The new Boeing Delta 737-900ER – excited or meh?

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delta new 737-900ER from boeing delta airlines blog takingoff

It has landed and it is loading into the schedule. I will be on it twice in January thanks to the amazing $73 each way mileage run that popped up from MKE last week. As you can see from the screen shot above, the official Delta Blog TakingOff is very proud of the new bird.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkJF55nnETw

The inside looks interesting with the new lighting and interiors. The seats look good at first peek and the Boeing video above shows some nice first looks at what to expect.

737-900 inside delta from facebook

Delta’s Facebook post about them shows the Zodiac slim-line seats in coach. EDIT: The 737-900 will have the Pinnacle seat by BE Aerospace in coach and the Zodiac 6810 in first class.  We also know the “new” 717’s (that just stared flying today) will have slim-line seats and the airline promotes this as an “enhancement” to the customer experience as my Award Booking Guru ADAM points out in his post here.

delta 737-900 setmap on delta-com

I am trying to decide just where to sit (if I do not get my upgrade). Do I take the one I have now, the two seater that seems to say it has full recline (EDIT: I have been told the Delta map is wrong and these have limited recline also) and exit. I think I want this over the front row of Economy Comfort that has a bulkhead wall as I will gladly trade “four more inches of recline” for better leg room. It is also interesting to compare the Delta seat map of what are good and bad seats compared to what Seat Guru says is a good seat!

Personally I am looking forward to flying this new bird as well as the Dreamliner one day. I think many of the visual changes Delta is making will have an impact on the travel experience. Clearly the technology in the 787 is beyond this and I look forward to that ride (just wish Delta would start getting some so I don’t have to go Skyteam to try it).  Are you looking forward to this new jet in Delta’s livery? – René

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Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review – DeltaPoints.com

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train out to terminal fco rome italy delta points blog

I really had a fun time in Rome. My stay turned out nice, the history and the sights in Rome were truly amazing. But being a total aviation geek, deep down, I was really looking forward to my Magnifica trip back home (I know, this is just wrong)!

no online checkin alitalia

On my KLM trip down to Rome I could not use online check-in. @KLM attempted to help me but could not find the issue, but at least I could DM them. I could not check-in on Alitalia.com either. @Alitalia would not follow me and still is not following me and I doubt they would have done anything anyway.

entrance to Giotto lounge concorse g rome italy delta points blog

We flew out of the satellite terminal G and had to take the tram out to the gates. The Giotto (they should call it Grotto) lounge is downstairs.

bar and food service Giotto lounge alitalia rome italy

The breakfast snacks were not that great and nothing like Delta or KLM lounges. There is a bar where you can get a cappuccino and drinks.

not one good chair Giotto alitalia lounge rome italy

The seats are some of the most uncomfortable I have ever endured in any lounge so far. The wifi was free and slow. There is not much good I can say about the Giotto lounge.

this guy is getting on first alitalia  business class fco-bos delta points blog

We left a little early as waiting to board was better than staying in the lounge. As you can see, the guy in front of us really wanted to be first on-board the flight!

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (6)

At last, time for Magnifica! I have seen a few reviews but was this as nice as it seemed.

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (4)

We were in the back row of the front business cabin in the so called “honeymoon seats”. I want you to look at the armrest between them. They are not good. And if you were to raise the partition to get some privacy if you did not know the flyer next to you it is only bout 1″ wide. Not kidding. Bad design if not together then go for the ones with the space between you.

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (8)

The window sides are single seats and would be much better if not a couple. But note the odd number seats seat well is open. This can be good or bad depending on what you like.

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (10)

The seat controls are straight forward and there is a vibrate massage built into the seats. It was OK but not amazing.

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (9)

The video screen are nice sized but fixed in place. It is both touch screen or can be controlled by the hand unit. The choice of movies is very poor compared to Delta. A few recent movies and a few old ones. I would bring your own. Also note in the left foot well the amenity kit. It was so sad. No real bag just plastic and cheap stuff inside.

amenity kit alitalia magnifica delta points blog

The lotion box kit in comparison was boutique like. I did not try any of the items but it did look nice!

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (14)

Now this is an Italian plane. Don’t flame me for this but I sorta got used to many Italian things not working quite right over the past few days. For example, the bathroom in the lounge had nice tile but the cheapest fixtures on earth and most were busted. Lisa’s remote was stuck on announcement for the complete flight and did not work. At least the touch screen did work.

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (11)

On to the meal. The appetizer was very good. A chopped smoked salmon on a biscuit and some Prosciutto with pickled veggies.

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (12)

The meal service was done via the serving carts where they serve up what you want onto plates. Kinda neat.

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (13)

The first pasta dish was very good the red wine was nice. For some reason both Lisa & I were never offered a salad from the cart with the main dish.

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (15)

The main dish was either a fish cake or veal. Lisa & I both chose the veal and it was very nice I must say.

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (1)

They came by several times with bread baskets and that is nice. I just wish there could be more butter on flights but it seems all airlines are cheap on butter!

