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Trip Comparison - Delta One versus United Polaris TPAC

Trip Comparison - Delta One versus United Polaris TPAC

Old Oct 12, 18, 8:47 pm
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Trip Comparison - Delta One versus United Polaris TPAC

I just had the opportunity to compare the Delta A350 Delta One trans-pacific experience (Detroit -Tokyo) with United 787-9 Polaris (Los Angeles – Sydney), thanks to a recently completed business trip.

Seats

The Delta One “suites” in a 1-2-1 configuration are very comfortable and offer a great level of privacy. Big screen TV and plenty of room for knick-knacks. Very good experience.

The current 787-9 Polaris is not the actual Polaris product (not yet rolled out on 787) and provided a 2-2-2 layout. That means unless you are in a middle row seat, either you are climbing over your seat mate, or your seat mate is climbing over you. Very distracting and not what you expect from a business class fare these days. There is a minimal divider between seats, so not private at all. The TV screens are big but are adjacent to each other by about 4 inches on the seat back divider, as a consequence, you can’t help but end up watching or being distracted by your seat mate’s movie choice. Especially disruptive when the cabin is in darkness. Not a good experience.

Meals

Delta was the usual fare, maybe not haute cuisine but good choices and well presented.

United asked me for my first, second and third choice! The FA then came back down the cabin and said “you’re getting X, you’re getting Y, you’re getting Z” not attempt at an apology for choices not being available. Food was entirely forgettable.

Boarding

Delta was the usual feeding time at the Monkey House. Mad scramble and a complete mess.

United now have a 2 line only boarding plan, where they insist you sit until you are called. Seems to work OK, but there were an awful lot of “special” groups boarding before the Polaris cabin.

Flight Attendants

Delta had the normal International cabin crew seniority issue, where it felt like you were being held hostage for 15 hours by a group recently escaped from a rest home for the terminally befuddled. That won’t change until Delta introduce retirement or euthanasia at 60.

United cabin crew were less geriatric, but made up for it with barely concealed rage and irritation at being bothered by the passengers. The “hot” towel was dripping wet and cold, and thrown at me like a 9th innings match saving pitch.

The Aircraft

The A350 was superb in Delta One. Quiet, dark and very relaxing.

The 787-9 could have been good, if it wasn’t for the darned awful 2-2-2 seating arrangement.

Lounges

Pretty much a tie, reasonable offering from both teams.

Summary

Trying to be objective and ignoring the terrible seat layout with United Polaris, the Delta one experience was a much more satisfying experience. United seemed rushed and had a bare bones feel to it compared with Delta. Admittedly, the United ticket was a few thousand bucks less than the equivalent Delta ticket, but it showed a lot. It seems you get what you pay for – who knew?
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Old Oct 12, 18, 9:01 pm
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There's a reason why they call it "Fauxlaris". United really needs to improve their hard product on the dreamliner ASAP.
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Old Oct 12, 18, 9:08 pm
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Thanks for the report.

But not really a fair comparison. D1 suite vs. last generation seat on UA. Note that UA now has 2x more aircraft fitted with Polaris seat than DL has D1 suite aircraft. And that gap is going to continue to increase.
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Old Oct 13, 18, 12:27 am
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Sounds similar except for the seat, which isn't a true Polaris seat so the comparison isn't exactly as stated in the title.

Seems a bit much to suggest elder FAs should be killed, even in jest.
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Old Oct 13, 18, 12:36 am
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I get some people like to look at pretty girls in uniform, but I have nothing against age. In general, the elders are less irritable than the younger ones and all those years of experience usually shows during the flight service.

In terms of product, it's about as good as you can expect for a US airline. Product and service is usually superior on their European and Asian partners, and make an effort to to flyer them whenever possible.
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Old Oct 13, 18, 6:59 am
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Originally Posted by Slow learner View Post


Flight Attendants

Delta had the normal International cabin crew seniority issue, where it felt like you were being held hostage for 15 hours by a group recently escaped from a rest home for the terminally befuddled. That won’t change until Delta introduce retirement or euthanasia at 60.
I'm very sorry you had to be near old people, sounds absolutely inhumane. Maybe you should call your congressman. Thoughts and prayers.
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Old Oct 13, 18, 7:45 am
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Originally Posted by Explorer789 View Post
I get some people like to look at pretty girls in uniform, but I have nothing against age. In general, the elders are less irritable than the younger ones and all those years of experience usually shows during the flight service.
Maybe in the premium cabin, but at least domestically, the service I've received from younger cabin crew in Main Cabin has always exceeded that of the older ones.

Total guess here with nothing to support it at all, but I could see the older crew in the premium cabin appreciating the opportunity to work the premium cabin more than younger crew. Likewise, the older crew who are stuck serving us peons in Main Cabin are slightly less thrilled to be doing so than the younger crew.

Then again, I admit my sample size is limited. While I've flown plenty of international routes on Delta, I honestly can't remember the last time I saw a cabin crew member in any cabin that looked to be under 40. Seniority is clearly in use on those high-demand international routes.
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Old Oct 13, 18, 9:44 am
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I agree one of the best FAs I ever had was an older woman named Wendy. However, as of late the best FAs and teams have been all-male crews.
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Old Oct 13, 18, 11:46 am
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Originally Posted by eastindywalrus View Post
Maybe in the premium cabin, but at least domestically, the service I've received from younger cabin crew in Main Cabin has always exceeded that of the older ones.

Total guess here with nothing to support it at all, but I could see the older crew in the premium cabin appreciating the opportunity to work the premium cabin more than younger crew. Likewise, the older crew who are stuck serving us peons in Main Cabin are slightly less thrilled to be doing so than the younger crew.

Then again, I admit my sample size is limited. While I've flown plenty of international routes on Delta, I honestly can't remember the last time I saw a cabin crew member in any cabin that looked to be under 40. Seniority is clearly in use on those high-demand international routes.
I agree with this. Domestic vs international route makes a big difference. I've found even those senior FAs in main cabin on an international route to be very good overall.
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Old Oct 13, 18, 3:45 pm
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Fact is, the former Pan Am crews based in NY are a national treasure. Most of all they hold business on tatl flights, where they are exceptional. But from time to time one will be holding the "A" position on a domestic flight, and it's frequently a great experience.
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Old Oct 14, 18, 2:17 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Thanks for the report.

But not really a fair comparison. D1 suite vs. last generation seat on UA. Note that UA now has 2x more aircraft fitted with Polaris seat than DL has D1 suite aircraft. And that gap is going to continue to increase.
But Polaris is still one generation behind D1 suites.
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Old Oct 14, 18, 5:22 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Thanks for the report.

But not really a fair comparison. D1 suite vs. last generation seat on UA. Note that UA now has 2x more aircraft fitted with Polaris seat than DL has D1 suite aircraft. And that gap is going to continue to increase.
United is consistently one step behind the other two majors. United is now just switching to 1-2-1 with Polaris, where DL has had 1-2-1 premium seating on international aircraft (save for the 757) for quite some time now. The suite, albeit not even close to international standards, is far superior to anything UA is trying to tout as new. Trying to compare the Delta One suites to Polaris is quite frankly laughable.
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