Review: Delta One Boeing 757 business class (Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles)

Delta puts its best foot forward on flights from the US national capital to one of the world's busiest international airports.

Overall Rating

By Chris Chamberlin, February 25 2020
Delta One Boeing 757 business class (Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles)
Route

Washington, D.C. (Reagan) - Los Angeles

Aircraft Type

Boeing 757-200

Airline

Delta

Flight

DL1631

Cabin Class

Business (Delta One)

Seat

1B (aisle)

Notes
The Good
  • Great pre-flight lounge, and smooth onward connections to Australia aboard Delta and Virgin Australia
  • Live satellite TV, so you'll never miss the news or the latest match
The Bad
  • 2-2 seating layout places some passengers away from the aisle
X-Factor
  • The only airline with flatbed business class seating on flights from Reagan Airport to LAX
Service
Meals
Seating
Overall

Introduction

As the only airline to offer flatbed seating in business class on flights to Los Angeles from Washington, D.C.'s Reagan (DCA) Airport, Delta pairs that seat with a solid pre-flight lounge and complimentary messaging via the inflight WiFi.

Check-in

  • Frequent flyer program: Delta SkyMiles, SkyTeam. Delta is also a partner of other programs such as Virgin Australia Velocity, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and more.
  • Checked baggage allowance:
        • 2x32kg: standard allowance
        • 3x32kg: All elite frequent flyer tiers including Delta SkyMiles Silver, Velocity Silver, SkyTeam Elite, and above. Plus, U.S. military members on personal travel.
        • 5x45kg: U.S. military members flying on military orders.
  • Carry-on baggage allowance: 1x114cm bag (no weight limit), plus one personal item such as a briefcase or handbag. Duty-free goods, airport retail purchases, jackets, umbrellas and assistive devices are allowed in addition to this allowance.
  • Airport fast-track: Keep your eyes peeled for the two magic words, "Sky Priority", at check-in, security screening and boarding to skip the queues. Checked bags are priority-tagged, too.

Lounge

Unlike Delta's domestic or short-haul international 'first class', Delta One tickets include complimentary lounge access as part of the parcel, even if you're only flying domestically.

At DCA Airport, a quick scan of your boarding pass gets you straight into the Delta Sky Club, upstairs after security.

Having been refurbished in mid-2018, this lounge is one of Delta's nicest, with a variety of zones tailored to working, relaxing, socialising and more.

There's a tended bar, with some beers, wines and spirits served at no charge, and other more premium drops available for purchase.

ET review: Delta's DCA Sky Club, Washington, D.C.

Flight

Delta offers daily flights from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles, with DL1631 departing DCA at 5:10pm, at the end of the business day.

Its arrival into Los Angeles is scheduled at a precise 8:13pm, allowing for easy onward connections to Sydney aboard both Delta (DL41 at 10:15pm) and its partner Virgin Australia (VA2 at 11:15pm).

ET review: Delta One Boeing 777 business class, Sydney-LAX

Virgin Australia's evening flight from LAX to Brisbane, VA8 at 9:45pm, can also be paired with this service from D.C., although Brisbane's VA6 flight on Saturdays doesn't line up, and nor does VA24 to Melbourne on any day, as it departs LA just two minutes after this flight pulls in.

If you are making a same-day transit in Los Angeles between Delta flights, and those flights arrive into and then depart from different terminals at LAX, you can request a private airside limousine transfer from staff at the transit point.

Otherwise, a complimentary airside bus transfer service is available to all passengers and can be used when connecting onto any other airline: helpful if you've arrived into T2 or T3 on a Delta flight, and have an onward connection with Virgin Australia from TBIT.

Seat

Delta's Boeing 757s adopt a single-aisle configuration, with business class seats arranged in a 2-2 layout.

This places each passenger either against the aisle, or beside the window. Those seated by the window don't have direct aisle access, and so must step past (or over) their neighbour to get across.

Each seat pair is angled slightly away from the aisle, which helps reduce any distractions from passengers and crew walking past, especially when trying to work or enjoy a movie.

