Delta One A330-900 review: a darn near perfect experience!

Delta One A330-900 review: a darn near perfect experience!

If you’ve never been a fan of Delta Air Lines for long haul travel, this Delta One A330-900 review just might change your mind. I recently had the chance to try this product on a medium-length flight from Seattle to Honolulu, and, if what I experienced is indicative of what it’s like on long-haul routes, well…holy moly.

Even though I found the seats to be somewhat awkward (and borderline uncomfortable) in certain positions, everything else about the experience was fantastic. The fully enclosed Delta One Suites are extremely private, the food was excellent, and the cabin crew was on top of their game. 

Unless mules have nothing on you when it comes to being stubborn, what I’m about to show you just might be enough to make you think twice about dismissing Delta right off the bat for your next long-haul adventure…

DL450
Seattle, WA (SEA) – Honolulu, HI (HNL)
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
Aircraft: A330-941N
Registration: N404DX
Duration: 6 hours 2 minutes
Seat: 5J (Delta One / Business Class)

Delta A330-900neo side view illustration
Delta A330-900neo side view illustration by Norebbo.com
DL450 flight track
Our route from Seattle to Honolulu this afternoon as DL450.

The video

I really enjoy making video reviews about fully enclosed business class suites such as those found in Delta One on the A330-900. I can simply shut the door, and record whatever I want without anyone judging me for being a ginormous dork. It’s awesome.

I actually recorded so much footage that I could probably make a 30 minute “extended cut” version with ease. Maybe I’ll do that for my Patrons if I’m feeling especially bored…

As always, the music for this video came from Epidemic Sound. The song in the first half of the video was Yes Yes Y’all by Matt Large, and the song used in the second half was Solid Centre by Dusty Decks.

A comprehensive review of Delta One A330-900 business class from Seattle to Honolulu

The fact that Delta is even flying the A330-900neo between Seattle and Honolulu is enough to make me pause and nod my head in a “**** yeah” sorta way. That’s seriously cool. They certainly don’t have to, especially since the competition (Alaska Airlines) is only flying 737s to the islands with standard recliner-style domestic first class seats.

My arrival at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Being based in San Diego, I had to begin my day by flying up from SAN in order to catch this flight. You can read my Delta 737-800 first class review if you’re curious about what that was like.

I arrived with approximately 5 hours to spare, which was safe – but long. As you may recall, a 1 hour layover is plenty of time in Seattle. It got boring by hour number 3.

SANspotter in Seattle airport terminal train
“WTF am I got to do for 5 whole hours?”
S gates Seattle Tacoma international airport
I won’t bore you with the details, but all I’m going to say is that the S concourse is a lousy place to sit and do nothing for 5 hours.
S terminal Seattle airport
I think this was lap 17? I lost count after the second time around.

Do you get lounge access with Delta One flights out of Seattle?

Yes, all passengers holding a ticket in Delta One business class out of Seattle will have access to the Sky Club. However, my ticket to Honolulu was sold and booked as first class. You won’t get lounge access with just a domestic first class ticket, so I had to find other things to occupy my time.

Waiting at the Seattle airport
The only thing from keeping me from sticking my finger in that electrical outlet was knowing that I’d be boarding a plane to Hawaii soon.
Waiting at the Seattle airport S gates
The most important lesson learned so far today: if you don’t have lounge access, there ain’t no point in showing up early.

The boarding process for flight DL450 to Honolulu

After all these years, I still proclaim that there’s not much anything better in life than boarding a flight to Hawaii. Especially if you’re seated in a premium lie-flat business class seat.

Delta a330-900neo n404dx Seattle airport
I’m not really sure why Delta operates such a premium-heavy aircraft between Seattle and Honolulu, but I’m not complaining. This right here (N404DX) is the aircraft taking me out to the islands this afternoon.

Boarding was several minutes late, but it wasn’t a big deal. I knew that I had a really nice seat waiting for me, so I just stood back and waited my turn (grinning from ear to ear, of course).

Delta air lines Honolulu boarding pass
My last flight to Hawaii was back in 2019 (in Hawaiian Airlines A330-200 first class), so I’ve been waiting a long time for this!
Gate s7 Seattle airport
Two years (plus 5 hours going around in circles here at the S gates today) was far too long to wait to return to one of my favorite places in the world.
Gate s7 jet bridge Seattle airport
I can neither confirm nor deny that the theme song from Magnum P.I. was playing in my head as I was walking down this jet bridge.
Delta a300-900neo boarding door
Feeling excited to board my first ever A330-900neo!
Boarding delta a330-900 business class
Take your time. I’ve already waited 2 years (and 5 hours) for this moment, so a few more seconds won’t hurt.

My first impressions of the Delta One Suites on the A330-900neo

To be perfectly blunt, seeing the Delta One Suites in real life for the first time is a moment you’ll remember for a very long time. I thought Delta One on the 767-400 was nice, but man. The fully enclosed suites on the A330-900 (which can also be found on the A350) are some of the best looking lie-flat business class seats I’ve ever seen.

