Business & Premium Classes

The Complete Guide to Delta One and Delta First Class

By
Stefanie Waldek
|
Freelance Writer
passenger sleeping in Delta One cabin.
April 22, 2022
|
8 min read

There are two main types of premium cabins on Delta: domestic First Class and international business class Delta One. Because Delta has a large fleet with some older aircraft, the premium cabins are not made equal. 

While the newer planes such as the Airbus A350 and Airbus A330 have business-class seats on par with the major international airlines—some are even outfitted with spacious Delta One Suites that have doors for privacy—older aircraft like the Boeing 767, Boeing 757, and Airbus A320 have quite outdated products that can feel a bit cramped. That said, Delta is either retiring or retrofitting its older fleet, so soon all of its aircraft will feature the updated premium products.

Here’s everything you need to know about Delta’s First Class and Delta One to maximize your flying experience.

What to know about Delta’s first and business class

Delta made headlines in 2016 when it debuted the Delta One Suite, becoming the first airline to announce an all-suite business class—even before Qatar with its QSuite. (That said, Qatar rolled out its product a few months ahead of Delta!)

But the majority of Delta’s fleet has two different types of premium seats: First Class and Delta One (the standard version, not the suite). First Class is primarily found on domestic flights and short-haul international flights, whereas Delta One, the airline’s business class product with flat-bed seats, is primarily found on long-haul international routes and some transcontinental domestic routes. 

Delta doesn’t have a true first class on its international flights like some airlines—Air France (La Premiere) and American Airlines (Flagship First) among them. The Delta One Suites are its top-tier product, and they’re reserved for long-haul international flights on widebody aircraft.

Delta One vs. domestic first class

Delta One
Delta One is Delta’s flat-bed premium product that is offered on long-haul international flights and some domestic transcontinental flights.

First Class 

First Class is Delta’s premium product on domestic and short-haul international flights; seats are not flat-bed.

Which domestic routes have Delta One? 

Due to the pandemic, Delta One routes are changing somewhat frequently, and additional routes may feature Delta One seats on a one-off basis due to repositioning aircraft. To make things more complicated, some routes may be marketed as First Class but will feature a Delta One seat—in that case, service is abbreviated. But typically speaking, the below routes are where you’ll find Delta One cabins with full service.

  • New York (JFK) to/from Los Angeles (LAX)
  • New York (JFK) to/from San Francisco (SFO)
  • New York (JFK) to/from San Diego (SAN)
  • New York (JFK) to/from Seattle (SEA)
  • New York (JFK) to/from Las Vegas (LAS)
  • New York (JFK) to/from Honolulu (HNL)
  • Washington D.C. (DCA) to/from Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Boston (BOS) to/from Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Atlanta (ATL) to/from Honolulu (HNL)
  • Atlanta (ATL) to/from Maui (OGG)
  • Detroit (DTW)  to/from Honolulu (HNL)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to/from Honolulu (HNL)

Which planes have Delta One? 

Delta One routes are reserved for long-haul international flights longer than 6.5 hours, as well as transcontinental domestic flights. They can be found on both widebody and narrowbody aircraft.

  • Airbus A330-200
  • Airbus A330-300
  • Airbus A330-900neo
  • Airbus A350
  • Boeing 757-200 (select aircraft)
  • Boeing 767-300ER
  • Boeing 767-400ER 

Examples of deals we’ve found for our members in Delta’s premium cabins: 

graphic with passenger in first class.

The Delta first and business class experience at the airport 

First Class and Delta One passengers are both given Sky Priority service at check-in, but only Delta One passengers have lounge access.

Lounge access

Only Delta One passengers have the proverbial golden ticket to enter Delta’s lounge, Sky Club. Delta First Class passengers are not granted entry based on their ticket alone, but they may enter via a lounge membership or specific credit cards.

There’s a little bit of a caveat here. Passengers connecting to or from a same-day Delta One international flight (excluding the Caribbean) may also enter the Sky Club, even if one leg is in another class. For example, if you’re flying from Los Angeles (LAX) to Salt Lake City (SLC) in First Class, then Salt Lake City to Amsterdam (AMS) in Delta One, you will have Sky Club access throughout your journey. 

There are more than 50 Sky Clubs around the world, ranging in size and amenities. Each has free Wi-Fi, power outlets, and complimentary snacks and house alcoholic beverages at the very minimum. But many Sky Clubs go far beyond that in terms of amenities: hot food buffets, full-service bars with paid top-shelf beverages (you can use SkyMiles to buy them—and that includes entire bottles of Dom Pérignon), showers, and outdoor Sky Decks.