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (2)

For dessert I had a tart and Lisa had some fruit. They had a nice sweet dessert wine to go with it. Before landing we were served a light snack with Soprasetta and a dry cheese that was very very good.

snack before landing alitalia magnifica business class delta points blog

However, what do you think the worst thing an Italian airline could do regarding meal service. If you said run out of red wine you would guess right!

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (3)

They do have outside cameras on the flight so you can view takeoff, approach and landing. I know the A380 has this also but I had not seen it yet so I enjoyed it.

Some overall thoughts about the flight. Check-in went great and was fast. The lounge was a disappointment. The seats were nice but Delta’s new ones are very similar. Food was a bit better than Delta buy only by a little. Wine was just as good on Delta and has never “run dry”. Service is better on Delta IMO especially since the Alitalia FA’s were much more attentive to me than to Lisa. I could not online check-in and @Alitalia still is not following me and doubt they ever will. I am very happy I took this flight and I would fly Magnifica again for 100,000 Delta points or even the new 125,000 Delta points plus under $200 in tax but if routes are better I will stick with Delta! – René

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A fall trip to Sweden via Atlanta & Rome on Skymiles – Delta, KLM & Alitalia business class.

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rene and lisa delta points blog sbn-alt crj regional jet

I love fall in Sweden. The temps are 50-70 F and the trees were green when we arrived and exploding in color by the time we headed home. But I am jumping way ahead here. Let’s start with the trip to Sweden and a review of the Delta and KLM regional jets.

We began the trip down, as always from South Bend, on a horrid CRJ200. I can not understand for the life of me why Delta, on a flight almost 1.5 hrs long, that they do not put in some kind of larger bird with business and economy comfort seats. After dinner in Atlanta with some of my fellow bloggers, my first ever UBERx ride, and an overnight at the Westin Atlanta, we headed over the pond.

ron and debbie delta skyclub atlanta delta points blog

Pre flight we headed to the Skyclub in A, upstairs, near PF Chang and got to meet a very nice couple who read the blog Ron and Debbie. It was so much fun to meet you both and look forward to seeing you again soon.

justin atlanta skyclub delta points blog

Then, as we were chatting, the young gentleman sitting in our area asked: “Are you Rene from DeltaPoints?” Yep, I said and it was great to meet reader Justin. Safe travels and maybe next time we will have some more time to chat about all things Delta!

Time to fly. I routed us ATL-STR-AMS-GOT. I could have had us SBN-AMS-GOT but wanted both most of a day in Atlanta (since on an international flight we could for free stop under 24hrs) and I wanted full flats from ATL over the old A330’s from DTW.

hot nutz delta business class 767-300 atlanta to europe delta points blog

The crew was great. The head purser was almost over the top great and very friendly. We settled in row 5 and while it did take a little bit long to get food going (that cut into sleep time) the service was good as well as the food.

prawns business class 767-300 atlanta to europe delta points blog

Appetizer was a shrimp snack and was good. The shrimp were fresh and a good starter course to whet the appetite.

salad business class 767-300 atlanta to europe delta points blog

Then it was time for salad. The greens were also fresh and crisp. I do wish they provided a little more dressing than the min size that is presented. I know I can ask for two as not all are used, but sometimes you get the “look” when you ask for two so I tend to just say thanks (but gosh the faux wood trays are ugly)!

steak dinner business class 767-300 atlanta to europe delta points blog

Anther perk of sitting in the middle is they rarely run out of choices by the time they get to your seat. I had the steak. It was good, warm and cooked well. The broccoli was OK and the risotto was good.

dessert cart business class 767-300 atlanta to europe delta points blog

Then time for the best part. Time for the dessert cart. They often have the same fare on each flight.

dessert business class 767-300 atlanta to europe delta points blog

They offer a cheese plate, some small tarts and vanilla ice cream with caramel or chocolate (or both) and nuts, whipped cream and a Pirouette Rolled Wafers stick (love those)!

After a cognac I was out like a light and slept well and through breakfast and awoke just before landing in Stuttgart. This was my first visit to STR airport and I was NOT impressed. Unlike Amsterdam you have to exit security (kinda like SFO) and walk to the next wing. Now I did not have a boarding pass for the next two legs. I went to the Delta desk, they sent me to KLM. KLM wanted to charge me for my already checked luggage, I said really, we are in business and I am a Diamond Medallion, so they sent me over to another KLM desk (unreal). We only had 1 hr to make the connection and the inbound was late. I was getting steamed.

