Delta A321neo first class: you absolutely have to try this!

Delta A321neo first class: you absolutely have to try this!

It’s not very often that we get to see an airline here in the US completely reinvent a product category. And when it happens, it’s usually a pretty big deal. After flying Delta A321neo first class to Boston (and back) recently, I can indeed confirm that their all new domestic first class product *is* a pretty big deal.

The seats are extremely stylish, spacious, and most importantly…private(ish). Having flown nearly 5000 miles in those seats in 24 hours, I have very few criticisms.

But you know me. it wouldn’t be a SANspotter-style airline review without some good old-fashioned whining.

DL573
Boston, MA (BOS) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Wednesday, July 20, 2022
Aircraft: A321-271NX
Registration: N501DA
Duration: 5 hours 28 minutes
Seat: 3A (First Class)

Delta A321neo side view
Delta A321neo side view illustration by NorebboStock.com.
DL573 flight track
Our route from Boston to San Diego this evening as DL573.

The video

Plot twist! Even though what you’re about to read is a full review of my experience on a flight from Boston to San Diego, the video I made about Delta A321neo first class was actually from my San Francisco to Boston experience (the day prior). Those experiences were nearly identical (other than the airports), so I’ll include that video here:

Looks pretty good doesn’t it? Even before getting to the review about my Boston to San Diego segment below, I can already tell you that I’m a really big fan of what Delta is doing these days.

As always, the music for my airline review videos comes from my buds over at Epidemic Sound. The title of the first track in this video is “Big Big Man” by Bonkers Beat Club. The track for the second half was “Love You On The Inside” by Lvly.

My full review of Delta A321neo first class from Boston to San Diego

Right off the bat, it’s probably a good idea to let you know that Delta A321neo first class is not good enough to be the best domestic first class product in the US.

Yeah, it’s a huge improvement over regular Delta A321 first class, but the JetBlue Mint Suites are still the best (by a freaking long shot). Those are fully lie flat business class seats however, so it’s not really all that fair of a comparison. With that out of the way, let’s get to the nitty gritty:

Arrival at Terminal A at the Boston Logan International Airport

Delta Air Lines uses Terminal A at the Boston Logan International Airport. It’s a stunningly beautiful terminal, though a bit on the small side.

View of downtown from Boston Logan airport
The initial caption I was going to use for this pic was “Uniquely Boston!” But then I remembered that the airport I’ll be flying to today is located in a downtown metropolitan area as well. Who copied who?
Delta air lines check in terminal A Boston Logan airport
The views of the Delta check in area here at BOS are a wee less stunning. Yup, the airport I’m flying to today has this beat.

I arrived approximately 3 hours before boarding for my flight to San Diego was scheduled to begin – which is something I don’t recommend. I was far too early, but I used that time to catch up on email while filling my belly with the finest food that BOS has to offer. In Terminal A at least.

Terminal A Boston Logan airport
I promise not to compare every single part of BOS to SAN in this review, but…Terminal A at BOS is better than Terminal 2 West at SAN. Neener neener.
BOS terminal A interior
Terminal A is really nice, but it’s a little small IMHO. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if I now hold the world record for the number of times walked from end to end in a single afternoon.
SANspotter selfie Boston Logan airport terminal A
It’s not a very aspirational record to hold, I know, but I’ll take what I can get.
BOS terminal A asymmetrical architecture
And before y’all castrate me for saying that BOS is better than SAN, this is the evidence I am presenting to defend what I said. I love SAN, but asymmetrical architecture is an automatic win.

The boarding process for flight number 573 to San Diego

Typical. The earlier I arrive at the airport for my flight, the greater chances are of it being delayed. Today was no exception. The plane arrived right on time, but they sure took their sweet *** time preparing it for the flight back to San Diego. By the time they got things sorted out, the total delay was about 30 minutes. That’s not too bad I guess.

Gate A7 Boston airport
Gate A7. “A Tiempo” my a**.
Delta A321neo n501DA Boston Logan airport
Better late than never I guess. Turns out it’s the exact same plane I flew from SFO to BOS yesterday!
Delta pink first class boarding pass
I don’t want to get ahead of myself here, but all I’m going to say is that having a hot pink Delta boarding pass for the A321neo is so worth it. No scrolling ahead!
Delta gate A7 BOS
You’re lucky this is just a blog and I’m only showing you the highlights, because I can assure you that this part wasn’t very exciting.
Boston airport gate a7 jet bridge
“Finally, I didn’t think I’d ever get on this plane tonight!”
Delta A321neo boarding door
*sigh*
Delta A321neo close up
While we wait, here’s a close up pic of this beautiful A321neo.
Delta A321neo boarding door frame
We meet again, N501DA.

