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Delta First Class Review | A220 from ORD to LGA

In this post, I’m going to share my experience flying Delta First Class on an Airbus A220-100 from Chicago (ORD) to New York City (LGA). We have a few different post about Delta First Class at this point, but we’ll keep writing them because the specific plane can actually have a noticeable impact on the experience.

For more information about the Delta First Class experience in general, I’d recommend reading this Delta First Class review of our flight on an A321. This covers a fairly standard plane and flight experience in a bit more detail. I’ve also reviewed our experience in Delta First Class on a much smaller CRJ-900.

Delta First Class at a Glance (Domestic)

On most domestic Delta routes and planes, there are three different seat categories: First Class, Comfort Plus and regular economy. First Class is the most premium option of the three. (You can read a my detailed comparison of Delta First Class versus Comfort Plus here.)

NOTE: Delta also has a more premium offering, called Delta One, which is available on international and some select domestic routes. We are not covering Delta One in this post.

Here are a few things that are included with Delta First Class:

  • Priority check-in and security queues (not TSA PreCheck, just a shorter line to regular security)
  • Complimentary checked bags (up to 2) & priority retrieval
  • Priority boarding
  • Larger seat
  • Dedicated overhead bin space
  • Complimentary drinks (including alcohol), snacks, and meals on flights over 900 miles
  • Free Wifi for SkyMiles Members (not exclusive to First Class)

And here are a few things that are not included with Delta First Class.

  • Lounge access
  • Lie-flat seats

Booking Delta First Class from ORD to LGA

This flight was one leg of a multi-stop trip over the Christmas holidays. We first flew from NYC to St. Louis on the CRJ (linked above), so we would have a short drive to visit my family in Springfield, IL. We then traveled north to Chicago (on the Amtrak Lincoln Service) to visit my husband’s family, so we flew back home out of O’Hare.

Like we usually do, we began our flight search on Google Flights to compare airline prices and schedules. We settled on Delta and went directly to their website to book.

If you’ve never booked a multi-city trip before, it’s actually easier than you might think. On the Delta website, the main search bar will default to Round Trip. However, if you click that button, there’s a drop-down and you can select Multi-City. The price is usually the same as booking two one-way trips, but the Multi-City option will keep the flights together under one booking.

We’ve been upgrading to First Class on domestic flights a lot more lately, especially since having a kid, so we booked it for both legs of this flight. For us, the most beneficial perk is early boarding and priority storage space. As it turned out, this flight actually had pretty poor storage in First Class. (Keep reading for more on that.)

The total trip cost for Delta First Class (LGA-STL and ORD-LGA) came to $608 per person. We paid in cash and did not use credit card points or status for this upgrade.

Airport Experience at ORD

Delta is now based out of Terminal 5 at O’Hare in Chicago. Historically, Terminal 5 was our least favorite terminal. It’s separate from the other three terminals, and it’s only accessible via bus or the newly reopened shuttle train. This was really inconvenient when we lived in Chicago and were getting to the airport on the Blue Line, which only goes to the main terminals.

However, Terminal 5 has come a long way in recent years! They finally finished a lengthy, major renovation and it’s much nicer now. And since we no longer live in Chicago and aren’t relying on the CTA regularly, getting dropped off at Terminal 5 by car is just as good as any other terminal.

We arrived at ORD Terminal 5 our standard one hour before our scheduled boarding — approximately 7:30 AM in this case. Terminal 5 now offers CLEAR, so we jumped in that line. We couldn’t see the length of the line from the entrance to the queue, but after a long wait for TSA PreCheck the last time we passed up CLEAR, it was not a chance we were going to take again.

As it turned out, there was no line at CLEAR and we walked right up. And per usual, we were flagged for an ID check. We’ve been frustrated with CLEAR for a while now, because we have some extra step every time we use it. To make the problem more frustrating, the agent insisted my husband use his drivers license (which was packed for security) instead of his passport (which was in his hand). If anything, a passport is a stronger form of ID! Not sure we’ll be renewing CLEAR, let’s just say that.

After that kerfuffle, we breezed on through security and everything was fine. We picked up coffee and breakfast at Burger King and we were at our gate by 7:45 AM. I was surprised that many of the shops in Terminal 5 were not yet open at this time.

The gate area was full, but there were plenty of seats for everyone. Boarding was pretty calm, and commenced right on time. First Class was first to board after pre-boarders, and we easily found our seats.

Delta First Class Seats on the A220

Right off the bat, the First Class seats on the A220 looked sleek. They seemed relatively new, with textured faux-leather upholstery and adjustable headrests. The seats were quite spacious, at a respectable 21 inches wide and a pitch of 36 inches. They reclined slightly, but there were no footrests.

The First Class section was in a 2-2 configuration, compared to 2-3 in Delta Comfort Plus and Main Cabin. Between the pairs of seats was a slim double armrest. At the end of it was a small table space, which just barely held two drinks. There was no substantial console between the seats, which did make them feel a bit cramped.

Another thing that stood out about these seats was the seatbelt. All of the First Class seats on the A220 were equipped with inflatable seatbelts, as opposed to just the bulkhead seats which is often the case. I personally don’t have a problem with these larger seatbelts, but some may find them uncomfortable.

Also worth noting, these seatbelts cannot be used with car seats. (If you’re flying with kids, be sure to check out our guide to Flying Delta With a Baby.)

Technology in First Class Seats on the A220

The A220 does have seat-back screens in First Class. (Most Delta planes have seat-back entertainment.) The screens were a nice size, and had a great selection of content. We were traveling over the holidays, so I was excited to see that there was a holiday film collection! What a treat!

