Business Class Review: LAX to Sydney on Delta One – serviced by an A350-900 

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  • DL41 leaves LAX at 10:30PM and arrives at Sydney International at 6:35AM two dates later. Flight time is approximately 15 hours.  

As far as the weary traveller goes, I alternate between all cabins in pursuit of reviewing the best of the best for our readers, but one can’t help but really look forward to “the turn left” options, when they are available. After a full week in LA for the IPW annual festival that celebrates all things American, and a week in Costa Rica with my adventurous 20-year-old daughter as my travel buddy (think snorkelling, horse riding, climbing volcanos), I was actually looking forward to this flight home, and Delta, you did not disappoint. 

Pre-boarding experience 

It’s no surprise, a whopping US$2.3 (AU$3.45) billion was spent on its Delta Sky Way at LAX project, because it was a truly seamless experience and I must admit, I spent a good deal of my time trying to work out how much each segment cost, and it shows.  

A lounge before the lounge – Get outta town! 

Firstly, there is a private entrance to the new Delta One Check-in Terminal 3 at LAX and having arrived from Costa Rica with 5.5 hours to kill, it wasn’t quite enough time to go back to LA but too early to check in. Delta in LA have a pre check-in lounge, with coffee, tea, snacks and other beverages with comfortable lounges to relax in, and they take care of your luggage until the obligatory three hours before check-in. I took that time to catch up on my newspapers, and do some work marvelling at this novelty, having recently been rejected the from a lounge in Costa Rica for reasons that escape me, although on reflection, may have had something to do with the fact I wasn’t flying with them.

Fast-track boarding 

A dedicated security lane really does feel like the celebrity treatment – what more is there to say than this is pretty ace. It may sound like an oxymoron, but a smiling security guard takes the edge off that nerve-wracking process, when one watches the bags go through the machine, and breath is held to see if it continues down the funnel into ones arms or the dreaded left turn for inspection. That is when the heart starts to thump and irrational thoughts take over such as, did I leave a gummy in there, or worse a 150ml tube of toothpaste to fish out of the 100 other items painstakingly packed? 

Sky Club 

Once your jaw is no longer dropped by the scale and size of the LAX Delta Sky club, you can book a shower and enjoy freshly made tacos, among other delectable morsels of food, including French brie with sourdough bread. The lounge appears to go on forever, and like a mini village with plenty of places to rest, relax and munch, it includes a cool bar that could be anywhere in the fashionable neighbourhoods of downtown LA rather than the airport. 

The open-air all-weather Sky Deck with its retractable roof, relaxed lounge seating across the whole deck, made this the more popular spot to hang out. A fully stocked bar helped too. 

Pre-boarding experience 9/10 – Only a helicopter pick up from my hotel would bring this score to 10!  

On-board experience 

Overhead bins are spacious enough for two-decent sized pieces of luggage, which for a carry-on only traveller, as I usually am, is essential. The window seat of the business class configuration is my favourite, as it feels very private and (almost) first class with its sliding door and decent space.  

Food and grog 

White linen over the tray always makes the food taste better, as does actual cutlery and glass, so Delta One is head of the game already. Warm bread and champagne fills this girl’s heart. Jon & Vinny’s Braised Meatballs were recommended and they did not disappoint. Jon and Vinny’s, a quintessential LA group of Italian restaurants, reminded me of Totti’s in Bondi, and making me marginally homesick. The meatballs were moist and tasty, and definitely restaurant quality. 

Entertain me 

A 16-inch screen feels like a cinema compared to using my phone for Netflix. The noise-cancelling headphones are top-notch, making sure the only thing interrupting is the flight attendant asking if you want another round of snacks. 

Sleep baby sleep 

Sleeping on a plane has never been my superpower but the cosy doona and pillows felt like slumber heaven and I slept like a baby, unlike the toddler a few rows down who enjoying the benefits of business class before being able to utter the word. He/she still managed to let the cabin know he/she was not happy/content/enjoying this strange experience of flying. Despite the child’s squawks, they fell into the background of my consciousness, and I awoke refreshed.  

On-board Experience 9/10 – The only thing that would bring it to 10 would be an adults-only cabin.

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