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Flight Report: Delta DL85 CDG-ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review




Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) – Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)

 

STD: 3:35 PM (CET) ATD: 3:53 PM (CET)
STA: 7:40 PM (EST) ATA: 7:02 PM (EST)

Aircraft: Boeing 767-400 (N843MH)
Flight Date: November 30, 2016
Seat: 4C
Class of Service: Business
Seat Type: Staggered Flat Bed (Vantage Style)
Seat Pitch: 76.5-81.4 inches
Seat Width: 21 inches
Meals: Warm meal after take off, snack service mid-flight, and cold meal served before landing in Business Class. Alcohol is complimentary
In-Seat Outlets: Yes
WiFi: Yes (Gogo air)
IFE: Yes, personal TVs at each seat

 

Introduction

We’d finally made it to Paris, to catch our flight to Atlanta before heading off to New York. We weren’t thrilled about the extra connection, but at this point, we were just glad that we were finally heading home (albeit the long way).

 

Details:

Check In

 

We thought we’d barely catch this flight, since we had to clear EU exit immigration (emigration?) right after our connecting flight and only had 1.5 hours to do so. We landed in Terminal 2D and had to connect to Terminal 2E. We ended up taking a bus between the two terminals and got to the gate just as boarding was scheduled to begin.

Delta DL85 CDG-ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Views of the tarmac from CDG Terminal 2E

Just our luck, the jetbridge wasn’t functioning, and they were working on an alternate solution to get us on board.

Delta DL85 CDG-ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

The 767 waiting to carry us home… and the broken jetbridge

Boarding

Finally, at around 3:20, they announced that we’d be boarding, but due to the jetbridge malfunction, we’d be boarding using air stairs. I usually hate boarding through air stars when I have carry on luggage, but I do love being on the tarmac and seeing the aircraft on the ground.

Delta DL85 CDG-ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Charles de Gaulle Terminal 2E Gate K53

As expected, those needing more time to board were called up, followed by premium cabin passengers, then Sky Priority passengers, then zone 1, 2 and 3.

Delta DL85 CDG-ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Stairs used to exit the jetbridge

We still went through the jetbridge, before exiting through a set of stairs that led to ground.

Delta DL85 CDG ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

The Flight

Delta’s Boeing 767-400 has a 1-2-1 configuration in Business Class (Delta One), with staggered flat bed seats (Vantage Style), where the footwell tends to be a bit on the narrower side, due to the fact that these are built into/under the seat console in front of it.

When traveling alone, the best seats on these types of planes are easily the window seats with the console positioned on the aisle, which provides a bit more privacy (and better access to the window). On this plane, these seats are A and D on odd rows.

Delta DL85 CDG ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Delta DL85 Seat 5D

Seat A and D on even numbered rows will have the seat console on the window side, so there’s less privacy due to the seat’s exposure to the aisle.

Delta DL85 CDG ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Delta DL85 Seat 6D

Economy Class (Main Cabin) is set up with a 2-3-2 configuration. Delta Comfort+ seats (while yielding a higher price tag) do not provide a different seat or configuration, but have 3-4 inches more legroom than the standard Main Cabin Seats (35 inches vs 31-32 inches in pitch).

Delta’s Boeing 767-400 Seat Map. Credit: SeatGuru

Since Brian and I were traveling together (and with a dog no less), we opted for middle seats and were seated in seat 4 B and C.

When we arrived, our seats were prepped with the Westin Heavenly pillow and comforter, plus our headphones, amenity kit, and a bottle of water.

The amenity kit provided on this flight was the updated soft case Tumi amenity kit, which I covered on my recent flight from JFK-SFO, so I won’t cover that here again. Side note: I’m sure Arun will be tickled to know his favorite Kiehl’s lip balm is one of the items included in the kit. 

Delta DL85 CDG ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Delta DL85 seats 4B and 4C

The personal TV was certainly on the smaller side (especially in contrast to the one on the Air France 777 we flew at the start of our trip), but at least it had touchscreen functionality. If you’re not a fan of leaning forward to operate your TV, there was a controller located in the seat console.