Then, due to rushing, we get to the gate and I see an all too common occurrence, our chosen KLM seats did NOT hold even though I had picked them from my Flying Blue account on KLM.com. Never trust you are going to get the seats you want with KLM as the The Points Guy will attest to after his latest adventure in KLM Economy Comfort. I did try to get the gate agent to help out but she was completely worthless and just dismissed me!

new slimline fixed seats klm regional jet business class Franfurt to Amsterdam delta points blog

Boarding in STR was a joke too. No Sky Priority! There was just a cattle call RUSH to get onboard. Since we were close to the desk dealing with “agent unhelpful” we did get to board reasonably quickly only to see what awaited us, the new, slim line, fixed position, torture seats.

new slimline fixed seats klm regional jet business class Franfurt to Amsterdam delta points blog 1

Now keep in mind that KLM does not domestically have a “real” business class product. It is a coach seat with often a center seat blocked for “your comfort” as we call it a “Tommy Class” seat coined from the MegaDO events.

new slimline fixed seats klm regional jet business class Franfurt to Amsterdam delta points blog 4

I wanted row 1 on both flights but was put in 2 and 3. With the fixed row 1 armrests it was just as well to sit in row two on this bird. But talking arm rests, this is one more thing to HATE about these seats. They do not fold up and “hide” between the seats at all. So, either you have these ½ tiny things in the way or stabbing you in the side if you fold them up (what idiot designed these things and what were they thinking?)!

new slimline fixed seats klm regional jet business class Franfurt to Amsterdam delta points blog 3

I can not tell you how much I despise these seats and just how bad they are. Uncomfortable, not reclined enough and like sitting on a wooden school bench from the 20’s. Plus leg room is cramped. I could go on and on but you get the idea.

breakfast franfurt to amsterdam klm regional jet delta points blog

Breakfast was lite but enough since we snoozed through the Delta one inbound to STR.

bus ride amsterdam to regional jet from amsterdam to gothenburg delta points blog

We had a tight connection in Amsterdam but since we had entered the EU in Stuttgart we already had our boarding pass for the next hop and it happened that we parked just a few gates over from our next one. Perfect! Well, until we found out it was a bus gate. Ugg.

klm regioanal jet amsterdam to gothenburg delta points blog 1

We took our time and waited outside as the eager Swedes boarded. No rush, it was an amazing day and it felt great to just stand and soak up some sun.

klm regioanal jet amsterdam to gothenburg delta points blog 2

After everyone was done we moved to the back of the queue to board and found 1st class empty. Perfect and this allowed us to claim row one.

klm regioanal jet amsterdam to gothenburg delta points blog 3

This regional had 2+2 configuration but did have the old seats that reclined and had a bit more leg room as you can see. Nice. The only other people who ended up upfront was a crew repositioning to GOT.

lunch klm regional jet amsterdam to gothenburg

Lisa went to sleep but I was awake so had a light lunch on the ride up to Gothenburg. It was not the best but worked and is miles better than anything Delta offers on a short 1-ish hr hop. But, I would trade the food for a good seat that Delta does provide (and no wifi on KLM).

gothenburg landvetter airport delta points blog

We landed on time, took a quick taxi ride to town. It was a longish trip but all worked. Tomorrow I will cover my time in Gothenburg, some sights you should see as well as some updates on taxis in town and such. – René

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Thank you Delta for fixing the TINY seat scroll bar issue!

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the delta scroll bar is too small delta points blog

I want to thank Delta for fixing one of the most annoying things on Delta.com (yeah I know there are still a few more to fix). But the one I talked about HERE affects me a ton as I follow my own advice from the morning’s Rookie post and check my seats often.

no more tiny scroll bar on delta-com web site delta points blog

If you have checked your seats lately, the tiny bar is not just better but completely GONE! I think this is a great improvement as the bar was a bit redundant anyway. Now all we have to do is scroll up and down the page and the airplane seat map moves along with us.

We do tend to be maybe a little bit hard on Delta “IT” (and deservedly so due to the award engine) but this was a good change and I thank Delta IT for making my daily Delta.com experience just a little better (do you think they could make the Skyclubs free taps pour our non #SkunyGate beer?  :-) ) – René

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Rookie Wednesday: Watch your Delta seats like a HAWK & 6,5,3 & 1 matter!

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Welcome to a weekly feature on the Delta Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

Your upgrade is now confirmed delta points blog

As you read this I am about to board my flight to start my next mileage run into SFO. I have really been enjoying (the now working again) E-mails from Delta that your “Your upgrade is now confirmed”! After E-mails from my readers, these are just about my favorite E-mails :-)

best seats 767-300 delta points blog 1

But how does this apply in a rookie way? It all has to do with seats. When I get an email from Delta I jump onto the phone app (if I can ever get it to load-up) or Delta.com and I get to go look at the 1st class seats and see what is open and what seat is the BEST in that cabin for that type of plane. For me, what is important above all is leg room. That is king. Next, I like it when no one reclines into me. So I often pick row 1 in biz unless it is a night flight.

tons-of-leg-room-in-26b-on-delta-767-300-jet-delta-points-blog

But when it comes to coach, as I have talked about before, you really have to check a bunch what is the best seat.

