Delta A350-900 Premium Select review Seoul to Detroit

Delta A350-900 Premium Select review Seoul to Detroit

In stark comparison to teetering on the brink of sleep-deprived hallucination at the end of my Vietnam Airlines A350-900 business class review, I arrived at ICN the morning of this flight to Detroit well-rested and ready to create the best Delta Premium Select review ever. 10 hours of deep sleep and a solid workout in this the hotel gym was exactly what I needed to reset my systems, and I walked into the departures hall of terminal 2 feeling an irresistible urge to high-five someone.

I feel the need for speed gif

I was even wearing a different shirt for the first time since my QANTAS 737-800 business class review, so how could this not end up being a really good day?

Seoul, South Korea (ICN) – Detroit, MI (DTW)
Monday, February 6, 2019
Aircraft: A350-941
Registration: N502DN
Duration: 12 hours 9 minutes
Seat: 22J (Premium Select / premium economy)

Delta A350-900 detailed side view
Delta Air Lines A350-900 side view illustration by High resolution JPG/PNG/PSD versions are available, so let me know!
ICN-DTW flight track map
Our route from ICN to DTW today.

One of the first things I’m going to do when I become rich and famous (lol) is to hire an assistant who travels with me. The primary job of this person will be to lurk in the shadows while I’m filming, and intervene only when it’s obvious that I’m shooting waaay to much irrelevant footage.

Yup, I did it again. Somehow my overly-confident mood this morning caused me to shoot approximately 30GB of painfully repetitive footage for this Delta premium economy flight, and it was a total pain to whittle it down into a digestible 10-minute video for YouTube:

Yes, a good Delta Premium Select review is worthy of as much high-quality footage as possible, but not to the point where I’ve got three cameras pointing at me while I’m eating. Nobody needs to see that, and I’m pretty sure even my own mother would roll her eyes and skip ahead.

Lounge access doesn’t come with Delta premium economy, but it’s ok because ICN is amazing

I love everything about Incheon airport here in Seoul. It’s massive, beautiful, and a really fun place to walk around and people-watch. I’m always happy when I’m here. To prove it, today was the first time ever that I had flown in or out of ICN in economy class, and I couldn’t help but to strut around with a grin carved deeply into my face.

ICN airport check in
Ok, who wants to high-five SANspotter this morning? As usual, nobody dared make eye contact with me (likely out of fear of ending up in the trip report).
Delta check in Incheon airport
There wasn’t much happening at the Delta check in counters other than a small group of people planning their strategy for avoiding me and my stupid camera all the way to Detroit today.

Technically, Delta premium economy is really good (as you will soon see), so it’s not like it was easy to feel bummed about what was about to happen. I specifically chose this flight because I wanted to do a proper Delta Premium Select review on the A350, so…I was feeling just as excited as the last time I flew from ICN to the US in business class.

Korean Air ICN
As much as I was looking forward to flying on a Delta A350 today, I will admit that I was having a bit of Korean Air envy as I walked around. My Korean Air A380 business class experience from a couple years ago was so good that it’s still the “happy place” I go to when I find myself in a bad situation and in need of a pleasant distraction.
ICN airport terminal
It wouldn’t be Korea without an LG TV display blocking my view while trying to get a pic of the terminal.

One of the best things I like about Asian airports is the food. I can’t remember the last time I left an airport in Eastern Asia feeling ashamed for how much food I consumed, and this time was no different.

I would have been perfectly happy with a bagel considering that the food was likely to be really good in Delta premium economy, but I stumbled across a “street food” cafe / restaurant that lured me in with the strength of that notoriously wicked tractor beam on the Death Star we saw in episode 4 of Star Wars.

ICN airport restaurant
As soon as they invent “scratch and sniff” photos for the internet, I’m totally coming back and editing this pic to include the mind-altering culinary scents I was ingesting while waiting for my meal. I was getting so hungry that the green backpack on that dude’s shoulders was starting to look delicious…
ICN airport breakfast
Is that not the most perfect breakfast you’ve ever seen? I’ve never really understood the concept of “food porn” in the past, but as I post this pic my knees are trembling and I’m feeling weird sensations I’m uncomfortable talking about…

Once finished with my meal, it was back out into the main terminal to walk around and burn some calories before the long fight to Detroit.

