Delta 757-200 first class (what you can realistically expect)

Delta 757-200 first class (what you can realistically expect)

The opportunities to fly Delta 757-200 first class are getting rarer and rarer these days, which is precisely why I jumped at the chance to do it on a recent trip to the East Coast.

As expected, the interiors of the Delta 757-200s are nice enough to make you forget that it’s an aircraft that was designed in the late 1970s. There is modern mood lighting, large video screens at every seat, and pure white / virgin wall textures (free of cigarette smoke stains common on airplanes of that era).

The seats are pretty good too. I wouldn’t go as far as to call them “virgin” though, as these 757s have been around a while. I’m not even going to attempt to calculate the number of a***s they have cradled over the years.

DL1266
Atlanta, GA (ATL) – Richmond, VA (RIC)
Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Aircraft: 757-200
Registration: N544US
Duration: 1 hour 5 minutes
Seat: 4A (First Class)

Delta 757-200 side view
Delta 757-200 side view illustration by NorebboStock.com.
dl1266 flight track
Our route from Atlanta to Richmond this afternoon as DL1266.

My full review of Delta 757-200 first class from Atlanta to Richmond

I’m old enough to remember a time when the 757-200 was the go-to aircraft for long transcontinental flights. Delta still uses them for flights out to the West Coast occasionally, but they have been mostly relegated to shorter flights along the East Coast. In this review, I will be documenting my recent short-but-sweet flight from Atlanta to Richmond, VA.

Arrival at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

I arrived at ATL via Delta A321 first class from San Diego. We parked at the T gates, with just under 2 hours to spare before the scheduled departure to Richmond. For those of you unfamiliar with how long of a layover you need in Atlanta, that’s almost too much time. But you know me. I made the best of it.

Underground walkway at ATL
Walking the entire length of the underground walkway is the best way to kill time here at ATL. It’ll also probably kill you if you’re not in shape, so attempt it at your own risk. It’s long!
Concourse A Atlanta airport
The individual concourses aren’t any safer. With people moving in every direction (usually at high speed), my advice is to wait for a hole to appear, and then merge into traffic with caution. Just like they taught you in drivers ed.
Walking down the A concourse at the ATL airport
I’ve successfully merged into the flow of traffic! My exit is coming up soon though, so I’m not out of danger yet…
Gate A24 ATL airport
I made it! Gate A24 is where my flight to Richmond will be departing today (assuming the ‘ol 757 assigned to this segment is up for the challenge).
Delta 757-200 gate A24 ATL
Speaking of old 757s, this is the airplane taking me to Richmond this afternoon. Hmm…something about this one looks familiar…
SANspotter selfie gate A24 ATL
Using every last brain cell available to try and think where I’ve seen this airplane before…
N544US delta 757-200 ATL gate a24
I got it! N544US is an ex-Northwest Airlines aircraft, and according to my flight log, I flew on it October 4, 2002 between Detroit and Minneapolis. Always nice to see an old friend.

The boarding process for flight number 1266 to Richmond

Prior to this flight, it had been 5 long years since my last Delta 757-200 experience (which just so happened to be a ride on one of the Delta One 757 aircraft). It’s not like I’ve been purposefully avoiding these aircraft or anything. It’s just that they’ve been replaced by newer aircraft on the routes that I typically fly.

Anyway, the boarding process started right on time, and there was no cussing or fist fights as everyone tried to secure their place in line. So far so good.

Delta ATL-RIC first class boarding pass
How much you wanna bet that I was the only passenger who took a photo of his mobile boarding pass before this flight?
Delta first class boarding process ATL airport
Even if I wasn’t the only one, I’d bet everything I have that I was the only person to do it twice.
Delta jet bridge gate a24 ATL airport
“That weirdo who was taking pictures of his boarding pass is freaking me out!” 
Boeing 757-200 up close
Now here’s something I haven’t seen in a while! It’s nice to be up close and personal with a Boeing 757-200 again.
Boeing 757-200 boarding door
Guess what the best part about flying first class on a 757 is?
Delta air lines 757-200 first class galley
Turning left instead of right. It’s a real shame they don’t make single-aisle aircraft like this anymore.

My first impressions of the latest Delta 757-200 first class seats

Even though it had been almost 8 years since my last domestically-configured Delta 757-200 first class experience, I stepped onboard this aircraft already knowing what to expect. Delta Air Lines is the absolute master of fleet consistency.