Delta DL85 CDG ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Delta DL85 Business Class personal TV

A lot of people complain about the cramped leg/foot space in this configuration, and I agree – the footwell narrows towards the end. However, since I’m a full 5’3, this doesn’t actually bother me too much.

Delta DL85 CDG ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Delta DL85 business class footwell

On the seats in front of us was a small space carved out for our shoes, located facing the seat console.

Delta DL85 CDG ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Delta DL85 business class shoe storage

The seat controls were located at the edge of the seat console, and had the standard buttons you’d expect to have. The button to open the table was also located next to the controls.

Delta DL85 CDG ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Delta DL85 business class seat controls

As we settled into our seats, a Flight Attendant came by with some pre-departure drinks and snacks. We opted for mimosas.

Delta DL85 CDG ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Pre-departure drinks and snacks

Our menus were handed out

Delta DL85 CDG ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Delta DL85 business class Fall 2016 menu

Boarding must have finished quicker than expected, because our Purser hadn’t finished introducing herself to everyone in the cabin and taken everyone’s orders before we were informed the door had been shut and we had pushed back from the gate stairs.

We took off at about 3:50 PM CET and as soon as we were at cruising altitude, the crew was back on their feet, taking orders, and making sure we had everything we needed to settle in and be comfortable for the flight.

The meal service started at about 4:20 PM CET with the “settling in” plate – smoked duck breast with honey thyme glazed sweet potato, fig mostarda, and beetroot puree. I skipped this since I don’t eat duck but Brian had it and didn’t particularly care for it but “ate it because it was in front” of him.

Delta DL85 CDG ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Delta DL85 business class “Settling In” plate – smoked duck breast

After this plate was cleared, our starters were served next – baby spinach salad with persimmon, candied walnuts, cranberries and shaved parmesan cheese, and parsnip cream soup with croutons. I found the salad to be tasty (even though I don’t think I would have ever ordered this on my own), and was surprised that I liked the parsnip soup. I ended up adding a bit of salt in it for taste, but otherwise I enjoyed it.

Delta DL85 CDG ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Delta DL85 business class Starters – baby spinach salad and parsnip cream soup

Brian and I opted for different main course items. I had the roasted cod loin with corn chowder, tomato jam and crispy prosciutto. While I love a good cod, my main interest here was the corn chowder because I love corn chowder. I’m surprised how much i ended up liking the dish, since I didn’t think it would be as good based on the menu description. I would skip the tomato jam next time though, I didn’t particularly care for the flavor profile it added to the dish.

Delta DL85 CDG ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Delta DL85 business class Main Course – roasted cod loin

Brian had the wheatberry and mushroom risotto with picked onions and grilled lemons and loved it. He could have easily eaten more of it – the flavors of the wheatberry and mushroom tasted excellent together.

Delta DL85 CDG ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Delta DL85 business class Main Course – wheatberry and mushroom risotto

Before we knew it, the dessert cart was making its way down the aisle. I had the vanilla ice cream sundae with chocolate sauce. Three cheeses were offered were morbier, cantal and pave d’affinois, but I stuck with just the pave d’affinois since I prefer soft cheese. The crackers served with it were a little thicker than I preferred. The FA

I’m always a sucker for the vanilla ice cream served with the meal, and while it never fails to please, I do find the ice cream to be served a bit too soft. The sundae can be served with a caramel or strawberry sauce instead of the chocolate, and topped with whipped cream.

Delta DL85 CDG-ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Delta DL85 business class dessert – vanilla ice cream sundae and pave d’affinois cheese with grapes

Brian had the warm chocolate pecan cake with vanilla ice cream, which he said was fantastic.

Delta DL85 CDG-ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Delta DL85 business class dessert – warm chocolate pecan cake with vanilla ice cream

As dinner wrapped up, the lighting dimmed in the cabin, and everyone settled in for the evening.

Delta DL85 CDG ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Airshow on Delta DL85

 

I popped into the lavatory, which was the standard Delta lavatory, with the Malin+Goetz hand soap and lotion.

