Delta Air Lines 757-200 premium business class (Delta One) New York (JFK) to San Diego

Delta Air Lines 757-200 premium business class (Delta One) New York (JFK) to San Diego

01. Air Canada Express (Jazz) CRJ-900 economy class San Diego to Vancouver
02. SkyTeam lounge, YVR
03. Philippine Airlines 777-300ER business class Vancouver to New York (JFK)
04. Delta Air Lines 757-200 premium business class (Delta One) New York (JFK) to San Diego

When it comes to premium airline products such as Delta One, timing is everything in order to appreciate it to its fullest. If I hadn’t arrived into New York at 11pm feeling like an absolute zombie the night before, chances are pretty good that this review would be overly positive and you’d be totally sick of me gushing about how amazingly good Delta is by the time you got to the end. As a matter of fact, it’s likely you wouldn’t have even made it halfway through because I’d be gushing so hard that it’d be disgusting and you wouldn’t be able to hold back a “**** this Delta fanboy” or two before hitting the back button on your browser.

Consider yourself lucky that getting through JFK customs took a long time, the Fairfield Inn I stayed at was a dump, and I had to wake up at 5:30am in order to catch this flight to San Diego. I should have been feeling really thankful for having a seat in Delta One for the 5 hour flight home, but I was so tired and worn out that I didn’t have it in me to feel gushy. At all.

New York, NY (JFK) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Sunday, September 16, 2018
Aircraft: 757-231
Registration: N718TW
Duration: 4 hours 53 minutes
Seat: 3D (Delta One / business class)

757-200 side view
Delta Air Lines 757-200 side view illustration by (my other online brand). I’m just happy that Delta got rid of the early 2000’s “Wavy Gravy / Deltaflot” livery a long time ago, because this illustration would have taken at least six times as long if I had to figure out how to render it.
JFK-SAN route map with weather
Our route from JFK to SAN this morning: 3648N:10144W GBN J18 HOGGZ LUCKI1

I couldn’t really appreciate having a seat in Delta One in the moment, but now that it’s been two months and I’m sitting comfortably at home feeling the itch to hit the road again, I think it’s important to mention how appreciative I am of the fact that Delta is finally offering the Delta One product in San Diego.

It’s arguably one of the best business class products in the United States right now (not quite as good as the JetBlue Mint Suites though), and it’s so nice to be able to experience it locally without having to slog it up to LAX.

I’m especially thankful because I know that there’s a pretty good chance that Delta One at SAN never would have happened if jetBlue didn’t start Mint service from JFK last year (be sure to read my full JFK-SAN JetBlue Mint review). Delta saw that is a direct threat, and reacted appropriately by bringing their own premium business class product into San Diego to try and fend them off.

Luckily for us San Diegans, United Airlines wasn’t feeling very good about missing out on this premium traffic to the east coast either, so they jumped into this battle as well with their own daily lie flat business class service to EWR. American Airlines has yet to respond, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out.

Terminal 4 JFK entrance
Wait, what? Wasn’t I just here a few hours ago? As much as I enjoy being at airports, a few more hours of fetal-position sleep would have been nice.
Sky Priority express lane terminal 4 JFK
Well, would you look at that? A Sky Priority express lane! Don’t mind if I do…
Delta Air lines check in T4 JFK
The regular Delta check in counters looked fast and quick this morning too, but I’m totally doing the Sky Priority shortcut thing instead – only because I can.
Delta Sky Priority lane JFK T4
Where’s the paparazzi when you need them? Nobody even took my picture!
Sky Priority Lounge JFK terminal 4
A nice little mini-lounge adjacent to the dedicated Sky Priority check in area. Does jetBlue have any idea how badly Delta is kicking their butt here on the ground at JFK?
Sky Priority baggage drop T4 JFK
Never in my life have I wanted to check a huge bag onto an airplane as badly as I did today. This Sky Priority check in area is legit, but I had to blow right by it since I was already checked in with no bags to check. Thinking back on it, I wonder if they would have let me check in a shoe? Anything just to get the full Sky Priority experience.

Getting through the security checkpoint here at terminal 4 this morning was really easy, and it took no longer than 10 minutes to make it through to the other side. Compare that to my recent JetBlue experience at JFK (and the monstrously long security line I hand to wrangle myself through), and right from the beginning I was enjoying the Delta One experience a whole lot more. But it’s not like I’m keeping score or anything. Or am I?