Remember my Delta 737-800 first class review? I don’t mean to spoil the surprise, but what I’m about to show you is going to look nearly identical. And that’s a good thing, because I quite enjoyed that experience.

Delta 757-200 first class cabin
Upon first glance, you’d never even know that this was an aircraft designed in the 1970s. This first class cabin looks great!
Delta 757-200 first class seats
Never mind that it’s 2:55pm and the video screen says “good morning”. These first class seats look good enough to make me forget about the kind of pesky electronic gremlins severe enough to cancel a flight. I’m staying positive.
Delta 757-200 first class leg room
Leg room: decent. Crotch shot: I’m sorry.
Delta 757-200 first class video screens
Imagine traveling back in time to the late 1970s and showing Boeing engineers this picture. Flat panel video screens at every seat on a 757!? It’d blow their minds.
Delta 757-200 first class audio and USB ports
They’d be happy to see audio jacks as well. Have fun trying to explain to them what a USB port is though. 
Delta 757-200 first class
If I’m being honest, I’m neither impressed nor disappointed so far. Delta is so freaking consistent with their domestic first class interiors that it’s really hard to differentiate this from any other aircraft in their fleet. That’s a good thing, so I guess this means I’m “satisfied.”
Delta first class small water bottle pre departure drink
They serve the same water too. I’m still 100% convinced that this is just tap water from the men’s room in the basement of their corporate office here in Atlanta, but I appreciate the effort.
Delta 757-200 first class cabin view from seat 4A
In Delta’s defense, it is technically morning somewhere in the world right now.
Delta 757-200 first class seat details
Despite how critical I might seem in this review so far, I’m quite enjoying this. It’s really nice to see Delta preserving these old 757s so well!

The departure out of Atlanta

I was having major flashbacks as we pushed off the gate and taxied out to the runway. 10 years ago, a Delta 757 out of Atlanta usually meant a trip out to the West Coast (for me anyway). They’ve become horribly inefficient for that sort of thing unfortunately, so Delta seems to be restricting them to shorter flights closer to home.

Which is a shame, because 757s were pretty much everywhere just as I was spreading my wings as a frequent flyer. That’s why I was very much looking forward to experiencing a 757-200 takeoff again – just for old times sake.

Pushback back from gate a24 ATL
Pushing back from the gate is hitting me with all sorts of fun nostalgia. It’s been far too long since I’ve last experienced a 757-200.
Delta 757-200s at ATL
Which is entirely my fault, because as you can see, the 757-200 is still very much a core part of the Delta fleet.
Delta 757-200 first class video screen welcome message
Enough with the “good morning” crap. It’s 3:17pm!
Taxiing to runway delta 757-200 ATL airport
If my video screen doesn’t know what time it is, I can only imagine what the flight control computers are thinking up in the cockpit.
Takeoff from ATL delta 757-200
Another 757! Now I’m really starting to feel guilty about going so long since my last flight on one of these things. They’re not exactly rare. Yet.
Taking off from the Atlanta airport in a delta 757-200
Assuming the flight control computers are as confused as I think they are, we will be arriving in Tampa at 10:45am. Right on schedule.

In-flight entertainment

Remember what I was saying about this first class experience being nearly identical to my other recent Delta first class experiences? The same thing applies to in-flight entertainment. The seats on the 757 feature the same video entertainment system that can be found on all other domestically-configured aircraft in the Delta fleet.

Delta 757-200 first class video entertainment Home Screen
Let’s see what this baby’s got…

Large and extremely responsive video screens help to make these crusty old 757s seem modern and new. You’d really never know how old these aircraft really are simply by swiping through all of the video and TV entertainment options. Unless you’re a hard-core AvGeek like I am. Then you would know for sure, and you’d try your best not to think about it.

Delta Studio screens
There’s really not anything bad to say about Delta Studio. Even those with a severe attention deficit disorder will find something interesting to watch.
Delta Studio bugs
It wasn’t perfect though, as the in-flight map wouldn’t load. Which isn’t surprising considering this airplane thinks it’s still 8:30am.
Delta Studio flight information screen
At least the flight information screen was working. It shows the tail number of the aircraft for crying out loud, so you’re darn right I watched this all the way to Richmond.
Delta 757-200 WiFi
Oh – there is WiFi as well (for a fee), so it’s relatively easy to stay connected in-flight.

The food

Total flying time from Atlanta to Richmond was 1 hour and 5 minutes. This is far beneath the 2 1/2 hour threshold that Delta uses to determine whether or not there will be actual food served. Because of how short our flight was, all we got was drinks and snacks.

