Delta One 767-400 review: A bad experience in a fantastic seat

Delta One 767-400 review

If the only thing you read in this entire Delta One 767-400 review is the first paragraph, know this: it’s a fantastic business class product on a really nice airplane. Not only that, I’m fairly certain that it may be my favorite business class seat of any US airline.

Still with me? Good. That’s because it’s also important to let you know that this was far from being the best premium airline experience I’ve ever had. The 767-400 Delta One seat is very good, but there were a lot of things about the service on this flight that had me feeling a bit frustrated. Actually, a lot frustrated.

Warning: AvGeek drama ahead.

DL388
San Diego, CA (SAN) – New York, NY (JFK)
Thursday, August 19, 2021 Friday, August 20, 2021
Aircraft: 767-432/ER
Registration: N840MH
Duration: 5 hours 7 minutes
Seat: 6A (Delta One / business class)

Delta Air Lines 767-400 side view
Delta Air Lines 767-400 side view illustration by Norebbo.com
dl388 flight track
Our route from San Diego to New York today as DL388

The video

I’ve been creating airline review videos since 2016, and making one about the all new Delta One 767-400 business class product has been a top priority of mine for the past few years. Unfortunately, I may have set my expectations a bit too high, because this wasn’t the experience I thought it was going to be.

For what it’s worth, the video captures more of my frustrations about Delta One than this written review does. It’s easier to complain in spoken word I guess…

Thanks as always to my pals over at Epidemic Sound for supplying the soundtrack for this video. “Restless” by Kadant is the title of the first track, and “Good Habits” by Dylan Sitts is the title of the second.

This Delta One 767-400 business class review didn’t go as well as I expected

If you’ve been reading sanspotter.com for a while, you’ll know that this isn’t the first time that I’ve flown on a Delta 767-400 in or out of San Diego.

The first time was a flight from Atlanta to San Diego in December 2016. The second time was a flight to Atlanta in December 2018. Both times were in economy class. More importantly, this was before the interiors of those 767-400s had been updated with the newest seats in all cabins.

Both were mediocre experiences, and because of that, I was very much looking forward to seeing the newest interior on the 767-400.

My arrival at the airport

With a schedule departure time of 12:55 PM, I figured that arriving at the airport at around 10 AM would be perfect. It would give me plenty of time to walk around to get the footage I needed for the video, as well as to check out the Delta Sky Club (located in Terminal 2 West).

San Diego airport palm trees
Goodbye palm trees. You will be missed.
Terminal 2 main entrance San Diego airport
Who am I kidding? Walking into the main entrance of Terminal 2 (knowing that I get to try the new Delta One for the first time) is a fantastic way to forget about palm trees.
Terminal 2 rotunda San Diego airport
Well that’s awkward. More palm trees at 10 o’clock.
Delta check in area terminal 2 SAN
Obligatory pic of the Delta check in area here at SAN. I had a mobile boarding pass with no bags to check, so this was just a formality.
Terminal 2 west interior San Diego airport
Somewhere down there is the gate for the flight to JFK. Since the entrance to the Sky Club is behind me, this is as far as I’m willing to go.
Delta Sky Club terrace San Diego
I’ve already reviewed the Delta Sky Club at SAN (it’s easily one of the best San Diego Airport lounges), so all I’m going to say it’s that’s it’s still as beautiful and cramped as it used to be.
SANspotter selfie delta Sky Club San Diego airport
Cheers to me for opting for a banana instead of the scrambled eggs and sausage. San Diego airport food is really good, but it’s always a struggle to stay healthy in this place.

After hanging out in the Sky Club for a bit, I headed down to the gate approximately 30 minutes before boarding was scheduled to begin.

Delta 767-400 San Diego
My ride to JFK today! That was the plan anyway.
Gate 45 San Diego airport
No, I’m not feeling impatient all all. I always take pics of open boarding doors at the airport!

They canceled the flight. Dang it!

Everything was looking good right up until about five minutes before they started the boarding process. The boarding door was open and ready, and it looked as if they were just moments away from welcoming the first group of passengers onboard.

