Whoever came up with OFCMB seats at Delta should get a P-I-N-K slip!

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ofcmb the new names for deltas old seats delta points blog

When I was in college for my Bachelor’s degree I triple majored in Marketing, Advertising and Business Management. This means I understand a bit how each works and the relationship each has with the other. The creative marketing and advertising folks try to “sell” management that their ideas are AMAZING and in turn management asks how any of what they intend to do will make the company more money (or cost them the least amount possible for that return). Simplistic, maybe, but a solid overview to me.

How does any of that apply to the post at hand and the OFCMB seats we soon will have when flying Delta? Well Delta had, with this rebranding choice, a real shot at fixing and making the seat choice simpler, better and much clearer to the flying “public”. Did they do this? Not even remotely and instead have made it worse than ever before. Those who came up with this mess should be “shown the exit row door” at Delta as far as I am concerned! See if you don’t agree with my ramblings as we break down the new seat names that start in two month on 1MARCH15.

  • ONE! One what? Only ONE seat will ever be found for you as an award ticket at low level? The ONE seat medallions will never get as a complimentary upgrade? ONE seat you will only find internationally? Humf! I understood the old BE or Business Elite name. It was (is) an elite seat and I get the familiarity to the old NWA World Business Class name and feel. What this seat should have been called is 1st class. It is the closest Delta will ever get to a “real” 1st class seat on other airlines around the world. When you think of a 1st class “hard product”, full flat and more, this product fits that description. FIRST would work.
  • FIRST! No it is not. You cannot call a big coach seat 1st class. You can call it business class as it is big enough to get business done. Delta could have taken the chance to call this seat what “everyone” else calls this outside of the corporate mothership, that is a business class seat. BUSINESS would work.
  • C+! When I was in school a C+ was a way for teacher to tell me you passed and stunk just a little less than those who only passed. Comfort Plus. What a dumb name. EC or Economy Comfort worked and was brilliant. It is just an economy seat but with a bit of comfort. EC was fun to say and we all have come to understand it. When it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Never mind. EC would work.
  • MAIN! Main what? Main part of the alphabet soup of fare classes (YBMLUTVX)? Where the main group of flyers will sit who fly Delta? Wait. I have an idea. How about – ECONOMY. Nah, that will never fly. No one calls those seats economy seats (do they)? Let’s just stick with that dumb idea and call them ECONOMY seats.
  • BASIC! This the only “one” seat new name I like. This one can stay. We all know what “BASIC” stands for and this fits. All the basic rights and dignities (if there are any in economy anymore) are out the window when you buy a basic seat. Upgrades, overhead space & choice – all gone – you just get the basics. OK, BASIC seat works.

So there you go. What Delta should have done is re-branded the  exact same seats they have on jets now  to the following and I will think of the seats when I fly this way:

  • First Class
  • Business Class
  • Economy Comfort Class
  • Economy Class
  • Basic Class

And this is also why a failed marketing and advertising idea can cost a company so much. If the target audience for the sales pitch does not buy it, and even laughs at and dismisses what you have created, you have completely failed at your job. You have not created an idea that resonates with the buyer, but one that confuses and frustrates the buyer. You have, rather than creating a unique brand, created an issue that will lead to customer complaints and service issues. #EpicFail

Don’t expect any of this to resonate with our Mothership as they are spending a HUGE amount of your $29 +1 $kyGrub upcharge fees with our Delta AMEX Reserve cards to enter the Skyclubs to pay  for this glorious re-branding as part of the AMAZING Skymils2015 program just 4 days away. Just get used to OFCMB seats and have fun trying to explain to your friends who fly other airlines what class of service you really are in and what the seat is like compared to theirs. – René
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What Delta should do to upgrade the JFK-SEA/SFO/LAX flight experience!