Camden Food co terminal 4 JFK
Holy Mother of God – it’s the largest Camden Food Co I have ever seen! It’s twice as large as the one at SAN actually, and how I resisted the urge to get a Healthwhich this morning I’ll never know.

Making it through security so quickly and easily meant that I had plenty of time to spare before my flight to San Diego started boarding, but the Sky Club here in terminal 4 is one of the best in the world so that’s where I headed to see what I could scrounge up for breakfast.

Terminal 4 JFK
Do you have any idea how hard it is to walk right past the world’s largest Camden Food Co without even taking a quick peek inside? I’m en route to the Sky Club without a Healthwhich in hand, which says a lot about how good of a lounge it is.
JFK Sky Club
I walked a long way to get to this Sky Club, so there better be some decent food in here this morning.
Delta Sky Club jfk breakfast
Other than totally screwing up the toppings (too much parsley and not enough mango), breakfast was decent. I still don’t know what possessed me to throw a fistful of parsley on my eggs – I never use the stuff at home and I swear I can still taste the stuff two months later!
SANspotter selfie JFK Sky Club
Completely blown away that I didn’t have parsley hanging from my chin in this shot.
Delta Sky is Club jfk Airport
The nice thing about this lounge is how diverse it is – from large open rooms to secluded nooks and crannies such as this, it’s one of my favorite airport lounges in all the world.

After about an hour in the lounge, I went back out into the main terminal to do some walking and plane spotting. I highly recommend both at JFK – this is a huge airport with arguably the most diverse airline traffic in the world, so it’s never a dull moment wandering up and down the corridors here.

Sunrise at JFK
I clearly (fondly?) remember soiling myself with excitement back in my aviation photography days whenever then sun came up like this over an airport. This is the best light of the day for juicy #AvGeek pics!
Delta 757-200 sunrise JFK
Just a shot of my ride home to San Diego with a nuclear explosion popping off in the background. Carry on.
Virgin Atlantic codeshare flight to San Diego
I can’t wait ‘till the day when I board a Virgin Atlantic flight to San Diego that has a Delta codeshare flight number associated with it. Until then, this is as good as it gets.

As I was standing in the gate area oogling at the waitlist on the overhead display, I noticed that the Delta One cabin was very lightly booked this morning and that most of the occupants were on cleared upgrades. Lucky for them, especially on a longer flight to the West Coast such as this. I guess if there’s anything to be learned from this, it’s that the 8:30 AM Sunday morning flight to San Diego is a good one for the possibility of an upgrade.

This particular flight to San Diego was the first time that I had ever been in a Delta One configured 757, though I have had the opportunity to try Delta One on the 747-400, A330-300, 767-400, and the 767-300 over the years. Of those three, the 747-400 was my favorite. And just so you know, anytime a 747 is involved in some sort of competition in my mind, the 747 is always going to win. Always.

Anyway, now it’s time to see what the Delta 757-200 with lie flat seats is like…

Boarding flight to San Diego
This looks sketchy as hell (I mean, where’s the plane?!) but I had faith that the guy wearing the San Diego shirt knew exactly where he was going. Follow that man!
JFK glass jet bridge
If there’s one thing I really like about JFK (besides that huge Camden Food Co of course), it’s these really cool jet bridges.
Ex TWA delta 757
A brief pause to admire this old ex-TWA bird. Still lookin’ good after all these years!
Delta one 757 cabin
I wonder how much grease they had to use in order to squeeze all these big business class seats into this narrow 757? It’s a bit tight in here, but still totally comfortable. By the way, these are not the same seats that you’ll get on a Delta One equipped wide body aircraft. Delta One on the 767-400 (as well as A330-900 Delta One) is far superior IMHO.
Delta one 757 video screen
Downtime? Ha! I was simultaneously trying to get pics for this written trip report and footage for the video, so I can promise you that I wasn’t looking anywhere near as cool and collected as this guy.
Full size pillows and blankets delta one business class
Speaking of trying to gather content for my trip report(s), what the heck am I supposed to do with these monstrosities so they aren’t in every shot from this point forward?
Delta one 757 leg room
The answer, of course, is to hold them in my lap as tightly as possible so that you (the reader) can focus on the generous amounts of leg room and not the ridiculously large pillows and blankets Delta gives to every passenger here in Delta One. You’re welcome.
Delta one 757 seat review
Dang it. Looks like there’s a corner of the plastic wrapping of the pillow in the top right hand corner of this pic. This is proving to be my most challenging trip report of the year!