Check-in 

Both First Class and Delta One passengers are given Sky Priority access, which includes designated check-in desks that usually have shorter lines than the general desks.

At LAX, there’s a special check-in area for Delta One passengers—it’s in a private section of the arrivals hall at Terminal 2, where you’ll find a small lounge with Champagne and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as some snacks. Once you’re checked in, you’re escorted to expedited security screening.

The Delta first and business class experience in the air

Delta’s First Class and Delta One experiences are vastly different, not only between each other, but also between different aircraft.

Domestic first class benefits

Delta First Class seats are much larger than economy and Comfort+ seats, and they have more leg room and deeper reclines. Exceptions are on the regional aircraft, the Bombardiers and Embraers, in which First Class seats are only marginally larger than the Main Cabin seats due to the small size of the plane. Meal service is only included on flights longer than 900 miles, but all flights do include snacks and beverages (including alcohol) for First Class passengers. 

Delta One benefits

In Delta One, passengers are treated to spacious lie-flat seats with extra storage (usually), pre-departure beverages, plated meals with alcoholic beverages, bedding, a Someone Somewhere amenity kit with Grown Alchemist toiletries, and noise-canceling headphones. 

The prime seats are the Delta One Suites aboard the Airbus A350 and the Airbus A330-900neo, which provide more space than other Delta One seats—and they have a door for privacy. Some Boeing 767-400ER aircraft have Delta One Suites as well, but sans doors. For standard Delta One seats, beware the ones on the Boeing 757, as these older seats are arranged in a 2-2 pattern. Also try to avoid Boeing 767-300ER aircraft that have not been retrofitted, as the seats are outdated and cramped.

Domestic first class seats on Delta

Delta currently has three main types of First Class seats across its large fleet.

  • Airbus A220-100, Airbus A320-200, Airbus A320-200, Airbus A321-20, Boeing 737-800, Boeing 737-900ER, Boeing 757-200, Boeing 757-300: These aircraft all have Delta’s standard club chair–like First Class seats, which are pretty roomy at roughly 21 inches wide with 35 to 39 inches of pitch, arranged in a 2-2 pattern. Each has an in-flight entertainment (IFE) system, a power outlet, and dedicated bin space. Other than the seat pocket or underneath the seat in front of you, however, there’s not really much extra storage room. (Note that the Boeing 757-200 has a variation that has Delta One seats instead of First Class.)
  • Boeing 717, Bombardier CRJ-700, Bombardier CRJ-900, Embraer E-70, Embraer ERJ-175: These smaller planes, used for short hops, have smaller First Class seats, from 19.6 to 20 inches wide, with 35 to 36 inches of pitch and practically no storage space. They also don’t have in-flight entertainment systems—passengers must use their mobile devices to watch a movie or view the flight map. The perk of the Bombardiers and Embraers, however, is that First Class seats are arranged in a 1-2 pattern, so you could get lucky and sit alone if you’re traveling by yourself
  • Airbus A321neo: This is Delta’s newest aircraft in the fleet, and the airline is launching a brand new First Class product with the plane sometime in 2022. The seats have undergone a complete redesign to provide quite a bit of privacy through cocoon-like partitions—privacy is definitely lacking in the other First Class cabins—as well as far more storage space. They’ll be 21 inches wide with 37 inches of pitch.

Delta One seats

Delta One cabin.

There is quite a bit of variation in the Delta One flat-bed product, partly because the airline is currently in the process of retrofitting many of its older aircraft, and partly because its fleet is so diverse in terms of aircraft.