Delay number 1

Suddenly, out of nowhere, they announced that the flight would be delayed until 6:45 PM. Ouch. The gate agent tried to soften the blow by telling everyone that there was a chance that the mechanics could fix the issue quickly and we’d be able to board in an hour and a half.

Delta flight delay San Diego airport
Well that stinks. What am I going to do for the next 6 hours?

Delay number 2

True to her word, she made another announcement exactly an hour and a half later. It wasn’t good news. The flight was now delayed until 7:20 AM the next morning. Double ouch. I had no choice but to go home and try to figure out how I was going to salvage the rest of my trip to New York…

SANspotter lying down canceled flight
I must have looked totally dejected lying here, hoping (praying) that there’d be an announcement saying they they made a mistake and that we’d be boarding soon. It never happened.

The boarding process for flight number 388 to New York

See what I did there? I just spared you all the profanity I was muttering to myself between the time that I went home and came back to the airport the next morning. You came here looking for a Delta 767-400 business class review, so gosh dang it, let’s get on with it.

All you really need to know is that I decided not to cancel the trip, and I was back at the airport bright and early ready to get the show on the road. Or in the air. But you know what I mean.

Gate 48 terminals 2 SAN
Lots of familiar faces here at gate 48 this morning, and quite frankly, I was relieved to see that I wasn’t the only one wearing the same clothes I was wearing yesterday.
Delta one boarding pass
Let’s just hope yesterday’s boarding pass still works. They never issued me a new one, so l’m plowing forward with this.
Boarding delta flight 388 to JFK
A subtle reminder to watch the video I made about this flight.
Delta 767-400 boarding door
Why is that arrow on the ground pointing me away from the boarding door? Is there something I need to know before I step aboard this airplane?

My first impressions of the 767-400 Delta One business class seat

If there’s anything that will turn my frown upside down, it’s the site of the signature-white Delta One business class cabin. It looks especially fantastic on the 767-400.

Not only that, it goes without saying that my frustration level had been reduced by at least half by getting a glimpse of what I was about to experience for the next five hours.

Delta One cabin 767-400
Well, this is a sight for sore eyes. The Delta One cabin on the 767-400 looks amazing!
Delta one seat 767-400
Seat 6A. One of the best Delta One seats on the 767-400, and it’s all mine for today’s flight to JFK.
Delta one 767-400 leg room
Everyone else around me must have thought that I was taking a pic of my shoes. Little did they know that I’m actually an airplane dork with an equally dorky blog.
Delta one cabin
Actually, I don’t think anyone would care about my blog anyway. I wouldn’t either, considering how nice Delta One is.
Delta one seat details
If only my mind was this clean and organized.
Delta one noise canceling headphones
I’ll get a lot of use out of these bad boys for sure. These noise canceling headphones look nice!
Delta one seat controls and power ports
Delta One seat controls and power ports. I’m totally gonna smash the **** out of the “relax” button once we reach cruising altitude.
Delta one seat buttons
An additional set of controls are located lower in the sidewall (for easier reach after you’ve smashed the **** out of the “relax” button).
SANspotter selfie Delta One 767-400
Practicing smashing the **** out of the you-know-what.
Delta one logo in headrest
The Delta One logo embossed into the headrest. Don’t worry – I’ll spare you the pic of my butt print embossed into the seat cushion after we land.
Delta one video screens
The video screens! More about these later…

Is Delta One the same as first class?

One of the questions I got shortly after posting some of these pictures on my Instagram account was from somebody asking if Delta One is the same as first class. It’s a really good question actually.

Delta One is Delta’s best seat. It’s a very competitive business class seat designed for long-haul international flights, and it is installed on all of Delta’s wide-body aircraft. There are some 757s in the Delta fleet which feature a seat with the Delta one name, but the seats are not the same. If you’re curious to know what that’s like, do be sure to read my Delta One 757-200 review.

Delta one business class
Who needs first class with seats like this? Just as 50 is the new 40, business class is the new first class!

Delta One is offered primarily on international flights, but they do offer it on a select number of domestic flights as well. It’s almost always offered between New York and San Francisco / Los Angeles, but you can sometimes get it between New York and other cities such as San Diego and Seattle. The schedules vary.