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tweet from luvo to me about my post on EC transcon upgrades

Last week Luvo, the company, responded with an MT or modified re-tweet about my post talking about Delta’s latest “enhancements” to the EC or economy comfort flight experience from JFK. Most readers responded they liked the new perks while other medallions responded that they are avoiding that route now since there is no shot at a business class upgrade. To me, it is about the seat and Delta’s EC seat is only marginally better than any other coach seat, that is a tiny bit more leg room and recline; other than that, no big difference.

PremiumVoyageur  seats1

What Delta could do, to differentiate the EC experience, on JUST THIS ROUTE, is to put in a “real” EC seat. Air France has a truly differentiated EC hard product on many of its international birds.

PremiumVoyageur  seats2

It is a REAL upgrade over the standard coach seat. You are talking 19″ of seat width and 38″ of recline vs Delta’s EC product that is 17-18″ of width and 35″ of recline. 1″ of extra width is really nice and 38″ of recline is a remarkable difference when trying to rest on a long flight.

AF EC seats

Plus there is the additional space around you. On the widebody jets Air France has removed one seat going from 2-4-2 to 2-3-2 to accommodate these larger seats. Doing this on narrow body Delta jets would be difficult so I don’t have the perfect answer as to the hard design change idea. Plus, I am sure there are others better equipped to make those kinds of hardware suggestions than me.

I guess my point is if Delta is going to keep the medallion non-upgrade stand on these routes, they need to offer more than just soft upgrades and truly offer an improved hard product as well. What do you think? Would an upgrade EC seat bring you who are avoiding the route back? – René
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The good & bad about Delta’s new 757 seats (as they start to roll out).

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new 757 biz seats delta air lines delta points blog

On the real Delta blog Taking Off i.e. the one run by Delta Air Lines the other day they had the first official photos of the new 757s. I did get to see some advanced release photos and having IFE throughout coach will be a very nice upgrade and it looks like similar slim line seats as in the 737-900’s. Do keep in mind that most, including me, like the slim line seats Delta has chosen. They are not the uncomfortable kind that other airlines have chosen.

So the stats on these new configurations are:

BusinessElite®
• 16 seats in a 2 x 2 configuration
• Seats are staggered and slightly angled toward the windows to optimize privacy and personal space
• Seat width is 20.2″ which can be increased to 22.2″ with the armrest stowed
• 180º fully flat bed (average bed length of 76″)
• Electronic seat controls with adjustable lumbar support
• 110v AC in-seat power + USB power
• Adjustable personal LED reading light

Economy Comfort
• 44 seats at 35″ pitch & and up to 50% more recline in a 3 x 3 layout
• “Slim-line” seat provides more personal space
• 4-way adjustable headrests
• 110v AC in-seat power + USB power

Economy
• 108 seats at a minimum of 31″ pitch and 4″ recline in 3 x 3 layout
• “Slim-line” seat provides more personal space
• 4-way adjustable headrests
• 110v AC in-seat power + USB power

Personal On Demand Entertainment
• 16″ Elite Integrated Smart Monitors in BusinessElite; 9″ Eco 9i Integrated Smart Monitors in Economy Comfort & Economy
• 18 channels of live satellite TV
• 350 films
• 130 hours of stored TV
• 95 hours of premium programming from HBO & Showtime
• 5,000 digital songs
• 27 games
• Moving map

Cabin Enhancements
• Full-spectrum LED cabin mood lighting system
• Onboard Wi-Fi
• New lavatories throughout the aircraft featuring LED lighting and touchless flush
• Updated carpet color – a darker, richer shade of blue
• New bulkhead “Sky Diamond” laminates reminiscent of the Sky Club backwall
• Redesigned Economy Comfort & Economy seat covers with additional comfort padding
• New placards and signage.

That is a lot of bullet points to look at. Power power power. With all our “toys” power is good. Just because it bears repeating, most LIKE the Delta choice for the slim line seats! As to the biz class, keep in mind there are less seats than before. This matters little on the JFK-LAX/SFO/SEA route where the upgraded birds will fly first as medallions cannot get free upgrades on those routes. However, on other routes, as they start to change over, it will mean less upgrade opportunities.