A330-900 delta one suites
It was worth the wait! The Delta One Suites here on the A330-900 look amazing.
A330-900 delta one window seats
As you can see, the windows seats are staggered. I wasn’t able to get a seat that was directly next to the window today, but no matter. I think this’ll do. This’ll do nicely.
Delta one a330-900 seat 5J
Seat 5J. #chefskiss

Perhaps the thing that I like most about the latest Delta One cabins is the color scheme. It’s predominantly white, which helps to give off a bright and clean vibe. I dig it.

Delta one a330-900 leg room
Legroom is decent, though the footwell is a bit narrow. On a completely unrelated note, the carpet texture reminds me of the “twinkle-star” ceiling in Emirates A380 business class. I couldn’t find any comparable gold trim though…
Delta one a330-900 seat details
So many things to fondle, so little time.
Delta one a330-900 seat controls and power ports
Power outlets and audio inputs on one side, seat controls on the other. Spoiler alert: the capacitive touch controls look nice, but aren’t very responsive. Nothing kills a chill vibe faster than a seat recline “button” that refuses to oblige!
Delta one a330-900 seat control panel
More seat controls, same iffy responsiveness. Then again, this could be totally my fault due to low body capacitance. I’m weird (and abnormal) like that.
Delta one suite storage bin
How rad would it have been to find a $20 bill at the bottom of this storage bin? 
Delta one suite lower storage bin
Speaking of storage bins…I probably could have fit my head in this one. Yes, I’m kicking myself now for not trying it.
Delta one a330-900 business class cabin
The “cubicle farm” vibe is strong in here, which is something that normally gives me the dry heaves, but…it’s exactly what I like in a long haul business class product. Funny how that works.
SANspotter in delta one a330-900neo seat
Oh, and there is complimentary water too!
Delta one logo in headrest
Because it wouldn’t be a proper Delta One review without a closeup of the logo embroidered into the headrest.

How are the A330-900 Delta One seats different than the Delta One seats on other aircraft in the fleet?

I’ve always given praise to Delta for being consistent with their seats from one aircraft to the next. However, at the time of this writing, there are five separate Delta One seats flying around:

    1. Delta One on the A330-900neo and A350 feature a fully-enclosed suite with a door (much like the JetBlue Mint Suites).
    2. Delta One on the 767-400 is a “light” version of these seats. It’s almost the exact same seat, but without the door.
    3. Delta One on the 767-300 features an entirely different kind of seat, which is more exposed and open.
    4. Delta One of some of the A330-300’s feature an older-style business class seat which isn’t consistent with any other seat in the Delta fleet.
    5. Delta One on the 757-200 is basically the exact same seat you’ll find in American Airlines Flagship Business Class

The departure out of Seattle

It was looking to be a pretty nice day in Seattle as we pushed off the gate. Even though we were a few minutes behind, the Captain insisted that we would be arriving right on time.

The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport isn’t that large, so it was a relatively short taxi over to runway 16L. Even though I was bummed about the reflections on the window (which prohibited recording the takeoff), it was really neat to hear how quiet the A330-900neo is compared to the first-generation A330.

Delta a330-900neo engine and wing
It’s happening!
SANspotter reading delta a330-900neo saftey card
Turns out what’s “happening” is that we are about to fly out over the ocean, where at one point, we’ll be thousands of miles from land in every direction. What could possibly go wrong?
Taxiing at Seattle Tacoma airport in a delta a330-900
I was so excited about returning to Hawaii that I don’t think my brain even processed any of this scenery. It was kind of like driving home from work and then (upon pulling into the driveway) you realize that you have no recollection of how you got there.
Takeoff from Seattle Tacoma airport in a delta a330-900
Let’s just hope the pilots aren’t as distracted as I am today…

What is in-flight entertainment like in Delta One on the A330-900?

The most important thing you need to know about video entertainment on these new Airbus aircraft is that, here in Delta One, the screens are obnoxiously large. And I do mean that in the most flattering way possible. It’s like sitting with a 27-inch monitor just inches from your face, which some people are going to like, and some are going to hate.

Delta studio Home Screen
The video screens here in the Delta One Suites are massive! And with 312 movies, 566 series, and 784 audio selections on tap, chances are pretty good that there’s something for everyone.
Delta studio video entertainment
We’ve come a long way from the days when everyone would be forced to watch the same movie (or TV show) on a long haul flight. As sick as it sounds…I kinda miss hearing laughter throughout the cabin when they were showing “Just For Laughs” at hour 11 on a 13 hour transpacific flight. #yeahimold

Also included in the experience are Delta’s high-quality noise canceling headphones. I’ve always been satisfied by the quality of these things, and for comparison sake, they are much better than the headphones you’ll find in United Polaris business class.

Delta studio noise canceling headphones
Like pillows for my ears. Delta Studio noise canceling headphones are pretty good!

What kind of food is Delta serving in first class to Hawaii these days?

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, real food has finally returned on Delta Air Lines flights to Hawaii. There were three meal options available on today’s flight, and of course, I had to go with the grilled chicken and rice. FYI, they did not hand out printed menus. A flight attendant simply came by, presented three options, and that was it.

