Delta 737-900 Domestic First Class from Detroit to Los Angeles

Boarding started around 8:10pm and the faulty express tram did cause me to walk a fair distance to the gate from the Sky Club in Concourse A. The length of this terminal is somewhat similar to Jakarta’s new Terminal 3 and there was definitely a need for a people mover system to work efficiently here.

Concourse A transit information
Concourse A transit information
Closure of Express train
Closure of Express train

While the closure of the Express tram looks bad, the terminal is actually one of the nicer ones in the United States. The terminal is easy to navigate and the travellator system helped to expedite my walking to the gate. Meanwhile the walkways are wide and the terminal itself is well illuminated.

Concourse A
Concourse A in Detroit Airport

Boarding was already ongoing when I arrived at the gate and immediately proceeded to the counter where the staff scanned my boarding pass and I made my way to the plane.

DL2759 Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County DTW – Los Angeles LAX
STD-STA: 2041-2245
Actual: 2059-2239
Boeing 737-900ER N3868
Gate A10 Seat 4C to 4B

Seats on every Delta aircraft seems to have a standard blue upholstery with red trimmings that really makes for a distinctive branding. It was nice to see it on even their domestic fleet and that is one reason to give credit to the airline. For those who are not familiar, within the United States, the front cabin is referred to as ‘First Class’ though I would add a domestic naming to differentiate it from the real ‘First Class’ that is operated in International routes.

Domestic First class cabin
Domestic First class cabin

Initially I was seated in 4C but a gentleman was seated there upon boarding. Turns out he was connecting from a previous flight and seated in 4C as well though he was on 4B for this flight. I just took his seat and had a very humorous seat mate who kept on kidding with the stewardess. The jovial stewardess on this flight went along very nicely and it lightened up the flight atmosphere. The stewardess also offered drinks to passengers aside from water since every seat in domestic First Class has a small bottle of Dasani water.

Pre-departure beverages
Pre-departure beverages

The seats in domestic First Class are similar as in other airlines in a 2-2 configuration. Since I am not extremely tall by any means, the legroom was perfectly adequate though I did find the whole cabin to feel a bit more of a squeeze. I am not sure if it was that I just came from a widebody airline or this was a full flight.

Boarding process in the cabin
Boarding in progress
Domestic first class legroom on the 737-900
Domestic first class legroom on the 737-900

Full flight tonight did mean the boarding process took a while as they had to sort out the overhead luggage compartment. Pullback began eventually at 8:40pm with the welcome video and safety video being played on the screen.

Welcome message
Welcome message

A flight time of 4 hour and 44 minutes was mentioned by the captain in his address to passengers. Headsets were offered complimentary for guests in First Class and $2 for those in Main Cabin. As I had left my nicer headphones in my backpack, I opted to take one.

Complimentary headphones
Complimentary headphones

Meal choices taken once we were airborne, with choice of Chicken salad or Reuben sandwich. We were asked for our choice of drinks as well. Slightly turbulent flight during our route over Lake Michigan meant the seatbelt sign was kept on at the start of the flight.

Route map
Route map for the flight

After things start to settle down, the stewardess handed out hot towels as I watched ‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’. The screen might be smaller but the resolution was still very clear and the interface for the entertainment system was as good and intuitive.

Wet towels
Wet towel

There was the same functionality to display flight information and data as well which I just had to check out since I did not get to catch the tail number for this flight.

Flight information
Flight information

Meal service for the flight started with my choice of drink (ginger ale with ice) being served along with the tray table being setup for the main course which my seat mate declined.

Ginger ale drink
Ginger ale drink

On my past flights with Delta, I am sure I had a variation of this dish before and I remembered it to taste particularly nice last time. This version was alright but not as good. For those in doubt, refer to this review. However, I did enjoy the cheesecake and that was a nice substitute for the main course.

Chicken salad with cheesecake
Chicken salad with cheesecake

Thankfully, the flight includes some snacks as a basket filled with a good variety of chips, cookies, nuts and granola bars was served mid flight to passengers. I grabbed a couple since I was still a but hungry.

Pretzels and chips
Pretzel and chips

As I enjoyed the chips with the entertainment system, time passed by quickly. It was also easy to get refills of drinks as my seat mate had a couple of top ups himself. The stewardess did offer a second round of chips to passengers about an hour later after the first round since there was still extras.

Cape cod chips
Cape cod chips

Prior to landing I checked out the lavatory onboard the 737-900 and it was really small. The washbasin seems to be a new design that was even smaller than the usual. Aside from the hand wash, there was no other amenity so that was a huge downside for a 4 hour flight. It does seem that the Airbus A320s have more space for the lavatories.

Lavatories on the 737-900
Lavatories on the 737-900

Arrival into LAX was smooth there was another relatively quick taxi into the gate. This was fast for arrival into Los Angeles and my impressions on this flight was that these domestic First Class flights have just become a necessity instead of a luxury that does not really shout ‘First Class’. Aside from the free snacks, drinks and a bit more space, the experience was not that fantastic. There is every incentive for international travellers to get to as close to their destination in the United States to avoid a domestic First class experience on these 737s, especially when it is filled to the brim like this one.

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