The choice apparently had to be made to have non individual aisle access so you will have to climb over your seat mate or have them wake up and be upright to get out. Then again, the space on the old 757 was so tight the situation was not really any different so I am OK with that as well. The seats do look VERY nice and I cannot wait to fly it.

This now leaves the old domestic 767-300 as the oldest and worst seats on Delta jets. Many of them are going away with the retirement of the 747s. I am sad to see those go, but happy to enjoy the upgraded interiors Delta is rolling out. – René

EDIT: There are good new photos in THIS post on FlyerTalk!

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I’m impressed w/ AirFrance twitter & picking seats (so far that is)!

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airfrance jet

Most long time readers know I am not a fan of coach. For short trips, fine, but for longer than 3 hours I want to be in the comfy seats with “cool refreshing drinks” brought to me by smiling and attentive FAs. This is one of the reasons when I do book mileage runs I tend to stick domestic as much as I can; as a Delta Diamond Medallion my upgrades tend to run about 90%.

However, the NAI price assault on flights to Scandinavia has caused the MR’er in me to go a bit nuts this year. One of them I fixed by using upgrade certs so no coach there (other than a short hop from Amsterdam up to Sweden). The next one, however, that I had to jump on will be quality time in coach. Not just this, but time on Air France and KLM coach. Ruh-Roh!

af us on twitter

Unless you fly these Skyteam partners you may not be aware of some slightly bothersome issues that can come up (if you detect a hint of sarcasm you are reading this correctly). You see, sometimes, you can pick seats on DELTA.dumb and think you have the seat you want only to have it not happen in reality when you go to fly. The fix has been to setup an account on KLM.com or AirFrance.com and pick seats that way. But even that does not always work.

You see as a Delta elite+ i.e. Platinum Medallion or higher you should be able to get better seats free. On KLM the economy comfort is much like Delta’s and free for us. On AF you can get exit row etc. but not their upgraded economy comfort that is almost a business “lite” seat and service.

tweets with airfrance for seats

For 8+ hours across the Atlantic ocean I did not want a bad seat. Delta did what they could at booking but were limited. I thought about calling KLM & AirFrance but that can go bad. Enter the power of Twitter. As you can see by the above tweets I got just the seat I wanted, but it did take a few extra tweets to show my seat confirmed. I then logged on to KLM & AF web sites and do see the seats confirmed and printed those pages as well. So far so good I am in exit row on an AF 747 and on the KLM 777 on the return in EC with NO seat in front of me for unlimited leg room. This works if it all works that is!

Other bits. I also, since I want to earn Delta points not Flying Blue points, made sure on both the KLM and AF site that my Delta Skymiles number is in their reservation system for the itinerary as well as on Delta.com. Why? When I check-in for the return trip Delta will send me to KLM to check-in. This is when things can go wrong and you don’t get the credit you want. Better to check now and print confirmations of what you want! – René
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Delta will be revamping seats on many narrowbody aircraft

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Delta-Air-Lines-737-900ER-photos-delta-points-travel-blog-new

Delta announced today they are upgrading many of their 757-200 (they have many versions), 737-800, Airbus A319 and A320. You can see the full press release here. On the 757’s, if I am reading it right, there may be a reduction in first class seats totals.

For flyers, it will be nice to have power, IFE & Satellite TV and on some more space in coach (who would not like to see ALL coach seats 18″ wide). One big plus for 1st class is the A320 that has 16 first class seats in the NWA days will again have 16.

For Delta, lighter seats save money and GAS! From the “new” 717’s from AirTran to buying MD’s Delta has shown it can revamp older jets and fly them at a profit rather than just buying new.

I will be spending some “quality time” in coach on the 737-900’s the next few days and will give more feedback on the seats and there is sure to be a lively discussion about them more here on FlyerTalk today.