Delta One tablecloths
Tablecloths! Let’s just hope these are intended to enhance the dining experience, as opposed to being a way to protect us from the deadly cooties that might be are living on the tray table. Either way, at least they care about our well-being.
Delta one snack service
Snacks came first. And if you’re curious, yes – the tablecloth did kind of make the pretzels taste better.
Delta one Hawaiian meal
Finally! Not only is this the first proper meal I had on Delta in over two years, it was the first chicken and rice dish I’ve had on an airplane since my AirAsia review. Spoiler alert: this was tasty, but AirAsia chicken rice still reigns supreme.
SANspotter chicken and rice delta one
Don’t worry if you don’t understand my obsession with chicken and rice. It was an inside joke that got way out of hand years ago lol.
Delta one chicken and grains meal
All you need to know is that this was actually very well prepared – and quite tasty.
Delta one Hawaiian dessert
The tropical cheesecake for dessert was the surprise hit of the entire meal. This sort of thing normally ain’t my jam, I could’ve easily eaten another one.

All in all, I have to say that it was decently high-quality food. I ate every last crumb of it, and it tasted fine. 

Delta one dishware
I’m not really sure if I should be proud or embarrassed by this.

The flight attendants came back through the aisles within 10 minutes of the conclusion of the meal service to offer more snacks. I wasn’t hungry, but I was more than happy to oblige.

Delta one snacks
More calories? Immediately after the meal service? Don’t mind if I do!

How comfortable are the Delta One A330-900 Suites for sleeping?

Sleeping in these Delta One Suites was by far the most awkward part of this entire experience. No, it wasn’t completely uncomfortable, nor was I unable to sleep, but it took me a while to find a position that I liked.

The biggest problem with the seats is the way in which they transform into a lie-flat position. As they move forward to make room for the recline, you end up being positioned just inches away from the video screen right before the seat back starts reclining. It’s an uncomfortably awkward moment.

Delta one a330-900 enclosed suite
This picture doesn’t do a very good job of portraying the awkwardness of being so close to the video screen in a slightly reclined position, but it’s definitely a thing. On a positive note, these suites are really private with the door shut. 
Delta one a330-900 enclosed suite privacy
How long do you suppose it would take them to find the body if I die in my sleep?
Delta one blankets and pillows
If I have to go, at least I’ll go comfortably. This blanket and pillow looks legit.
Sleeping in delta one suites
Dead body jokes aside, sleeping in the Delta One Suites is a very nice experience. Yeah, it’s a bit narrow, but I love the privacy!

The descent and landing in Hawaii

It’s amazing how fast a flight can go by when you’re well-fed (and rested). Even though this flight was a bit long today due to strong headwinds, I was shocked when we started the initial descent into Honolulu. I was definitely bummed that this great experience was coming to an end so quickly.

Delta one a330-900 lavatory
Seems as if even the lavatories are small in Delta One on the A330-900. Either that or I consumed too many calories during the meal service. It’s probably a bit of both.
Delta one cabin a330-900neo
Walking back to my seat, it became clear that this was easily one of the best long haul business class products that I’ve tried since early 2020. It’s so nice to see Delta trying again.
Flying from Seattle to Honolulu
By golly, we just might make it.
Oahu shoreline
That’s Oahu, I think? Good to see you again, my old friend.
View of Honolulu on approach to HNL
Skimming the outskirts of Honolulu on our downwind approach.
HNL approach over the water
Uh oh. I didn’t come this far to crash land into the ocean 500ft offshore!
Landing at Honolulu airport
Disaster averted. Welcome to Honolulu!
HNL airport terminals at night
I challenge you to name one airport that makes you feel better than HNL does in the moments right after arrival.
SANspotter Honolulu airport jet bridge
See? It’s impossible.
Southwest Airlines at Honolulu airport
On a completely unrelated note, it was so weird to see Southwest Airlines here at HNL as I was walking out of the terminal. The times they are a changin’!

Pros and cons of the Delta One Suites on the Airbus A330-900

The best way that I can summarize the entire experience is to say that Delta is back, baby! After several years of fluttering around with service cuts due to the pandemic, I was really happy to see cabin crew going all-out to make it an enjoyable experience. It wasn’t perfect though, and this pros and cons list break it all down:

Pros

  • With the door shut, the privacy of the suites on the A330-900 are next-level awesome. Thanks to the higher walls, they felt more private than the JetBlue suites with the door closed.
  • I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the style and design of the Delta One cabin (especially on the A330-900) is one of my favorites in the entire airline industry. It looks and feels very high-end.
  • The blankets and pillows they provide in Delta One are cozy beyond words. It’s a huge improvement over the old blankets and pillows they used to provide just a few years ago.
  • Food quality was good. Just like the Delta of old.

Cons

  • With the door fully shut, the suites do feel a bit confining. These seats are not for anyone who easily feels claustrophobic.
  • The way that the seat reclines into a lie-flat position is awkward. In order to make room for the seat to lie fully flat, it has to move forward before it lies down. As it does that, you’ll be positioned uncomfortably close to the video screen in front of you. It’s weird.
  • There is far less storage space in these seats compared to what you would find in the lie-flat business class products of other US airlines (such as American Airlines 777-200 business class and United 767-300 business class).

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