Guide to Delta One and Delta First Class

Delta One is offered on long-haul transcontinental and international routes. Delta First is available domestically.
Elina Geller
Sam Kemmis
Ramsey Qubein
By Ramsey Qubein,  Sam Kemmis and  Elina Geller 
Updated
Edited by Mary M. Flory

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Delta Air Lines offers Delta One or first class premium fares on its flights. Somewhat confusingly, first class isn't the most premium class — Delta One is. The difference:

  • Delta One is the airline’s international business class offering, which is available (mostly) on long-haul international flights and certain long-distance domestic routes. It offers lie-flat seats and premium food and beverage service.

  • Delta first class is typically available on shorter or domestic flights. It offers larger seats with more leg room but the seats don't turn into flat beds.

Let’s delve into the details of Delta One and Delta first class, so that you’ll better understand the experience you’ll have when flying with Delta.

Difference between Delta One and first class

Delta One cabin. (Image courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

Delta One is the airline’s fanciest cabin and is comparable with other international business class products like United Airlines’ Polaris business class.

In Delta One, you’ll experience a seat that transforms into a lie-flat bed, premium meal service, complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs and more. If you're flying on the Airbus A350 or A330-900, your seat may be a suite and feature a full-height partition so that you have even more privacy in the cabin.

Delta One cabin. (Image courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

If you’re flying Delta’s premium cabin on a domestic route, you’ll likely be in first class, not Delta One. Delta first class seats are slightly more spacious and comfortable than those in economy and offer more legroom. As a Delta first class passenger, you’ll also receive some airport priority privileges and premium meal service.

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Delta first class

At the airport

Delta offers several perks for first class customers including SkyPriority check-in lines and accelerated security queues at some airports. Travelers can check two bags, up to 70 pounds each, without charge. During boarding, first class customers have priority boarding through the SkyPriority lane at each gate.

Unfortunately, even if you're flying in first class, you cannot get into Delta Sky Clubs unless you have Delta Gold status or higher.

Seats

Newly redesigned first class seats on the A321neo. (Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

Delta first class seats offer up to eight inches of additional leg room (when compared with economy class) and up to a 5.4-inch recline. Each seat also gets a pillow and blanket (rare these days on other airlines).

In addition, Delta has recently begun revamping its first class cabin on the A321neo with new seats (pictured above). The seats are more private, have a stronger tray table, additional storage space for your personal items and memory foam seat cushions.

Onboard amenities and entertainment

Delta first class amenities provide some nice touches to enhance the flying experience. You will find power outlets at each seat in first class.

On most planes, there is a TV screen at first class seats offering movies, TV shows, music and often live TV. (Boeing 717s, some Boeing 737-900ERs, Bombardier CRJ-700s and CRJ-900s, and Embraer E-170s and E-175s are the exceptions.) Seat screens in first class range in size with the largest being 11 inches wide. Earbuds are free for first class passengers.

This is quite a differentiator between Delta and other airlines. American Airlines is in the process of ripping out onboard seat screens in favor of entertainment programming accessible via Wi-Fi signal. This, however, requires travelers to bring their own mobile device or laptop for viewing. Almost all Delta flights offer Wi-Fi, which means travelers can stay productive in flight. For SkyMiles Members, this service is now free on most domestic aircraft. Free Wi-Fi is expected on international and regional flights by the end of 2024.

Food and beverage

On board, passengers will receive pre-departure beverages and find a small water bottle on their seats. Other airlines are less consistent than Delta in this regard, often bypassing pre-departure beverages for first class even when there is ample time to offer them.

Delta's first class food options vary by flight time and distance.

  • On Delta’s shortest flights (under 900 miles) a full beverage service is available. This includes a long list of refreshments including Starbucks coffee, wine, beer, Coca-Cola products such as Minute Maid juices, and a full range of spirits and other soft drinks.

  • Flights between 900 and 2,299 miles provide meal service to first class passengers depending upon the time of day. Breakfast is served between 5 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. Lunch options are available on flights between 9:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Dinner is offered from 4-8 p.m. Customers can pre-select their meal usually seven days to 24 hours before departure via the Delta app or through a link emailed to passengers.

  • Flights over 2,300 miles in distance include fresh meals and a selection of snacks.

There are a few exceptions to this rule on some longer flights, but Delta doesn't publish a full list of these. This can include late-night departures from Atlanta to the West Coast where instead of refreshments, Delta lists snacks for first class. It is usually a sandwich with dessert, and there is no choice (on other flights, there's a choice of two dishes).

Delta flight attendants lay tablecloths down before serving trays with the meal. Food is plated on stylish Alessi serveware. Delta typically doesn't offer an aperitif service before meals; drinks are served just before the meal tray is served. Meanwhile, Alaska Airlines, American and United offer ramekins of nuts before the meal on most mealtime flights in domestic first class.

Delta One

Delta One on a Boeing 767. (Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

At the airport

Your Delta One experience begins before you board the plane. Delta One customers are treated to the same amenities as domestic first class passengers with the addition of enjoying access to Sky Clubs on their day of departure.

Unlike American and United, Delta doesn't offer dedicated lounges for its international premium cabin passengers. However, that will change when the airline opens a Delta One lounge in New York’s JFK airport in 2023 and another location in Los Angeles (LAX) in 2024.