Long story short, if you’re flying on a domestic route and you have a choice of aircraft that feature either first class or Delta One, choose Delta One. It is far superior to Delta’s domestic first class product.

Delta one vs first class
Props to everyone here in Delta One today who chose this flight over one of the other non-Delta One 737-800s that fly between SAN and JFK daily. Sure, we are a full day behind schedule, but this is still far superior to a standard first class seat on any other aircraft that would have got you there on time. Was that too condescending?

Delta One offers everything you’d expect in a premium long-haul business class product. Not only will you get a big (and very comfortable) seat, you’ll get a full size blanket and pillow, an amenity kit, and high-quality meals. As you’ll read below, I didn’t get all of those things on today’s flight…

The departure out of San Diego

The San Diego Airport is relatively small considering the number of passengers who pass through on a daily basis. That’s why I always find it really fun to fly in and out of this place on a large airplane such as the 767-400.

Delta 767-400er safety card
Data download complete. What’s next?
San Diego airport terminal building
What’s next is pushing off the gate (finally). We may be a day late, but we are on our way.
Delta 767-400 takeoff from SAN
FYI, I have a completely separate video about the taxi and takeoff if you’re interested in seeing that. It’s okay to admit to wanting to watch stuff like that. There’s nothing wrong with being an airplane dork like me.

What is Delta’s in-flight entertainment like?

The video screens in Delta One are nothing short of fantastic. They are very big, extremely bright, and very responsive.

I almost didn’t even have to touch the screen itself when trying to make a selection  – all it took was to hover my finger just a few millimeters above the screen to make something happen. That’s gotta be a huge bonus for all you germaphobes out there.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, Delta Studio is a very well-stocked in-flight entertainment system. It may not be as feature-rich as Studio CX on Cathay Pacific or anything (as you read in my Cathay Pacific 777-300/ER business class review), but it’s a darn good system with loads of TV shows and movies.

Delta Studio main screen
Delta Studio main screen. What button would you press first?
Delta studio loading screen
I opted for the “My Flight” button, which took me to this beautiful loading screen of a Delta A350-900 flying over what looks like Los Angeles at sunset. Not what I was expecting, but cool nonetheless.
Delta Studio entertainment options
Delta Studio entertainment options. The usual good stuff.
Delta Studio remove control
Those of you with T-Rex arms will be happy to know that there’s a remote control located in the arm rest.
SANspotter selfie delta one headphones
Assessing the quality of the noise canceling headphones. The verdict? SANspotter approved.

What kind of food do they serve on Delta One domestic flights?

Ok. You’ve now reached the part of this 767-400 Delta One review where I start to get a little bit whiny (and maybe a little ornery). We were supposed to get hot meals on this flight.

As a matter fact, Delta is usually really good about serving high-quality food in their premium cabins. I’ve had some fantastic meals in both Delta One and Delta first class before.

Unfortunately, due to the flight being delayed for so long, they didn’t have any meals to load for this segment to JFK. All we got were snack boxes filled with junk food.

Delta air lines bistro box
I couldn’t have timed this pic any better. Seems as if Michael Scott is as miffed as I am about not being served real food on this flight.
Dirty tray table delta one business class
To make matters worse, this was the state of my tray table upon opening it up for the first time. Seriously?
Delta bistro box contents
The contents of the Bistro Box. Junk food in every shape and form possible.
Bad food delta one
There are so many things I want to say about this but…I understand the awkwardness about complaining about something so petty when I’m sitting in a throne-like seat such as this. This “airline reviewer” thing is hard.

Just to reiterate, The snack boxes on this flight were an anomaly. Delta is serving high-quality hot meals on all Delta One flights these days. You will get a substantial (and tasty) meal.

How comfortable are the 767-400 Delta One seats?

Very comfortable! However, it’s important to note that while I think that the seats are the best looking long haul business class seats on the market, they are far from being the most comfortable in a lie flat position.

SANspotter selfie delta one 767-400 review
“Well, if there’s nothing to eat, I might as well take off my shoes and get comfortable.”

For comparison sake, American Airlines 777-200 business class seats (as well as American Airlines 787-9 business class seats) are far more comfortable than Delta One seats for sleeping.

