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Flight Review Delta Air Lines DL16 – SYD to LAX

Delta offers fliers a nice slice of the US before they’ve touched down in the States. Mark Harada takes a bite on a packed flight from Sydney.

Fast Facts:

Departure: 1.05pm (8am same day arrival)

Scheduled duration: 13 hours 45 minutes

Flight frequency: Daily

Aircraft: B777-200LR

Class: Economy

Formation: 3-3-3

Seat: 55E (middle)


Check-in: Web check-in is available from 24 hours prior to departure. Easy to navigate, it allows you to pre-select your seat while giving you the option of printing your boarding pass immediately or at the airport counter. Looking to save time at the airport, I choose the former.


Luggage allowance: Economy class passengers are given a very generous checked baggage allowance of two bags, each with a maximum weight of 23kgs, which leaves plenty of luggage space for those looking to do a spot of shopping stateside.

Carry-on items must weigh no more than 7kgs in total, which on this flight may have been a little stretched given the very limited free

space in the overhead compartments.


Seat/Cabin conditions: Each economy seat has a pitch of 31-32 inches and width of 18.5 inches, which turns out to be just enough for my medium build. At first, I find the blue leather seat a little too firm, but get used to it once we’ve settled into the flight.

An amenity kit, which includes socks, toothbrush and toothpaste, is offered on the flight, and is appreciated considering how many airlines these days don’t offer them. 


Service: Most of the cabin crew in my zone are middle-aged men, and embody the warm US hospitality (obviously, sans tips) to which I’ve become accustomed over the years.

The only thing they forget to do is ask the person in front of me to move their seat into the upright position during the main meal.


More Delta news:

How to travel on a private jet (sort of)               

Delta, LinkedIn bring networking to the skies

What gets our goat when flying…even more than reclining seats


Inflight entertainment: Delta’s AVOD (Audio and Video OnDemand) system gives fliers access to a nice catalogue of recently released movies (ranging from ‘Her’ to ‘TMNT’ to ‘Lucy’) and HBO films, as well as a wide selection of classics (such as the X-men and Jason Bourne series to Dead Poets Society).

There’s also an impressive choice of TV programmes, with drama ranging from NCIS to HBO’s Boardwalk Empire to the Netflix hit, House of Cards. A wide selection of games and music is also available, the most unique of which I find is the ‘boarding’ music – a playlist to help you settle into your flight.

Claiming to have more entertainment than any other airline (which I suspect is a claim made only against other US carriers), the visual entertainment is offered on a small touch screen. There’s no handset, which to be honest, I do miss.


Onboard catering: Peanuts, pretzels and a drink are offered shortly after takeoff, before an early dinner is served. My vegetarian meal consists of vegetable masala and rice served with potatoes and cauliflower, a standard green salad, a fruit salad and a bread roll. It’s a hearty, and fairly tasty meal, and I don’t even mind the pretty flimsy plastic cutlery.

Halfway through the flight, I’m given a small salad roll, and a really crisp (and cold) red apple, as well as a dried fruit and nut mix.

An Indian breakfast comprising a semolina upma, a sambar dhal, and a really nice fruit salad sees us into LA.


On-time performance: We arrive early, at 7.35am, but have a 20-minute wait on board as we wait for LAX immigration to open.


Favourite thing: The service on the flight is super – it’s efficient but also genuinely warm. I hear 'You got it' a lot, which I like too.


Travel tip: On a long-haul flight, be sure to walk around the cabin (and stretch) every few hours. The last thing you’ll want to start your holiday with is a blood clot.


Image Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 4 February 2015

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