Check out at Hyatt on the Bund was very slow as they had to get my card details twice. Not a very pleasant experience when you’re rushing for time. In the meantime the bell boy did a good job in handling the luggage and it was waiting for me inside the cab when I completed the check-out. Note to self: do a quick check-out earlier in the morning next time.
Turns out to be another slow day as I got a driver who really stuck to the speed limits. Though I do admit it was a bit of my own fault for not leaving earlier, I still managed to arrive about 50 minutes before scheduled departure at Pudong Terminal 1. Another trip to remember as it seems I cut it close being the last one to check in. Delta has its counters in Porch 11/12 at the end of T1. Water and candies at the Sky Priority counters were a nice touch and useful for this last minute check-in.
As I was the last passenger to check-in, it was a fast process whereby I just left my luggage there and the agent handed me my boarding pass along with a pass for priority boarding.
There was no long queues at both passport control and normal security. In fact I was able to get to an expedited lane for security on showing my boarding pass.
DL588 Shanghai Pudong PVG – Seattle-Tacoma SEA
Boeing 767-300ER N1612T
Gate 26 Seat 9D
No time for me to access the lounge or check out China Eastern’s main lounge in T1, since it was already time for boarding when I crossed security. Delta also got the last spot at Gate 26 which is a long walk from security. When I arrived, staff members were already calling for passengers since most of them have already boarded.
A full flight on Delta One today with a female purser that was charming and wonderful! Helping her are one male Asian crew member and another American crew.
On my seat there was the duvet and large pillow. A Tumi amenity kit and headphones are by the armrest. There was also a pack of pecans, menu and bottle of Dasani water.
Crew members came around the cabin to distribute newspapers and immigration cards. After that they took meal orders while the purser distributed welcome drinks with Tsingtao, champagne and orange juice on the tray. The menu for the flight read as follow:
Slippers were provided on the seatback pockets and lounge wear offered on the ground by the purser. Definitely the older lady purser was the star performer in the cabin thus far and it reinforced my views that North American airlines can have some of the best flight crews and some of the worst ones as well.
While they had pyjamas given out, they ran out of the small or medium sizes and have only extra-large available. They were a bit too large for me so I kept them and would just wear my own set of airplane ‘pyjamas’ which consists of a long jogging pants and a long sleeve athletic shirt.
Pullback began at 12:53pm and it was a long taxi to the runway. There was a bit of a shake during our ascent and the captain made announcements on the flight plan once we were cruising steadily.
Hot towels were then distributed after take-off . The purser noticed my camera and suggested taking some look outside 2 hours prior to descent as the Aleutian islands are beautiful from the air. I appreciate all these tips from the crew members, after all they travel far more than me!
Meal service commenced about 30 mins after take off with service beginning from the front on both aisles simultaneously. Another welcome drink is served and I requested for Delta’s signature cocktail though I asked for less alcohol. In return, the crew mentioned she will just hand me the ingredients which I appreciated since I could refill the drinks myself! There was more than adequate space for the cans of ginger ale, cranberry juice and small bottle of gin on the side arm rest.
Next the pre-dinner snack was served but it did not come with my cutleries. As a result it was left out for a bit before the crew returned with a new set of cutleries for me to use.
The prawns in the snack was juicy and made for a good start to the meal.
Then came the tray of salad and soup, the latter of which is poured from the jug. Both salad and soup was up to Delta’s usual standard and I enjoyed them despite being catered out of Shanghai. Bread was offered from the basket and I got myself a pretzel bread to go along with my appetizers.
For the main course, I decided on the steak once again and the dish was tender and cooked to the way I like it. However the balsamic sauce does not fit the steak and I would rather have the mushroom sauce that was applied to the lentils which I did not eat. While I was having my main course, there was a passenger that kept on standing talking to the passenger across in the aisle in the Business class cabin. That certainly intruded on the cabin service a bit but the staff did nothing.
When it came to the dessert tray, I had a helping of the sundae with chocolate and nut toppings plus the tart. For my final drinks, I ordered the dessert wine with a cup of coffee to end the whole meal. That was a good inflight meal with some minor faults but with the food this enjoyable, I think I can forget about those minor mishaps.
Some time around the end of the meal service, it was already sunset outside the window. I figured it was time to head to the lavatories to freshen up and get ready for some sleep.
While the lavatories were clean and well stocked with Malin + Goetz amenities, they were small as to be expected onboard the 767. What I appreciated was the nice scents of the amenities that certainly added a premium feel to the lavatories.
Back on my seat, I reclined it to a full flat mode and laid down the ‘Westin Heavenly Bed’ duvet and pillows to get a good sleep. I am not sure if it is because of the comfortable duvet or that Delta has its cabin set right, but I always get a pretty good sleep onboard their flight.
By the time I awoke, we were halfway across the Pacific Ocean and I started to feel hungry. That was probably because of my run early in the morning and I did not have anything at the airport before boarding either.
Delta does provide a snack basket at the galley which consisted of chips, cookies, bananas, and cup noodles. At first I got some chips to munch on while watching the inflight entertainment which does have a decent selection of Asian movies, Hollywood blockbusters and a good several episodes of popular TV series. After having some snacks and a couple of episodes of ‘Suits’, I was still a bit hungry. That meant I did what most Asians would do and grabbed a cup noodle, asking the crew for some hot water.
A few minutes later, a steaming hot cup noodle was ready for consumption. Needless to say, I slurped on it heartily and that certainly filled me up. I do believe the cup noodles are available only for Delta’s flights around Asia-Pacific.
I managed to get a little bit more of rest after the mid-flight snack before the cabin lights are switched back on. Changing out of my pyjamas was possible still as many of the passengers are still slumbering out of their sleep and I was thus back at my seat when they handed out another round of cold towels.
For the pre-arrival meal, I had asked for the eggs and the whole meal was served on one tray. Portions were a bit on the small side but it sufficed since I had the cup noodles a few hours back. It was served with a small bowl of fruits and one croissant and pastry, both of which was warm. It did lack the full breakfast items like yogurt which Asian carriers usually provides but at least it did look presentable.
With my body refuelled, it was time to savour the remainder of the journey. The flight stewardess did check on me again if I required anything else. She did mention that it was a pity the sun did not come out earlier as I opened the window to catch a glimpse of the first few light of the day. I got the name of the stewardess and Tomi was the wonderful crew from Delta today! Another crew member then came around hand out small chocolate truffles as a parting gift and thanking each passenger for flying with Delta.
After cruising past the Olympic National Park on the west coast of Seattle, passengers were treated to a view of the bays around Seattle and Tacoma. The straightforward journey with minimal turbulence and good weather meant we landed earlier than scheduled and it was another great flight from Delta with one of the best flight crews I have had in a while.
Like other past experiences reaching the United States, international arrivals in Seattle is slightly better with less crowds in the early morning. While I took about 30 minutes to pass through immigration, the transfer security was still quite a bit of a mess, and many passengers were actually connecting through Seattle, some with even shorter connecting times than me. This resulted in a bit of an unnecessary chaos since passengers have to collect their luggages and re-check them again.
Other than the unpleasant transfer experience, this flight reinforced my view that Delta is currently the best airline based out of North America. Great tasting food that was presented nicely along with a wonderful crew makes this another flight to truly remember!