Delta A350 N502DN
She’s here! She’s here! The Delta A350 that will be taking me to Detroit has arrived, and I suspect that my buddy Josh (the biggest Delta fan I know) is having an aneurism from all the excitement right about now. Sorry Josh! Just a warning though: there will be many more Delta A350 pics from this point forward, so pace yourself my friend…
SANspotter selfie ICN airport
Meanwhile, I was about to give myself an aneurysm inside this sphere of mirrors just across from the gate. Nothing is more horrific than seeing myself from 5000 different angles all at once.
ICN airport gate area
20 minutes before boarding, and the gate area is fairly empty. It’s either going to be a really empty flight today or…everyone is still gorging on pork dumplings back at the restaurant.

A Delta Premium Select review made even better by the amazing A350-900

Just as boarding was getting underway here at gate 253, it occurred to me that I was no less excited about getting on this A350 than I was when Flew from Bangkok to Singapore in Thai Airways A350-900 business class four days ago. The A350 is an amazing aircraft, and the fact that I’d get to experience this one while draped in Delta premium economy was just the icing on the cake.

Gate 253 ICN
Boarding is just getting underway here at gate 253 now, and I guess pretty much everyone in the restaurant said “**** it, I’ll go tomorrow” as they crammed more pork dumplings down the hatch. Looks like it’s gonna be an empty flight!
Delta a350 boarding door
Seems as if nobody is looking so…if there was ever an opportunity to turn left instead of right “by accident”, this is it. lol
Delta Premium Select cabin a350
I’d be a terrible criminal, because I get anxiety even thinking about the possibility of attempting a self-upgrade. Turning right wasn’t all that bad though, because…Delta Premium Select here on the A350 looks nice!
Delta premium select seats
Delta A350 Premium Select seats 21 H and J. Hey Josh! You still with us buddy?
Delta premium economy headrest
Nothing says “premium economy” quite like diamond stitching and a Delta widget to the head.
Delta premium select leg room seat pitch
Leg room is pretty good here in Delta Premium Select, though interior seats don’t have direct aisle access. Well, technically that is – it just depends on whether not you’re willing to risk a sexual assault charge from the aisle seat passenger as you climb over them.
SANspotter selfie delta premium select review
Seat and entertainment system controls are located in the center armrest, but I didn’t care. I was keeping a watchful eye on any oncoming passenger who looked like they were about to inconveniently occupy the seat next to me…

One of the first things I noticed about the Delta A350 Premium Select seat is that it’s not as wide as the QANTAS premium economy seat on the 787-9. However, that’s the only main difference, and everything else about these seats (materials, leg room / seat pitch, design) seemed to be on par.

I should also mention that I could easily write an entire Delta Premium Select review in a way which compares it directly with the QANTAS product, but since there is very little route overlap between these two products, I’ll try to refrain myself…

Those of you curious as to how Delta premium economy compares to Delta One (business class) in terms of amenities will be happy to know that they aren’t all that stingy. A full-size amenity kit, slippers, and an enhanced menu are included (as are thicker blankets and larger pillows compared to what you’d get in economy).

The seats are very different though (as you would expect). My Delta One 767-400 review is a really good place to learn more about what Delta business class is like (and how it differs from premium economy).

Delta premium economy amenities
Premium Select amenities for the feet and ears (fancy stuff you didn’t even see in my Air France A350-900 premium economy review).
Delta premium select review Tumi amenity kit
A Tumi amenity kit is also included. It’s a really good thing I’m an adult who knows how to behave in public, because the little boy in me is always tempted to put on everything all at once (including the lotion) and ask a flight attendant if she’d be so kind as to take my picture for the blog.
Delta premium economy menu
The menu, complete with a detailed description of the service on today’s flight. Spoiler alert: it was fairly accurate, though I’d recommend replacing “Rest & Relax” in the Mid Flight section with “Sit and think about making more healthy dietary choices from now on.”  Gee, can you guess what’s coming?

Just as I was realizing how awesome Delta A350 premium economy is, the forward boarding door was closed with the seat next to me vacant. As a matter of fact, the entire cabin was maybe 20% full (80% empty for the haters) so we all had plenty of room to spread out and relax.