  • Airbus A330-200, Airbus A330-300: As of April 2022, Delta is in the midst of retrofitting these aircraft, with a target completion date this summer. The retrofit has 34 Delta One seats that are 19.7 inches wide and 80 inches long arranged in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone pattern—the seats were spruced up with thicker cushions for extra comfort. Storage is very limited, with no nooks and crannies to store your belongings.
  • Airbus A330-900neo: This newer aircraft is outfitted with 29 Delta One Suites, with 22.5-inch-wide seats surrounded by a private cubicle with a door that slides all the way shut. Within that cubicle is plenty of storage space, plus massive IFE monitors. The only slight concern is that the footwell is quite narrow, which you might notice if you try to sleep. Pro tip: Pick a window seat in an even row for the most privacy—your side table separates your seat from the aisle.
  • Airbus A350-900: Like the A330, the Airbus A350-900 has Delta One Suites, but the seats are slightly narrower at 20.46 inches wide, though they do have storage space, a large IFE screen, On this aircraft, you want a window seat with an odd number for the most privacy, though if you’re traveling with someone, the two aisle seats in the middle are a good choice—you can slide open the partition between them.
  • Boeing 757-200: These are not Delta’s finest Delta One seats. They’re just 19 inches wide, and they’re arranged in a 2-2 pattern, which means half of the passengers will need to clamber over their seatmates to reach the aisle. On the plus side, they do have a fair amount of storage space, and their IFE monitors are quite large.
  • Boeing 767-300ER, Boeing 767-400ER: Like the A330s, Delta’s Boeing 767s are in the midst of a major retrofitting process, scheduled to wrap up in summer 2022. That means that right now, many of the Delta One seats on this aircraft are a bit dated and uncomfortable. After their upgrade, however, they’ll feature 20.5-inch-wide seats, some expanded storage space, and a modern (and large!) IFE screen.

Delta domestic first class baggage

First Class passengers are allowed to check two bags up to 70 pounds each. They also receive  Sky Priority service; checked bags will be marked with a special tag to indicate expedited delivery to the baggage claim.

Delta One baggage

Delta One has the same baggage benefits as First Class, which are noted above.

Delta domestic first class meals

Delta first class dish.

Meals are only served on flights longer than 900 miles; anything less than that, and you’re limited to the snack basket. But on the longer flights, breakfast is served on flights departing from 5am to 9:45am, lunch on flights from 9:46am to 3:59am, and dinner on flights from 4pm to 8:59pm. Each meal has multiple courses that are typically served together on a single tray, but they are plated with real tableware!

Delta likes to partner with local chefs on its menus, so on a flight from Atlanta, for instance, you might be dining on short ribs from Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, a favorite eatery in the city. But partnerships aside, the airline has recently upped its game for domestic meals in First Class. 

Recent menu items include “ginger beer-braised osso bucco, wild mushroom ravioli, chicken cacciatore and French bread pizza” for main courses, plus a slew of plant-based options like the Impossible Burger, and desserts like “ricotta cheesecake, frozen Greek yogurt with cherry syrup, and a strawberry, rhubarb and pretzel tart,” according to Allison Ausband, Delta’s E.V.P. and Chief Customer Experience Officer.

Delta One meals

meal service Delta One.

Delta One’s fine dining experience includes a multi-course meal served one course at a time. There are soups, salads, and breads to choose from, then appetizers, entrées, and desserts, including Delta’s signature ice cream sundae trolley. As on First Class flights, Delta One meals are often created by local chefs in the departure or arrival city, or they at least feature local ingredients—think yuzu squid on a flight to Japan.

Delta domestic first class alcohol

While Delta’s alcohol cart has all the basics—plenty of spirits, some wine, a few beers—the airline expanded its beverage offerings to include Tip Top Proper Cocktails; vodka from the first first Black-owned distillery in the United States, Du Nord Social Spirits; America’s; and new, sustainable canned wine from Imagery Winery.

du Nord spirits.

Delta One alcohol

Delta One has all the same beverages as First Class (mentioned above), but has an expanded wine list to pair with the meals, curated by Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson. Passengers are also offered a pre-departure beverage—usually sparkling wine.

How to book Delta One and Delta first class

How much does it cost for a first class ticket on Delta? 

As with all airlines, Delta’s pricing is dynamic and varies based on routes, seasonality, and how close to departure you’re making your booking. A domestic first class ticket can be $650-$1,200+ roundtrip. Of course, we find much cheaper deals for our members. 

How much does it cost for a Delta One ticket? 

As with First Class tickets, Delta One tickets have dynamic pricing. Overall, Delta One is usually more expensive than First Class, as it’s a superior product. An international flight in Delta One can be $4,000-$6,000 roundtrip. Though at Scott’s Cheap Flights, we’ve found our members deals as low as $1,800 roundtrip. 

How to upgrade to first or business class on Delta for free

Delta frequent flyers who obtain Medallion status in its SkyMiles program are offered complimentary upgrades (pending availability, of course) to First Class on domestic and short-haul international flights, as well as to Delta One on domestic routes.

