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Getting Away on Miles: Delta 747 Business Class Manilla - Narita

After an interesting check-in experience, where Delta went above and beyond to get me first class seats and a better routing, I rested in the Manila Skyclub before heading to the gate. Extra security was in place at the gate and each passenger had to go through a secondary screening which was very similar to the bull honky we experience in the USA. Boarding passes and identification were checked and then each bag was rescreened, and each passenger received the well-known TSA groping. Boarding was somewhat chaotic, but that’s only because there was not enough room in the boarding area for all 400+ passengers and the extra screening devices, which meant extremely cramped conditions.

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Boarding was separated into two lanes: One was for business class and sky priority customers (Skyteam Elite passengers) and another for general/economy passengers. The Sky Priority lane looped behind the gate agent’s desk, whereas the general boarding lane was against the far wall. There was an agent who was ensuring that only those who truly had access to the Sky Priority lane utilized it, and although she was demanding when asking for credentials, she was extremely professional. After flashing my business class boarding pass she welcomed me to the cue and I headed towards the gate. Although boarding is usually uneventful, after handing my boarding pass to the gate agent, they stopped and said, “Welcome aboard Mr. Horan, we have something for you, please wait one minute.” Then the gate agent scrambled through a stack of cards, found one with my name on it and handed me a small card that personally welcomed me aboard as a business class passenger—nice touch Delta!

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Boarding and pre-departure was relatively uneventful. I worked my way upstairs to the upper deck, was greeted by a number of flight attendants—even the station manager, see the prelude story—and was offered the usual offering of bubbly, orange juice, or water and a newspaper. The nice part about the pre-departure service though happened when they announced the delay. Although the attendants had already collected most people’s glasses, they came back through with another round of drinks and the snack basket. Instead of hiding in the galleys, the flight attendants ensured every passenger was comfortable. They also distributed Japanese immigration forms and took breakfast orders pre-departure to ensure prompter service once airborne. In addition, while still at the gate, they played the safety departure video and then activated the inflight entertainment, giving everyone on the plane access to 100s of hours of videos, tv, music and games! This really helped distract me from the delay!

After a short 30 minutes maintenance delay, we taxied towards the runway and made our way towards Japan. Once we were airborne, flight attendants quickly appeared in the aisles and brought individuals the drinks they had ordered prior to take off and then quickly served breakfast. Breakfast had two options: (1) a cold continental options, similar to what you find on domestic flights or a (2) typical Filipino Milk fish breakfast. Being a huge fan of Milk fish, I opted for it and honestly it was as scrumptious at 30k feet as it is from a street vendor in the heart of Manila! Needless to say, I was extremely satisfied with breakfast. Shortly after I was delightfully stuffed, I reclined my lay flat seat and slept until the captain announced our landing in Japan.

Hard Product Recap:

Seats: The Boeing 747 that flies between Japan and Manila has been refurbished and offered Delta’s newest and best product. The business class cabin has been reconfigured with lay flat seats, which provides aisle access for ever seat. This seat is basically the same seat found on Cathay Pacific. This is great for travelers traveling alone, and for those traveling as a pair, I’d highly recommend one of the few middle seats on the main floor, which provides slightly less privacy, but would make it easier for talking. There is a foot rest near the fuselage, however there is no seat-belt, which means it’s not really intended to be used as a seat for visiting passengers, however I sat on it to test it out and I would say it would work just fine if the fasten seat belt sign is off!

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Seats are angled in a way that the head is closest to the aisles, this provides great level of privacy because instead of awkwardly staring at the person across the aisle, one is, instead provided with a view out the window! The downside of this though is when sleeping, your head is closest to where everyone is walking. The Armrest in the seat also goes up and down, making the seat feel left claustrophobic when lying flat, however it can be left up for privacy as well. And if you’re tall, no worries, the bed is nearly 7 feet long!

IFE: The personal TV and entertainment system on this aircraft is truly top notch, bringing the best product to the sky yet, for Delta Airline. The 15.4 inch TV monitors swung outward when being used and offers hours of entertainment. It works via touchscreen or via remote. The new delta entertainment systems have been installed and are being rolled out fleet wide. This means there’s over 250 movies and 4000 music tracks along with games, shopping, surveys, moving maps, and more to keep people of all ages entertained for hours on end. In addition, each seat has a powerport and a USB connector, allowing multiple devices to be charged while flying.

 

StorageThe B747, especially the upperdeck, has always been known for excessive amounts of storage. Those days are gone! I don’t know if it was because I had been up for over 24 hours by the time I boarded the plane or if it was truly lacking, but the only storage I could find anywhere was underneath the foot rest, and this barely held my laptop bag. The bins along the fuselage have been removed, and covered in hard blue plastic! This means, items cannot be stored closely or between yourself and the plane wall. The overhead bins are basically the only option2013-01-03-06.27.53

No more bins along the fuselage

Soft Product:

Food and Drinks: Delta offers the same beverage service on this short flight from Manila to Tokyo as they do on all intraAsia flights. This means there’s a decent selection of the typical wines and spirits found on all Delta flights, but also a selection of Soju and Sake. There was also two breakfast items to choose from and each meal was accompanied by bread and fresh fruit. My only wish is that Delta would add an espresso machine!

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Amenities & Bedding: For such a short flight the bedding was very comfort. Each seat had a fresh down comforter and oversize down feather pillow. The bedding was great for such a short flight, and would be even more welcoming on a longer flight. However, do note, that if you’re flying anytime soon, the bedding on Delta will be updated to the newer Heavenly Bed Product.

As far as extra amenities go, nothing was special for this short flight. Each seat had a pair of slippers, found on just about every international flight in Asia and Boise Noise Canceling headphones These were great for cutting the noise down from flying! Otherwise, no amenity kits are offered on this short flight and earplugs and eye masks are available by request.

Service: Flight attendants were very friendly and courteous. When being greeted, each passenger was greeted by name and flight attendants were functional and in the cabin at all times. Service was not nearly as good as what I experienced on Asiana Airline were agents were proactive, but instead Delta FAs tend to be more reactive. Nevertheless, preflight service and service during the delay was top notch!

 Overall this flight was very comfortable and Delta has yet again surprised me as they not only offered over the top customer service on the ground and during the delay but also did well at 30,000 feet. The new B747-400 hard product is a great update over the older angel-flat seats and offers a much better flying experience! I would be glad to fly a 15 hour flight on one of these refurbished planes! 

 

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Comments

#1
choi March 12, 2013 at 01:26 pm

for inter asia segments, how many miles did you use per route ?

#2
Rocky March 12, 2013 at 01:32 pm

@Choi See the "introduction" It explained how I used my miles. This was part of the 120K miles LAX-MNL-LAX in Business. Delta Skymiles are VERY expensive to use for intra Asia flights. From North Asia to SE Asia Delta charges 70K r/t in business. Note that this is one of the HIGHEST requirement in the industry!

#3
Kevin March 12, 2013 at 09:27 pm

Hi I am looking to fly first class from MSP to SJC/SFO/OAK for cheap. Do you have any tips to fly cheap with First Class. I do not have a lot of miles and I do not want to open and Credit Cards!

#4
Rocky March 12, 2013 at 09:48 pm

@Kevin shoot me an email and I'll see what I can do help you out, [email protected]

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