Airline review: Delta Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia, Economy Comfort+

THE ROUTE

DL41 Los Angeles to Sydney

THE AIRCRAFT

Boeing 777-200LR. Delta will start flying an upgraded version of this aircraft in April.

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

Delta SkyMiles. Delta is a member of the SkyTeam alliance.

CLASS

Economy Comfort+, 31J (window)

DURATION

Fourteen hours, 55 minutes

FREQUENCY

Daily. The flight leaves Los Angeles at 10.15pm and arrives in Sydney at 8.10am two days later.

CHECKING IN

Comfort+ customers don't get priority check-in but the experience at LAX's Terminal 2 is quick and painless.

THE SEAT

Occupying the first four rows of the economy cabin in a 3-3-3 layout, Comfort+ seats have 7.5 centimetres more legroom and 50 per cent more recline. It doesn't sound much but on a flight of this length it makes a noticeable difference. My knees don't touch the seat in front and I can fully stretch out without hitting the footrest. Seat width is the same as the rest of the main cabin at 46 centimetres. In April, Delta will start flying this route with a refurbished 777 featuring 48-centimetre-wide seats and 10 rows of Comfort+ seating.

BAGGAGE

Two checked bags (up to 23 kilograms each) and one carry-on bag (no weight limit) plus a small personal item such as a purse or laptop.

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COMFORT

Sleep is a priority on this overnight flight and the combination of an adjustable headrest and the extra legroom and recline in Comfort+ makes it a more achievable proposition. With the help of the supplied pillow, blanket, ear plugs and eye mask, I manage a solid six hours.

ENTERTAINMENT

The in-flight entertainment is adequate rather than amazing, offering a reasonable selection of on-demand TV and movies (23 new releases, 22 TV series and 20 games) via a 22.8-centimetre touch-sensitive seatback screen. That's on the small side by current standards and the refurbished 777 will have an upgraded system with a larger 28-centimetre screen. In theory, I should be able to stream movies to my laptop or tablet via in the inflight Wi-Fi, but after four unsuccessful attempts I give up. The Wi-Fi allows free messaging using iMessage, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, but to browse the internet, a 24-hour pass must be purchased for $US28. There's no in-seat USB power but there is a mains power socket between the seats.

SERVICE

Affable and efficient. The lights are dimmed for most of this night flight so the attendants largely stay out of sight. However, call bells are answered promptly and there are regular water top-ups.

FOOD

A printed menu details the meal offerings with a useful schematic outlining when each service will occur. Dinner starts with a lacklustre caesar salad but redeems itself with a tasty burrata ravioli with tomato and pesto. The other options are herb roasted chicken with polenta and Thai chicken salad with sesame ginger dressing. While there's a reasonable range of spirits, there's only one choice of red and white wine. The mid-flight ham, egg and cheese sandwich is underwhelming but there are also pretzels and biscuits in the galley. Breakfast consists of a fruit salad, a clingfilm-wrapped croissant and a decent serving of scrambled eggs, sausage and potatoes.

… AND ALSO

Comfort+ passengers also get priority boarding, dedicated overhead bin space and get to disembark before the rest of economy.

VERDICT

On an overnight flight of this length, the extra legroom and recline in Comfort+ make a surprising amount of difference. It'll be even more compelling when Delta rolls out its refurbished planes with wider seats and an upgraded entertainment system in April.

OUR RATING OUT OF FIVE

★★★ ½

Rob McFarland travelled as a guest of Delta Air Lines.

See also: Delta and Diet Coke apologise for 'creepy' napkins on flight

See also: Airline review: Virgin Australia 'Economy X' extra legroom class to LA

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