Delta DL41, Los Angeles to Sydney.
The newly retrofitted Boeing 777-200LR has completed a complete overhaul of its interior, with the Sydney-LAX route launched on April 1, 2019.
THE LOYALTY SCHEME
Delta is in partnership with Virgin Australia, so passengers can earn Velocity Frequent Flyer points.
Premium Select, a new premium economy class, with 48 seats available in a 2-4-2 configuration.
13 hours 59 minutes; my flight departs 30 minutes late, apparently to comply with Sydney's morning curfew.
I begin my journey in Seattle, checking my luggage through Sydney and receiving both boarding passes. I'm surprised by the ease of transfer at LAX; I simply board a shuttle bus transferring passengers via the tarmac to the Delta terminal, with no extra screening screening or passport check.
Premium Select passengers are entitled to two items of checked luggage (23 kilograms each), with priority tagging.
I'm seated at aisle bulkhead seat, 20C. The shiny new leather Premium Select seats are at 18.5 inches (18.5 inches), marginally opposed to 18 inches (18 inches), with a deep recline and extra legroom, a pitch of 38 inches (96.5 centimeters). The bulkhead allows me even more space to stretch out, with an integrated leg and footrest all adding to the comfort.
There are a few design flaws, however – there's no storage for water bottles or books, for instance, with the back-of-seat (or in my case, bulkhead) pouches too tight for anything against a mobile phone. The remote control for the entertainment system is difficult to access, jammed into a slot against the seat; and the headphone jack is so well hidden even the cabin can not find it. "That's the stupidest place!" my steward says when we have discovered where to plug in. "These are new plans, not everything makes sense."
With the extra recline and footrest, Premium Select is the perfect compromise for passengers. A decent pillow, blanket and a TUMI amenities kit are a nice touch, reminiscent of business class; the thin blanket, however, is a little ineffective – I'm freezing in the flight and have to don my winter coat.
The new cabin features the impressive Delta Studio entertainment system, with a huge selection of new release movies, TV series and games all shown on a larger, 13.3 "screen. I'm so delighted to be given LSTN noise-canceling headphones that actually fit Wi-Fi for T-Mobile customers or pay $ 28.95 for full Wi-Fi for the whole flight.Wireless connection means you are free, with free messaging for all passengers can even stream on board, although I'm happy with the selection of Oscar-nominated films on offer. Unfortunately, the touchscreen on my system stops working and has annoyingly located remote.
The Premium Select cabin has its own dedicated flight crew, who are charming and friendly throughout the flight. On boarding, they are not only meal selections, but also timings of service. It's just like being in business class, with the only disappointment being plastic cups rather than glass.
Premium Select has its own menu featuring award-winning LA chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Detolo. Marinara braised meatballs, chicken piccata, and spinach and ricotta rigatoni, all made from ingredients sourced in Los Angeles or Australia. However, I would be pre-ordered at Asian vegetarian meal; it's delicious with rice, with generous proportions served on Alessi tableware. My neighbors' meals so look halfway decent, and substantial. Coffee is from Starbucks (meh, but better than your usual airline fare), and I'm enjoying my meal with a glass of Oyster Bay Pinot Noir.
ONE MORE THING
Delta's Premium Select seats do not come cheap – they're at least double what you'd pay for a regular economy seat, even up to $ 2000 more. But as a bridge between economy and delta's swish new delta one business class suites, it's a worthy contender and well worth considering if you want a decent sleep and personal service.
Despite a few teething problems, Delta's new Premium Select has raised the bar for US-Oz flights, offering near-business class service without the hefty price tag. All that's missing is a flat bed, really.
OUR RATING OUT OF FIVE
Julie Miller traveled as a guest of Delta Airlines.