The next big key is the medallion upgrade calendar even if you are NOT a medallion. Why? When they hit the upgrade window they get moved from, presumably, the best seats on the flight. They would have picked (or I would have) the front row of economy comfort like on a 767-300 internationally configured bird. They get upgrades around 6:PM EST on day 6, 5, 3 & 1. Thus, you had better, if you are not happy with your seat, get online and see. The flights also clear by low number first so say Delta 1012 would clear before Delta 3014.

best seats 767-300 delta points blog 2

Or, as in the case of the 767-300 domestic one, to me, hands down row 26 either side is the best seat on the plane in coach. You can see the leg room above is unreal and you can almost not touch the seat in front of you. I have spent a bunch of time in these seats on my way to Diamond Medallion status.

Delta-domestic-767-300-exit-row-seat-row-25-26

So what else do you need to know? The most important, and most frustrating, is Delta will not tell you if your seat gets changed. Even if you PAID for an upgrade to economy comfort you may find yourself back in standard coach. All that Delta is required to do, per the contract of carriage you agreed to when you got the ticket, is to get you from point A to B at around the time you booked. That was one of the neatest things about the now blocked service Award Wallet as they would email you an alert when your seat had changed so you could jump back in and see what was up.

my profile delta points blog

Since we don’t have that we must keep checking like a hawk what the situation is with our next trip. Has an equipment change happened so we were automatically moved by Delta? This is also a reason to make SURE your seat preference is at least up to date at Delta.com and click on “My Delta” and then on the icon “View My Profile” and you should see the above that way if an auto-change happens you can at least get the kind you like if open.

flight preferences delta points blog

After that, I do, despite it’s issues, strongly recommend the Delta phone app so that you can, along the way, keep track of just where you are seated as equipment “swaps” can happen at the very last second and being able to switch your seat from your phone is SO much better than waiting in a line. If you have the twitter app also installed and are following @DeltaAssist, you can even tweet them to fix or move you to a seat you want in case of one of these events.The last BIG opportunity is 30-40 minutes before the flight when medallions “clear” into first class and their old seats open up – be ready to JUMP on those with the phone app as well. – René

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Why not just buy 2 Delta coach tickets? Can you use with FREE companion cert?

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jfk-lax

Business class seats are expensive. Not just a little bit more expensive, a lot more expensive. I mean, if you look at New York to Los Angeles on a weekday, you are talking SEVEN TIMES the money for business over coach. Is it worth it? What if you just want space?

Delta 767-300 economy comfort seats - Delta Points blog review (2)

Delta’s Economy Comfort seats are very nice. You get them free once you have attained Gold Medallion or higher and buy a domestic fare. On the to- and- from JFK to SFO, SEA or LAX, you even get free “complimentary beer, wine, and spirits” like in business class.

In the above from NY to LA example, if you buy TWO coachseats, you are paying $831 compared to $2918 for one business class seat. Not only that, but on JFK to SFO & LAX you can order “premium meal service on select flights within limited routes to our Economy Class customers” food coach jfk delta points blog

Even if you spend 2 x $15.99 for a premium meal – both outbound and return – you are still under $900 all-in for two seats vs. almost $3000 for one business class seat!

How do you do this? While you can buy tickets for many people at once, there is no way to by two for yourself on Delta.com. You have to call Delta to book two seats. What happens next is this; the first seat will be in your name, the next, will be your last name and “EXTRA”. Since you can not do this on Delta.com Delta will waive any phone fees for this booking.

Other tidbits to consider with this idea. We all know that Delta reps will give you different info depending on who you talk to. One rep told me you have to split the reservation to have a shot at a medallion upgrade. Another said no you can still upgrade but only one of the two seats. Yet another said you can upgrade both and get two first class seats. And then about earning MQMs & RDMs (i.e. Medallion Qualifying Miles and Skymiles). I have also been told different info from reps here as well. Some say only ticket #1 while others say both. I am waiting for confirmation from Delta and will update the post, but I would also love reader feedback on to split or not to split if you have more data points on both of these issues.

delta companion certificate delta points blog

Now here is where this can get really fun and something you may not have thought about! While it is some work to find seats (LUT fare class only for coach) for the Delta AMEX Platinum card or the Delta AMEX Reserve card (you get a cert in year two after fee bills) you CAN USE THESE and buy both seats for yourself. Yep! The second seat, just like usual, you just pay the tax for this second seat. This second seat for “you” can not be booked on Delta.com so you must call and ask for the “Promotion Desk” and they can then book this for you – again fees waived since it cannot be booked on Delta.com for two seats for just you.

I so love this idea even though I have not tried it yet (but plan to very soon). Remember that with these certs the primary flyer earns Skymiles and MQMs and the BOGOF certificate (PDF here) seat does not earn anything.You get a ton of space this way and can, depending on your status, pick either EXIT or EC seats for you and yourself! And depending on the route, as we see above, you can get free drinks for you and “yourself” :-)

I have always used the BOGOF for both Lisa & me but I do not like to put my Lisa in coach (after 25+ plus years with me she has earned 1st class travel). But, if I can take a trip by myself in coach and get a ton of space then this would be a great value to me for this certificate from my Delta AMEX card(s).

