Boarding was called inside the lounge, and it was on-time such that the process has already started when I reached the gate which is a short walk from the lounge. An interesting feature along the walk is that the immigrations and customs can be observed from the terminal itself with a glass window separating them and I saw the long queues during for immigration at this time.
As I arrived at the gate, I managed to get a shot of the plane with a sunset since there was another security check after the boarding pass check just before heading into the aerobridge. I believe this applies to all US-bound flights.
DL146 Santiago Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez SCL – Atlanta Hartsfield–Jackson ATL
Boeing 767-300ER N-1501
Gate 14 Seat 5D
There was little assistance as I boarded the plane and many of the passengers have already gotten seated in the cabin. On the outbound I was seated on the ‘A’ side and I took the ‘D’ side for the return flight.
On my seat was a duvet, a nice comfortable pillow (Westin Heavenly branded), the TUMI Kit in a different soft case design, a headphone and a bottle of Dasani water. There was also a tasty packet of nuts for guests to enjoy while waiting to board.
Boarding took a while and the crew was busy too. Orange juice, mimosa and champagne was offered as welcome drinks. The 2 main cabin crews serving the Business Class cabin today was Kevin and Jane. Kevin took the meal orders from passengers while we were on the ground while Jane offered newspapers but only the Spanish language El Mercurio is available. She apologized for the lack of other options and while they were not overly friendly like some US airlines’ crews, they were extremely professional and have a very pleasant at interacting with the passengers.
The flight turns out to be a really full flight today on both classes. Up front, the only empty seat was 5A for the pilot resting area. One of the passengers even remarked how she nearly was not able to get a seat on this flight.
Perhaps due to the crew rest being on the ‘A’ side, I actually like the ambience on the ‘D’ side better since it seems to be brighter. Otherwise the seats works out fine for the average passenger, and should pose no challenge to those 180cm (5ft 9) and below.
Santiago is also quite pleasant in terms of take-off and landing since there does not seem to be any long waits on the tarmac. After take-off, there was a couple of announcements before hot towels were distributed by the crew.
The meal service started almost immediately, with Jane serving my aisle and Kevin serving the other aisle. I had barely time to even choose my movie yet and I believe the early service works out well for passengers wishing to get to sleep since this is a flight that would not see any daylight.
Drinks order are taken while the starter canapés was served. However what was weird was the inflight service manager came over and wanted to take away my plate of untouched canapés. I was like I have not even started, as I was selecting my movie to watch while dining.
In the end, I opted to watch ‘San Andreas’, which was just an average disaster movie. The movie selections on Delta was not bad and probably on par with most international airlines, though still a notch below Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific.
Canapés served were quite good and did not disappoint. Portions for the starters was also quite large so no nit-picking here.
I also got 2 drinks to start with, first the coke with lemon that I asked while having the starters. Next I was also offered some red wine and I thought why not?
Next came the soup and salad which was served together. The soup was tasty but the salad was not to my liking as it was overly crunchy. Even though the colours are nice, it was quite messy and dry.
For the main course I got the chicken but because Jane was not the one who took the order, she did not know and there was the plate of beef on her other hand. The chicken was better than I expected and the gravy was perfect since it didn’t smear the whole dish to make it soggy so the chicken preserved its crunchy texture.
What was weird was that the vegetables served with the chicken was asparagus and not brussels sprouts as indicated on the menu. After the main course Jane reappeared with the dessert tray, which is probably the best thing in the meal service for US-based airlines.
There was the classic ice cream sundae with a variety of toppings, sweet treats in small cubes and berries with cheese. I chose to have the ice cream, strawberries and a small piece of the chocolate cake.
When the meal was over, the crew dimmed the cabin lights to allow passengers to rest, and I reclined my seat to a lie-flat position to enjoy the remaining of the movie.
Once the lavatory was empty, I got around to brushing my teeth and got another bottle of water from the crew before making the bed on my lie-flat seat. The bedding amenities like the Westin Heavenly branded pillows and duvet did make a difference in the comfort when sleeping. I especially like the larger pillows they offered as it was a lot more supportive.
The sleep was so good that it was not until we were off the coast of Florida that I woke up with one and a half hours to go before arrival.
Once the crew saw me awake, they offered me orange juice and brought along a refreshing towel which was a nice touch.
Since I already picked my breakfast option, I was asked if I wanted coffee, and whether I wanted any condiments. I got some coffee with milk and Delta serves decent coffee, meaning it is drinkable but I would not rate is as the best coffee in an airline.
I got the omelet for my breakfast and it was substantial enough since there was pastries and ham on top of the omelet along with a fruit bowl. Overall it was a nice breakfast that would last me until lunch time in Atlanta.
After the breakfast service, the lavatories got a bit occupied since it was full flight and many passengers were keen to freshen up before landing. During this time, Kevin came around the cabin to give out chocolates before final approach to thank us all for our support of Delta.
It was not even daylight yet as we went on to land in Atlanta and probably at this time of the day, I was expecting us to be one of the first few airplanes to land and hoping for a quick immigration clearance. However it was not to be the case since there was some European flights arriving before us and it made for a long queue at the immigration resulting in an hour of wait before clearing immigration. By then it was just nice to catch the sunrise as I took the free shuttle bus from the International Terminal to the Domestic Terminal on the other end of the airport.
Overall the return flight was as good as the outbound and I think Delta has a very nice business class service that seems consistent with crews that can combine professionalism with friendliness. The fact that Business Class is like the highest classes on most of their flights (Delta operates a private charter division), premium passengers do get very good service and meals that I enjoy more than the other 2 US carriers (ie. United and American).