In today’s flight review, we travel on board Delta Air Lines’ first class service from Austin, Texas through to Atlanta, Georgia – one of Delta’s hubs.
Airline: Delta Air Lines
Route: Austin, Texas to Atlanta, Georgia (DL1308)
Seat: First Class, 3B aisle (2-2 Layout)
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas MD-90
Scheduled Flight Time: 1 hour 33 minutes flight
On Schedule? Yes
Frequent Flyer Program:
Delta’s Frequent Flyer program is SkyMiles, and they have a partnership with Virgin Australia. As someone with a Velocity Gold Card, this permits me access into their lounges, alongside priority boarding. As I’m flying First Class today (note that they only have the two classes in most domestic flights – Economy and First), I will get much of this access anyway. However, even when you’re flying First Class Domestically, that’s still not going to get you access without having certain membership cards (like Velocity Gold) or a benefit from an eligible credit card company.
There was no lounge (or “Sky Cub” as they’re known) to speak of at Austin–Bergstrom International Airport. Atlanta, which is one of Delta’s hubs, does have a lounge, which I was able to access because I was in transit at the airport for several hours, ahead of a connecting flight to New York. Interestingly, access to the club is not a given if you are flying first class domestic – only international. However, the Gold Velocity Card does provide access.
It’s comfy and roomy with fast wi-fi, but while I was in there, food wise there was only a soup and salad bar with coffee, water and a full service bar (“premium” drinks, however, cost money). For an airline that has made Atlanta its hub, it was a surprisingly under-fitted lounge by international standards, and certainly can’t compete with their own lounges in San Francisco and New York, but still a comfortable stay between flights.
I should note that there are two Sky Clubs in the airport – one in concourse B and another in C. The one in C is currently larger, and this is where I was staying, however a new one is being built in B and is due to open later this month. The new Sky Club in Atlanta promises 500 seats and city skyline views.
Check-in & Baggage:
First Class passengers are able to check two bags up to 32kg each. Check in at Austin is a breeze, with a dedicated queue for First Class passengers, alongside those with premium statuses.
A 250mL water was waiting for you at your seat, and the stewardess took our drink orders while the aircraft was boarding. I don’t think I grabbed anything, and slept most of the flight – though I spotted them walk around with some bananas and snacks for anyone that wanted anything to eat. It’s a short flight so the offerings are limited.
There’s no entertainment units on the back of the seats here, but you’re able to access Gogo in flight wi-fi once the plane hits 10,000 feet. It turns off again once descending below this height. There is some free entertainment that comes along with this, including TV shows and more. Power ports under the centre armrest ensure your personal device won’t die along the way.
This was an early morning flight, so a blanket and pillow were provided for all first class passengers (something I made ample use of during the short flight). The seats were newer and comfortable, with a good amount of pocket space on the seat in front. Your head rest is movable on the sides only (not up and down), which may be a point of contention for taller people, but ample leg room no doubt makes up for it. The flight had some mild turbulence and though the plane sported a new fit-out, this is an older model plane – as such it couldn’t seem to make up its mind whether it wanted to be hot or cold. Fairly typical of the model aircraft though.
The Delta staff were courteous and easy to deal with. It was an early morning flight though so most of the cabin just wanted to sleep and they were happy to oblige. Interestingly, they didn’t make us put up our windows, which is often required for take off and landing. I’ve always found it an odd rule, but it was a welcome change from the norm here.
About your Arrival Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport:
Atlanta is a large Delta hub, with trains connecting concourses. There is a pretty straight forward way to leave the airport, though as I was transferring to another flight, I had to change from concourse B (where I arrived) to C (from where I was departing), which was a 10 minute trip, including train wait. They come along regularly and the airport is full of plenty of shopping and dining should you not have lounce access and be looking to kill time!
The author flew at his own expense.