What you think? Like the idea of buying two seats? Of using your BOGOF AMEX cert this way? Feel free to comment but I will have a question for you later for SWAG Saturday at 1:PM ET. Today! – René

 

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Delta continues to upgrade their older planes with new interiors 757 is next!

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new delta 757 seats1

Out with the old and in with the new. The “other” Delta blog, the one run by the airline, has a post about the new 757 seats that are on the way soon.

new delta 757 seats2

This seat is in the same direction of the upgraded 767 international birds that I reviewed from my last trip to Amsterdam.

new delta 757 seats 3

One of the huge differences with the 767 and the 757 is wide body vs single aisle. You will have to climb over your seat mate with this style and a single aisle and some would rather see the herring bone design Delta had on the 777.

Ben, over at One Mile at a Time, says:

“I prefer not having a 767 on a transcon flight since they’re not equipped with WiFi, which for me is one of the most important amenities on a plane nowadays. On a daytime flight I’d actually take a domestic first class seat with WiFi over an international business class seat without it (I’m curious, am I alone that feels that way?).”

To me, who is also totally gaga over GoGo on my Delta jets, says no way! I would rather have a much more comfortable seat and give up my WiFi for a few hours and enjoy the ride. What do you think about this trade off?

Other things about this upgrade. The last round of Economy Comfort upgrades to the Airbus 319 & 320 resulted in the loss of 4 first class seats. I am very happy to see the 757-200(e) that had 16 business class seats will retain 16 after the upgrade. I think had they gone with individual aisle access you would have seen far fewer seats on these birds.

The old AirTran 717’s start flying with Delta colors next month and the A330’s continue to get the new seats too so I am very excited about flying the rest of this year on Delta as well as in 2014! – René

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Rookie Wednesday: Picking the best seats on Delta jets

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Welcome to a weekly feature on the Delta Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

Delta-767-300-economy-comfort-seats-Delta-Points-blog-review-2

One would think this is just the most simple thing in the world, but in fact it isn’t. Delta really does have a a ton of different aircraft and different models within each family of planes. Delta has a fairly standard product, but even then some of the aircraft have great bulkhead seats, others the exit row really is miles better than the bulkhead.

So in a rookie way, the “best seat” on an aircraft is a subjective choice. I am going to look at the choices this way. Are you a family of 1, 2 or more? Are you tall, or like me, a bit wide. Or are you tall and leg room is all that is important.

To me I have a list of things that can make a huge impact on the travel experience. See what you think and to me it is amazing how many factors come into play and why seat selection really is so important:

1 – Location on plane
2 – Leg room
3 – Ability to sit together
4 – Width of seat
5 – Softness of seat
6 – Quietness of area
7 – Windows (or lack of them)
8 – View from seat
9 – Overhead space
10 – Choice of food
11 – Nearness to bathrooms
12 – Recline
13 – Cabin (area) feel
14 – Arm rests
15 – Access to power

Have I missed anything? Wow. You see why I wanted to “rookie” this post. So how do you now make sure you get the best of the list above? Delta.com does a pretty good job of showing the seat maps, but not all the pro’s & cons.

Delta-wants-you-to-go-for-the-green-seats-the-economy-comfort

The two sites I always check are SeatGuru and the other is SeatMaestro. Both have been revamped recently and have very good seat maps of Delta Jets. They also have some seat photos from readers and reader feedback. Some of the data, IMO, is not 100% right and some seats they warn to be careful of, I love and others they should have recommended to AVOID, but that is personal more than anything else.

seat guru delta 767-300 new seat map

So with all this data, what choices should you make? To me it is simple. The most important feature to me over all else is leg room. So I take that and then work down the list. For you, other factor or factors may trump that. Also be aware that on some delta jets the front row is behind 1st class and you can stretch your leg into 1st while on some there is a hard wall there and you are very limited (same goes for some row 1 seats in 1st class as well).

The other major issue is day or night flights. You may be willing to put up with more noise and people on a day flight, but that would clearly be disturbing on an overnight.

I would pay close attention to windows if that is an issue for you. There are many seats where the windows are either missing or miss aligned so they are hard to see out of. If you are the kind that gets motion sick unless you can see out then please pay close attention when a seat map shows this is the case (for example the WORST 1st class seat on a 777 is 10A – window behind you and nothing but a view of the galley).

Other little musings. Another major issue for me, and many others, is shoulder width. That is the space you have at shoulder level. How can this be an issue? For me, and maybe I am unique in this, I want RIGHT shoulder space. I am right handed and for me to have a cramped right hand side makes me crazy. So, I sit on the “BC” aisle side most times so I can have my right free into the aisle. I also like a seat where the armrest can fold up. Just makes the space much better.

Last thing is what happens when Delta has an equipment change and moves you from your favorite seat that you did all this work to pick. Do you have any right to gripe or ask for a change? Simple answer is NO! You paid for transport not for that perfect seat. But, if you make a case to @DeltaAssit they can many times move you to a much better seat when you explain what happened (not from coach to biz, but EC is often possible even if you do not have a right to that due you)!

