Being married to a Bermudian we try to visit the family a couple of times a year and always alternate Christmas between our families. This year was our year for Bermuda and when I was looking at flights, the only flights with ideal timing were on Delta. We typically just hop on JetBlue but their winter schedule is horrendous from a timing perspective (who wants to arrive in Bermuda at 10:30 p.m.). So when I saw that Delta had the right timing and their first class fares were actually quite reasonable, I decided to take the plunge and give Delta a go. I hadn’t flown them in a while though I was an elite flyer with them for many years. I was very interested to see how they have evolved since they’ve been investing heavily in their hard and soft products. Bermuda is just a quick hour and a half flight so it was quick way to test the waters and their gluten-free options.
Delta operates this flight from both Terminal 4 and Terminal 2 depending on the day. I was hoping that our flight would depart from Terminal 4 since there are better lounge options but when I checked-in online found out that we would be departing from Terminal 2. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the terminal. There is a dedicated Sky Priority area off to the side which made check-in a breeze. There is also a dedicated Sky Priority security lane (that essentially feeds into the main line) but did shave some time off the wait. I was impressed that the TSA had someone guiding passengers to the automated bin areas so there was no lag and things kept moving. It was nice that they were being proactive since it was just a few days before Christmas and things were busy. We were through in a few minutes and made our way to the Sky Club (the only lounge option).
The Sky Club appears to have been recently redone and was immense, taking up the second floor of the center of the terminal. There was a variety of seating areas (including a terrace that wrapped around part of the lounge, overlooking the terminal), bar, great freshly ground coffee machines from Starbucks and a buffet area with a relatively large selection of hot and cold items — inclusive of some gluten-free items — for breakfast there was fruit, cheese, hard boiled eggs (all the usual suspects). I have to admit I am not a huge breakfast person so just quickly scanned the buffet. Since the terminal is relatively small, it is a quick hop to your gate and since ours was adjacent I could pop-out on the terrace and listen for any boarding updates.
Boarding was on-time with a dedicated Sky Priority lane. Ground staff were what you’d expect at JFK and their interactions with the gate area came with a bit of New York attitude. Thankfully we were boarded soon after arriving at the gate so were on-board quickly.
Once on-board we were welcomed by the lead flight attendant and settled into our seats. Pillows, blankets and water were already at the seats. The A319 was refurbished and had a beautiful modern interior. It also had the new extra-large overhead bins which were huge and way more space needed for the twelve seats (and the cabin was completely full). As boarding continued we were offered pre-departure drinks and I could not turn-down the offer of a mimosa which was lovely.
The seats are traditional domestic first class seats but were quite comfortable and there was more than enough legroom for a quick flight like this. We were soon on our way and once airborne the flight attendant serving our cabin jumped into action and took beverage orders (and glasses would never go empty). This was followed by the “premium” snack basket that actually did have a robust selection of snack items but sadly there were only a couple of gluten-free options (and sadly no GF were boarded). I was hoping to try the new This Bar Saves Lives bars but alas they were not on offer. There were Kind bars on offer but since they no longer exclusively use GF purity protocol oats (it’s now a mix or sorted and purity) I no longer include these in my repertoire — shame because I used to love their oat-inclusive products. I ended up with some almonds and there was fruit but it was early and I wasn’t really that hungry having eaten a snack in the Sky Club. On the return flight there would be more gluten-free items on offer — so I guess it is hit or miss with the basket.
Check-in was super easy and there was a dedicated Sky Priority desk. Perhaps what surprised me most was when after completing the check-in process that the agent made a point of thanking us for our business. A small gesture but it left a tremendous impression as I cannot remember the last time this happened and just set a positive tone for the journey.
I love that Bermuda is a U.S. Customs Pre-Clearance location and you clear customs in Bermuda and arrive as a domestic flight on arrival in the U.S. Since Bermuda times the arrivals and departures to the U.S. in banks there was also an American Airlines flight for New York departing at the same time and customs can get busy — but luckily we hit it right and were the only ones at customs when we arrived. There is no expedited security at Bermuda but the line moved relatively quickly though it quickly filled-in behind us.
There is no lounge access for premium passengers but there is a Graycliff Lounge that allows access to via various credit cards and lounge membership programs. It used to be one of the worst lounges out there from a food and beverage perspective but perhaps the recent America’s Cup was the impetus needed to boost the service offerings. This visit there was actually a decent (albeit small) selection of food and beverage items which was a pleasant surprise.
Boarding was called and again there was a separate Sky Priority lane and we were soon on our war to the plane. Unfortunately it had started to rain and boarding is via airstairs so getting wet is inevitable. The new terminal currently under construction will hopefully alleviate this.
Once on-board we quickly settled in and pre-departure beverages were offered. Once boarding was complete, coats were taken and we were soon on our way. Service was again great on this flight and cocktail glasses never went empty — and the Alessi glassware was a nice touch. There was also a better selection of gluten-free items with the gluten-free pretzels finally making an appearance and they were really good. Even on such a short flight it is nice to have some snack options to nibble on. Though I am amazed that European airlines are able to conduct a full meal service on short flights and I had a fabulous light meal on SWISS flights from Geneva to Prague and while a slightly longer flight, lamb chops on Turkish airlines from Istanbul to Geneva.
Arrival was on-time at Terminal 4 this time and it is a bit of a schlep to baggage claim but the bags were soon on the belt with priority tagged bags out first. All in all it was a surprisingly good experience on Delta and while I am typically loyal to JetBlue would definitely consider Delta in the future.