Sure, go ahead. Delta 737-900 first class is probably worth it.

Sure, go ahead. Delta 737-900 first class is probably worth it.

If there’s one thing to be learned from this entire review, it’s that Delta 737-900 first class is hard to write about.

The seats? They’re wide enough. Legroom? It’ll be sufficient for most people. In-flight entertainment? Yeah, it’s good (but not any better than what you would get in economy class).

I think it was the food that was the most noteworthy part of my experience (in a good way). I wrote that section first. Loading myself up on caffeine was required for everything else.

Los Angeles, CA (LAX) – Minneapolis, MN (MSP)
Thursday, September 28, 2023
Aircraft: 737-932/ER
Registration: N811DZ
Duration: 2 hours 59 minutes
Seat: 4A (First Class)

Delta 737-900/ER (N811DZ) side view
Delta Air Lines 737-900/ER (N811DZ) side view illustration by
dl413 flight track
Our route from Los Angeles to Minneapolis today as DL413.

My full review of Delta 737-900 first class from Los Angeles to Minneapolis

Delta has 163 Boeing 737-900/ERs in their fleet at the time of this writing. Despite that, it was surprisingly difficult to find a way to get on one for this trip to Minneapolis. Yes, I did this on purpose. I needed this for my growing archive of airline reviews!

Arrival at LAX

My journey today actually started in San Diego, which required flying up from SAN In United Embraer 175 first class. Well, it wasn’t exactly required – but it was a fairly decent option to position myself for this flight to MSP.

It took about 15 minutes to walk from Terminal 8 to Terminal 3. It is possible to do this without leaving the secure area by the way (just follow the signs).

SANspotter standing in corridor between terminal B and a terminal 3 LAX
Coming up with a catchy way to start a Delta 737-900 first class review is a lot harder than it sounds! I actually had to pause for a moment and collect my thoughts while walking through the corridor connecting Terminal B to Terminal 3. “Um…uh…”
Delta terminal 3 LAX
Kicking things off with a demonstration of how crowded Terminal 3 is seemed like a good (though probably not all that catchy) solution.
SANspotter sitting in terminal 3 at LAX
*gives up on trying to be catchy* BTW, Delta has really nice gate space here at LAX – but it’s hard to enjoy it when you know that everyone can see you browsing (and judge you accordingly). How embarrassing!
Delta 737-900/ER parked at the gate 38 terminal 3 LAX
The 737-900/ER taking me to Minneapolis this afternoon looks about as ready as a plane can be to fly between LAX and MSP I guess. In reality, it was probably thinking “wtf…again???!?”
Delta gate 38 terminal 3 LAX
If you didn’t catch it in the last pic, gate 38 is where this flight will be departing from. Again.

The boarding process for flight number 413 to Minneapolis

I really like Terminal 3 at LAX, but it’s too small for Delta’s LAX operation in my opinion. The gate agents did the best they could trying to get everyone organized for the boarding process, but in the end, it was a complete zoo. At least they were on time.

Delta first class mobile boarding pass LAX to MSP
A quick check of my mobile boarding pass reveals that (whether I like it or not) it looks like I’m going to Minneapolis today.
Boarding Delta flight to Minneapolis gate 38 LAX
Here we go. They sure didn’t waste any time moving from the First Class to Diamond boarding group. I haven’t even been able to wedge myself into the queue yet for chrissakes!
Delta 737-900 forward boarding door
Oh well. It was fun to feel like a fancy pants Diamond Medallion for a brief moment as I approached the boarding door. “Howdy! Do you freaking know who I am?!”

My first impressions of the first class seats on the Delta 737-900

Remember the seats in my Delta A321 first class review? What about my Delta 757-300 first class review? Basically all I’m saying is that the seats here in first class on the 737-900 aren’t any different. Everything from the width, to the video screens, to the leg room (seat pitch) is identical. My seatmate was different though. That counts as something noteworthy I guess.

Delta 737-900 first class cabin
You clicked on this review to see what Delta 737-900 first class looks like. I live to serve.
Delta 737-900 first class seats 4a and 4b
These first class seats what familiar, don’t they? It’s almost as if you could imagine that lady sitting in 5A thinking “hey, this is almost exactly the same as Delta 757-200 first class!”
Delta 737-900 first class leg room
And you know what? She wouldn’t be wrong. Leg room is excellent here as well!
Delta 737-900 first class video screens
Did the company who makes these videos screens strike gold when they signed Delta on as a partner, or what? They’re installed on nearly every mainline domestic aircraft in the fleet – so at the very least, I hope the employees of that company are living large on a tropical island somewhere.
Delta first class Pure Life bottled water
It appears as if the Dasani contract has ended though, because the only bottled water they serve in Delta first class these days is this Pure Life stuff. Yes – it tastes as cheap as it looks.
Delta 737-900 first class power outlets
His and her power outlets are located down beneath (and between) the seats.
Delta 737-900 first class pre-departure drinks
Or, in this particular instance, “his and his.” Anyway, not only does this pic give you a good idea of what the seat pitch is like, it’s a good representation of the pre-departure drink situation as well. Is this a thorough review, or what?
Delta 737-900 first class seat armrest
Speaking of thorough, check out the runs in the paint on that armrest! I can only assume that was the result of someone’s last day on the job (or one hour before quittin’ time on a Friday afternoon).
SANspotter sitting in Delta 737-900 first class
Dang it. Now I can’t help but to worry that the wings of this plane were bolted on at 4 PM on a Friday afternoon as well. This could be it, folks.
Delta 737-900 first class seats and overall cabin space
Honestly, I hope we at least make it to Nebraska before losing a wing. These are fairly decent first class seats, and it would be a real shame not to be able to enjoy them for a bit.

The departure

How lame would it have been to connect through LAX to MSP (when I could’ve easily flown there direct from SAN) only to be delayed? Thankfully I didn’t have to deal with any of that nonsense today. We pushed off the gate right on time.

Delta 737-900 pushing off the gate at LAX
And we’re off! I like how the LAX Operations Center is giving absolutely zero f**cks about the fact that there’s a Delta 737-800 (and a JAL 787) directly behind us. We gotta go now!
Taxiing to runway 24R from Terminal 3 at LAX
Taxiing to runway 24R from Terminal 3 can be a bit anticlimactic when you’re seated on the left-hand side of the aircraft. It’s about as exciting as taxiing to the runway at FNT in American Eagle Embraer 145 economy class.
Delta 737-900 lining up for runway 24L LAX
Clarification: it looks like we’ll be going off on 24L (and not 24R) today. I’m only mentioning this to fend off any “God you’re an idiot!” comments. I get enough of those as it is.
Delta 737-900 takeoff roll runway 24L LAX
“Please hold together until Nebraska…please hold together until Nebraska…”
View of coastline after takeoff from LAX
What a view!
Flying over Los Angeles coastline
Shoutout to anyone down there watching as we fly overhead. I do realize that Delta 737-900s aren’t all that interesting, but come on – there’s just gotta be at least *one* person in LA nerdy enough to care.

In-flight entertainment

Of all the major US airlines, the Delta in-flight entertainment product (Delta Studio) is the easiest to use. Translation: the user interface is simple and easy to navigate. Not only that, the catalog of content is always up-to-date and top-notch.

Delta 737-900 First Class video entertainment welcome screen
What is there to say about Delta Studio that I didn’t already say in my review of Delta 737-800 first class? Probably not a lot, but I’ll do my best to put a somewhat different spin on it. Here we go…
SANspotter reviewing Delta 737-900 first class video entertainment
One moment please. “Putting a different spin on it” requires checking to see if there’s anything different about Delta Studio since the last 15 times that I’ve reviewed it.
Delta 737-900 first class video entertainment selection screen
Nope, other than the catalog of content, not a gosh darn thing has changed (and that’s a good thing considering how much of a fan of Delta Studio I am).

It’s worth noting that screen size is excellent (though slightly smaller than the screens in Delta A321neo first class). They’re big enough IMHO.

Live TV, podcasts, games, and movies in Delta 737-900 first class
Live TV, podcasts, games, and a darn good selection of movies. Not bad considering that it wasn’t all that long ago when diarrhea, dysentery, and arrow wounds were all you could expect on a journey across North America.
Flight information screens in Delta 737-900 first class
We’ve come a long way since the 1850s. Not only will Delta Studio tell me the registration number of the aircraft that I’m on, it can also tell me (right down to the minute) when the state of Minnesota has to start putting up with my bulls**t.
Instructions on how to connect to free Wi-Fi on Delta anyone
“Connect to fast, free Wi-Fi.” Right on. I took them up on their offer, and I learned that the Wi-Fi isn’t exactly free. Messaging (and being able to stream the full catalog of TV shows and movies to a personal device) is free, but being able to browse the Internet is most certainly not.
Delta 737-900 first class audio and USB ports
FYI, both the 3.5mm audio jack and USB-A ports were “hotdog in a hallway” kind of loose. You’ve been warned.

One final note about in-flight entertainment: noise-canceling headphones are not provided. They do provide cheap little earbuds though. I do recommend bringing your own if that’s just not gonna do it for you.

The food

Warning: what I’m about to show you is not representative of all Delta 737-900 first class experiences. Meals are only served on flights 2 1/2 hours and longer. If your flight is shorter than that, you will only be served a drink and a snack.

Total flying time between Los Angeles and Minneapolis today was exactly 3 hours. We were served a full lunch (from a menu consisting of five different choices). I highly recommend making your choice ahead of time via the Delta website or mobile app to ensure that you get exactly what you want!