As much as I hate to admit it (if it isn’t obvious by now), my very first impression about the Delta One 757 seat was actually not about the seat at all. For the first 10 minutes or so, the only thing I could think about was how obnoxiously large and annoying the pillows and blankets were, and where I was going to put them so that they didn’t annoy the crap out of me. Now, don’t give me wrong – I’m a huge fan of full size blankets and pillows on long overnight flights, but are they really necessary for a short five hour flight out to the West Coast?

Delta one 757 power and USB ports
The cubby space behind the seat. Too small to stuff a full size blanket and pillow into unfortunately.
Delta one noise canceling headphones
You’re looking at the pillow on the floor, aren’t you? Focus on the noise canceling headphones!
Delta one tumi amenity kit
Complimentary Tumi amenity kits that match my jeans. Niiiice.

Breakfast menus were handed out while still at the gate, followed up just a few minutes later with the flight attendants coming through the aisles taking orders. And even though I pre-ordered a meal on the Delta website a few days prior, I still had the opportunity to choose anything I wanted – which was nice. For the record, I stuck with my original choice. Pics coming soon…

Delta one September 2018 breakfast menu
The Delta One menu. This is a high resolution pic btw, so click on it to see the larger version if you’re reading this trip report in a place where the people around you won’t look down on you for drooling.
Delta 757-200 safety card
The safety cards are never as exciting as the menus.
Virgin Atlantic 747 JFK airport
Pushing off the gate now and…I hope they see that 747 parked right there. Codeshare partner or not, I’d bet that Virgin Atlantic doesn’t want Delta scuff marks on their planes.
Delta 757 safety video
“As we leave the gate, we always look twice to avoid backing into a 747.” (I think that’s how it went)
Delta 757 engine and wing
Ready to roll.

There was a very long queue of airplanes trying to get out of JFK this particular morning, and the bad news is that we were stuck right in the middle of it. The good news is that I had a pretty good view of the action on runway 31L, so it was a steady stream of aircraft coming in going right outside my window which was perfectly fine by me. 30(ish) minutes later, it was finally our turn.

Delta one 757 review
Those of you who watched the video know exactly how many planes went by as we waited to depart. Sorry, no spoilers! You’re gonna have to watch it to find out…
Runway 31L JFK airport
It took us a while to get here, but 31L is all ours for the next two minutes. Let’r rip boys!
31L departure from JFK
To all the people who have snickered at me over the years for having “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins in a “Favorites” folder on my iPhone, I’d like to state for the record that it’s only for moments such as this. I promise I’m not listening to it in the car on the way to the grocery store.
JFK departure view of New York
The city of New York looming in the distance, looking as great as always and taunting me hard for not paying a proper visit this time.

It wasn’t until we were in the air with New York far behind us that I discovered that the USB port at my seat wasn’t working. Normally this wouldn’t have been such a big deal, but I still had my old iPhone 6s at that point (that wouldn’t hold a charge) so I had to be really careful about the number of pics that I took for this trip report.

Normally I’m snapping pictures of anything that moves (or looks like it’s going to move) for the entire flight, but I was going to have to be really strategic about how I handled this one. I mulled over my plan of attack while wiping my hands with a fresh hot towel.

Delta one hot towel
Wasting precious iPhone battery power on a pic of a dirty hot towel (which wasn’t even hot anymore).
New York to San Diego in flight map
Since the camera app is open and I’m already taking pics of pointless things, how about this snap of the in flight map showing us heading away from New York? Just trying to keep you all in a New York State of mind, that’s all (while secretly hoping that Billy Joel will read this post and pay me a generous affiliate commission for using that line. On second thought, knowing my luck, I’m bound to get sued for using the title of that song without permission. Or maybe I think too much and this caption has gone on far longer than it should have). Moving right along…
delta one entertainment remote control
And you thought I was trying to conserve battery power. Ha! The truth is, I can’t help but to take pics of everything on an airplane. Here’s the remote control!

The meal service started within 10 minutes of the flight attendants picking up the frigid remains of our hot towels, and once I finally saw my meal choice sitting in front of me I couldn’t help but to feel somewhat disappointed.

I am not a very big fan of eating sweet things for breakfast, but it seems like that was all that was on the menu this morning. Yes, there was an egg and meat option as well, but it looked awfully heavy and not something that I was in the mood for.

