Flight Date: 01JUN13—I flew with Delta Airlines last month on their B747-400, so for my return trip back to Tokyo I decided to check out the Business/Elite service on the B767-300. The check-in counter was empty and after passing through TSA, I went straight to the Delta Sky Club lounge.
Before we get to the lounge a little background on HNL is necessary. Honolulu International Airport, in its current form, dates back to the early 1960s and is about 30 years overdue a major makeover. For those of us that call Hawaii home, the airport is embarrassing: bulky concrete slab construction, funky 60s-style design and lack of facilities don’t convey the true spirit of aloha—that said—the powers-at-be have announced a multi-year, multi-million dollar upgrade to commence this year; let’s hope they get it right. Can’t wait!
The Delta Sky Club is located on the ground level surrounded by lush: Chinese, Hawaiian and Japanese gardens. Upon entering the lounge however, the scene changes to dark and dank. The lounge is simply old and like the airport in general needs to be gutted and upgraded. The receptionists were kind and helpful though and I spent about 45 minutes or so finishing off some last minute emails.
Today’s flight to Narita being a Saturday meant the plane was packed with tourists and both business and economy were fully booked.
The Delta Business/Elite cabin on the B767-300 is arranged with staggered, solo seats at the windows and two seats in the middle. The nicely appointed cabin looked to be brand new but when boarding, especially with the overhead bins open and passengers getting situated, things are a bit tight.
If you’re traveling alone, definitely go for the window seats. Although quite narrow these seat, along with the added privacy, have a spacious counter area adjacent to the seat where the tray tables are stored.
Take-Off Video. View of the Pacific from the reef runway, Honolulu International Airport
Menus, amenity kits, pillows and blankets were already placed at each seat prior to boarding and the crew passed through the aisles with pre-flight drinks and immigration cards for Japan.
As soon as we reached cruising altitude, the crew started the meal service. I chose the Japanese meal and a glass of wine.
The meal quality on today’s flight was average. Japan Airlines, ANA and Korean all have high quality meal service on flights departing Honolulu, so this is definitely an airline-specific issue meaning Delta is obviously cutting corners in this area. It’s a shame that US-based carriers don’t recognize the need to buck this trend and introduce better food.
Unlike the food, Delta’s in-flight entertainment system is top notch; one of the best around in my view. I got situated with some cheese, a glass of wine and watched a movie.
The seat on the B767-300 has its good and bad points. Delta uses Westin’s ‘Heavenly in-flight bedding’ and the pillow and duvet are comfortable and fluffy. The seat itself does recline to a full 180 degree bed, however the space allotted for your legs (from about the knees down) is so narrow at it is impossible to turnover and adjust your sleeping position. You’re stuck with the first position you choose. Should you want to turnover and sleep on your side, you need to return the seat to a semi upright position, re-insert your legs and press the recline button. Not a big deal on today’s flight for me, however I would not want to fly this product if sleep was my main goal.
An hour and half prior to arrival a second meal service of quiche or cold cuts was offered.
Flight attendants were all friendly and professional; constantly passing through the aisles with water and snacks.
Final Thoughts— Delta’s Honolulu Sky Club lounge is good for the free internet and that’s about it. The clerk told me they would soon be moving to new facilities and that is welcome news. Being a daytime flight, Delta’s Business/Elite product on the B767-300 was fine; however I wouldn’t want to have to fly overnight though. The narrow seat, especially from the knees down, would make for a restless night. Crew were great along with the entertainment system, however in-flight meal quality is definitely an area where Delta needs to focus.