Delta made a lot of noise whenever it introduced an all-suite business class more than half a decade ago.
Since then, more business class products have introduced fully enclosed suites but I hadn’t had the opportunity to see what the Delta One experience was like until a recent trip from Honolulu to Seattle.
Below, I’ll walk you through the entire experience and give you a detailed review of what you can expect if you end up flying Delta One Suites on the A330-900neo.
Table of Contents
Delta A330-900neo overview
The Delta One Suite was announced back in 2016 and it was the “world’s first all-suite business class.” They released the initial version on the A350 and it consisted of a customized version of the Vantage XL seat (which is a seat used by other airlines like SAS, LATAM, etc.)
Then, in 2019 Delta rolled out with the A330-900, which came with 29 fully enclosed suites in a 1-2-1 configuration. The new aircraft came equipped with memory foam cushions and a new wireless in-flight entertainment system among other upgrades.
It’s been used on long-haul flights like Seattle to Shanghai but you can also sometimes catch it on routes from Hawaii which is what we did in this case.
By the way, if you want to watch the video review you can do that here:
After finding a bargain saver award on Hawaiian Airlines first class from Phoenix to Honolulu for only 40,000 miles one way, we had to find a way to get back to the mainland.
We found a Delta One flight from HNL to SEA (with a first class connection to PHX) for under $800 which turned out to be a really good deal considering that lots of standard recliner options were going for much more than that.
So we hopped on this booking and earned 3,980 miles in the process along with 5X Membership Rewards on the flight.
Admittedly, it’s a pretty short flight to experience a lie flat product since flying from Honolulu to Seattle only has a flight time of under six hours.
On these medium-haul flights I pretty much go right into a movie, experience the dining, take a short nap, and then the flight is pretty much over.
But it’s still fun and a long enough flight to get a feel for the product so I was happy to make this booking which can be difficult to find since most routes are standard recliners in first class.
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The lounge experience
After flying in from Kona, we arrived to HNL’s Delta check-in area about four hours prior to our flight but were thankfully able to check our bags after a very friendly agent at the check-in counter allowed us to.
We then made our way over to the Delta Sky Club which we would have access to because of our Platinum Cards but they told us we would not be able to get in until three hours prior to departure.
A little disappointed we headed to the food court and hung out for a little bit. Pretty random but we just happened to grab a table next to Flavor Flav which I thought was pretty funny.
Eventually, we did make our way back to the lounge which I really enjoyed. Although it is pretty compact and dated, the food was on point and the service was excellent. You can read more about the lounge here.
We were the first in line to board in the priority line and I thought it was interesting that boarding took place right next to the men’s bathroom.
Pretty convenient for those who need to go before boarding although I saw one stunned passenger trying to exit the bathroom when the pre-boarding herd began.
The cabin & seat
As soon as we entered the A330 Delta One cabin, I was really impressed by the look and feel of the cabin. It’s a relatively simplistic design but the white suites contrasted with patterned accents and navy seats just looks really nice to me.
The aisles did look a bit narrow and I especially noticed this when I was trying to get photos during boarding.
Usually I can just sort of subtly lean into a suite for people to get by but I felt like I had to step farther into the suite to create enough space for them to pass. Probably won’t be an issue for most people but something to note.
I made my way to the bulkhead seat, 1A, which I’d been looking forward to for a while. My immediate impression: “this looks really nice.”
I’ve always been a fan of Delta’s branded seat design. Something about the patterns and colors they use just makes their seats pop in a way I’ve come to appreciate. And that was also the case with the Delta One Suite.
When we arrived, the bedding and pillow was packed in a cloth casing which always feels good. There’s something about tearing open plastic bedding packaging that just doesn’t feel nearly as appealing.
Worth noting, they did not provide a mattress pad but they did give us a pair of slippers.
They also did not issue a Someone Somewhere amenity kit which seems to be standard on flights between Hawaii and the western US. (We have not received an amenity kit on Hawaiian Airlines or American Airlines when flying on these routes.)
I know it’s a short flight from Hawaii but six hours is within range for amenity kits for some other airlines, so I kind of wish airlines would issue something, especially for a red eye flight.
But enough about that, let’s talk about the seat.
You’ll have two separate areas where you’ll find your seat controls.
The first is a touch panel with a few different settings you can change with a click of a button. I like that they had a separate setting for “relax” and “lounge” along with the standard controls you often find for the upright and lie flat positions.
