Considering Delta One to Japan?  Think Again

Considering Delta One to Japan? Think Again

I recently flew Delta One from Minneapolis to Tokyo.   While I used to fly Delta all the time to Europe when it dominated routes from Atlanta and New York to Germany, Spain and Moscow, it has not been my airline of choice for many years.   Yet with all the hoopla around the new Delta One service with Delta being the first to offer a “private suite” with closing doors, I decided to give it a go on a recent trip to Asia.   I had plenty of Delta miles and at 90,000 points for a one-way ticket, it seemed to present fair value on an awards chart that hasn’t had much value for a long time.

The suite seemed comfortable and spacious and the service was excellent.   Delta always has some US flight attendants with tremendous attitudes, but their Japan-bound flights have some Japanese attendants who are excellent.    The seats seemed to me to lie completely flat (some other reviews that I have read suggested that they were not completely flat) and while they are narrower than the business class seats that the Asia carriers fly, I was able to get several hours of sound sleep lying flat on my back.     The door that makes the compartment a suite and provides some level of privacy from the aisle traffic (even though it can easily be looked over) was something that I really enjoyed throughout the flight.  

Where the Delta One product completely failed was as we were arriving in Tokyo and as I adjusted my seat to search for anything that I may have dropped over the previous eleven hours.   At that point, I looked at the floor to discover that I had been sitting in someone else’s filth for a half of a day.   There was food there that was old and crusted, including a Japanese roll that fell out when I adjusted the seat and that had to have been there through more than one cleaning round in Minneapolis or Tokyo.    The entire experience was so disgusting that it totally ruined the whole flight experience, and left me wondering how Delta can compete in the lucrative US – Asia market where their one-way seats routinely sell for $7,000 plus.  American customers may no longer expect clean planes, but Asian long-haul customers certainly still do.

All in all, Delta’s new first class product to Tokyo is fair to good, but they need to do a much better job adjusting and fully cleaning these lie flat seats when they turn their planes around.

Ari Socolow
Ari Socolow: Ari Socolow is the Chief Economist and Editor-in-Chief at BestCashCow. He is particularly interested in issues relating to financial literacy and bank transparency. Since co-founding this website in 2005, Ari has been frequently cited in the media as an expert on local and national savings accounts, CD products, mortgage and loan products and credit card rewards products.

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