Delta BusinessElite New York-Amsterdam Flight 70 – Review

By Paul Riegler on 28 January 2014
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DSC_0157Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands (although not its seat of government, which is the Hague), is a city of canals, islands (there are 90), and bridges (there are over 1,500).  A twentieth-century ad campaign by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, a partner of Delta Air Lines, urged visitors to “have an Amsterdam good time,” and here I was, arriving at Delta’s brand-new Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, on my way to do just that.

Delta and KLM, which operate a joint venture on flights between the United States and Europe, fly between two to four non-stop flights from JFK to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport each day.  Since scheduling was not a concern, the deciding factor in my choosing Delta over KLM was that all of Delta’s overseas planes now have fully lie-flat seating in the BusinessElite business-class cabin.

Delta, KLM, Air France, and Alitalia work together in a joint venture for their flights to and from the U.S. through which they share revenue, cost and risk, and coordinate their schedules.  The joint venture goes back to a similar joint venture between Northwest Airlines, which merged with Delta in 2009, and KLM.  That agreement became a model for other airlines in the decades that followed.

Delta had acquired the New York-Amsterdam route with its purchase of Pan Am’s transatlantic routes in November 1991; Pan Am had started flying the route many years earlier.  Northwest first started to fly the route in 2000 in partnership with KLM.


Delta operated flight 70 using a Boeing 767-300ER, equipped with 26 business-class seats in the BusinessElite cabin and a main cabin outfitted with 29 premium-economy seats and 171 coach seats.

The airline invites business-class passengers to board before others, including airline . Not being in a hurry, as it was a warm summer day and I was enjoying the Sky Deck outdoor terrace in the Sky Club. Boarding was well underway when I arrived at the gate, but a separate SkyPriority line allowed me to board without delay.

Since I’ve adopted my colleague Jonathan Spira’s seat preference, at the bulkhead, I didn’t have far to go to reach seat 1A.  This location provides a prime view to people watch as passengers board and confirms my theory that there are still those out there who have never flown before as they stop to puzzle out as to whether their seats in row 19 might be the third row on the plane.

The cabin crew was busy welcoming and directing passengers and, in business class, hanging up coats and offering pre-departure beverages.

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