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What was Delta's old international First & Business class like?

What was Delta's old international First & Business class like?

 
Old Apr 10, 03, 12:16 pm
  #1  
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What was Delta's old international First & Business class like?

I remember flying from Berlin - JFK in the earley 90's with a business class that had great pitch, great food and no leg rest. My next business class flight was in the 97 from ATL - CDG on an MD-11. On that flight we had the new Business class seats with the "Spa Menue" in the magazine, a very good seat I think it was a 48 pitch, leg rest and good food. First class had it's own cabin that looked great, however the F seats didnt look any beeter than BE does today. I fly BE regularly these days and like to product, however I have always wondered what F class was like then, seats, food, service (land& air)and also those mid to late 90's seats didnt last very long and maybe only a few years. It seemes like Delta must have wasted a lot of money on them and also out of curiosity what did Delta du with those seats after they removed them?

Thank you for your thoughts

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Old Apr 10, 03, 1:43 pm
  #2  
 
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Life before BE on Delta.

I actually liked it, although the current BE seats are better than the previous Business Class seats.

First Class seats were red leather and a 2-2-2 configuration on a MD 11 and I think 2-1-2 on 767s. Absolutely huge spacing between rows. The seat was quite wide and the footrest went all the way almost completely flat, but the seat back did not decline perfectly flat.

Food was better then, there was caviar service, an appetizer plate, a salad course, a soup course (two choices), a main course, cheese and fruit and desert (something better than a sundae). Other nice features in First were a nicer amenity kit, a kind of "smock/kimono" for trips to Japan. The china was set up with a decorative Japanese fan on the plate and flowers!

Also, they gave you a “gift” card, allowing you to select a Tiffany gift like a small vase or crystal candle holders, etc. You mailed the card in and the gift arrived in the mail when you got home. The gifts were not that expensive, say about $30 or so, but they were nice and really cool to get when you got home.

Delta had a few international first class lounges, squirreled away in a few of their crown rooms, nice, but nothing that great.

For those of us who traveled internationally on paid business class tickets, being able to upgrade to first class was a treat (and something you could do, now there is no where to upgrade to from a BE seat…).

It took them quite a while to change the seats to the BE configuration, so for a while, they were flying with the first seats, but selling only BE seats. You could get a FC seat with just an upgrade from coach! That was really nice!

I have so many good memories from flying Delta. I used to fly them to Asia all the time, even though it was more difficult from where I lived. I’ve accumulated over 3.3M miles (and more than 6M FF miles) and have been a top level flyer with them for 17+ years, but this year, I’m not booking a single paid flight. Since I can fly United and upgrade all the time when I book, and on Delta I can’t next year, it makes “good business sense” for me to switch loyalties. Good thing I was already 1K on United. Now since I’m “annual Gold” anyway, I just don’t see the reason to fly Delta anymore. Gone is my $10-20K of annual revenue to Delta. But the memories were great – love those Delta people, if not the management. It will be interesting reading a business case in the future about how Delta got rid of their best customers and the effect it had on its business.

Oh well,

Billy
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Old Apr 10, 03, 2:19 pm
  #3  
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Like the poster above says, the old International F was 2-2-2 on MD-11/L-1011 aircraft and 2-1-2 on 767 aircraft.

The actual pitch and recline in old F was less than it is in BE. BE has 60" pitch, whereas the old F had 55", so you didn't recline as far or as flat, but overall I thought the seat comfort was comparable.

The service in old F was generally outstanding. The best F service I have ever had was in 1995 LAX-HKG. Nothing before or since has beaten it; a crew of three working a cabin of 18 nonstop for 14 hours or so, gracious and attentive the entire time.

The old F menu and particularly the wine list was so far better than anything on Delta today that it's sad. Caviar was a mainstay, served with an abundance of garnishments.

On the ground, there was very little, if anything, special done for international F passengers. I always thought that Delta did a miserable job marketing international F and that this was part of what led to its downfall. There certainly wasn't a problem with the service in the air; in my opinion, it was superior to BA (or AF or Cathay).

To this day, I think it's a product that should remain in the mix. I think the solution should be a small F cabin one row across with one flight attendant, with highly stylish and attentive service, both in the air and on the ground. If you sold just one seat in F on a flight it would justify the cabin, and if you encouraged two people to buy C so they could upgrade to F, rather than buy Y so they could upgrade to C, you would justify the product as well. And all you'd be giving up would be two rows of coach seats, more or less, to create a one row F cabin on widebody planes. Which means that, unless the flights are packed, you're really giving up nothing in terms of coach revenue.

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Old Apr 10, 03, 2:21 pm
  #4  
 
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Flew Delta First ATL-GRU in 8/97. Seating, as expected, was 2-2-1, with 8mm video. Recline was almost flat--very similar to AA's current seats, I think.