SANspotter selfie delta premium economy A350
Woo-hoo! The forward boarding door is now closed, and I get to spend the next 12 hours in complete solitude. I can also take my AirPods out of my ears now, which were only serving the purpose of giving me an excuse to not engage in unwanted conversation with a potentially annoying seatmate. Oh come on – it’s not like you haven’t done this before either!
Alitalia ICN airport
Yup – we’re deep into SkyTeam territory here at gate 253. But wait…hasn’t Alitalia been bankrupt for the past 20 years or so? How are they even still flying?! I hope that plane makes it back to Italy before they pull the plug on that airline for good.
Delta A350 departure ICN
Wanna hear the most annoying sound ever? Try to watch more than three seconds of this portion of the video (at full volume starting at 4:40) if you dare. Bet you can’t.

Show up for your fight hungry, because Delta premium economy food is really good

Departure out of ICN this morning was beautiful, though not exactly uneventful. Skies were generally clear, but there were very strong winds aloft causing turbulence strong enough to keep the flight attendants seated for the first hour of flight.

Delta premium select review A350
You ever look at other people on your flight and wonder what their story is? Why are they going to Detroit? What were they doing in Asia? More importantly, do they even read
Delta studio A350 details
Why watch the latest Hollywood blockbuster when you can stare at a picture of the A350 you’re flying on instead?

I didn’t mind at all having to wait for the service to begin. My belly was busy processing all those pork dumplings anyway, so there was no temptation on my part to begin this Delta Premium Select review with a snarky comment about flight attendants unwilling to risk life and limb for my selfish needs.

Delta A350 mood lighting
Remember those old blue bug lights that would incinerate mosquitoes with a very satisfying “sschwZAP!” sound? This reminded me of that, and I was terrified of touching anything.

Once things calmed down a bit, service started with mixed nuts in little bags and beverages (of any kind) to go with them. I could easily tell that the flight attendants were very much enjoying the light load this morning, as they were very cheerful and extremely generous with the snacks.

I ended up with three bags of nuts and three drinks (water, Diet Coke, and red wine) not because I asked for it – but because she kept pushing me to ask for anything I wanted. I guess that’s one good way to get me to write a glowing Delta Premium Select review!

Delta premium economy snack
Diet Coke in a plastic cup and little bags of nuts aren’t fancy, but the white linen tablecloth is. A nice little perk here in Delta Premium Select!

There were two meal options on today’s flight (Western or Korean), each having several variations to choose from. I went with the Spinach and Artichoke Cannonelli after the flight attendant sensed my inability to make a decision.

“It’s really good” she proclaimed in a confident tone of voice I couldn’t help but to trust, and followed it up with “I’ll be right back with more wine” even before I had the chance to tell her it was a bad idea since I was a lightweight who was already flying 20,000ft higher than this A350 was. The wine was flowing like water up here in Delta premium economy today, that’s for dang sure.

Delta premium select lunch
This looks a lot like the Mexican dish I was served in Delta One between Atlanta and Seattle a couple years ago, and if I’m being honest, it didn’t taste all that different either. This *is* (by far) the most colorful pic in this entire Delta Premium Select review though, so it least is has that going for it.

Thanks to one too many sips of wine and a tray of really good food, it was all too easy to recline the seat after the meal service and sleep off my sins. And thanks to the fact that there wasn’t anybody sitting next to me, it was easy to get up every now and then and walk to the back of the plane to get the blood flowing when needed.

Delta A350 engine and wing view
Somewhere down there is a frustrated fisherman who would kill for a taste of what I just ate. One can only eat fish so many days in a row without losing it.

Interestingly enough, the load factor back in economy looked only slightly higher than it was up in the Premium Select cabin. I sure hope that Delta has higher loads on this flight on a regular basis, because it was looking a bit bleak today.

ICN-DTW flight track
FYI, if you’ve never been to Anchorage, you’re missing out on one of the best places in the world to watch aircraft dump chemtrails streak overhead.

And you thought the part about the food was over!

Several hours later, just as I was sobering up and not feeling uncomfortably stuffed, it was time for the mid flight snack. And just so you know, the Delta premium economy mid flight snack is more like an actual (artery clogging) meal compared to what is served back in economy. Whether that’s good or bad is entirely up to you.

Flying over Anchorage
Just as we were poisoning the residents of Anchorage, I detected something delicious wafting from the galley…

As the flight attendant handed me a squishy wad of tin foil that was as hot as molten lava, I couldn’t help but to think that this Delta Premium Select review was going to be all about the food. I may have even been giggling about how I was going to write about the mass quantities of food that was being served, but when the ice cream came, it wasn’t funny anymore.

