Flight Brief: Delta A350 Premium Select Detroit to Beijing

I had a blast visiting Beijing a couple of weeks ago, and it was a great first visit to China. I was lucky to score a great deal on a roundtrip Delta Premium Select fare, which meant I got to check out a new cabin and a new aircraft! Join me on this first ‘Flight Brief’ where I bring you pictures from my flight!

This leg of the journey started out at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. I arrived off a flight from Chicago and had a short walk to the gate for my Beijing flight.

I got my first look at Delta ship N506DN, an (almost) brand new A350-900, delivered in December 2017. Not a big fan of the dots on the terminal windows – makes plane spotting hard!

I can’t name another airport that has a monorail INSIDE the terminal besides Detroit – super cool! I still have yet to ride it though, a good excuse to come back!

We boarded from gate A36. Interesting to note – the gate agent segmented those in the ‘Premium’ boarding drop into Diamond Medallions/Delta One Customers and Delta Premium Select Customers. I haven’t heard of this segmentation before, generally ‘Premium’ is treated as one group. I cheekily boarded with the first ‘subgroup’ so I could get some pictures of the cabin, and wasn’t stopped.

I had chosen a bulkhead seat – 21A – for the 14 hours to Beijing, and couldn’t have been happier. The seat, while not super wide, has a good amount legroom, fantastic recline, and an extendable footrest. Waiting at my seat was a plush pillow, Westin branded blanket, TUMI amenity kit and LSTN headphones.

The Premium Select cabin is relatively small, with just six rows in a 2-4-2 configuration for a total of 48 seats. I love the pattern on the seat cushions and the small Delta logo on the headrest – sharp details!

Also waiting at my seat was a menu, something typically found in business class cabins but not always premium economy products. I was impressed that there were three dinner options for first service (two Western and one Chinese). Also served part way through the flight was a flatbread and an ice cream, followed by a second meal service right before landing.

A good choice of soft drinks and alcohol was available. There were at least two white wines on offer, I didn’t check on the red.

Slippers were also available! While a little tight on my size 13 feet, it was a nice touch. Also, check out the great legroom I’m 6’4″ and was able to stretch out comfortably with the added benefit of nobody reclining into me.

We pushed back on time and took of shortly after. Check out that awesome Rolls Royce Trent XWB-84 engine. Each one delivers 84,200LBS of thrust!

Mixed nuts and a first drinks service were offered shortly after takeoff, along with a hot towel. I went for some club soda and a white wine. I also was impressed by the in flight entertainment screen (cut off in the below photo). It was super sharp and very responsive.

Dinner was served all on one tray, but was brought out from the galley and not on a cart. I thought this was a nice touch. A drink refill was also offered. I went for the chicken, which was flavorful and filling. It was accompanied by a melon and prosciutto appetizer, which was nothing special, a choice of bread and a salad, which tasted fresh. For desert there was small chocolate cake.

I loved these mini salt and pepper shakers – super cool!

About half way through the flight, a bruschetta flatbread was offered, along with a magnum chocolate ice cream (not pictured). After hearing that these flatbreads were rather unappealing, I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor of this one. Definitely not the best presentation, but hit the spot on the long journey.

Wifi was unavailable for a good portion of this flight. I think this is because Gogo’s wifi coverage doesn’t extend far enough north for this very northern flight. We flew a good bit north of Alaska’s northern edge and then back down over Siberia, which led to no connection a couple hours into the flight until about an hour before landing.

One last meal before landing – I chose the Chinese pork and rice option with some apple juice. It was filling and helped my body clock adjust to it still being the afternoon in Beijing (although the croissant and yogurt are odd accompaniments).

All in all, I thought this was a good flight. It certainly beat flying coach, and the service and food were good, and the seat comfortable. If you take such a flight expecting an experience above coach, you’ll be pleased; if you expect a business class experience, you won’t be.

Delta could improve the service by offering snacks in the galley, plating the mid-flight snack, and offering better wine, but other than that I can’t think of much to fix.¬†Overall, I think Delta has a winning product with Premium Select, and I would certainly fly it again!