Service was outstanding. On the flight down, the cabin was full. On the way back, I was the only pax, and the FA made up all three entrees for me just in case I didn't like the first one. Also insisted on opening a box of Godivas for me, even though I didn't want any. Here are some points that I remember:

-China and crystal were full-size, very elegant with gold leaf and discreet placement of Delta logos.
-Food was excellent. I remember monkfish with black fettucine as one dinner entree.
-Didn't drink champagne at the time, so no memory of the brand
-Captain came out of the cockpit to talk with me on the return flight.
-Chocolates were served after dessert
-Trip back was on a 76G (the old Gulf Air planes) which had just been acquired. Tucked into the menus on that flight were notes from inflight service management apologizing for the new aircraft being "different" from the standard fleet. I couldn't tell anything wrong, but perhaps the galley set up or entertainment options were not consistent with the rest of the fleet?
-Amenity kits were kind of cheap (not as cheap as today's). Kind of like a tri-fold plastic thing. Don't remember any branded supplies inside.
-Upon check-in at GRU, was invited to the LH lounge (which was just OK) prior to departure.
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Old Apr 10, 03, 2:49 pm
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Champagne was Dom; Iced vodka and caviar from the USSR. First Class often not that full. For a long time, they would not put non-revs in F (But business class was fine too) and it was also very difficult to upgrade even if Royal Medallion (FO). In fact, I think that initially no amount of miles in the world could get you a free F ticket.

This discussion make me long for the good old days, which will probably never return. International or Domestic, it's incredible how far the quality of service has fallen. I guess the good news is that, with the exception of the total phase out of domestic F, it really can't get much worse.

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Old Apr 10, 03, 2:58 pm
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The first trip my wife and I made to London was in the old DL F cabin. We were the only two people in F and we were waited on "hand and foot" by two FC FAs. <sigh> Those were the good old days...
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Old Apr 10, 03, 3:04 pm
  #7  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">In fact, I think that initially no amount of miles in the world could get you a free F ticket.</font>
Wasn't miles but segments that scored me my first free Int'l F ticket. Some time back in the late 80's, DL had a one time promotion that offered a freebie Int'l F ticket if you flew X number of segments in a short period. Just guessing but I believe it was 32 segments in 60 days.
A friend and I qualified and booked freebies to Athens.
The next year, DL offered a similar promotion except this time it was 24 segments in X days and the reward was a free Business Class ticket anywhere. We booked a couple of flights to Hong Kong in the last days of DL's service there. Never saw a similar promotion again.
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Old Apr 10, 03, 5:00 pm
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I knew DL flew at least one 747 for a short while. Was that international? And how was the cabin arrangement?
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Old Apr 10, 03, 5:21 pm
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....." out of curiosity what did Delta du with those seats after they removed them?

Sold them to AirTran!!!!


Regarding the 747...they inherited the plane from PanAm...painted it....but retired/sold it quickly thereafter.

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Old Apr 10, 03, 5:50 pm
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Thought the seats were ok but did not compare in svc to BA or Singapore. Also flew Sabena and was very impressed. Delta is by and large a parochial airline.
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Old Apr 10, 03, 6:50 pm
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[

Regarding the 747...they inherited the plane from PanAm...painted it....but retired/sold it quickly thereafter.

[/B][/QUOTE]

Not so! Delta's 3 747-132s (N9896-8) were purchased new from Boeing in 1970 and returned to Boeing in 1974-77. They eventually went to Aerolineas Argentinas, China Arlines, Pan Am, Flying Tiger and Braniff, partially leased, some later sold.

[This message has been edited by Track (edited 04-10-2003).]
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Old Apr 10, 03, 7:01 pm
  #12  
 
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Anyone got pictures?
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Old Apr 11, 03, 5:55 am
  #13  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by NHFL9:
Anyone got pictures?</font>
Take a look at this thread - story and pictures of the 747-100s...

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/Forum21/HTML/009404.html
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Old Apr 11, 03, 1:43 pm
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Actually, the old First Class was 60" just like BE, not 55". The recline was to 15 degrees. However, the foot rests came up quite a bit higher making it much easier to sleep. At least for me.

All 2-2-1 767 cabins were Gulf Air. Those same planes are now the ones with no row 6, but row 12 instead.

The service was typical international First Class. All the amenities, courses, and premium wines etc.

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Old Apr 11, 03, 1:59 pm
  #15  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by LAOCA:
Actually, the old First Class was 60" just like BE, not 55". The recline was to 15 degrees. However, the foot rests came up quite a bit higher making it much easier to sleep. At least for me.
</font>
Hate to disagree, but I'm certain that the old pitch was 55". You are correct that the leg rests came up more, and were better padded.
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