Delta one warm nuts
Warm. Spicy. Nuts. Sorry, I just can’t mention nuts without my mind falling into the gutter, so let’s just skip past this one before things get juvenile.
Delta one business class breakfast
Rice pudding drenched in maple syrup. Not exactly what I’d call a hearty breakfast, and I think I’d appreciate it more if it was dessert instead of the main course.
SANspotter selfie delta one business class 757
Too sweet or not, there’s no way I’m gonna pass up a free meal. Oh – and would you look at that? I found a good spot for the pillow and blanket!

Several episodes of Will & Grace helped to make the meal service go by in a flash, but the lack of sleep over the past 48 hours had finally caught up with me and it wasn’t hard to put the seat in a lie flat position and konk out for the next three hours or so. A very good and deep sleep it was.

Delta 757 wing and engine view
As if I wasn’t already tired enough, watching the spinny thing in the center of the engine was putting me into a trance. There’s no way I’m going to be able to stay awake all the way to San Diego.
Delta one 757 lie flat seat review
Watching other people sleep wasn’t helping me stay awake either.
SANspotter selfie delta one lie flat seats
Ok, I’ll admit it. These gigantic pillows and blankets ARE pretty nice after all, and if you’ll excuse me, I’m just moments away from a blissful AvGeek slumber.
In flight map New York to San Diego
Just in case you’re dying to know the exact location of where I konked out under those amazing Delta One blankets and pillows.

I woke up with one hour and seven minutes of flying time remaining, only because I had to use the bathroom really bad and there was no way I was going to be able to hold it all the way to San Diego. Unfortunately, the pilots were out of the cockpit at that exact moment and the flight attendants had the aisle blocked off with one of those big service carts.

Making this even more inconvenient was the fact that these particular Delta One seats are very low and the only way that I could see above them was to stand up slightly. I basically had to do the meerkat thing for 10 minutes or so, popping my head up and down over and over checking on the status of that cart blocking the aisle.

There was no hope of continued sleep by the time I got back to my seat, but the view out the window was starting to get really good and it had all of my attention all the way in. The approach into San Diego from out over the eastern desert of California is by far one of the most scenic flight paths in all of the United States in my opinion.

Southern California farm land
Woke up just in time to fly over the infamous farmland in the deserts of the eastern portion of southern California. What kind of alien crops are these that can withstand one of the hottest and driest places on earth?!
Salton sea flyover
Even weirder is the Salton Sea. This isn’t exactly the kind of place you’d expect to see a large body of water, and I can’t help but to wonder: alien water?
Returning home to San Diego airport
Another beautiful and flawless approach into San Diego. It’s fun to travel the world, no doubt, it I absolutely love coming home to this amazing city.
Delta 757-200 landing at SAN
Wheeeeee! Huge thanks to @geoffreyraposaspotting for nailing this awesome shot of me swooping into SAN just moments from touchdown.
Delta 757 arrival San Diego airport
The least they could have done was to park us at a prettier gate so that the non-San Diegans reading this trip report wouldn’t think “eewwww!” or anything.
Delta logo 757 interior
One last shot before I go. It was either this or a wadded up blanket and pillow.

So now that we’ve reached the end, the only thing I can really say about this premium business class experience is that I wish I would have appreciated it more at the time. Delta One is a remarkably good business class product, and it was easily one of the best domestic US flights that I have ever had in my life. However, coming down off the high of Philippine Airlines 777-300ER business class from YVR to JFK the day prior, then followed very quickly buy an exhaustingly short layover at JFK, this particular Delta one experienced went by in a seemingly wasted blur.

The good news is that the premium business class market here in the US is flaring up big time, and chances are pretty good that we’re going to be seeing more Delta One flights added in and out of San Diego in the near future. That’s just my opinion of course, but I’m sticking to it because Delta is serious about being #1 and they have the resources to make it happen. They just keep getting better and better in every way possible, and it’s not so far-fetched to think that they will be getting a lot more of my business over the coming years.

And on that really gushy note, this trip report has come to an end.

Comments (6)

  1. Andrew

    November 22, 2018
    • SANspotter

      November 23, 2018
  2. Charlotte

    June 5, 2019
    • SANspotter

      June 5, 2019
      • Charlotte

        June 28, 2019
        • SANspotter

          June 28, 2019

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