The last Delta One flight on the trip to Hong Kong with my son was on the 747-400 upper deck from Shanghai, China (PVG) to Detroit (DTW). 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.
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 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 crew rest areas 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).
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.
Delta also provided pajamas as it had on the SEA – HKG flight.
Alex was just across the aisle in 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.
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.
The video screen folds out for viewing. This means that during taxi, takeoff and landing, the AV system is essentially unavailable.
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 where any oversized carryons are easily stored.
DL582 PVG -DTW
Our flight departed on runway 16R.
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 between PVG and DTW.
Some of the menus for the flight:
Sixty minutes after takeoff, the beverage and dinner service commenced.
The sesame dressing was a nice complement for the duck breast.
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.
After dinner there was plenty of time to watch a video, read or just relax in the quiet and comfort of the 747-400 upper deck.
I slept for a few hours in the Delta pjs and super comfortable Westin bedding.
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.
About 90 minutes before landing the FAs served the pre-arrival meal. I had the Chinese selection.
After a wonderful flight like this I’m always disappointed when its time to land.
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.
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 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: