Delta Flight 161 BusinessElite New York-Seattle – Review

By Paul Riegler on 9 October 2013
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DSC_0036Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy Airport was as busy as usual on a Sunday afternoon as I arrived for my flight to Seattle, but the TSA PreCheck line was empty, a first for me,  I made it from the terminal entrance to airside in roughly three minutes, most of the time being taken up by the walk past the check-in area to security.

Since I only had carry-on luggage and my boarding pass was on my iPhone’s Passbook app, I was able to bypass check-in altogether.

While the traditional premium transcon market in the U.S. has consisted mostly of flights between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles and San Francisco, Seattle has become an additional spoke for some carriers.  Delta now provides the same service to Seattle as it does to the other cities, including aircraft with lie-flat beds in its BusinessElite cabin.

Delta had made the switch to lie-flat in order to compete with American Airlines, which will be deploying a new fleet of Airbus A321T aircraft (on the LAX and SFO routes) with first- and business-class cabins outfitted with lie-flat seats that provide direct-aisle access, and United Airlines, which is reconfiguring its p.s. (Premium Service) planes serving those routes with new, lie-flat seating in business.



Gate 36 was at the far end of Terminal 4 allowing me enough time to walk over and still stop for a quick visit to the outdoor Sky Deck at the Delta Sky Club.  As is customary with Delta’s boarding protocol, the agent called BusinessElite passengers ahead of all other groups, including higher-level elites.

After receiving a warm welcome from the flight attendant at the door, I quickly found my seat, 1A.  Delta’s business-class cabin on the twin-aisle Boeing 767-300ER is in a 1-2-1 configuration and I was in the bulkhead row.


As I’ve previously mentioned, the new lie-flat seats that Delta has installed in the 767-300ER are quite comfortable.  Each seat extends into a 79” lie-flat bed and is 21” wide.  The bulkhead seats have a far larger cutout for one’s feet (one of the several reasons many of my colleagues and I prefer bulkhead seating) and are infinitely adjustable.  The seats also have a massage feature, which may be reinvigorating on long trips.

Delta has been providing Westin Heavenly pillows and blankets on its premium transcon and international flights since May of this year (see our review on the Westin products).  The pillow is full size and the pillowcase and comforter both are soft to the touch.

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