Delta first class menu QR code
Care to have a look at all the options for today’s lunch (which will assuredly no longer be available because you forgot to reserve your choice ahead of time)? Just scan the QR code on the screen.
Delta first class drink glass
FYI, you’ll have to fly American Airlines if you want a snack to go with that pre-departure drink. Delta ain’t got time for that sort of thing apparently.
Delta first class chicken salad lunch
I pre-ordered the chicken kale salad (despite Thai meatballs being on the menu). These are the kinds of idiotic things you’ll do as you get older!
Delta first class chicken kale salad with feta cheese
Then again, considering how processed (and salty) that chicken is, the meatballs couldn’t have been any worse I guess.
SANspotter eating lunch in Delta 737-900 first class
Processed or not, it was darn good stuff. The feta cheese saved it!
Delta air lines caramelized productions in-flight meals
Now I know why they switched to cheap-a** bottled water! This in-flight meal partnership with Caramelized Productions can’t be cheap.
Delta 737-900 first class lunch service bowl of fruit
Fruit. There’s always fruit.
Delta first class bell's cookie company
This cookie was my reward for scarfing down that dry chicken salad. And a mighty fine reward it was (even though it easily canceled out all that kale).

In summary, I found the quality (and quantity) of the food to be excellent. Delta has always done well with their first class meals, And this was no exception.

Seat comfort

The main benefit of these first class seats is how wide they are. If all you need is legroom, you’d probably be better off saving a few bucks and going for a Comfort + seat instead.

SANspotter sleeping in Delta 737-900 first class seat
Look. If I can sleep in these seats (or at least pretend to sleep well I take a selfie), it means that it’s comfortable(ish).

Sat recline is just OK IMHO. It’s not all that steep, but at least it prevents the person in front of you from reclining their seat right into your lap.

Delta 737-900 first class seat recline
Maybe it’s just because most of the people here in first class weren’t total a**holes today, but being on the receiving end of a reclined seat wasn’t all that bad.
Delta 737-900 first class seat comfort
Yup. This was every bit as comfortable as any other domestic Delta first class experience I’ve had in the past five years.

The descent and arrival into MSP

The flight attendant came through the cabin an hour prior to landing with the snack basket. Why the hell did I choose potato chips??

Delta 737-900 first class seat pre-landing potato chips snack anyone
Crap. Between this pre-landing snack and my post-lunch cookie, any benefit of that kale salad has been lost. Why does being unhealthy have to taste so dang good?

At least the scenery into the Minneapolis St. Paul area was pretty enough to distract me from the fact that I just scarfed down an entire bag of greasy potato chips. I love fall in the upper Midwest!

View of Minneapolis downtown skyline from the air
Minneapolis in sight! St. Paul? Still looking for that mofo…
Approaching the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport in the fall
The whereabouts of St. Paul not withstanding, it looks to be a beautiful Fall afternoon here in central Minnesota.
Touchdown at the Minneapolis St. Paul international airport
Welcome to Minneapolis St. Paul!
Taxiing to gate at the Minneapolis St Paul airport
We’ve arrived a full 17 minutes early by the way.
Gate F3 jet bridge MSP
What’s the opposite of fashionably late? Annoyingly early? Whatever it is, that’s what we were as we pulled up to gate F3.
Unbuckling seatbelt in Delta 737-900 first class
“To unbuckle your seatbelt, lift the flap and insert the metal end into the tube while pulling tight across your chest.”
Delta 737-900 first class passengers unbuckling seatbelts at the end of the flight
At least I think that’s what she said. I was too excited about being 17 minutes early to pay attention!
Delta 737-900 first class aisle
I’m outta here!
Delta 737-900 boarding door frame
Not that I would’ve been upset to spend 17 more minutes here or anything. This was a very decent domestic first class experience – which once again proves that Delta is pretty okay most of the time.

Pros and cons of Delta 737-900 first class

Despite what I said at the top of this review about this being a really hard first class product to write about, I enjoyed it. What can I say? Delta domestic first class is consistent. More specifically: consistently pretty good. It’s worth it if you’ve got the scratch.


  • There are five rows of first class seats on the DL 737-900. This means that your chances of an upgrade from economy class are higher than they would be on a smaller aircraft.
  • Seat width (and leg room) is pretty good. At the very least, it’s consistent with first class on other mainline domestic Delta aircraft.
  • The food! Who cares if you hate the 737 when the food is that good?


  • The fact that it’s such a large first-class cabin means that it’s going take a long time to be served if you’re seated in the very last row.
  • Noise canceling headphones would be nice. Just sayin’.
  • The 737-900 is an older generation aircraft, which means that the in-seat power and audio ports are well used (and loose). There’s no guarantee that the ones in your seat will work.

Comments (14)

  1. JCC

    October 16, 2023
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      October 17, 2023
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        October 17, 2023
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          October 17, 2023
  2. Luca

    October 18, 2023
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      October 18, 2023
  3. Peter

    October 20, 2023
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      October 22, 2023
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        November 14, 2023
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          November 15, 2023
  4. Christy

    October 23, 2023
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      October 23, 2023
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    October 23, 2023
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      October 23, 2023

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