You can also activate the do not disturb sign, turn off your feature light, control suite brightness, and play around with moving specific parts of your seat. I found the buttons to be very responsive on my seat so making quick, fine tune adjustments was never an issue.
Next to the control panel, you’ll find two USB ports and a 110-volt outlet along with a two-prong headphone jack. It’s always nice when you don’t have to go hunting for these things or dislocate a shoulder trying to use them.
Speaking of headphones, the Delta Studio premium headset was found hanging in the shoulder area of the seat.
I’d describe the headphones as medium grade. They are clearly a good step above the cheap headphones you get with certain airlines like Hawaiian or LATAM. But they’re not premium grade, which to be honest was a little bit disappointing.
I think they are good enough to get by with without having to bring your own but for those who really value premium sound or noise cancellation, you may want to bring your own headphones with an appropriate adapter.
I will give Delta credit though for a couple of things regarding the headphones.
First, the headphones were not worn down like on my recent American Airlines 777 business class fight. That’s a very low bar but apparently something you still have to look out for.
Second, the crew did not come and pick them up before landing which allowed us to enjoy the in-flight entertainment all the way until we needed to get out of our seat.
The in-flight entertainment (IFE) screen spanned 18.5 inches and the screen’s definition looked nice and crisp.
The touchscreen was very responsive and it was nice having a quality screen with an intuitive interface.
The little hanger feature next to the screen is odd to me though because it just does not seem like a good place to hang something up. Maybe I don’t wear enough coats?
One thing I do love about the Thomson XL seats is that they have amazing counter space.
I love being able to set up a small workstation or just have ample room to place bulky items like my DSLR camera and these seats never disappoint in that regard.
Unfortunately, on the other side of the seat it’s a pretty narrow armrest that isn’t afraid to disappoint.
In terms of seat storage, you have some decent options.
For starters, there is a large space below the counter where you could put your bedding, which you can kind of make out in the photo below.
There is a compact storage compartment directly underneath the counter which was surprisingly spacious. I was able to fit my entire Canon 6D DSLR inside there which was very convenient and that’s always sort of my test for how spacious a compartment is.
In this area, you’ll also find a small touch panel strip of seat control buttons.
These allow you to easily adjust your seat, lighting, or do not disturb sign while in the lie-flat position which is very convenient.
And finally, this is also where you can pull out the tray table, which is large and sturdy.
On the counter you can find a pop-up mirror and the remote control.
The controller will allow you to easily navigate the on screen options for in-flight entertainment but you can also use it to turn on a light or call the flight attendant over if you need something.
As far as the mirror goes, it felt kind of oddly positioned but I guess you could use this “rearview mirror” to check out how stunning you look in the Delta One Suite.
Behind your shoulder there’s a small storage area that holds a little water bottle and can fit other items if you’re an outlaw and okay with disregarding the signage.
I consider these compartments to be the danger zone because it’s so easy to forget items stored behind you so I tend to avoid putting things in there that I can’t afford to lose.
This is also where you have a special feature light, which provides a bit of ambience to the seat.
Perhaps the biggest reason why I loved this seat was the extra space in the footwell.
This is one of those business class products that offer bulkhead passengers more space for their feet which is something I always value a lot.
I found it much easier to get comfortable in the seat than I did with my prior Thomson XL experiences and I’m pretty sure it had to do with the additional leg room, which looks almost double the size of the standard amount.
I found it interesting that the crew did not issue any menus for drinks or dining, as it’s always a pleasure to go through a nice looking menu and contemplate a few different options or even discover new types of cuisine.
When Brad asked about getting a drink, they just asked him “well, what do you want?” which is not really on par with what you expect when flying a premium lie-flat business class product.
I ended up choosing the beef sliders that came smothered in cheddar cheese. I thought the purple taro buns were a unique touch and liked the flavor from the teriyaki glaze.
I also liked that the texture of the buns and patties did not even feel like airplane food, which is something I’m always a little bit wary of when it comes to a dish like this.
I’m guessing a bit of Hawaiian influence came into the MIA menu with the spicy pineapple and cheese side dish and the coconut cake. Two more solid additions to this meal in the sky.
Overall, it was a very pleasing dining experience. Can’t really complain.
You can find the Delta One menu from Honolulu here.
After dinner, I requested a glass of chamomile tea which wasn’t quite dressed up like Hawaiian Airlines did it. But I had my own mini jar of honey from the Outrigger Hotel which helped me sweeten it up a bit.
