I’m always on board with a “treat yo’self” experience. And while I’m a newbie at more of the “travel hacking” lifestyle (I wish I was better at all the ways to maximize points), when it comes to simply cashing in points for a flight, I can handle that. So when I realized I had a ton of miles sitting in my Delta Skymiles account, I decided to splurge on a Delta business class international ticket.
The thing is, miles lose value over time. The airlines are always making changes to their loyalty programs, and if you’re sitting on a big pile of miles then you should know that they are devaluing constantly. So don’t hoard—use those babies!
With that in mind I cashed in 150,000 miles and booked a Delta business class (Delta One) flight from Atlanta to London, round-trip. This was my first international business class experience, so what you WON’T get here is a comparison of how the Delta One experience compares to other airlines, but what you WILL get is the experience of someone who isn’t jaded by flying first class everywhere.
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My experience flying Delta One business class
I boarded and accepted a glass of champagne as I got settled in my seat. The crew came through and checked in frequently, asking if I wanted anything to drink or if I needed anything.
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There was a cute Tumi toiletries kit (in an adorable little container that looked like a hard-sided suitcase), and some complimentary LSTN headphones (which we didn’t get to keep). I still always feel like things like the eye mask and socks are crummy quality, but the toiletries themselves were lovely.
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And here’s one of the things I’m here for! I mean, it’s still airplane food…but it’s FANCY airplane food. The Delta One menu on the way over from Atlanta to London was Atlanta-themed, led by Chef Linton Hopkins (of Restaurant Eugene fame, one of my fave Atlanta restaurants).
Sidebar story about Linton…many years ago our Gourmet magazine rep put on a really lovely event at Restaurant Eugene that was an intimate lunch with editor Ruth Reichl, who is an incredibly famous food critic and author. She was amazing (and kicked off my love of her books…my fave of her memoirs and fiction in case you’re interested), and Linton came out for a while and talked about his truffle sourcing process and showed us some of his delicious CRAZY expensive truffles. So I’m a fan 🙂
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I enjoyed my meal, including the various wine pairings (and port after) that were offered. I had the cauliflower soup, the short rib, and the peach cobbler. Again, for plane food, quite good!
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And time for rest! Having all this leg room was so great, especially since I was in a walking cast (which I took off for the flight, both for comfort and due to swelling concerns). The lie-flat bed was a great experience, it was nice being able to lay down and snag a few hours of sleep in a more comfortable position, and the Westin heavenly bedding was super cushy.
It was still a tighter squeeze than I’d imagined…I’m not a tiny person but I’m not particularly long either, and I feel like for a 6-foot-plus person it would have been quite cramped. Though not as cramped as economy seats, so there’s that.
HELLLOOOO London! I loved this view of the Thames and you can even see the London Eye!
You can see all about my two weeks in England if you’re thinking about planning your own trip! We based ourselves down on the coast in Torquay for the most part, but got to explore parts of Cornwall, the Jurassic Coast, Devonshire, south Wales, and Bath.
Okay, now let’s talk about the return trip…one of the perks of flying Delta One is that you have access to the Delta lounges, as well as the Virgin Atlantic lounge in London. It is a great lounge, with tons of space, made-to-order food, a spa, showers, and some cool elements like these hanging chairs. I actually used the showers when I first landed in London, while I was waiting for my friend.
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There’s a full menu you can order, vs. the buffet experience most airline lounges offer. I was a bit peckish so got some chicken katsu curry and a lemon tart. Sitting here was a chill experience and put me in a good head space prior to boarding.
And then it was time to return home! I settled into my comfy chair and perused the menu. Because the Delta business class experience tries to feature local cuisine, the menu this time it was London-based. While I wasn’t feeling super great due to a gnarly allergy attack, I persevered and enjoyed another yummy meal. I always like the return trip from Europe since it’s during the day, so I don’t feel pulled between needing/wanting to sleep (and take advantage of the lie-flat bed) and just enjoying the whole experience.
I got to spend this whole flight just enjoying the service and being pampered, getting a bunch of reading and relaxing in. An added benefit was that I could ask for continual pots of peppermint tea to help with my sinus and throat congestion, which I wouldn’t have been able to do in economy.
So if you can’t tell, I really enjoyed my first business/first-class experience, and felt that Delta One was great. While I don’t have anything else to compare it to, the overall service, food, and comfort were great and I would definitely recommend it as a way to cash in your miles and treat yo’self—don’t sit on those points, use them!
Other splurge-worthy experiences you’ll love:
- Fancy Afternoon Tea at London’s The Langham
- Exploring Mendoza’s Wine Country
- A Few Days on a Sailboat in Sweden
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