If you’re not a Delta elite, don’t worry, you can still get free upgrades! Travelers who have the Delta American Express Reserve credit card are also added to the complimentary upgrade list for domestic and short-haul international flights. Don’t have the card? Then you’ll have to “buy” upgrades with miles, which are technically free.

Long-haul Delta One upgrades are another story. There are no complimentary upgrades for status holders, however, some of Delta’s top-tier frequent flyers (Diamond Medallions and Delta 360° members) are gifted Global Upgrade Certificates (GUCs), which can be redeemed for free upgrades to Delta One. 

Starting in February 2022, GUCs are limited to single-class confirmed upgrades, meaning you can only use them to upgrade from Main Cabin to Premium Select (Delta’s premium economy cabin), or from Premium Select to Delta One. If you’re looking to upgrade from Main Cabin to Delta One, you’ll have to cross your fingers and hope for the best—you’ll only be confirmed into Premium Select, and then you’ll be added to the waitlist for Delta One, with that final upgrade being based on availability.

How much does it cost to upgrade to first or business class on Delta? 

Delta frequently offers paid upgrades to ticketed passengers, and you can pay in dollars or in SkyMiles. The pricing is dynamic, however, and there’s truly no standard. In some cases, you might pay $300 for an upgrade into either First Class or Delta One. In others, you may pay $3,000.

How many miles to upgrade to Delta first or Delta One? 

Delta’s award upgrades follow dynamic pricing models, so they can range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of miles for both First Class and Delta One.

What are the best credit cards to get free upgrades to Delta One or Delta first? 

There’s only one credit card that offers free upgrades: the Delta American Express Reserve. Cardholders are added to the upgrade list in the same manner as Delta elites, meaning they can only be upgraded into First Class and Delta One seats on domestic and short-haul international flights. There are no free upgrades to long-haul international Delta One.

Summary

Delta’s First Class cabin is on par with its competitors in the United States—that is, it’s a solid premium seat that offers more space, plus a higher level of service both in the airport and on board. Though for shorter flights under 900 miles, it might not be worth paying for the upgrade given the smaller planes and lack of meal service. 

Delta One can be hit or miss depending upon which specific aircraft you’re flying. The Delta One Suites are definitely at the top of the hierarchy and can be compared to other international business class cabins, whereas some of Delta’s oldest aircraft have rather uncomfortable seats. 

Before booking a First Class or Delta One ticket on Delta, check out the aircraft first, then look at the pricing. Some seats are definitely worth more than others, but with dynamic pricing, you never know when you might land a great deal.

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Frequently asked questions About Delta One and Delta First Class

What does Delta First Class include?

Delta First Class includes Sky Priority check-in and baggage, first-zone boarding. It also includes snacks and beverages (including alcohol), plus hot meals on some flights longer than 900 miles.

What does Delta One include?

Delta One includes Sky Priority check-in and baggage, first-zone boarding; lounge access; hot meals and full beverage services (including alcohol); amenity kits; noise-canceling headphones; and bedding.

Do you get lounge access with Delta first or business class?

Only Delta One passengers get Sky Club access; First Class passengers do not, unless they are connecting to or from a same-day international Delta One flight.

Is food served in first or business class on Delta?

Hot meals are always served in Delta One, but First Class only gets hot meals if the flight is longer than 900 miles. Otherwise, there are just snacks in First Class.

How many checked bags do you get in Delta first or business class?

Both First Class and Delta One passengers can check two bags up to 70 pounds each for free.

How can you cancel or reschedule your Delta first flight?

Delta now allows changes and cancellations to be made in the Delta app for all passengers, regardless of class (except Basic Economy, which can’t be changed). You can also call Delta.

What are the best seats in Delta first class? What are the best seats in Delta One?

The best seats in Delta First Class are the new seats on the Airbus A321neo, which have the most privacy out of any domestic first-class seat across all airlines. The best seats in Delta One are the Delta One Suites, which are also very private; you can find them on the Airbus A350, Airbus A330-900neo, and select Boeing 767-400ER.

Do seats in Delta first class lie flat? Do seats in Delta One lie flat?

Delta’s First Class seats recline but do not lie flat. Delta One seats do lie fully flat.

Last Updated 
April 22, 2022
The Complete Guide to Delta One and Delta First Class
Stefanie Waldek
Freelance Writer

Stefanie Waldek is a freelance space, travel, and design writer with a passion for aviation and polar regions. Her words have appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Space.com, TechCrunch, and Architectural Digest, among other publications.

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