On a side note, my one gripe about the Delta One bathrooms is the lack of any real amenities (short of the hand lotion – which you would have in your amenity kit anyway – though these days they’re stocking those with Kiehl’s vs Malin+Goetz) to differentiate it in any unique way. Would love to see them at least offer a cleanser and moisturizer or something of the like.

I fell asleep for a couple of hours but I stirred at around 9 PM CET and couldn’t fall back asleep. I flipped through the movie and TV offerings to see if there was anything worth keeping me entertained. These were definitely better than what was being offered on the Air France flight we took to Paris.

The movie selection wasn’t terrible as well, they had some new releases that I’d been meaning to see (well, Finding Dory) but in the end, I decided not to watch anything and do some work.

At about 9:30 PM CET, the FAs came by again, this time serving up warm chocolate chip cookies for the mid-flight snack, which was fantastic. It might have been the one thing on the menu I was most excited for (lame as that sounds).

Delta DL85 CDG ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Delta DL85 business class Mid-Flight Snack – warm chocolate chip cookie

I must say, throughout the entire flight, the crew was very on point – every time someone came by, they made sure to ask if we had everything we needed and if they could get us anything else. Especially with the wine – I wasn’t sure if I wanted a glass, but I ended up having two with dinner based on the FA’s recommendation (she almost seemed disappointed when I decided not to have a third).  Needless to say, I was incredibly impressed with the service (though not quite up to par with the service we received on our Air France flight to Paris at the start of the trip – but that would be pretty tough to beat).

At 12:00 AM CET (6:00 PM EST), the crew began serving the “Almost There” meal – chicken satay with farro and creole mustard crema, served with marinated vegetables and seasonal fresh fruit. The meal was served cold. I liked the chicken satay though I could have easily passed on the marinated vegetables.

Delta DL85 CDG-ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

Delta DL85 business class “Almost There” meal – chicken satay, marinated vegetables and fresh fruit

The Landing

The meal service was fairly quick as it was served we slowly began our descent into Atlanta. Our landing was smooth, despite the somewhat rainy weather that evening. We landed at 7:02 and were at gate E17 by 7:15 PM EST. Deplaning was quick and painless – wish I could say the same for the lengthy security line after customs and immigration. Only one more flight before I’d make it home to New York.




The Takeaway

While I commend the excellent service we received on this flight, I can’t help but feel like it’s a little (eh, a lot) scripted, with phrases being dished out like “we appreciate you”. I will say this is the first time I noticed this kind of above and beyond service on a Delta flight, so maybe there’s some new training being implemented, which you attribute to the stiffness of the politeness. Either way, I’m not complaining about good, attentive service, no matter how stiff it might seem. I look forward to hopefully seeing a more relaxed sense of top-notch customer-oriented service in the future.

Despite the issues we encountered at the beginning of the itinerary, I was glad that we eventually made it home albeit, 10 hours later), and received great service along the way. The flight was, in my opinion

Check in: 3/10 – Same rating I gave our flight from PRG, since it’s part of the same itinerary.
Lounge: N/A – Unfortunately didn’t have any time to spend in the lounge during our connection
Boarding: 8/10 – Delayed but organized and well-communicated.
Food: 8.5/10 – Was overall a fan of my meal
Seat: 8/10 – As expected, though points off for the narrow footwell.
Cleanliness of aircraft: 10/10 – Generally clean.
Crew: 9/10 – Fantastic and service oriented, though a little stiff around the edges
IFE: 8/10 – Better than average, though nothing peaked my interest
Elite recognition: 7/10 – Just the standard thanks-for-being-a-medallion treatment
Flight Timeliness: 9/10 – Departed late, but made good time and landed ahead of schedule.

Overall Rating: 70.5/90 (78%) ★★★★

While I had a great flight, the rating was (unfortunately) negatively impacted by our terrible check in at PRG. Was a solid flight otherwise!

Delta DL85 CDG ATL Boeing 767-400 Business Class Review

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