If you'd rather sleep, the seat transforms into a 193cm (76-inch) bed, with a plush duvet and comfortable pillow supplied by Westin Heavenly Bedding, as you'd also find on Delta One international flights such as between Sydney and Los Angeles.

A fixed footrest forms the tail end of that bed, although space for your feet is somewhat limited, with the design favouring those who sleep on their sides rather than on their back.

If you're sitting against the aisle (in a B or C seat), the aisle-side armrest can be lowered to provide a little extra space and a more open feel, for those that don't like to be boxed in.

The bed was comfortable, although the timing of the flight lends itself better to sitting back with a good movie rather than a solid doze: and if that's your plan, the seat's controls can be used to craft the perfect position.

In terms of storage, there's space for items like shoes down near your footwell, with soft items such as the supplied Tumi amenity kit, headphones and bottled water found up next to your shoulder.

That's also where you'll find the seat's AC and USB power points, and the headphone outlet for the inflight entertainment system.

Lower down, there's also a separate pouch for literature, which is a handy place to keep the inflight menu when not in use. A small shelf is also located just below the entertainment screen.

While this aircraft type doesn't afford each passenger direct aisle access, on flights from DCA Airport to Los Angeles, Delta's business class is easily the best choice given its competitors all use reclining seats on this route, as opposed to fully-flat beds.

That said, United Airlines does offer a similar Boeing 757 business class seat on its own Washington-Los Angeles flights, but those depart from Dulles Airport: around four times further from downtown DC than the more convenient DCA, which Delta serves.

ET review: United Airlines Boeing 757 business class

Meal

A glass of Mionetto Delta Master Cuvée Prosecco gets the journey started, serving up a bouquet of pear, apple and acacia flower.

The full bar opens after take-off, from which the 'Signature Cocktail' is a top pick, blending Bombay Sapphire gin with cranberry-apple juice and ginger ale as a refreshing apéretif.

Dinner is a single tray service, with bread, Caesar salad and a prawn starter accompanying one of the following main courses:

  • Grilled beef tenderloin with parmesan chive mashed potatoes, sautéed spinach and roasted pearl onions.
  • BBQ seasoned chicken with an English pea, edamame and wheatberry risotto, along with roasted baby carrots in a peach BBQ sauce.
  • Black truffle ravioli with parmesan sauce, with truffle bread crumb crust and herb cherry tomatoes.

The ravioli sounded the most appetising, and although the presentation of the dish wasn't exceptional, it was quite flavourful.

Dessert follows, with a choice between vanilla ice cream or a fruit and cheese plate. Having skipped lunch that day, the ice cream won.

Closer to landing, oven-baked chocolate chip cookies are served as well.

They're soft, delicious and oozing with chocolate: just like the perfect cookie should be.

Entertainment & Service

Sit back and relax with Delta Studio inflight entertainment, offering a broad selection of movies, TV shows and music, along with satellite-based TV.

As expected, you can also keep tabs on your flight via the moving map. This aircraft has WiFi too, with basic messaging via Facebook, iMessage and WhatsApp offered to all passengers at no charge.

Service on the flight is friendly and efficient, with passengers addressed by name and requests for meals and drinks handled quickly, although other forms of personalisation were absent.

While you might have time for a chit-chat, as all 16 Delta One passengers are served from the one aisle, keeping crew chatter strictly business will be appreciated by the passengers sitting behind you, as their meal, like yours, will then still arrive when it's hot.

Chris Chamberlin travelled as a guest of Delta Air Lines.

Also read: Fairmont Washington, D.C. Georgetown hotel review

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 292

Chris, do you readily recall the flying time from DCA to LAX? I see local times in your copy, but I'm uncertain how to compute the flying time. Happy to chase it down elsewhere is its not immediately available to you.

What a pity that Delta and Virgin weren't better co-ordinated on connection times, VA24 leaving at, say, 9:15p would arrive MEL at 7:55a - quite reasonable.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Delta One Boeing 757 business class (Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles)