Delta One Suite Review. Detroit to Tokyo Narita and Back

Ever since Delta announced their new Delta One Suites with lie flat seats and doors that open and close, I’ve been eager to give it a try.  This month, I finally had a chance.  My wife, son, and I flew Delta’s A350 from Detroit to Tokyo Narita and returned just over a week later.  On the outbound, my wife and I were upgraded from Premium Select to Delta One Suites.  On the return, we all flew Delta One Suites thanks to a low award price I had snagged 11 months earlier.

On our way to Japan, in-flight service was poor.  On the return, the service was phenomenal, but the in-flight entertainment didn’t work.  You never know what you’re going to get.  So, for this review, I’ll focus instead on the hard product: the suites, the seats, and the cabin.  And since I’ve flown Delta One (AKA business class) many times on older jets, I’ll compare the new suites to the old seats where appropriate.

Conclusion First

I don’t know about you, but when I read reviews I usually jump down to the final paragraph to read the author’s recap.  So, let me do that for you now and I’ll skip the long review altogether.

The Delta One Suites are terrific.  I loved the suite privacy, ample near-seat storage, wider seats (wider than Delta’s old Delta One seats, not necessarily wider than competition), enormous and bright video screen, and high ceiling.  I also liked the fact that they provide every Delta One passenger two pillows (one large, one small), and a cushy blanket.

But they’re not perfect.

  • The seats are hard.  Delta should really provide pads for when the seats are laid flat.  Yes, you can use the provided Westin bedding for this purpose, but then you may be cold without a blanket on top.
  • The headphones aren’t very good.  I found that they hurt my ears over time and would buzz if I used the A/C power plug at the same time (to charge my laptop, for example).  Worse, when I tried to use my own headphones (without a two-prong adapter), I could only hear on one side.  I recommend traveling with your own headphones, but make sure to bring an adapter for in-flight useI had a cheap adapter with me, but I discovered it was broken.
  • Window seats can feel a bit claustrophobic.  This was a very minor issue for me, but could be big for others. I didn’t feel this way at all in a middle seat, but the window seat made me feel a little uncomfortable due to having walls close and all around, and a ceiling not too far away.  The ceiling is much lower over the window seats due to the curvature of the plane plus the fact that there are luggage bins above the window seats, but not above the middle seats.
  • Touch controls aren’t very responsive. This is a very minor issue, but it’s hard not to notice that you may have to tap the controls a number of times to get the lights to dim properly (for example).
  • Some doors are hard to open. The doors to my suites were fine, but my son’s suite on the return flight proved to be very difficult to open.  He was in a window seat where the seat is up against the window instead of the aisle.  I don’t know if that had anything to do with the issue, but it is another reason to consider avoiding that particular configuration.

Bottom line

Despite a few quibbles, I’d happily fly Delta One Suites any time, and far prefer Delta One Suites over most other business class options.  No, they’re not on par with the top first class products, but they’re competitive with the best business class products with the exception of Qatar’s Qsuites (which I haven’t yet flown).

Seat Recommendation

Many business class seat configurations (such as those found on Delta’s 767 aircraft) stagger the window seats such that on every other row the seat is either against the window with the side console between the seat and the aisle, or the console is against the window and the seat is closer to the aisle.  This is true on Delta’s A350 as well.  Usually I prefer the “true” window seats with the console between the seat and aisle because they offer more privacy.  In this case, though, I’d argue that those seats may be the worst choice since they have less near seat storage and have other downsides of window seats on this aircraft (less privacy and lower ceiling).  For the first time ever, I’d argue that middle seats are a better choice on the Delta One Suites (at least on the A350 — as they roll out this configuration on the 777s, I can’t promise the same result).

Premium Select

Wondering about Delta’s other premium cabin on the Airbus A350?  See: Half an hour in Delta’s Premium Select. A mini review.

The rest of this post contains photos, videos, and captions…

Delta One Suite Cabin

Check out the extremely high ceiling above the middle seats. I highly recommend picking a middle seat rather than a window if you can.  Not only do you get far less of a claustrophobic feeling with the high ceilings, but you also get a bit more privacy since there’s no chance of someone walking up to open a bin above your head.

Delta One Suite Seats

Middle Seats

Window Seats. You can see that each seat has a tower consisting of an amenity kit, a small pillow, a big pillow, and a blanket. Slippers too. Delta does not provide pajamas for flights between the US and Japan.

Window Seat Close-Up.  This was my outbound ride to Tokyo Narita.

Suite Features


The door is the star of the show, so I made a little video to demonstrate.

I couldn’t find the reading light until a flight attendant showed me the trick…

Middle seats have a divider that optionally slides open so that you can talk to the person sitting next to you.

All seats feature very deep foot wells that should work well for the tallest passengers. It’s possible to store a bag (a backpack, for example) at the end of the foot well without messing up the ability to move between sitting upright and lying flat.  Unfortunately, you need to be a master contortionist to get things in and out of there.

Next to the video screen is a small hook.  I didn’t have any use for it, but I imagine it could come in handy sometimes.

A touch panel controls lighting, seat recline, and the “do not disturb” light.  You don’t have to press hard, but you may have to touch multiple times to get the system to recognize your touch. To the right of the touch panel is a button to release the tray table.  Fortunately the tray table slides out rather than popping up and knocking over drinks the old way  (Delta One regulars know what I mean).

A small cubby holds the Delta headphones and a bottle of water. There is plenty of room here for miscellaneous other small items such as your cell phone, passport, etc.

A large cubby beneath tray table offers plenty of room to store your shoes, your laptop, and much more.

The window seats where the seat is closer to the aisle than to the window have even deeper cubbies. I didn’t see the cubby on the other window seats (where the seat is against the window), but I doubt those have deep cubbies like this one.  One Mile at a Time says that those seats have no cubby at all.  I can neither confirm nor deny that, but I can suggest that you avoid odd number window seats just in case.

The small triangle-ish raised side table is useful for drinks and snacks. A remote control and vanity mirror are found below.

A shoulder harness is required for take-off and landing, but it’s easy to release the shoulder part if you want to wear only the lap-belt during the main part of the flight

Meals Detroit to Tokyo Narita

As an added bonus, here are photos of the food menus and my food.  The food was good, but I don’t recommend picking a flight for its food quality.  That will vary over time and by route.

Meals Tokyo Narita to Detroit

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Bob
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Bob

great review, thanks for posting. BTW how did you get upgraded from Premium Select to D1 suite? GUC, OP etc?

DLPTATL
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DLPTATL

Greg, great review! I flew DTW:AMS on the same aircraft and selected seat 3D, a “true window” seat after reading other bloggers reviews. Sitting in the seat I am in 100% agreement with your assessment that it’s probably the worst seat in the A350 DeltaOne cabin as it lacks any enclosed storage save the headphone alcove and magazine pocket and with the overhead bins lacks the open ceiling of the middle. Looking across the aisle the middle seats had much more storage and excellent privacy with the divider closed. Typically “true window” seats are superior given the separation from the aisle; however, the door provides more than enough privacy and acoustical separation that the 12″ or so of console space between you and the aisle isn’t necessary.

On the topic of the suite doors our cabin attendants were new to the aircraft and forgot to come around and unlock them after take-off or meal service leaving a lot of confused folks tugging on the doors after dinner. I would note that even when unlocked after pressing my FA call button, the doors were still difficult to close but easy to open.

With regard to the padding I completely agree. My solution was to tuck half of the blanket under me and use the other half to go over me which made it slightly more comfortable.

rjb
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rjb

If I pad $7000 to fly on a new plane with poor service, rock hard beds, doors that don’t open, cheap headphones with a buzz in them and a broken entertainment system, I would not be so generous with my review. I would rate that experience “unacceptable.”

Chris Bastian
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Chris Bastian

As long as anyone who’s walking down the aisle can see into your cubicle, what the value of having a door?

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