There is my 2 cents. Please shout out as your feedback may help another reader either enjoy the trip or wish they had picked another seat – René

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Delta Air Lines 767-300 Business Class & Economy Comfort International seats review

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Lisa & I have been in Sweden for a few weeks now and are just about ready to head home so I though I would review our first flight on the updated 767-300 seats (you can check Seat Guru for the full layout HERE).

The “Full Flat” seats as Delta calls them are very nice. Compared to the 777 these have a TON of space and felt much less claustrophobic than the herring bone style it uses.

The arrangement of 1-2-1 works great. If you are a couple traveling together the middle seats offer a ton of room, individual aisle access and space.

But speaking of claustrophobic, avoid row 1 in the middle. You have the bulk head wall, that does not intrude on your space, but does make the space feel much more cramped. All the seats have the same space in the middle so opt for something in the middle.

If you are traveling solo, the sides are very nice and offer great personal space.

Again here, just like with the row 1 in the middle, I would have you consider middle area for the best “open” feel.

While the seats are nice size, as well as the foot area and space around you, the one thing that is really lacking is personal storage. There are only a few little “flat” areas for you to put things so plan for that. I have also put up a YouTube slide show of the above photos as you can see.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qw5aEOJEXSU

Now on to the Economy Comfort section on the 767-300. Depending on the seat you pick you can get an amazing amount of leg room.

The side AB&FG seats in the first row of EC, row 17, are very nice as you can see.

There is one std power port between the seats, but I do suggest you always travel with one of my handy dandy monster power splitter you can buy for under 10 bucks that has extra power and USB power so you can get some extra ports when you need them (I would buy a bunch and give them to friends as gifts even).

Clearly if you are just two try for these side rows. The exit rows also have a huge amount of leg room.

But the seats are harder in the exit rows. It all depends on what is most important to you, leg room or a softer bottom :-) (there is also the noise issue with the bathrooms next to the exit so it is quieter farther forward).

Another nice thing is the EC front cabin does have a business mini cabin “feel” to it.

I think Delta has done a very nice job with this interior cabin design and if you are not a Platinum or Diamond medallion, so able to pick these seats free, the upgrade cost if you can get the right seats is well worth the price. As a warning keep in mind row 20, while exit, has limited recline but just as much leg room as row 21. I would avoid row 20 for sleep but would be just fine for a daytime flight. Lastly Delta does fly this design transcon now and then so you can enjoy it not just internationally, but there is no wifi as of this posting so if that is more important to you look to the old standard 767-300’s they fly all over the USA!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3fh4KENgkc

Just as with the Business class seats I have put up a YouTube video slide show of the seats from the post. Delta has made the decision to stick with older jets and just update interiors. They have a state of the art maintenance program and facilities in Atlanta and partnerships elsewhere. I have full confidence in this strategy and love what they are doing with this design.

Have you had a chance to try these seats out? Do you like them? Do you think the others are better? Let us all know please – René

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Delta Points travel tips for making regional jet travel better (well sorta anyway)

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crj200-delta-points-blog-needs-paint

We all know Delta / Delta partner CRJ100/200 & Embraer145 jets are evil (ok that may be a bit harsh but not by much). I know some readers say they like them but as one who “must” fly them out of South Bend all the time – take my word please they are evil little things (you hear me Jeff Robertson – please get SBN some CRJ700/900’s)!

OK mini-rant over and now to what can help you in today’s post. If you have to be stuck on a regional jet there are some things to know. The first is overhead storage. I “like” row 1 on a CRJ as it does give you “some” extra leg room in B&C to stretch into the galley area. But, many times, the overhead for row 1 is full of first aid oxygen and for FA use so your bags could end up in row 2 or much worse. If you are going to sit in row 1, be sure you board #1. If not, pick row 2 to be safe.

The next little torture jet is the Embraer145. The ONLY plus of these little gems over the above ones is if you are alone you can have your own private row. This is so much better than fighting for space in a CRJ. But, please be alert for seats 1A & 2A. 1A does have some extra leg room (nice) but there is NO overhead space until row 3 and all of it is on the other side of the jet. Again, you need to be one of the first on board to get your stuff “up there”!

Another nice tip for those of you like me that need to lose 10 pounds (ok 20 pounds) is the little button under your armrest. As you can see in the above shot, on most, some both sides, you can raise your armrest if you want to (thus the announcement each time to lower them before landing on this aisle side). Many times this can be a nice way to gain some space and comfort!

Anyway, Delta has promised to continue to reduce these “gems” from the inventory and for me it can not happen fast enough. Any other tips to make regional jet travel better? Please share them with us too – René

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A Delta reschedule call from Singapore & things to keep in mind!

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Yesterday I got a call that caller ID’d as from Singapore. I almost did not answer the phone, but cautiously picked it up. I am happy I did as it was from Delta Air Lines from the Singapore calling center.

I have found in the past, and have up under E9 in my Essential tab, that if you are having a hard time with US calling center reps that you can try calling the other centers overseas to get better results. For me, most of the time, the Platinum Medallion desk is cheerful, happy and most times more than willing and able to help out. So I was looking forward to seeing how this call went. Here is what happened.

