Flight Review: Delta Air Lines – Los Angeles to Sydney (DL41)

US airline Delta has been delivering daily service between Sydney and LAX since 2009, around the same time that “V Australia” – Virgin Australia’s then international brand – was introduced to the same route. The competitors then partnered up in late 2011, with each airline offering codeshare on the trans-Pacific route. This allowed for seamless connections in each respective market, and the ability to access two direct services a day between the two cities. So almost 10 years on, how does Delta’s DL41 route from their new Terminal 2 at LAX fair? We jumped on board to find out.

Airline: Delta Air Lines
Route: Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) – DL41
Aircraft: Boeing 777
Class: Economy
Seat: 41F (3-3-3 – Aisle Middle)
Flight Time: 13 1/2 Hours
On Time? 80 minutes late departure; 20 minutes late arrival

Delta’s “New” Terminal 2 Lounge at LAX

Terminal 2 is looking great following all its recent refurbishments, though the new Delta lounge was a disappointment. They moved to this terminal in 2017, and took over the Air Canada Lounge at that time. Those hoping for a decent upgrade may be disappointed. I waited a long time to check into the lounge, which I have access to as a Platinum Velocity member. A small food station provided mostly salads and sandwiches – but it was nothing on their NYC equivalent, which has a slew of hot food options. The shower I was in was also broken, and I had to hold down a button to use the water. That said, the food was tasty and there were plenty of self-serve drink options. 

In Flight Experience

My flight to Sydney started with an 80 minute delay, at first because they were expecting a fast ride so they didn’t want to arrive *too* early in Australia, but then we were delayed further because we were about to take off and they found out there were three bags on the plane that shouldn’t have been on the plane. So we had to go back to the gate to sort it. 

This caused a lot of frustration in flight, but we were able to enjoy our entertainment units and the crew were very communicative and happy to assist passengers during the long taxi with any queries they had. Beyond this point it was a comfortable ride that was about an hour shorter than the usual duration.

Food and Drink Service

Shortly after takeoff, menus were distributed along with small bottles of Dasani water, and wet disposable towels – kind of like the ones you might get at a Japanese restaurant when you’re about to eat a bunch of fried chicken. Except it was warm. 

The first meal service was accompanied by a drink service, and was the only drink service until halfway through the flight. Though as with any airline, you could order others on request. The three meal options were a cold Thai chicken salad, a cheese ravioli with a pesto/tomato sauce or a herb roasted chicken piccata. I had the ravioli and it was really good, with large ravioli pieces and a tasty sauce. It came with a fancy bread roll (almost brioche), a salad with Caesar dressing, cheese and fruit with crackers and a brownie. A very satisfying meal.

Halfway through the flight a hot ham, cheese and egg breakfast sandwich was served with a banana in a plastic bag for the waste. It was pretty good too, though I still don’t agree the airline needs to turn on all the lights when they do this service, as it wakes up most passengers. I had left my tray table down while I was sleeping so they left it on my table for me to enjoy whenever I woke up. 

There were self service water bottles and a couple of snacks available in a pantry halfway through the economy cabin, and a final breakfast meal was served about two hours before landing.

Comfort and Entertainment

The seats were comfortable enough, with good width, pitch and leg room – but you could tell this 777 needed a bit of upkeep. A broken flickering light was above the cabin that was a bit irritating but hardly something to complain about. The fluctuating temperatures were also quite extreme – going from boiling hot to freezing cold. There didn’t seem to be much in between. My seat’s audio also had problems, but there’s plenty of film and TV options on the screens, and there’s USB charging below the seat. Delta still censor most of their content which is a pity.

Service

Service was excellent however one thing I did learn about air travel that I didn’t know before, was that after cabin crew wakes up from their rest time, the back bathrooms are closed off so they can use them ahead of the passengers. Fair enough, too, but unfortunate if you are the person who had been waiting 15-20 minutes to use the bathrooms to have to wait even longer. Also, closing windows shouldn’t be optional. There’s always one person who leaves it open which ensures the sun shines on the whole cabin. It would be great if staff could police this a bit better – some air crews do it better than others, and in this case they definitely weren’t on top of it. But in every other respect they were totally on top of it and were courteous and a great help.

Final Verdict

With surprisingly good food and helpful service, Delta’s flight from LAX to Sydney is a great one. There are some aspects to the service that need a bit of fine tuning – like ensuring windows are down, and not waking everyone up for the mid-flight service… and we should no longer be censoring movies. The lounge was disappointing, and the aircraft requires a bit of upkeep. But there are minor gripes on what is otherwise a painless and enjoyable service from this ever improving US airline.

THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

The author flew as a guest of Delta Air Lines. To book your next trip with Delta, head to delta.com.

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.

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