Sky Suites are the kind of luxury you associate with top dog airlines like Singapore, Emirates and Etihad. Even then they are only found on their First Class product on aircraft like the A380. So it came as a big surprise when I opened up my news feed and saw that Delta had announced the “World’s first all-suite business class introduced in Delta One.” Delta customers could use some good news right now given last week’s system meltdown.
Their herringbone pattern Business Class seats, introduced around 2009, left a lot to be desired. Unless you picked a seat in the very last row, there was very little privacy. You didn’t have to try very hard to see every little bite, chew, scratch of your neighbors across the way. Since then they adopted the reverse herringbone layout on many of their planes and also updated the seats to go along with the latest Delta One rebranding.
The True Meaning Of A Suite
The word “suite” has lost a lot of its luster in the travel industry. A suite used to mean more than one room, more than one piece of furniture, a group of things that go together. In hotels, that meant accommodations with more than a single bedroom and bath. And (stressing the “And” here) there was at least one door, that could be closed, separating the rooms that made up the suite. Then somebody over in marketing decided to co-opt the term “suite”, water it down and make people believe a slightly bigger room or a room with two areas was a “suite”. Junior Suite, Parlor Suite, Executive Suite – They just kept rolling them out.
That same approach spread to the airlines. Any business or First Class seating that was segmented off from the others started to be called a Suite. For the most part, the Sky Suites do have a door. That’s certainly a plus. But, it’s a little disquieting when you’re relaxing in the privacy of your suite and a flight attendant peers over the top of the wall to your suite and asks if you’d like a refill of your beverage. (This exact scenario occurred on a flight I took with one of the ME3.)
The New Delta One Suite (c) 2016 Delta
Delta One Sky Suite Features And Rollout Plan
The timing of Delta’s Sky Suite announcement certainly makes sense. Just a couple of months ago, United announced they would be offering a new premium class product called Polaris that will start to roll out later this year. The Delta One suite will debut on Delta’s first Airbus A350, due to enter service in fall 2017. Each aircraft will feature 32 suites. After that, the Delta One suite will progressively roll out on Delta’s Boeing 777 fleet. So we have a little bit of time to wait before we start booking tickets or searching for upgrades.
In addition to full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access, which the airline introduced eight years ago, the Delta One suite features:
- A full-height door at every suite
- Sliding privacy dividers between center suites
- In-suite, customizable ambient lighting
- Dedicated stowage compartments for shoes, headphones and laptops
- Contemporary design featuring premium trim and finishes
- Memory foam-enhanced comfort cushion
- An 18-inch, high resolution in-flight entertainment monitor, the largest among U.S. carriers
- A universal power outlet and high-powered USB port at every seat