The Seat: First class, to many is the best thing that’s happened to regional jet travel since …well…Let me think of something good about regional jets and come back to that thought. Yes, it’s great that first is finding it’s way onto more of these aircraft but it’s hard not to think about the extra inch of seat width I had before the Comairs, SkyWests and Pinnacles ruled the sky (regional operators). [For those not “in the know”, flights on these smaller jets are run by contracted companies using the name of the larger carrier that you think you’re flying…but that’s another column…or documentary.] All that said, this row is comfortable enough with 18.5 inches of seat width (about 2.5 inches narrower than a first class seat aboard an Airbus A319) and a reasonable amount of legroom for a bulkhead on any plane. Because of the bulkhead wall, you’re without under-seat storage, so you’ll have to store your carry-ons in the overhead bins for takeoff and landing.
Service/Food/Drink: Flight attendants were friendly and came around with the signature Delta first-class snack basket with Sun Chips, Biscoff Cookies, peanuts, Twix bars and a few other fun-sized items. Beverages were complimentary and everything was served with a smile…sometimes forced, but a smile nonetheless.
Summary: If you’re a bit over 6 feet tall, I’d suggest trying another row but legroom was decent for a bulkhead. Quick boarding and deplaning always a plus but hardly matters with such a small aircraft. Also, if you’re traveling solo you might rather sit in the “A” seat, as it’s both a window seat and on the aisle. Row 1 is a good bulkhead with a good amount of legroom and standard seating for a regional first class plane.
Rating: 3 hops (of 5).
Strategy: If you’re not a delta elite member (medallion), your best bet is to arrive at the airport early and check in at the kiosk. If no reduced price upgrade is offered there, they may be offered at the gate. For both elite and non-elite fliers, you’ll stand a better chance of there being room up front if business travelers aren’t present. Travel on weekends and holidays for best results.
How I got it: Delta Medallion Status and weekend travel.