Delta 747 BusinessElite, Tokyo to Los Angeles

I flew to Tokyo from Seattle on Delta’s A330-200, but returned on the 747-400 nonstop to Los Angeles.  Before this trip, the 747 was the final aircraft in the Delta fleet that I hadn’t flown (I’ve flown many other 747s, just not a Delta one), so I was pretty excited to say the least.  Despite my gripes with Skypesos and the new revenue program, Delta was one of the airlines I grew up with and a lot of my travel memories involve a Delta trip or redemption.

I took the Access Narita Bus from Ginza for only 1,000¥ and arrived at Narita about 2.5 hours before departure.  Like the Star Alliance concourse, Skyteam has integrated check-in for member airlines under one roof.  I already had checked in on my phone, so I didn’t need to complete any formalities.

Tokyo Narita Sky Club

Skyteam check in

Skyteam check in

Once through immigration, I lounge hopped and tried to get myself ready to sleep on the plane.  I had barely any sleep the night before, since I arrived at Tsukiji Fish Market at 2:45am to see the fish auction and eat at the amazing Sushi Dai, so I was looking forward to a flat bed.  Even better, it would be midnight in LA and a 9-hour flight, perfect to try to get back on Pacific Time.

Even Japan has credit card ads!

Even Japan has credit card ads!

I first started at the Korean Air lounge.  Lucky previously reviewed this lounge on his Korean Air First Class journey, and I have to say that I agree with him that it’s rather disappointing.  I just expect a lot more from Korean Air, even if it is an outstation.


Korean Air lounge

Korean Air lounge

I left the lounge and headed toward one of the two Delta Sky Clubs at Narita.  I’ve been told by most people that this is one of their favorite Sky Clubs in the Delta system, and I’d have to agree here as well. It’s quite spacious and there are a number of areas to sit and relax, or sit and be productive, or sit and do a bit of both.


Sky Club nibbles


Sky Club beverages

Sky Club

Sky Club

I also visited one of the shower rooms.


Sky Club shower

I got to the gate as boarding for BusinessElite was underway.  On the lower deck in the nose, BusinessElite seats are arranged by the windows with a small number of seats in the center.  Behind, seats are in a normal 1-2-1 arrangement, but it feels a bit more spacious thanks to the wide fuselage.

Delta 747 BusinessElite

Delta 284
Tokyo (NRT) to Los Angeles (LAX)
Boeing 747-400
BusinessElite seat 77K (upper deck window)
Depart: 3:50pm
Arrive: 9:30am
Duration: 9h, 40m


Delta 747-400

Delta 747-400

Delta 747-400 nose area

Delta 747-400 nose area

My seat, however, was upstairs, where the configuration is 1-1.  Most business class products that are upstairs on the 747 (like United, British Airways, or Asiana) are 2-2, so it’s fantastic to have so much space in business class.

Delta 747-400 upper deck

Delta 747-400 upper deck

Delta 747-400 upper deck

Delta 747-400 upper deck

My seat was 77K, which is the first seat on the right side after the emergency exit.  Because of this, I had an extra shelf area on which to keep things (for example, when I finished my meal, it took a while for the flight attendants to clear plates, so I just put my tray on the shelf and went straight to sleep).  The big difference between this seat and the A330 seat was the amount of storage between the seat and window – they’re not even in the same league.


Seat controls and IFE


Seat 77K


Seat 77K (with shelf area)

What I love about the upper deck of a 747 is the view out the window where you’re on top of the engines.  The seats face the windows, so looking out is easy, and you feel isolated from other passengers.

Window view from 77K

Window view from 77K

View from Seat 77K

View from Seat 77K

When I took my seat, I was offered a glass of sparkling wine, juice, or water, as well as a snack packet.  I finished my glass rather quickly, and it sat empty as the flight attendant chatted with a group of passengers in the front of the cabin, so I went up to her to ask for another glass.  As it turns out, there was an entire family of non-revs taking up most of those seats.  I’m fine with non-revs getting their due benefits, but it shouldn’t affect service for other passengers.

Snack pack

Snack pack

I perused the menu and made my selection for the lasagna since I figured a carb-heavy dinner would put me to sleep (and plus, no Japanese airline food could top my Sushi Dai breakfast! :P)


Japanese selection


Western selection



Wine list

Wine list

Below is the breakfast menu, though I decided to sleep through breakfast since I wasn’t particularly impressed by the omelet on the outbound.


Breakfast menu, though I just slept through it.

We took off on time, and I browsed the IFE, but there was nothing rather interesting or new.  I watched Tropic Thunder since I hadn’t seen it in a while, but my headphone jack wasn’t properly working and audio was garbled.  I made a note to afterward and got a reasonable number of miles for it.


Eggplant caponata


Mozzarella, tomato, and coconut soup appetizer.




Ice cream sundae and sweet treats

I really have to give Delta major props for their food — it is by far some of the best food I’ve had in business class. It can be hit-or-miss depending on the menu, but I enjoyed all of my selections.

Like I mentioned above, as soon as I was finished picking at my desserts, I put the plate on the shelf area on my seat and immediately put my bed into lie-flat mode.  To the flight attendant’s credit, she immediately came over with a water bottle and cleared everything.  It would just be easier to push the call button, but I feel weird doing that in anything but a premium class on a foreign carrier.

While some may say that you don’t need a fully 180º lie-flat bed, it’s pretty great to have one, especially with a comfortable duvet and two pillows.  I had a great sleep and woke up as our plane was entering the L.A. basin.  It was about 8:45am and I was able to have a rather productive day.  After all, that’s what business class is about!

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  • DJNoah80

    I’m taking a flight to NRT on the Delta 747-400 in 77k next month. Thanks for the awesome preview! I want to go to the fishmarket as well I heard that it’s not open to the public until 9am. When you went at 3 AM did you wait long or were you able to see and eat then?

    • Amol

      I got to the gate at Tsukiji (near Harumi Dori bridge) at 2:45am because I wanted to tour the auction. We were the first people there but they only take 60 people (2 groups of 30) and it was full by 3:30am. The tour was at 5:30am. It’s a cool experience, but I wouldn’t repeat it myself.

      Afterward, we stood in line for Sushi Dai, which took about 3 hours (good thing I was with a group). Some people skipped the tour and got in line at 4am-5am and only had an hour wait. I would DEFINITELY repeat this experience.

      Keep in mind the market is closed certain days (it’s posted on the website). But they are few and far between.

      • Bill

        We are planning on going there in a few weeks. I had read that it was 2 groups of 60 for the auction and the first group filled up just before 4 am and the second one by 4:15/4:30. Is this not the case?

        • Amol

          It’s 60 total, 2 groups of 30 (if I recall correctly). 4am may be too late.

  • Darth Chocolate

    I have flown NW (and now DL) from either DTW or MSP to NRT enroute to China, and it is by far the best experience of any US carrier.

    Reviews like this just show why.

    • Amol

      Great hard product (seriously) and pleasant-enough flight attendants (better than another U.S. carrier) = a pretty great flight.

  • mwilson77

    Funny, we JUST took our first 3 flights on the upper deck of the 747 last week (including the 12 hr JFK>NRT flight – thank you Global Upgrade certs), so this was a great and timely review. I think that It’s absolutely the best DL BE set-up out there; as you noted, so much “desk” space to your side, and with extra space between the seat the window, you have even more spots to ditch items. I’ll also just note just how quiet it was up there; felt amazingly private yet open, and almost no foot traffic. Add in the new WIFI and it was just about a perfect flight…I hope the rumors from a couple of months back of them reconfiguring them do not hold true. It makes long haul flights something to look fwd to.

    • Amol

      It’s a shame Delta doesn’t have more 747s — they’ve really knocked it out of the park with the upper deck.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    You got my favorite seat.

    • Amol

      Glad to know it’s RTC approved!

  • Eric Boromisa

    I agree on the food front for Delta. Had the lamb on JFK-SFO last month and it actually was better than a similar lamb shank I had on SQ F (I know, gasp!) and approaching restaurant quality. Granted SQ had more courses, but it’s nice to see a US carrier start to invest more in what they’re serving passengers.

  • Bruce Wayne

    hey amol, great TR… btw just curious, how many miles did Delta give you for having probs with the IFE/headphone jack?