The cheerful heavily Asian accented rep had GREAT news, my spring trip to Sweden, that had 4 connects, now had just 3 and it had been all rebooked for me (uh oh – NOT good, I had, with thanks to my good friend at PM&M, intentionally booked via CVG to get the full flat seat flight they have CVG-CDG).

At this point I say hold on, I had booked to get full flat seats. I also knew that now, with the new years schedule loaded, that Delta is flying a 777 once a day from DTW to AMS with full flat seats. So, I quickly jumped on Delta.com to see that I was NOT on that bird but on an A330. These are fine for daytime flights, but not as nice as a full flat to sleep.

I quickly looked at the SBN-DTW-AMS-GOT and picked the perfect flights and fed the rep each flight number and time. She punches the keyboard (loudly I might add) and after a very long wait puts me on hold and comes back with the flights I want. Looks great. BUT, before she reissues the ticket I notice that the last leg, AMS-GOT is in Y-Coach NOT in O-Bisness class. This may have been due to the fact that Air France only runs a coach class plane from CDG-GOT but I asked the rep please to make sure I was in business class on the last leg too, not coach. She confirmed this change and reissued the ticket.

With all the updates to Delta.com now I had no problem picking all the seats I wanted including row 1 on the KLM flight from AMS up to GOT.

Never ever forget, when a schedule change happens, THEN, not later, is the time to ask for ALL YOU CAN. Delta has impacted YOUR travel plans at this point and you do not want to miss out on this chance to get the perfect trip that you booked originally at low level award points. Now, the point amount DOES NOT matter! Are we learning yet? – René

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DELTA confirmation numbers now WORK on AF & KLM web sites!

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For a very long time, when you had a reservation with an AF or KLM included segment, booked via Delta, you had to get your AF/KLM confirmation code to see the seat map. You could ONLY see the seat map if you were in business class. So, you could ask a Delta rep for this number to use on the web site or you could go to AirFrance.com/us and put in the Delta ticket number and your name and you would then be able to see the corresponding AF/KLM confirmation number assigned to your ticket from Delta.

Well now, it would seem, that has all changed. You can simply use your Delta confirmation on both AirFrance.com and KLM.com with your last name and pull up your reservation.

However, you still should take the step of also  joining Flying Blue  even if you never ever plan to credit one point to them. Why? Intra Europe flights. Air France is still acting in their typical way and will not let you see coach class seats. KLM, however, wants to make money off of you. To that end, look at the below:

Bingo! Delta will tell you this is airport controlled. Wrong! With a Flying Blue number you WILL be able to pick seats and use your Delta confirmation number to pull up the booking.

As you can see, you can pay for EC seats or exit row with USD or FB points if you have some. If you are a Delta Medallion I would personally not do that. I would grab the best seats FREE in coach so you at least have a “good” seat and then once you get “over there” go to the KLM crown room or AF lounge and see about getting exit or EC for free. They will give you a snaky look, but if you remind them of your Skyteam elite status and explain how you would so much appreciate it, they will most of the time help you out.

As a final note that I find very interesting is the Skyteam issue this raises. Think about this: the idyllic partnership we fly on & that KLM has found a way to upsell you, if you want, and make money off of you from a Delta purchased ticket! Also, as another fun bit, if you add your Delta itinerary to your KLM flying blue account to track, and you also have KLM in your Award Wallet account, it is a back door way to track a Delta trip (that is as long as you have one AF or KLM segment). – René

 

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Delta Economy Comfort seats CRJ-900 and a trip report part one – the perfect Delta trip?

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My roots, while ½ Swedish, the other ½ is mostly of Hungarian descent (oh and some French and Italian too). Every few years the hundreds of descendants get together in Philadelphia. So why drive when you can fly and I may just have had the best trip ever and it was not in business class!

I booked 25,000 point Skymiles award seats from AZO-DTW-PHL round trip but as we got closer to departure date I was able to switch, using my wife’s platinum medallion status and miles, to SBN-DTW-PHL. We did have my mom-in-law with us and that knocked us out of upgrade possibility and for such a short set of flights I did not want to split the PNR into many (gosh I hate this as most of 1st flew empty). But, I had not tried the EC seats on the 900’s yet nor the 737-800 for the return flight.

So here are a bunch of photos and feedback on the product. We were in row two. If you can get row one, get it as the middle arm rest does come up and you have just about unlimited leg room stretching into first class.

The GoGo WiFi worked well and was snappy and responsive. I forgot to do a speed test but will try to remember for my next flight. (may have to start a FT post and ask readers to upload their results with ( http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest ).

The return seats were nice as well. Good recline and leg room (sorry for the bad photo). I was again able to use my “mobile” HOOU coupon as I blogged about the other day and got a “travel treats” snack box to enjoy (man they pack a lot of goodies in that tiny box).