Delta first class water
The snack service on today’s flight began with a round of drinks. I like tap water, ok?
Delta first class snack
I went rogue and chose something other than Biscoff cookies.
SANspotter delta air lines first class snack
I should have went with the cookies.
SANspotter delta air lines first class drink
No regrets on the water though. Cheers!

On flights over 2 1/2 hours in length, you can expect a full meal service with several options to choose from. And they’re all really good too. Here are a few examples from some of my recent Delta domestic first class flights:

Delta domestic first class food
If there’s one thing Delta does right, it’s domestic first class food. It behooves you greatly to fly Delta first class on flights longer than 2.5 hours!

How comfortable are these seats on longer flights?

A short flight from Atlanta to Richmond is hardly the opportunity to assess how comfortable a seat is for longer flights. However, since I’ve done plenty of longer flights in the same exact seats on other aircraft, I can assure you that they are decently OK.

Delta 757-200 first class comfort
No, it’s nowhere near as comfortable as Delta One on the A330-900, but 757-200 first class ain’t all that bad.

There’s no lumbar support in these seats to speak of, but the materials are squishy enough to be somewhat comfortable. For most people, that’s all that really matters. Oh, and seat recline is decent as well. It actually helps to alleviate some of my lower back issues.

The descent and arrival into Richmond

I love flying into new-to-me airports. Yes, Richmond isn’t all that far from Washington DC (a place I’ve been to many times), but it’s always fun to add another airport to my flight log. If anything, it helps to make me look more authoritative and experienced than I really am. lol…

That said, it was a beautiful afternoon for our arrival into Richmond Virginia.

The descent into Richmond Virginia
They say that Virginia is for lovers. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for something interesting…
Flying over Virginia
I’m not seeing any public displays of affection yet (but I will say that Virginia is beautiful this time of year).
Landing at the Richmond airport
Welcome to Richmond!
Delta 757-200 pulling up to gate RIC airport
Pulling up to the gate, and all I can think about is how creepy the “Virginia is for lovers” slogan is. What do they mean by that exactly?
Delta 757-200 arrival at RIC
My mind goes to dark places relatively easily, so I can’t say that I’m not at least a little worried about being greeted by a touchy-feely intern from they Mayor’s office once inside the terminal building. Uh oh.
Delta 757-200 first class seats row 5
Oh well. Whatever happens, I’ll still be really happy to have had the opportunity to fly first class on the Delta 757-200 again.
Delta 757-200 main boarding door
This is a huge improvement over the old Delta 757-200 first class, and it’s nice to see them working so hard to keep these airplanes in top-notch condition.
Richmond airport jet bridge
Potential awkward “lover” moment in 3…2…
Richmond airport delta gates
…1! (Or not)
Delta 757-200 parked at gate Richmond airport
Thankfully, the only “love” I felt after stepping into the terminal was getting one last look at this 757. It’s such a beautiful airplane, and I’m going to try my best to fly on these things a lot more often before they’re retired for good. “Try” being the key word…

Pros and cons of Delta Air Lines 757-200 first class

Even though the first class seats on the Delta 757-200 are exactly the same as you’ll find on other domestically-configured Delta aircraft, I like these the most. The 757 is truly unique. They don’t make airplanes like this anymore, which is a real shame, because it’s an absolute pleasure to fly on. 

Pros

  • First class on the Delta 757-200 feels a bit like international business class. This is because you’ll turn left as you board the aircraft, as opposed to turning right. Basically, it’s fancy pants people to the left, common plebs to the right.
  • The interiors are so well-maintained that most people would never even realize how old these 757-200 really are.
  • Leg room is decent, the video screens are awesome, and seat recline is pretty good.
  • Since the 757 is larger than other domestically-configured aircraft in the Delta fleet, it flies a lot smoother in turbulent air. This is a great airplane to choose for a long transcontinental flight. It’s also a good airplane for nervous first time fliers.

Cons

  • The main problem with flying first class on the 757-200 is the higher probability of delays and cancellations. Remember – these are some of the oldest aircraft in Delta‘s fleet, and they require a lot more maintenance.
  • Because of how large of an aircraft it is, the boarding process will take longer. Yes, first class passengers get to board first, but you’ll have to wait much longer as they fill the rest of the airplane.

Comments (2)

  1. Peter

    August 31, 2022
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      August 31, 2022

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