The Delta One seat felt slightly lumpy to me, and it was difficult to feel completely comfortable when lying down and all stretched out.

Delta one blankets and pillows
Still thinking about what I’m going to say about the Bistro Box.
Delta one 767-400 lie flat seat
Probably the best moment of the flight so far. This is comfy! And a bit awkward, considering that it’s hard to look natural when taking selfies while pretending to sleep. I tried my best.
Delta one seat lounge position
These seats are pretty good in the “lounge” position as well. But I still can’t decide if this flight is a success or failure yet.
Delta one 767-400 comfort
I guess I’d call it a “moderate” success, because it’s really hard to be upset when wrapped up like a cocoon in these awesome blankets (with classic episodes of The Office playing on loop).
SANspotter delta one disappointment
“There really isn’t any more food coming?”

Final thoughts about the Delta Air Lines 767-400 business class experience

I’ve been flying long enough to know that sometimes “stuff” happens. When things go wrong, all you can really do is just brush it off and hope for a better experience next time.

Despite the frustrating delays and the lack of food on this flight, it was still a really fun experience.

Delta Air Lines is a typically fantastic airline, and it’s rare for me to see them botch things so badly. Therefore, despite all the negative things about this particular experience, I’m still very much looking forward to my next Delta One flight. Wherever that may take me.

And now, let’s bring it home to JFK…

Delta one 767-400 toilet
If there’s not any more food to show you, I might as well show you the toilet…
Delta one lavatory toilet seat
…complete with a seat that wouldn’t stay up. Every guy on this planet has experienced a toilet seat like this at least once in his life – and the panic that comes with frantically rearranging hands in order to grab it before slamming down on delicate body parts. And for all you women out there who wonder why the floor is always so wet in airplane bathrooms, this is why!
767-400 engine and wing
If only all those people down there knew what was going on up here.
Delta studio flight information screen
Making record time no doubt due to the fact that we’re uncharacteristically light because of the lack of food onboard. Yeah, I might still be bitter about the Bistro Box thing.
Landing at JFK
How awesome would it be to live down there? The amount (and variety) of traffic in and out of JFK on a daily basis must make this a spotter’s paradise.
Landing at JFK Airport
And I’ll bet they all ate better than we did over the past 5 hours. But I’m not bitter!
Landing at JFK Airport final approach
Do be sure to watch the video to see the landing in it’s entirety! I’d also like to tell you to like and subscribe, but I don’t want to push my luck…
Just landed at JFK airport
Welcome to New York!
Water cannon salute JFK airport
A water cannon salute. I would have liked to think that this was Delta’s way of apologizing for a crappy Delta One experience, but nope. It was for the captain. Which was still pretty cool anyway since this was his retirement flight. Congrats to him for all his years of service!
Delta one seat and backpack
Well, that was an adventure. As much as I belly-ached about the little details, I will concede that Delta One on the 767-400 has the potential to be awfully good. BTW, have you ever wondered what’s in my carry on bag?
Delta one 767-400 rear bulkhead wall
I am going to have to try this again sometime though, just to be sure. It’ll be difficult, I know, but I gotta do what I gotta do.
Delta 767-400 N840MH JFK airport
Until we meet again…

Pros and cons of the Delta One 767-400 experience

To wrap up this review, I’m going to give you all the pros and cons about Delta One on the 767-400. Because I know that Delta is usually at the top of their game, I’m going to ignore all the negative things that happened on this flight. Things don’t always go right, and I can’t fault them for what happened this time.

Pros

  • Although this is highly subjective, I find the Delta One business class cabin to be one of the best looking business class cabins on the market. It looks amazing.
  • The full-size blanket and pillows they provide are extremely comfortable.
  • Although I wasn’t served any food on this flight due to a scheduling mishap, the food you’ll typically get in Delta One is top notch. Almost as good as the food you’ll get in JetBlue Mint.

Cons

  • The Delta One seat isn’t the most comfortable in a lie-flat position. I found it to be a bit too lumpy for my tastes.
  • I also found the seat to be slightly narrow. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it “uncomfortable,” but I could see this being a problem for larger passengers.
  • There isn’t as many storage bins in the seats compared to other comparable business class seats. Good luck trying to find a place for all your things.

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