in these seats. As a matter fact, it’s the only aircraft in Delta’s mainline fleet without them.

There is Wi-Fi though! Sort of. It was partially operational on this particular flight, and I was never able to fully connect to the menu of streaming movies and TV shows. Honestly? Maybe streaming content isn’t available at all on the 717. That’s what this particular experience led me to believe.

Delta 717-200 First Class wi-Fi
What do you suppose is happening over on Verizon-MiFi8800L-A3E2? I’m kicking myself now for not trying it out.
Delta 717-200 First Class wi-Fi
Should I be worried that they call it “Captive” Wi-Fi? I hate to break it to them, but I’m a fairly boring guy, and any data they harvest from me will likely bore them to tears.
Checking the weather via Wi-Fi in Delta 717-200 First Class
Data log 2246.27.1. Timestamp: 13:16: “He checked the weather in Minneapolis. Again. For the third time in like five minutes.”
Trying to connect to Wi-Fi in Delta 717-200 First Class
And that’s about the moment where they cut me off for good.
Streaming entertainment not working in Delta 717-200 First Class
At least now I know why my seatmate brought all those notebooks.

Food and drink

There were two notable things about the lunch service on this particular flight. First, it was the most substantial and filling meal that I’ve ever had in Delta domestic first class. Second, it was probably the most disgusting looking meal I’ve ever been served on this airline. It was tasty though, and I ate every last morsel of it.

Delta 717-200 First Class lasagna lunch
Who needs streaming in-flight entertainment when there’s lasagna onboard?
Delta 717-200 First Class lasagna lunch detail
Actually, I think it was lasagna soup. Delta normally does better than this with the presentation of food in domestic first class, so I’m willing to give them a pass on this one. The fact that I’d do nearly anything for a slice of lasagna kinda helps too.
Delta 717-200 First Class lunch tray
Other than that US-sized chocolate chip cookie, this looks like a meal that would be right at home in ITA Airways A320neo business class, doesn’t it? Sembra delizioso!
SANspotter eating lunch in Delta 717-200 First Class
Just a hunch, but I have a feeling this would have tasted better on an Italian airline. Let’s just say that I’ve had better meals in Delta domestic US first class.

Seat comfort

Other than the lack of video screens, these first class seats aren’t any better or worse than what you’ve seen in any of my other Delta domestic first class reviews. They’re wide, semi soft, and the leg room is what I consider to be acceptable.

Relaxing in a Delta 717-200 First Class seat
You’d be surprised how much less comfortable Delta’s domestic first class seat is when you don’t have The Office (or Family Guy) playing on a video screen 16 inches away from your face.
SANspotter adjusting air vent in Delta 717-200 First Class
The air vent action is pretty good though – and fairly easy to reach considering that the 717 is just a glorified regional jet.
Delta 717-200 First Class row 3 passengers
It’s more comfortable than a regional jet IMHO (because of the wider cabin), but that’s not important. I’m far more interested in knowing how those people got connected to the Wi-Fi. The hell?!

Really though, seat comfort isn’t the most important thing in a 717-200 first class review IMHO. These aircraft are typically used on shorter regional routes, so it’s not like you’ll have to worry about spending 5+ hours in one.

The decent and landing into MSP

I’ll admit it. I was secretly hoping for a snowy white winter wonderland arrival into Minneapolis. What kind of psychopath wishes for something like that in mid-March? The same kind of psychopath that ate that entire bowl of lasagna you saw earlier in this review, that’s who.

Shoutout to our pilots who got us into MSP 14 minutes early today.

Approach to Minneapolis Saint Paul airport
Not only was the Wi-Fi inoperable on today’s flight, there’s no snow on the ground here in Minneapolis either. Strange times, man. Strange.
Looking out window of Delta 717-200 on final approach to MSP
It’s not like I flew all this way just to see snow or anything, but isn’t it a given considering that it’s mid-March?
Just landed at MSP
Welcome to Minneapolis!
Taxiing to the gate MSP airport
Snow or not, there’s one thing that MSP always has: widgets. Lots and lots of widgets.
Delta 717-200 First Class seatbelt unbuckling
It’s sort of like having a lot of unfortunate crotch shots.
Deplaning from Delta 717-200 First Class
Release the hounds SANspotter!
SANspotter walking up jet bridge at Minneapolis airport
She was able to connect to the Wi-Fi too? Just rub it in my face why don’t ya.
Delta 717-200 parked at the gate C4 MSP
So long, you little rascal. May you spend your sunset years flying tropical interisland hops with Hawaiian Airlines (after getting your Wi-Fi fixed, of course).

Pros and cons of the Delta 717 first class experience

Perhaps the best piece of advice that I have to offer is to say that the 717 should be your last choice when flying Delta domestic first class. It was fine. But the lack of proper in-flight entertainment is kind of a dealbreaker for me.


  • It just may be the quietest first class seat on any Delta aircraft. You won’t hear hardly any engine noise since they’re all the way at the back.
  • With only three rows of first class seats, service is typically fast and (mostly) friendly.
  • The seats are just as wide (with the same amount of legroom) as other mainline domestic Delta aircraft.


Comments (6)

  1. JNSD

    April 12, 2024
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      April 13, 2024
  2. Jason B

    April 15, 2024
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      April 16, 2024
  3. Peter

    April 20, 2024
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      April 20, 2024

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