Airline Seats

Video | Delta A330-300 Business Elite Seats 5J & 1A

Jake Redman November 1, 2010 10

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Review of:

Reviewed by:
On November 1, 2010
Last modified:November 1, 2010


Airline: Delta
Aircraft: Airbus 330-300 (333) –
Seat: 5J & 1a
Class: Business

*Hawaii Service Note: (As of early 2012) It’ll be hard to find a Delta A330-300 flying on most (or all) flights to Hawaii. They appear to have been replaced by Boeing 757-300 and 767-300 aircraft.

*As of early 2014 these aircraft are in the process of being fitted with new lie-flat seating. The configuration for the layout reviewed has angle-flat sleeper seats. Seat maps: Delta | SeatGuru

The Seat: At first glance, this Business Elite seat aboard a Delta A330-300 appears to offer a lot. The clam-shell design creates the illusion that it might be good for sleeping and the center console says “look at all this room for your arms”. The truth is that the seat DOES recline almost to a horizontal position…and “almost” is the the problem if plan to sleep. While you’ll be very comfortable getting some work done or watching a movie on your 10 inch personal TV screen, You’ll also find that at full extension the *176 degree recline leaves you angled slightly forward.  I woke up several times finding myself the victim of gravity at 38,000 feet with my knees bent and my whole body inching it’s way toward the floor. In the video review I say “less than generous” in regards to the width of the seat but while larger passengers may find the width a little restricting, *20.25 inches is comparable to many legacy US carriers in this class. (*

Service: The Hawaiian touches were nice. A pre-flight mai-tai and “Aloha” printed on the menu were a nice reminder that we’re on our way to.. or coming back from this unique U.S. destination. Otherwise it was standard premium service for a U.S. airline. Flight attendants were cordial, prompt and helpful. Meals were tasty, well-presented and timed perfectly within the flight.

Notes:The proximity of these seats to the lavatory could be a concern but wasn’t a problem on this flight.

Summary: With true lie-flat seats slowly becoming the norm, these are no longer “great” business class seats. The awkward angle is terrible for sleeping and doesn’t bode well for the honeymooner/retirement hi-rise bunch trying to rest up for a week in paradise. That said, Delta continues to try and streamline it’s business class product (although it seems the A330’s aren’t at the top of the list). Service was average to slightly above with nice Hawaiian touch.

Rating: 3 hops (of 5).


Bonus:  Delta A330-300 Seat 1A (bulkhead)

Strategy: Delta Vacations offers mileage upgrades on certain fares within their flight/hotel packages. If you’re just looking for airfare (without hotel), you can still call Delta (we recommend doing this first) to ask about mileage upgrades.

How we got it: Called Delta Vacations before making reservation online to make sure that I was booking the minimum fare to be able to upgrade with miles. Once it was sorted out, I  used 30,000 miles for the entire round trip. This is the standard number of miles needed to upgrade round trip on select discounted fares from the continental US to Hawaii on Delta (15k each way).  So the number of miles used “from select fares” should be the same if you book through Delta or Delta Vacations. Again, just be sure you’re booking the right fare by calling first.

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Jake Redman

Jake Redman

Modhop Host & Founder Jake Redman brings years of global exploration and travel tips to the podcast and our videos at Modhop. Jake is also a Producer and Host for SiriusXM.

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  1. philsterman on March 16, 2011

    The a330’s are at the bottom of the list for international upgrades because they average less than 10 years old, they will eventually get new BE seats, but for now the seats themselves are relatively new and delta has no plans for upgrading them.

    • Jake Redman on March 16, 2011

      You are correct. Delta’s 747’s are first in line for such upgrades, and rightfully so as they could use a refresh (particularly when it comes to entertainment options in economy).

      A330’s are among the aircraft scheduled to get the new “Economy Comfort” upgrade though, which isn’t terrible news for the folks in back.

  2. Mike on March 16, 2011

    I flew business to Amsterdam on a A330 and when I tried putting in my plug in it wouldnt go in. I really liked the food it had Mahi Mahi and like 6 different choices. I’d much rather fly with lie flat seats.

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