After a few flights on LATAM business class and the recent JetBlue mint flight, all of which had subpar screens, I definitely was not taking the quality of this screen for granted!
The flight tracker had some cool in-flight features and was definitely one of the more interesting flight trackers to play around with.
I found the movie and show selection to be pretty extensive and ended up going with the Nolan Ryan documentary, Facing Nolan, which I really loved.
As someone who grew up next-door to his hometown of Alvin, Texas, he was always a big-time figure and it was really cool going down memory lane with this film.
At some point, the flight attendants did come by and close the suite door for me.
I’m a bit mixed on that because on the one hand, some people may just forget about the door or not know how to use it and so having a flight attendant close it is helpful for them.
But some people like to keep the doors open for various reasons (bathroom visits, less claustrophobic, etc.) so I think it would be better for the flight attendants to ask before closing the door.
When the doors are closed, you have a high level of privacy as you would expect. However, it’s not like some of the first class suites that have higher doors and walls that give you true privacy from a nosy onlooker walking by. Still, it makes a big difference.
I liked the look of the cabin aisle when all of the doors were shut although I did notice how scuffed up some of the doors and walls were. Seriously, it looked like the side of a well-used company truck.
Here’s a look at the suite from the outside with the door closed (below).
Some people might feel cramped in the suite and I could see how since the seat does appear to be a bit confining. But the seat does have 22.5 inches of width, 45 inches of pitch, and a bed length of ~80 inches.
I think if you go into the experience NOT expecting it to feel like Singapore Suites because “ZOMG, a door!” you may not feel so cramped.
Once again though, I have to remember that I had the bulkhead seat which probably helped a lot. Also, keep in mind that the suites on the A350 are more spacious than the A330-900, so if you’re coming from that you’ll likely notice the difference.
The sleeping experience
The bedding is 100% recycled polyester (rPET) bedding, which is what they replaced their old Westin Heavenly bedding with. I never got to experience that Westin bedding which is a shame because that’s my number one hotel brand and it would’ve been nice to see how well Delta executed with it.
Without a mattress pad, I found the seat to be pretty firm so I sort of wrapped the blanket underneath me for moderate comfort. The pillow was pretty thick and lightyears above the pillow issued by Hawaiian Airlines, which helped out a lot with comfort.
Ultimately the bedding set up worked fine for this medium-haul flight but I’m not sure how comfortable I would be in this for a true long-haul flight.
I do think that from a design perspective, certain things could probably be improved to help the sleeping experience such as being able to push the armrest up.
You might also find the bed to feel low to the ground although I was already experienced with that, so it wasn’t a big deal to me.
I will say once again that having the extra bulkhead legroom made a huge difference for me. It allowed me to sleep on my side with my legs bent pretty far which really helped me get into a comfortable position.
Brad wasn’t very thrilled with the legroom he had in his footwell (in the seat behind me). I think that was also a large reason why he found the seat to be far less comfortable as a whole.
So if you really value your legroom, you may want to consider the bulkhead.
Typically, I would choose a seat where the counter is on the aisle side for more privacy. But with the suite doors and the ability to get extra legroom, it was a no-brainer for me to go with seat 1A.
But here’s a look at one of the seats closer to the window which would typically be what I’d go for.
If you’re sitting in the middle, you can take advantage of a privacy divider in the event you don’t want to have a view of the passenger next to you.
Service on this flight was largely on point. I wouldn’t say that it stood out like our JetBlue Mint flight but I felt like the crew was friendly and pretty attentive.
The crew on the Hawaiian Airlines flight out to HNL engaged more with us so I would put them a peg ahead of this crew.
The first class bathroom was nothing really special but here’s a quick look at it.
After getting a little bit of rest we came into Seattle. I was hoping to get some magnificent sunrise views but we were just a little bit too early.
After landing, we had a layover of about three hours which we spent at the SEA Delta Sky Club. I really liked that lounge and will have a full review to come.
Overall, I really enjoyed my first flight with Delta One Suites. The key for me was sitting in the bulkhead and getting the extra legroom as I think that made all the difference with the level of comfort.
I was a little underwhelmed with some of the experience like not getting a dining or drink menu, no amenity kit, headphones, etc. but for all of the things that really matter like the dining and the service I feel like Delta mostly delivered at a pretty high level.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.