A closer look at the all new Delta A321neo first class seats

I saw a lot of pictures of these new seats online before this trip to Boston, and I’m here to tell you that pictures don’t do these things justice. Long story short, these new seats are a game changer. They’re hardly what I would call perfect (no domestic first class seat is) but it’s a giant step in the right direction for Delta and the US airline industry as a whole.

Delta A321neo first class cabin
That ceiling! Those seats! Yeah, I know that I’m probably a little too excited about this, but come on – it’s not very often we get an all new domestic first class product here in the US. Let me enjoy this!
Delta A321neo first class seats
Oh **** yeah. I haven’t even sat down yet, but I declare Delta A321neo first class seats to be worth the expletives.
Delta A321neo first class seat back
And now that I’m sitting: holy ****!
Delta A321neo first class seat space
For what it’s worth, having already flown on this exact same aircraft (in nearly the exact same seat) the day prior, the expletives I’m spewing today are just as sincere. I really like these new seats!
Delta A321neo first class leg room
Leg room is decent. It’ll do.
Delta A321neo first class headrests
By far the most controversial part of these new seats are the winged headrests. As a solo traveler who craves privacy, I’m a big fan.
Delta A321neo first class headrest privacy
Here’s a better perspective showing how much privacy the headrests provide. As well as undisputed proof that my nose hair trimming skills are on point. 
Delta A321neo first class seat dividers
There are also dividers between the seats that do a pretty nice job of increasing privacy. However, you probably won’t like these if you get a kick out of watching passengers in the row in front of you scrolling through the list of all the people who liked their last social media post. 
Delta A321neo first class USB ports and electrical outlets
Located at the very back of these dividers (just above the arm rest) are USB ports and electrical outlets.
Delta A321neo first class seat details
Honestly, all the little details (like storage bins and mood lighting) makes me think that Delta is dead set on being the best airline in the world (again). They were starting to get off track for a bit, but gosh darn it, I think they mean business now.
Delta A321neo first class passengers
Maybe he’s watching a SANpotter video? God I hope not.

The departure out of Boston

The nice thing about being delayed slightly was that it provided better lighting opportunities to capture the departure. Of course I was on the side of the aircraft that was facing directly into the sun, but it was still a beautiful evening in Boston nonetheless.

It also goes without saying that the Boston Logan International Airport offers some of the finest plane spotting around. There’s a really nice variety of airline traffic here.

Views of Boston airport taxi to runway
Wicked good views! (That’s how you’re supposed to say it in this part of the country, right?)
View of Boston skyline from airport
Whether or not I got the “wicked” thing right, the views of the Boston skyline on the taxi out to the runway were worth coming all this way for.
Departing Boston Logan airport
Just be glad we’ll be getting out of here before seeing any lobsters (or cars). I could have had lots of fun with “labstah” and “cah” captions I think. 
Takeoff from Boston Logan airport
And we’re off! So long Boston. I promise not to wait so long before my next visit.
Delta A321neo engine and wing view from seat 3A
Right click, save as…

In-flight entertainment

One of the best things about the first class seats on the Delta A321neo are the integrated video screens. These are much larger than what you would find in first class on the Delta 737-800, for example.

They also feel slightly more responsive, which does a lot to help with the overall user experience. Not that the user experience was bad before or anything, as Delta Studio has always been stocked full of great movie and TV options.

Delta A321neo first class in flight entertainment
Delta Studio is awesome on the A321neo! It’s basically the polar opposite of the American Airlines A321neo first class experience. #shotsfired
Delta A321neo first class movies and tv shows
I already know what I’m going to watch (Ballers), but I need to at least pretend like I’m scrolling though all the options for the review.

Another really nice thing about the entertainment system on the A321 neo is that it has Bluetooth connectivity. This means that you can connect your wireless headphones or earbuds to it (which will sound a lot better than the wired earbuds that Delta provides). In-flight Wi-Fi is available for an additional fee on most flights.

Delta A321neo first class Bluetooth
Bluetooth connectivity? Don’t mind if I do.
Delta A321neo first class wired earbuds
However, this review wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t tell you how crappy the complimentary wired earbuds are.
Delta A321neo first class video entertainment
They are crappy.

The food

Things weren’t looking very good during the pandemic, as Delta was one of the last airlines to bring back real food to domestic first class.

I’m happy to report that the meals I received on both the San Francisco to Boston segment as well as this Boston to San Diego segment were both spectacular. At least by domestic first class standards. It’s nice to see Delta reign supreme once again when it comes to quality food!