It was then that I had to wonder if this flight attendant wanted me dead or something – because the ice cream would have done it for sure. Thankfully I passed on it and lived to write this review.

Delta premium select review mid flight snack
Who am I to turn down a steaming hot wad of tinfoil placed so perfectly on my tray table? At least I had the good sense to refuse the ice cream that came with it.
Delta premium economy hot snack
Somewhere out there on the interwebs is some really interesting data which explains why I can’t resist anything oozing with hot melted cheese. I’m sure of it.
SANspotter selfie delta premium economy review
The look of absolute horror as I spotted flight attendants coming through the aisles with ice cream to go with that hellaciously delicious heart attack sandwich.

Just two short hours later, it was time for breakfast. If this were any other day at home, I would have stopped eating hours ago with no plans to do so for the next 48 hours. But this is premium economy after all, and I need to write the best possible Delta Premium Select review that I can, so…bring it. With a glass of orange juice as well please!

I think it’s also important to add that both the quantity and quality of the food served on this flight far exceeded what I experienced in ANA 777-300ER premium economy. Hard to believe, I know, but them’s the facts. 

Delta premium select review breakfast
Breakfast. Yes, I could have been sensible by choosing a bowl of cereal and a plate of fruit, but…since when have I ever been sensible on an airplane?

If there was one really good thing about the amount of food that was served on this flight, it was the fact that it would save me a ton of money once on the ground at DTW. I had a 7.5 hour layover before my connection to San Diego, and I was confident about surviving it without spending a dime on expensive airport food.

Delta A350 over Minnesota
Apparently my sister lives right underneath a major airplane super highway in the sky, because this is the second time in six months I’ve flown directly over top of her house in a wickedly cool aircraft (the last time was in Philippine Airlines 777-300ER business class between YVR and JFK).
Delta A350 Review
There was actually talk of DTW being closed due to weather earlier in the flight, but the fact that we passed MSP without diverting was a good sign. Take her home, boys!
Delta premium select cabin pic A350
Enjoy the sunshine while you can, because that’s the last of it you’re going to see in this Delta Premium Select review. Detroit isn’t exactly known for being all that pleasant this time of year…


As we made the approach and descent into Detroit, the gray skies and dead brown landscape was a stark reminder of what the month of January had been like (every year) for the first 21 years of my life. I grew up just 45 minutes north of DTW, and I was feeling a wave of flashbacks come over me as the near-freezing raindrops streamed across my window. This is January in southeast lower Michigan, and it’s the gloomiest time of year here. By far.

Flying over Lansing Michigan
I’ll spare you the gloomy pics of the approach and landing (you can see it in the video though). Instead, here’s a nice shot of us flying over the place where I blossomed into such a nerdy weirdo: good ‘ol Southeast lower Michigan!
Delta A350 arrival in Detroit
On the ground at DTW now, and the reality of a 7.5 hr layover before my flight to SAN is kicking in hard. Is lighting vacant houses on fire and flipping cars still a “thing” here in Detroit? It’s been a while and I’m totally out of the loop on the latest happenings here in my old hometown.
DTW airport
One thing sure hasn’t changed though. January in Detroit has to be the gloomiest place on planet earth, and this looks exactly how I remember it from my youth. At least the airport is a lot nicer now!

The gloomy skies and freezing rain didn’t phase me any, for I had just experienced the best Delta premium economy product there is. It ended up being a very comfortable (and delicious) way to fly between Seoul and Detroit, and (just as I said in the conclusion of my QANTAS 787-9 premium economy review), these premium economy products are getting so good that I don’t really mind not being in business class.

DTW jet bridge
It wouldn’t be Detroit if the jet bridge wasn’t as rusty and gloomy as it is outside I guess. Nonetheless, it’s good to be home! Well, almost. I wish I had a short layover in Detroit, but I’m facing a 7.5 wait here on the ground before a 5 hr flight in economy class to San Diego. As soon as I find the guy who booked this ridiculous itinerary, I’m gonna kick his…oh wait.

The really good news? Most any other Delta Premium Select review I’ve read has been just as positive, which is reassuring. Is Delta actually turning into one of the world’s best airlines right in front of our eyes? I’ve already proclaimed them to be the best in the US, but I’m now at the point where I’d go as far as to say they are better than any European airline currently flying.

Comments (18)

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    April 13, 2019
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