Delta First Class During COVID — Is It Worth It?

by Jeanne
Flying Delta First Class to BTS Concert

Due to the pandemic, we’d been grounded since February 2020. In December 2021, we hopped on a flight from Boise to Los Angeles for a BTS Concert (and we had the best time in Koreatown!). In an effort to reduce our exposure on the flight, we upgraded to Delta First Class during COVID. Was it worth it?

Checking In

Delta’s First Class passengers receive Sky Priority service which means they should get through check-in, security, and baggage handling quicker. We flew out from a smaller airport and rushed through LAX, both times with TSA Precheck. It’s hard to tell whether there was a difference from our normal experience. 

The check-in process was pretty much the same as it’s always been. I checked in for my flight through the app, printed my checked luggage tags at the airport, handed them my bag, and went through security. 

This has nothing to do with Delta, but I will say that TSA Precheck almost always makes me feel like First Class, regardless of what it says on my boarding pass. Is it perfect? No, but Precheck has definitely made the security process at the airport more predictable and quicker. 

Delta Sky Club Lounge

One of the biggest perks of having a First Class ticket is having access to the Delta Sky Club Lounge. That’s great, of course, unless you live in an area where there isn’t one. Currently, we live in Boise, Idaho and there’s no Delta Sky Club Lounge so it made no difference. 

There is a lounge at LAX, though, and we fully planned to make use of it. Unfortunately, we slept in on the morning of our flight and had to make a mad dash for the airport. We barely made it onto our flight, so there was no time to check out the lounge. Sigh. 

Boarding and In-Flight Experience

Delta invites First Class passengers to board first, allowing them to settle in sooner. This was nice since I was a bit frazzled that morning and just wanted to get in my seat. We were immediately welcomed and asked if we wanted anything to drink (we accepted boxed water). 

Our sites were roomy and comfortable, with my oldest daughter in a single seat on one side of the aisle, and my younger daughter and me on the other side. We had tray tables in our armrests, but they were a little tricky to use (one guy in First Class just gave up). 

Overall, we felt like we got more than enough attention, had more than enough space, and were more comfortable than we would have been in Economy. Is it worth the upgrade? It depends. We’ve done United Premium Plus on a long-haul flight to Japan and felt like that was an even better experience without paying First Class prices. Delta’s Comfort+ option is probably good enough for us when it’s available on future flights! 

First Class Food and Drink

While your experience with Delta First Class during COVID may vary based on the distance of your flight, you will be offered coffee, as well as wine, beer, and spirits if you’re over 21 years old. All of it is complimentary. Food options also depend on the length of your flight. 

Delta First Class breakfast naan bread, cheese and fruit

Here’s how it works:

  • Short Flights (under 900 miles) – A variety of savory and healthy snacks, complimentary non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks. 
  • Medium-Long Flights (900-2,299 miles) – Breakfast for 5am-9:45am departures, lunch for 9:46am-3:59pm departures, and dinner for 4pm-8:59pm departures, as well as snacks and drinks. 
  • Longer Flights (over 2,300 miles) – In addition to snacks and drinks, a fresh meal service is available 24 hours a day.

Ours was considered a “Medium-Long” flight so we were offered a smaller meal. Before checking in, we were prompted to choose a breakfast through the app, and our selection was ready for us when meal service began. 

Safety During COVID

Did we feel safe in Delta First Class during COVID? Kind of. Our flight to LAX was pretty great. Everyone was compliant with the rules, face masks were worn at all times unless people were eating/drinking, and the flight attendant was fully in control of our section. 

It was a different story on our flight back to Boise, though. To be fair, Idahoans are a lot more reluctant to wear masks, which was immediately obvious when we boarded our flight. A woman in front of us was coughing without covering or wearing a mask for a full eight minutes before I got up and asked the flight attendant to deal with it (which she did right away). So, that was not fun. 

Delta First Class seats during COVID

Our seats were the real reason we upgraded to First Class, though. We wanted to sit in the back of First Class for several reasons: we’d be surrounded by a smaller group of people and no one would be directly behind us. There was a curtain behind our seats to separate us from the rest of the flight, which again made us feel a bit safer. 

For this reason, I’d upgrade my seat to First Class if other, more affordable options (like Comfort+) weren’t available. All things considered, it was a good experience, so if it’s in your budget, you may find it worth it! 

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