Delta air lines domestic first class poke bowl
The fact that I turned down the chicken and rice option for this poke bowl says a lot about how daring I was feeling this evening.
Delta air lines domestic first class dinner
Whoa. This actually looks halfway fresh. How’d they do that??
Delta air lines domestic first class dessert
I have no idea what this is (cheesecake maybe?), but…I am going to absolutely destroy it once I’m finished with the salmon.
Delta air lines domestic first class fruit bowl
And let’s not forget the fruit bowl. Leftovers from this morning’s breakfast service perhaps?
SANspotter selfie delta A321neo first class
Whether or not I actually started with the dessert will remain my little secret.
Delta first class fresh poke
By the way, the poke bowl was good, but they’d probably be barred from ever flying to Hawaii again if they tried serving this anywhere along the North Shore of Oahu. It was easily the most “white boy” poke bowl I’ve ever eaten lol.

How comfortable is the all new delta domestic first class seat on longer flights?

My San Francisco to Boston segment was 4 hours and 58 minutes. The Boston to San Diego segment clocked in at 5 hours and 28 minutes. I spent a grand total of 10 hours and 26 minutes in these seats over the span of two days, and I’m happy to say that they’re actually fairly comfortable.

They’re obviously not as comfortable as a Delta One Suite on the A330-900neo, but the generous seat recline (combined with the privacy panels) makes a big difference.

Delta A321neo first class seat comfort
Quite possibly the most comfortable domestic first class experience I’ve had in a good long while.
Sleeping in Delta A321neo first class
Perhaps I was distracted by trying to decide if what I ate earlier could truly be classified as a poke bowl, but…I think I can still feel my legs!
Watching a movie in Delta A321neo first class
lol at American Airlines and how they configured first class on their brand new airplanes.
Delta A321neo first class passenger privacy
Fun fact: the person in 2B could be picking their nose and you wouldn’t even know it thanks to the privacy panels between the seats.
Window view delta A321neo
At least they didn’t block the views to the outside though. I’ll quit flying the day that happens.

The arrival into San Diego

It’s been a long time since I’ve reached the end of a long transcontinental US flight where my back wasn’t absolutely killing me. Maybe it was the adrenaline of trying the all new Delta domestic first class for the first time, but if I could’ve easily gone another few hours before waving the white flag.

Delta A321neo first class lavatory
I probably could have waited to use the loo until we landed, but…
Delta A321neo first class lavatory trash bin
…I just had to show you the pedal-activated trash bin thingy. Why didn’t we think of this sooner??
Delta first class pre landing snack
A blurry pic of my nuts (served just prior to landing).
Looking out the window of a delta A321neo
Hold on. We’re not there yet! That’s actually the lights of eastern Tijuana down there.
View of San Diego and Tijuana at night
If you can peel your eyes away from the hypnotic beauty of the Pratt & Whitney GTF engine for a sec, It’s actually really easy to spot the US / Mexico border from here. Tijuana is far more populated than southern San Diego is!
Landing at SAN in a delta A321neo
Welcome home to San Diego!

Despite our delay getting out of Boston earlier in the evening, we actually landed in San Diego just a few minutes behind schedule.

Delta 757-200 thank you plane San Diego airport
The taxi over to Terminal 2 west wasn’t all that exciting, but…at least we got to see something interesting parked right next to us. Thank you!
Delta A321neo first class parked at gate
I think I was unconscious by this point, but I somehow remembered to get the “everyone stand up and grab your bags” pic. It wouldn’t be a SANspotter review without it I guess.
Underseat storage delta A321neo first class
Muscle memory must’ve been kicking in, as I can’t recall taking this pic either. 
Delta A321neo first class aisle
Is this even my bag? Who cares. What a great flight!
SANspotter arriving at San Diego airport
Ok, I’m officially spent. San Diego to Boston and back in 2 days is a grind (even in first class) and I’m sick of taking pictures!
Delta A321neo gate 47 San Diego airport
Or not. Now I’m done!

Pros and cons of Delta A321neo first class

There’s a lot to like about these new seats. I’m especially glad that I didn’t read or watch any reviews of this product beforehand, because I truly got to experience it for the first time without any preconceived ideas of what it really is. The following is my list of pros and cons as (exactly how I experienced them):

Pros

  • The privacy features of these seats (headrest wings and seat dividers) are a blessing to solo travelers such as myself.
  • The video screens are amazing! They don’t get washed out in bright sunlight, and the responsiveness is exactly like what you would expect with a high-end tablet device.
  • Having the ability to connect your wireless headphones to the entertainment system via Bluetooth is extremely convenient.
  • Seat recline is very generous. It wasn’t difficult to find a comfortable position with just a tickle of the recline button.
  • Although this isn’t specific to the A321neo, it’s worth noting that Delta Air Lines domestic first class food is fantastic. It’s not quite as good as what you would get in JetBlue Mint, but it’s close.

Cons

  • The wings on the headrests might be annoying to couples traveling together. You’ll have to lean forward slightly to have a conversation.
  • Leg room isn’t any better than it is in first class on any other Delta aircraft. If you’re in the window seat and you want out, the person in the aisle seat is going to have to get up as well.

Comments (2)

  1. Peter

    August 5, 2022
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      August 5, 2022

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