If you (like myself) only travel with wireless headphones, but want to partake in the seat-back entertainment, fear not! The flight attendant came around before take-off offering wired headsets to anyone in need.

Below the screen was a headphone jack and USB port for charging. There were also two standard outlets between the two seatbacks. Wifi was available and operational. (All SkyMiles Members can access Wifi for free on most domestic Delta flights.)

Storage in Delta First Class on the A220

This is where I started to have a problem with this specific product.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the main reasons we upgrade to First Class for domestic flights is for the ample and stress-free storage. We never check bags, so we tend to use our full baggage allowance. Typically, the three of us travel with three carry-ons and three personal items.

The seat storage in First Class on the A220 was incredibly small. Even though there were two seats, the under-the-seat storage area was divided in thirds. Only one section was a regular size storage space. The space in the center was half blocked by the protruding base of the armrests and the space nearest the aisle was only about six inches wide.

It was hard to get a good photo, but the green line marks the width.

I could only store one personal item under the seat in our row. If you were traveling solo and had the aisle seat, you wouldn’t have access to a full-size, under-the-seat storage space at all.

It wasn’t a huge deal and it worked out fine. There was plenty of overhead bin space in First Class, so we stored all of our bags up there. However, I personally don’t like taking up bin space with personal items. Plus, storing them up there means I cannot easily access my things during the flight.

Moving on!

There were a few other small storage spaces at the seat. Below the armrest were two cup holders. This was nice to store bottled water, but it didn’t help with the glasses we got during drink service. There was also a small cubby to hold headphones, a cellphone, and a small tablet. As always, there was also a standard size seat-back pocket.

Food & Beverage Service in Delta First Class

The food and drink service in Delta First Class is generally pretty consistent, and usually pretty good. Service on this flight went as expected.

There were miniature bottles of water at each seat when we boarded. They don’t do this on every flight, but it is pretty common in Delta First Class.

Shortly after boarding, the flight attendant offered a pre-departure drink. (I love pre-departure drink service. It’s a little thing that goes a long way, especially on a flight with only one standard drink service and no meal.) I ordered a coffee, but alcohol is complimentary should you prefer a glass of bubbly.

Pre-departure drinks are always nice, but they are extra nice on flights that end up sitting at the gate for a while. It was snowing, so we were delayed by about 20 minutes waiting for de-icing. It was nice to be able to enjoy a coffee during that time.

After takeoff, the flight attendant came around for another round of drink orders. This time I took advantage of the complimentary alcohol and got a mimosa. It was surpassingly well made for an airplane — as in it was not mostly orange juice. Drinks during this round came in real glassware.

Next up was snack service. Delta First Class includes a meal on flights over 900 miles, and this flight was only 733. Instead, the flight attendant brought around a basket of packaged snacks. At breakfast time, this included things like granola bars, apple chips and nuts. My toddler immediately noticed the missing gummy bears, which were included on our previous afternoon flight.

There was no official food or drink service after that, but the flight attendant happily brought me a second mimosa when I asked for one. Overall, I was happy with the food and beverage service on this flight.

Arrival at LGA

After a quick 1.5-hour flight, we landed at LaGuardia. Despite the 45 minute delay getting out of Chicago, we landed just one minute later than scheduled.

Delta flies in and out of Terminal C at LGA. We quickly made our way down to the lower level to catch the city bus. It was a short ride on the M60 to the N train, which gets is right to our home in Astoria.

And that is a wrap on another great Delta First Class flight.

Closing thoughts on Delta First Class on the A220

It’s important to know when you’re getting when it comes to domestic first class. First Class on domestic routes is all about added convenience, not so much luxury. You aren’t getting you lie-flat seats and Dom Perignon. You’re getting on and off the plane first and a bag of Popchips.

For some people, domestic First Class is just not worth it. I get it. We used to feel that way, too. But for others, the extra space and comfort provide enough value to justify the up-charge. We fall in the later category during this phase of our life.

As far as domestic First Class goes, most legacy carriers offer a pretty similar product. We tend to prefer Delta because it is a consistently good product, the flight attendants are great (in our experience), and it includes perks that we actually use and benefit from.

That’s the most important thing when it comes to evaluating First Class seats on domestic routes. Since domestic flights are usually shorter and often for trips of shorter durations, some of the perks of First Class might not be as valuable to you.

A free checked bag isn’t worth anything if you don’t check a bag. A complimentary meal doesn’t matter if your flight is under 900 miles. That priority security line doesn’t help if you use PreCheck instead.

The other important thing to consider when it comes to First Class on domestic routes is the specific plane. You can see the plane scheduled for a particular flight before you book by clicking “Details” in the flight results page. (It’s a bit hidden, but it’s up there.)

Smaller planes on shorter routes aren’t going to offer the same quality experience that you will get on a larger plane on a longer route. The difference is also reflected in the price, which will likely drive your decision.

We have flown Delta First Class on the larger A321 and smaller CRJ. And just like Goldilocks, I thought this A220 was just right. Other than the under-the-seat storage, which was useless, Delta First Class on the A220 was pretty perfect.

We know that we get the most value from priority boarding, dedicated overhead bin storage, and the extra space that comes with First Class. Traveling with a child, getting drinks and snacks quickly, frequently and complimentary is also super convenient. For these reasons, we try to fly Delta First Class when we can.

Other Premium Domestic Flight Reviews