The view on the trip home from coach was just as beautiful as in 1st class. Seriously, even us who put in tens of thousands of miles each year, please, take the time just to stare out the window at the view below. Every time my wife and I “walk laps” around where we live I look up at the vapor trails and wish I was looking down at this. The view is humbling and we should enjoy it!

Lastly I said this may have been the best trip ever. I enjoyed the 2-3 hours between flights in our new clean and renovated Skyclubs. Food is nice and drinks are free. The Delta FA’s were nice and smiled and thanked me for flying and you should have seen the FA (Karon H.) on our last DTW-SBN short hop “BUST IT” to take care of us. These people WORK VERY HARD for us. Thank them! I did with a “Delta Points” Chairman’s club card and it made my day! – Rene

 

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Should you try to earn elite medallion status with Delta Air Lines? Why you should plus the best way to MQM’s!

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I get this question all the time. Many, including my fellow bloggers, those at Flyer Talk & Mile Point, will tell you you can get the same benefits by JUST getting the Delta AMEX branded credit cards! This is because the cards get you so many Delta benefits like zone 2 boarding, a free bag and on and on! I have even, in this blog, talked about the fact that having the Delta AMEX is like having “Gold Plated” medallion status with Delta. I am now modifying my stand. Really, why? Why should I try to get ANY level of status with Delta?

Times, they are a changing. Delta is going to make changes to the Skymiles program, we do not know just when. So how will status help? Simple. How our airline “looks” at us when we fly. Like what, upgrades? Much more than just that. I have a list for you to consider:

  • Upgrades. Sure, the higher your status the better and keep in mind the Delta Reserve breaks all ties.
  • Boarding and bag space. Face it, first on, your bags go up and you get leg room. The gate cattle get to put their bags under seat and get no leg room! In a tight “tin can” space, this is what we want.
  • Issues! Never underestimate the fact that our airline will compensate an elite  more Skymiles, ETVs & other goodies like these at a MUCH higher rate when you complain to Delta if you are FO or GM or PM or DM!
  • Issues at the airport as well. Redcoats have been through some intense training as of late. Do you really think a general passenger gets the same treatment as a Medallion?
  • Speaking of issues, when you call Delta the computer says, “please enter your Delta Skymiles number”. This does impact your wait time to talk to a rep and even the quality of the rep once they answer.
  • Flight Changes. I preach & preach about the glorious and ultimate wild card in Skymiles booking, the mighty schedule change. The higher your status the more likely our friends at Chisom or the other call centers will say SURE we will do that change for you!
  • Partners. Delta has a bunch of partners. Passengers in tourist class are slightly appreciated by our airline. Delta partners treat them, well, like cattle! But if you can play the DYKWIA elite Delta card, in a nice way now, like “as a valued elite with Skyteam, I am sure we can find a solution” does not hurt you one bit! They will still fight you and give you looks, but if you stand firm things tend to work out!

I could go on and on about this all day. Despite the vast amount of medallion flyers with Delta, we really are a small percentage compared to the rest of the flyers and if we understand this it can help us. Think about this, getting both a personal and business Delta AMEX Reserve card, after your first one dollar spent on each card, you are only 5000 MQMs away from Silver status for the rest of this year. Reach that and you will have status until FEB2014! Not a bad deal for $450/each in 1st year card fee’s when you think about it.

So as you can see, chasing status is about much more than just upgrades and can really have a huge can impact your travels and how we interact with our Delta Air Lines. – René

 

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What is up with all the different Delta business class seats?

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Back in February I had a post talking about the different business class seats between DL/KLM/AF. Delta has a bunch of different products due to the integration with NWA. I still like the old NWA clam shell product and have yet, as much as it pains me to admit, not had a chance to try a single one of the now many different styles of lie flat seats. But is it not strange how many different kinds of lie flats that Delta is going with? Is it really that hard to find the best type and cost of seat and then put them in all the birds? Then I came across this video interview about business seats. Take the time to look and see what you think:

Click photo to watch

This does explain a bunch. But why has Delta gone with so many choices? I mean look at all these types:

You have the 747 style in the video clip above

You have this one in the 767

You have this one in the 777

You have yet another one on the way in 330’s

???? – wait and see!

Why is this? I reached out to Delta and was told that one of the main differences between Delta and all the other airlines is that Delta wants all customers to have direct aisle access from all BE seats so we do not have to climb over another passenger to get out of our seat.  Also that it is not a question of cost of one vendor over another, but due to airplane shape and cabin size from the different aircraft manufactures. Lastly they are reacting to customer feedback going forward with seat choices.

Progress is happening. Delta hoped the refit would be done this year but I have been advised it will be between 2013 and as late as 2014 until all the planes in the fleet are done. The 330’s will not start until Q3 or Q4 this year.

So have any of you been on all the different types of Delta lie flats? Do you like one over the other? Do you think Delta’s focus on aisle access is a winner over the other airlines product choices? I would love to know! – René

 

[EDIT: Please take the time to read comments from readers in this post.
They are very helpful!]

 

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Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

 

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