Delta deserves continued PaxEx props for consistency

Cartoon of passengers, flight attendant and pilots onboard an aircraftDelta Air Lines is regularly praised for delivering a strong product and a consistent service to passengers, including on long-haul flights.

But after reading RGN contributor Fintan Horan-Stear’s glowing trip report about a recent Delta A330-900 flight from Minneapolis Saint-Paul to Amsterdam in economy class, I was eager to see if I would have the same great experience — under similar down-back conditions — when traveling with a friend on a Delta A330neo flight between New York JFK and Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) in northern Italy.

Having already checked into our flights via the Delta app, we made our way to JFK Terminal 4 to tag and drop our bags. There were many helpful Delta agents on hand to assist with the process, and in just a few minutes, we were headed to the TSA checkpoint.

Passengers inside JFK T4 and the Delta welcome desks. Natural and LED light creates a calm scene.I was glad we had arrived at JFK early, as the security lines were long. But once through security, the additional time also gave us a chance to explore T4, which features expansive options for dining and shopping, and intriguing art installations.

Stores line both sides of JFK Terminal 4. An art installation of red, pink and grey balloons adorn the ceilings. Given that we had three hours to blow, we decided to go on a sort of ‘restaurant hop’ around T4, making stops at Peet’s Coffee, Bento Sushi, and Mi Casa, a great Mexican restaurant. We also enjoyed the stellar plane-spotting to be enjoyed at JFK.

A passenger is taking a photo of the Delta aircraft at the gates from the airport window.Among the last passengers to board the A330neo, my friend and I made our way to the back of the plane, navigating the skinny aisles and passenger activity to arrive at our Main Cabin seats. The aircraft is configured 2-4-2 in economy, and our seats were in a middle 4. We had no difficulty finding space for our bags in the large overhead bins.

A view from the back of the Delta A330neo aircraft cabin in economy classAs a taller human, 5ft 10in, I appreciated the seat width and seat pitch even in this interior seat in a middle -4- aboard the A330neo.

A female passenger is sitting next to an empty Delta A330neo aircraft seat, which has a blue-grey pleather cover.That said, I could have used a few more inches of legroom, and would strongly consider buying up to Delta Comfort+ in the future.

A woman's knees are seen just a couple inches from the seat in front of her on the A330neo.My petite friend, who is 5ft 3in, had quite a lot of living space in her aisle-side seat, as you’d expect, but she found the seat to be on the harder side for her slim frame.

A petite passenger's legs are pictured stretched out underneath the seat in front of her on a Delta flight. A side-by-side photo reveals the height disparity, and ergo the legroom disparity.

Side-by-side of a 5'3" and a 5'10" passenger, with the former enjoying much more legroom. But we didn’t dwell on the issue for long because the inflight entertainment system wowed at every turn. For starters it was jam-packed with content, boasting a vast selection of movies including classics like Grease, and blockbusters like The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (Delta had the entire Hunger Games series!) as well as various TV programs, games, and a moving map. I was also pleased to see two full seasons of Sex and the City.

The Hunger Games franchise of movies is displayed on the IFE screen for viewing. Together, we watched another classic, The Wizard of Oz, which is one of my favorite movies and felt comforting to view in-flight.

Dorthey and the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz are on the IFE screen with subtitles.I also availed of Delta’s free inflight texting, and enjoyed staying connected to friends and family.

For dinner, friendly cabin crew members offered us a choice between pasta and chicken, and we both chose the former. The manicotti in tomato sauce was accompanied by a small potato salad with vegetables, as well as a piece of cheese, some crackers, and a brownie. Overall, the dinner was very hearty and tasty, perhaps especially so for being economy fare.

Manicotti in tomato sauce accompanied by a small potato salad with vegetables as the inflight meal.Thereafter, we grabbed a few hours of sleep. The small pillow and blanket provided by Delta came in handy

A small blue blanket and white pillow are wrapped in plastic for economy class passengers.About an hour before landing, the  crew distributed breakfast in the form of a calzone, as well as beverages including hot coffee. We did not partake in the breakfast but were both impressed with the effort to provide Italia-themed meals for our flight to Italy.

The flight was under eight hours, and we arrived at MXP — surrounded by the Swiss Alps — roughly 10 minutes earlier than expected. The airport signage, in Italian and English language, was easy to follow, and we transited customs quickly.

After grabbing our bags at baggage claim, we boarded a train from MXP to Milano Centrale in the city, which is approximately a 30-minute ride.

A busy platform of passengers at the Milano Centrale train stationOn arriving at Milano Centrale, we sat down and had lunch at a café for about two hours before our next train to Florence. With time to catch our breath and assess our passenger experience (PaxEx), we concluded that Delta’s service, even in economy class, is commendable. Beautiful Italian architecture is seen at the Milano Centrale train station

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All images credited to the author, Reilly Oatridge