Delta One 747-400 Upper Deck, Shanghai, China (PVG) to Detroit, MI (DTW)

The last Delta One flight on the trip to Hong Kong with my son was on the 747-400 upper deck from Shanghai to Detroit.   The 747-400 upper deck is by far my favorite business-class seat on Delta. With 14 seats arranged 1 x 1, all are window seats with direct aisle access.

DL 747-400 upper deck – Is this the best business class cabin in the sky?

The intimacy of the cabin makes me feel like I’m on a private jet.   There are two flight attendants (FAs) to take care of the 14 passengers.  I can think of no ther DL cabin with a better FA/passenger ratio.  Being on the upper deck completely isolates you from the 350+ folks below.

On a flight out of Tokyo (NRT) a couple of years ago, the pilot in command let me sit in his left seat and explained some of the instruments when I told him I was an IFR rated private pilot!  I wish I hadn’t been too stunned and geeked out to get a picture in the cockpit.

The captain let me sit in the left seat of this 747-400

The upper deck provides access to the flight deck.  Pilots often chat up the passengers on the upper deck before takeoff and sometimes during flight.


The flight deck and a crew rest area are on the 747-400 upper deck

PVG is the home of China Eastern Airlines, a recent addition to SkyTeam and an airline that Delta appears to be forging a much closer relationship with in Asia (at the expense of Korean Air).

China Eastern A330 at PVG

Based on my experience on this trip and a subsequent one, a closer relationship between China Eastern and Delta would be unfortunate.  China Eastern agents and staff seem hard pressed to deal with Americans.  Few spoke English and generally seemed to lack much desire to assist.  I never had these problems with Korean Air even with those who did not speak English – end rant.

We were fine once aboard the Queen of the Skies.  Alex and I had my favorite seats 77A and 77K.

Seat 77K with Westin bedding, slippers, Bose headphones and amenity kit

Delta also provided pajamas as it had on the SEA – HKG flight.

Alex was just across the aisle in 77A.

Alex settling in at seat 77A

The reason I like these seats is that each has a large flat shelf in front that is perfect for setting blankets, pillows, newspapers etc.

Shelf in front of 77K

The space next to the window is also handy for storing bedding.  Even on the 747 the seats could use more storage space.  Each business class seat on the upper deck has a wedge shaped ledge that is wide enough for a laptop or other personal items during flight.

Storage by the window and side table
A small storage space next to the retractable armrest
Seat controls, AV remote and video screen release button

The video screen folds out for viewing.  This means that during taxi, takeoff and landing, video is essentially unavailable.

Fold out video screen

The only negative about the upper deck experience is navigating a narrow and steep staircase getting on and off the plane.  While the smaller upper deck overhead bins won’t accommodate large carryons, that problem is solved with a huge closet that easily accommodates any baggage.


Our flight departed on runway 16R.  The designation 16R means that this runway is aligned on a magnetic heading of approximately 160 degrees and that there is at least one other runway at PVG to the left on the same heading.

Departing PVG Runway One Six Right

The flight to DTW on the 747-400, Tail Number 6313, was expected to take 12 hours and 29 minutes to cover 7,130 miles.


Some of the menus for the flight:




Sixty minutes after takeoff, the beverage and dinner service commenced.

Duck breast appetizer and Woodford Reserve

The sesame dressing was a nice complement for the duck breast.

Tomato caprese soup and salad
Steak entree, potatoes, and asparagus and snap peas

The steak was very good.  It was not over done as often happens with beef on airplanes. On international long-haul flights, Delta’s business class always has great options for dessert, and you are not limited to choosing just one.

Ice cream sundae, fruit and cheese and Porto

After dinner there was plenty of time to watch a video, read, work or just relax in the quiet and comfort of the 747-400 upper deck.20160816_131426-2-2_resized

I slept for a few hours in the Delta pjs and super comfortable Westin bedding. 20160816_152148-3_resized

The bedding and pjs were great.  However to have a truly comfortable sleep, Delta should provide a mattress.

Upon waking and changing into my clothes, I requested a snack.

Mid-flight snack

About 90 minutes before landing the FAs served the pre-arrival meal.  I had the Chinese selection.

Shanghai fried noodles in oyster sauce

After a wonderful flight like this I’m always disappointed when its time to land.

On final approach to DTW

This flight concluded our trip to Hong Kong in Delta One.  We had one last flight from DTW to CLT on a 717-200.  The Delta first class seats on this flight were a real let down from the international flights.

Delta 717-200 first class

The Final Analysis

All things considered, the Delta 747-400 business class section on the upper deck is the best business class cabin I’ve flown.  There are business class seats with more storage, wider seats, and better ambience, but the the intimacy, isolation and FA/passenger ratio of the 747-400 upper deck makes it my favorite.

I will truly miss flying the 747-400 when Delta phases it out in the next year or so.  I’ll try to get at least one more ride before that happens.  Then I’ll look for a ride on a 747-800.  Korean Air operates them as well as Lufthansa and Air China.

The other posts about our trip are:

Delta One A330-200 Seattle to Hong Kong

Trip Report – Airport Express Hong Kong International Airport

Hotel Reviews – Grand Hyatt Hong Kong and Hyatt Regency Tsim Tsa Tsui

Hong Kong, Lantau Island & Macao, Picture Review

China Eastern Airlines A320 Business Class Hong Kong to Shanghai


4 thoughts on “Delta One 747-400 Upper Deck, Shanghai, China (PVG) to Detroit, MI (DTW)

  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to review this aircraft, and especially this flight as we will be flying the reverse in September 2017. Can’t hardly wait and your review has us even more excited!


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