In case you didn’t read my last post, I will quickly catch you up to speed. I got the awesome opportunity to fly on my first inaugural flight on Delta when they launched their route connecting Tahiti to Los Angeles.
While I initially planned to write a review of the flight of this inaugural flight as a special, one-off flight, it ended up being a pretty standard Delta long-haul flight besides for the festivities before and after the flight described in Inaugural Flight Celebrations on Delta LAX to Tahiti, as well as the extra-cheery flight crew.
Nonetheless, I want to capture the experience of this long haul Delta flight in the main cabin. Clocking in at 9 hours, this flight is longer than some routes to Europe, so I would like to explore Delta’s offerings on this daytime flight.
This article is part of my Trip Report: Winter Holidays in French Polynesia that includes:
- Lounge Review: Delta’s New LAX SkyClub
- Inaugural Flight Celebrations on Delta LAX to Tahiti
- Flight Review: Delta Economy LAX-PPT
- Hotel Review: Hilton Tahiti Resort
- Room Review: Hilton Tahiti King Residence Suite
- Flight Review: Air Tahiti PPT-BOB
- Hotel Review: St Regis Bora Bora Resort
- Hotel Transfer: Chartering a Private Boat in Bora Bora!
- Hotel Review: Conrad Bora Bora Nui Resort
- Room Review: Conrad Bora Bora Nui Deluxe Overwater Villa with Pool
- Day of Departure in Moorea: My Thoughts
The flight was operated by a Delta 767-300 aircraft to the Southern Pacific. While those in business class would much prefer one of Delta’s newer offerings, especially Delta One Suites on their A330s, I was very content with the seating arrangements in Delta Main Cabin.
On the 767, the seats are arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration, which for long haul aircraft, is a very comfortable set up. Groups of two are able to have the window and aisle seat without having to worry about someone in the middle seat between them.
Additionally, on our flight, which was somewhat empty for an inaugural, I was able to get two seats to myself for the duration of the flight. This made the journey that much more enjoyable.
There was nothing too special about the seats themselves, which were typical economy seats. I also found the legroom to be very comfortable compared to, for example, American Airlines Dreamliners.
Every seat had its own in-flight entertainment system, which sounds good on paper, but I found that the systems were very glitchy on this older plane. Of the two screens in my row, only one of them worked with the other being unresponsive to touch. I am sure I could have requested the help of the crew to get it working again, but I was trying to work on the flight and one screen was sufficient for the flight map.
Finally, upon boarding the aircraft, one small pillow and a very lightweight blanket were left on the seats. This is typical for a long haul flight and nothing special or out of the ordinary.
I think the service is where this flight really shined, however, I likely guess that this is partially due to the flight being an inaugural route. All of the crew were especially cheery and ready to help if you needed anything at all.
Upon boarding we talked with a flight attendant about how excited she was to serve her first inaugural flight and visit Tahiti for the first time. Similar interactions happened throughout the flight with numerous crew members.
I got the chance to speak with the captain of the flight, who was on his second to last commercial flight and was retiring after flying the 767 back to Los Angeles a few days later. Overall, it was a very joyous occasion.
The crew was proactive in bringing me my gluten free meal out first, and they were very quick and happy to help if you wanted a snack or drink during the flight. There were multiple drink cart services during the flight, and, one time, when I requested something that they had run out of, the flight attendant went searching for it in the back before bringing it to my seat.
After boarding, the crew also handed out a little amenity kit with ear plugs and an eye mask, which is a nice touch for economy. It was also a daytime flight, so I did not make use of this but it surely would be helpful for the return flight in the opposite direction.
Food and Beverage
I’m going to cut to the chase with this one. It was an economy meal and typical of the economy food that you get on nearly any long-haul economy flight out of LAX. That said, it was still better than what I have experienced on other carriers.
Luckily, Delta was able to load a gluten free meal for me, which many times before has been forgotten. That said, in an effort to consolidate the variety of meals that have to be catered, I believe the gluten free meal was also the bland meal.
I was served rice, grilled chicken and some veggies that had nearly no seasoning or taste whatsoever. On the bright side, it didn’t seem like it was unhealthy in a way that I have felt with other prior meals that have been served in thick, gloppy sauces .
I was disappointed that there were no sides such as fruit or a dessert offered, but since I had already eaten in the lounge, I wasn’t particularly hungry.
Before landing, the crew came through to serve a second meal offering. This time, my options were much more substantive and I appreciated it. The gluten free meal included a gluten free bagel with egg on it, a Chobani yogurt, fruit cup and a muffin.
I wish that the bagel would have been warm since the cold egg wasn’t particularly appetizing but I was happy enough with the yogurt and fruit.
I had originally booked a flight to Tahiti flying Air Tahiti Nui’s Dreamliner from LAX to PPT, but once my plans changed to go to LA first, I remembered that Delta had announced this inaugural flight. From that point I knew I wanted to fly it.
When I first looked at flights, Delta was selling the one way flight for a pretty penny. I forget exactly how much, but I remember it was not cheap! SkyMiles wasn’t any better, and it was priced at about 80k one way, which is utterly overpriced. My cheapest option was connecting through San Francisco to fly south on United’s dreamliner.
However, as I got busy with school again and time went by, I decided to check Delta’s pricing again. While the cash cost had not decreased (unless I wanted to buy a round trip ticket, but I already had flights booked home to D.C.), I found that the award price was just 25k per person.
To anyone who knows how much Delta SkyMiles have been devalued over the past few years, you know that this is a steal. That said, it wasn’t the easiest to book. I needed to transfer around 28k miles from American Express to Delta (I already had some miles in the account) to purchase the two tickets, which was neither instant or convenient. Amex wouldn’t let me transfer the miles either online or over the phone due to some sort of maintenance they were doing, both in the evening and the following morning.
By the time I could get the miles over, the space was gone and the price had shot up to 60k each, one way. Back to square one, or at least I thought. A few hours later the space appeared again and I booked it immediately for a grand cost of 25,000 miles and $5.60 per person to the South Pacific.
The Last Point
While the flight itself wasn’t anything too spectacular, it was a memorable flight for sure. The crew was great and everyone was super cheery. There were no major hiccups and despite some very bland food, I made it to Tahiti early and ready to start exploring. Plus, there was some nice entertainment both before boarding and after arriving.
In addition to the excellent award price (and some recent fare sales), this is a comfortable way to get to Tahiti, and for anyone trying to venture to French Polynesia, especially from the LA area, I would highly recommend this flight option.
I’m really surprised to see a GF bagel sandwich prepared that way. Was it pre-toasted, wrapped in foil and entirely cold?
Payton Turner says
Yes. Completely cold and at the same temperature as the yogurt.