Rookie Wednesday will be live at 1:PM today to make room for this seat upgrade announcement.- René
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The Delta 737-900ER jet. Modern, sleek & a nice upgraded travel experience!

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Delta Air Lines 737-900ER photos delta points travel blog (68)

Thanks to some great help from the great Sky Club reps in LAX and the amazing Captain Hank with Delta I was given access to the inaugural Delta 737-900 flight yesterday morning 01NOV13 from Atlanta to Detroit.

Delta Air Lines 737-900ER photos delta points travel blog (87)

I had a post the other day asking if readers were excited about the new jet. Let me tell you, you should be!

Delta Air Lines 737-900ER photos delta points travel blog (2)

The day was pouring rain in Atlanta but it did not dampen the day one bit for me.

Delta Air Lines 737-900ER photos delta points travel blog (99)

This is a very nice plane.

Delta Air Lines 737-900ER photos delta points travel blog (15)

The ride was smooth, quite and the first class seats are very comfortable.

Delta Air Lines 737-900ER photos delta points travel blog (16)

 The power ports in first class are easily accessible in front of you not under your seat as old one.

Delta Air Lines 737-900ER photos delta points travel blog (47)

There is easy USB access and the monitors are gorgeous, HUGE and quickly respond to input.

Delta Air Lines 737-900ER photos delta points travel blog (3)

The overhead bins fold out of the way more and hold quite a bit.

The overhead controls are new. The air vents are simple to open and close. As well as the LED light and both have great range to move as you like. Notice the FA call button is not near the light button.

Delta Air Lines 737-900ER photos delta points travel blog (14)

The Economy Comfort section is also very nice and on the left side of the airplane with NO bulkhead so you can stretch your feet out into 1st class.

Delta Air Lines 737-900ER photos delta points travel blog (7)

However on the right hand side there is a locker/ bulkhead in row 1 of Economy Comfort, so it has very limited leg room.

Delta Air Lines 737-900ER photos delta points travel blog (99)

The rest of the economy section is also very nice.

Delta Air Lines 737-900ER photos delta points travel blog (12)

All have nice sized IFE or in flight entertainment screens. They have quick access to USB plugs and headphones left bottom of the screens.

Delta Air Lines 737-900ER photos delta points travel blog (83)

Exit rows have more leg room but not as generous as other jets.

Delta Air Lines 737-900ER photos delta points travel blog (11)

Also be aware that many of the emergency row seats are fixed position. The Delta seat map shows the two seaters to recline when they do not.

Delta Air Lines 737-900ER photos delta points travel blog (65)

The cockpit is new and modern with screens replacing most of the old technology.

Delta Air Lines 737-900ER photos delta points travel blog (64)

Avionics are state-of-the-art including heads up display.

Delta Air Lines 737-900ER photos delta points travel blog (70)

Outside it is as sweet looking as on the inside of the jet.

delta air lines new 737-900 jet delta points blog

Overall this truly is a nice jet to fly and will serve Delta well as a narrow body jet. A few issues did come up during the maiden flight but Panasonic technicians were onboard to identify what needs tweaking. Also, for a few weeks, there will be NO GoGo wifi thanks to the recent government shutdown. Delta told me:

“The 737-900ER is a new fleet type for Delta and for Gogo, requiring supplemental type certification (STC) in order to install and activate the Wi-Fi system. And because of the government shutdown, and subsequent backlog of STC requests, the FAA wasn’t able to grant us Wi-Fi STC before our 739 service commenced. We hope to have certification within 4-6weeks.”

Delta Air Lines 737-900ER photos delta points travel blog (1)

Other thoughts. Row one of 1st class on the left 1B has a toe cutout but not much. 1A has partial. 1DC has none. I would avoid row 1. Also row 5DC has the storage / bulkhead behind limiting recline so another avoid if possible. It is nice that there are 20 first class seats in the cabin.

I will be flying this jet a few more times in January and am now very much looking forward to the ride. I am really impressed and look forward to seeing what you think of this new bird in the Delta stable! – René

 

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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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