This post and the next one cover in abbreviated form my flights from Manila back home to Charlotte.  I used Delta miles to get my flights to and from the Latin dance festival.  The out bound trip was in business class and the return was booked in economy class.  On the dates I wanted to return, the cost in miles of business class on Delta was prohibitive.  Delta hid its frequent flyer charts in 2015 as part of a strategy to charge whatever it wants for award travel.  Ultimately, it seems Delta wants ffers to basically use miles to purchase tickets at a rate where one mile equals one penny.

Even though I had used miles for an economy ticket, on check in for the flight to Tokyo (NRT), I was very pleasantly surprised when I was assigned a business-class seat.  I find that around 10%-15% of the time that I have an international business class ticket on Delta, I will be upgraded to business class because the economy cabin is oversold, I presume.

The boarding process in Manila (MNL) was one of the best I’ve experienced.  I reached the gate after boarding started.  To speed my boarding process, a gate agent escorted me through the security checks and the crowd at the gate to the jet bridge entrance.  Her sign indicated special treatment because of Diamond Medallion status or being in Delta One (business class).

Personal escort at Manila boarding gate

My seat was on the lower level of the 747-400 in the aft business-class section.

Business class MNL- NRT
Head seat pillows and blanket

The flight to NRT is only four hours or slightly less; so Delta serves only one meal and provides no amenity kit in business class.

Business-class lunch MNL-NRT

The meal is served all at once.  It was reasonably good.  Soon we were landing in NRT.

Setting sun in the Land of the Rising Sun

I visited the larger of the two Delta Skyclubs at NRT.  These are nice lounges, and I used to look forward to stopping in because they were much better than the domestic Delta Skyclubs. The NRT Skyclubs still have better booze and better seating.  But with recent upgrades to domestic clubs, NRT now trails in terms of access to electric outlets, food and shower facilities (at least in the smaller club).  Service from the agents in the NRT clubs is always top notch.  Delta’s failure to upgrade the NRT clubs speaks volumes about Delta’s views on NRT as a hub long term.

NRT Skyclub
NRT Skyclub food and drink

Especially when I am flying in coach as on this trip, I relish getting a couple of hours in a nice lounge to stretch out, maybe have a shower, and enjoy some good food and drinks.

After a relaxing stay in the lounge I boarded for the flight, an A330, to Seattle (SEA).  Unfortunately, no surprise upgrade for this flight.

NRT-SEA flight tracker
My aisle comfort plus seat NRT-SEA

My seat for this flight was in the comfort plus section, which is a standard economy seat with about three more inches of legroom.  That three inches makes a big difference to me.  As you can see from the picture above, even with the seat-back pocket jammed with travel paraphernalia, my knees still have an inch or two of room.

In economy class, in-flight entertainment (IFE) goes along way to determining how much I enjoy the flight.  I avoid going to most first-run movies so I can watch them on airplanes. A good movie or two can make any flight seem shorter.  Another important factor in improving my experience on international economy flights is having a good pair of noise cancelling headphones.  Fear not the screaming baby.

Dinner NRT-SEA

Delta offers a main meal in economy shortly after takeoff and the initial drink service.  The quantity of food in this meal is more than adequate .  The shrimp appetizers are always great.  There is a light mid flight snack.  And a tiny breakfast before landing.

Small breakfast before landing

As with most long-haul flights in economy , I was glad when it was time to deplane in SEA.