Seats

Delta One flat bed seat. (Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

All Delta One seats transform into flat beds and have direct aisle access, but many of Delta’s seats are more narrow with smaller TV screens than its primary competitors, American and United. The airline has a convenient online chart allowing customers to compare what’s available on each aircraft.

Passengers on Airbus A330-900neo or A350 aircraft enjoy the new Delta One suite with full-height doors that slide closed for maximum privacy and 18-inch entertainment screens.

Onboard amenities and entertainment

On board, passengers will find a bottle of water, slippers and a Someone Somewhere amenity kit stocked with Grown Alchemist hand cream, chapstick and other travel essentials.

Delta One customers receive noise-reducing headphones and premium bedding made from recycled materials.

There is variety when it comes to seat style and space. All Delta One seats have power and USB outlets, in addition to remote controls for the onboard entertainment screens. A wide variety of movies, TV shows, audio programming and often live TV is available. There is more personal space, too, with side tables or storage nooks built into the seat.

Food and beverage

Delta invests quite a bit into the culinary experience on Delta One flights. Delta offers pre-departure beverages to Delta One passengers, which typically includes a bottle of water.

Printed menus give guests a guide to what meals are offered and in what order they will be served. Multi-course meals begin with an aperitif service with mixed nuts. Drink refills are plentiful, followed by a tray of appetizers, salads and soup. The meal is served atop tablecloths using designer Alessi serveware.

Travelers can choose from one of several main courses, usually a beef, poultry, seafood and pasta option. Meals and beverages are served via carts in the aisles, but the main dish is delivered by hand from the galley. Dessert includes an impressive fruit, cheese, dessert and ice cream sundae cart rolled through the aisle and prepared at each seat.

Customers can pre-select their meal seven days to 24 hours before departure via the Fly Delta app. This list includes special meals like Asian vegetarian, diabetic and kosher options. All special meals must be ordered at least 24 hours before departure.

On certain flights, Delta partners with specialty chefs who are representative of the origin or destination to prepare meals for Delta One passengers. For example, on Delta flights from Atlanta to Amsterdam; Dusseldorf, Germany; Frankfurt, Germany; London; Madrid; Munich; Paris; Rome or Stuttgart, Germany; travelers can enjoy Southern-inspired cuisine from Linton Hopkins. Flights from Los Angeles to Amsterdam, Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo enjoy cuisine by chef partners Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo. Certain regional culinary dishes are available on trans-Pacific flights to China and Japan as well.

The wine list, detailed in the printed menu available before takeoff, enjoys special attention, too, courtesy of Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson, who has overseen the airline’s wine program since 2007.

Using credit cards to book Delta flights with miles

Naturally, you could book Delta One or first class with cash, but you can also save money and book these seats with Delta’s SkyMiles. There are many ways to earn miles with Delta, but some of the easiest ways include collecting miles through spending on a Delta credit card or transferring points from American Express Membership Rewards to Delta. Delta credit card options include:

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
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Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
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on American Express' website

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Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
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on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
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on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
Annual fee

$0.

$0 intro for the first year, then $150.

$350.

$650.

Earning rates

• 2 miles per dollar on purchases made directly with Delta.

• 2 miles per dollar at restaurants worldwide plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.

• 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

• 2 miles per dollar on purchases made directly with Delta.

• 2 miles per dollar at restaurants worldwide plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.

• 2 miles per dollar at U.S. supermarkets.

• 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

• 3 miles per dollar on eligible purchases made directly with Delta

• 3 miles per dollar on eligible hotel purchases.

• 2 miles per dollar at restaurants plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.

• 2 miles per dollar at U.S. supermarkets.

1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

• 3 miles per dollar on eligible purchases made directly with Delta.

• 1 mile per dollar on other eligible purchases.

Other benefits

• No foreign transaction fees.

Terms apply.

• First checked bag free.

• Priority boarding.

• No foreign transaction fees.

Terms apply.

• Companion certificate (main cabin).

• First checked bag free.

• Priority boarding.

• No foreign transaction fees.

Terms apply.

• Airport lounge access.

• Companion certificate ((first class, Delta Comfort+ or main cabin).

• Credit for application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry

• First checked bag free.

• Priority boarding.

• No foreign transaction fees.

Terms apply.

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To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, see this page.

Once you’ve earned the miles, you can redeem them for Delta award seats, including those in Delta One or first class.

Frequently asked questions

Delta has two separate versions of its highest-end fares, first class and Delta One. First class is generally available on shorter and domestic flights, while Delta One is the airline’s international business class product, which is available on longer international flights and includes more luxury perks.

Delta One is Delta’s international business class and most premium fare type, usually only available on long-haul international and some long-distance domestic flights. It includes a lie-flat bed, premium food and beverage, and other luxury perks. It isn't the same as Delta’s official first class fares, which offer fewer perks and are available on shorter and domestic flights.

Technically, first class and Delta One are separate fare classes, but — confusingly — Delta One is technically a business class fare. Still, it offers what most people associate with a “first class” ticket, including lie-flat seats and premium food. Some flights offer first class cabins and others offer Delta One cabins, but no flights offer both.

Yes, Medallion members can use upgrade certificates to upgrade to Delta One. Medallion elite members are also eligible for complimentary same-day upgrades to Delta One.

Delta One vs. first class recapped

Delta offers a wide variety of products that depend upon aircraft type and route, but the airline is transparent about which amenities and services are available on each flight. Those traveling in the Delta premium cabin are in for a treat, no matter where they are headed.


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