I booked this flight as a part of a longer trip that brought me to Toronto for a conference, a quick one night layover in New York, and ultimately to St. Lucia! Being that I was flying right around the new year, rates between Toronto and New York were astronomically high for such a short flight, especially given that I wanted to fly into JFK for the TWA Hotel and my morning flight in jetBlue Mint. I could’ve otherwise opted for cheaper fares into Newark or LaGuardia, including routes on Porter Airlines, but I decided to err towards convenience once factoring in the cost of transferring airports.
Given how high the rates were on my preferred flights, I decided to take a look at purchasing with points. I first checked Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club, a transfer partner for my Chase Sapphire Reserve and a great source for booking Delta flights with points, and while the flight was available, it commanded 40,000 miles - far too rich for me. Instead, I opted to book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal - you get a 1.5x bonus by booking here - where I was able to snag this flight for 12,771 points. In addition, flights booked through the portal are eligible to earn miles with the airline, so I credited my Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account where I earned 349 miles.
I arrived at Toronto Pearson International Airport by way of the rental car center - we rented a car downtown the day prior to see Niagara Falls and I scheduled the return to the airport to serve as my transportation. Once in the main terminal, I proceeded to the nearest Delta Kiosk where I verified my Passport information and printed my boarding pass. From there, I proceeded to security where I was delighted to see a sign for Global Entry / TSA PreCheck passengers - score! Toronto Pearson has a US Customs & Border Patrol Pre-clearance facility, which would allow our flights to arrive into JFK as domestic flights, so my next step was a Global Entry kiosk and a quick verification by a US CBP agent in Toronto. It was all surprisingly fast, from check in through customs probably took me less than 10 minutes.
This next part may be abnormal for your experience, but given the abundance of time that I had, I proceeded to the Plaza Premium Lounge in my Terminal to wait out my flight. This lounge access is an awesome perk of my Chase Sapphire Reserve and American Express Platinum Cards. Instead of being in the hectic and noisy terminal, I escaped to a calm and relaxing lounge where I snagged complimentary breakfast of scrambled eggs and fresh fruit, some coffee and fast wifi. The lounge itself was nothing spectacular, but it was a great improvement over the terminal!
Boarding started right on time for this flight, with Delta’s app notifying me of its start as soon as the first boarding pass was scanned. Delta boards in groups of the following order: Preboarding; First Class & Diamond Medallion; SkyPriority - Platinum & Gold Medallion, SkyTeam Elite Plus, and Virgin Atlantic Gold; Main Cabin 1; Main Cabin 2; Main Cabin 3; and Basic Economy.
The process was clear and orderly with Delta clearly displaying current and future boarding groups. Given my fare code and booking, I boarded in Main Cabin 2. Once on the jetbridge, I was offered the option to gate check my bag as it was suggested it may not fit in the overhead bin. Once onboard, I realized this was more a suggestion of capacity rather than size, and there was more than enough room for my bag to have fit. I did, however, appreciate the updated status of my now checked bag through Delta’s app!
Seat & Cabin
Much like my flight on United’s CRJ-200, the majority of this aircraft is arranged in a 2-2 configuration with Main Cabin seats having 31” of pitch and 17” of width, while Comfort+ seats have 34” of pitch and the same 17” width. Make no mistake, this plane is also tight, but for the lucky ones, there are four rows of First Class up front arranged in a 1-2 layout with 37” of pitch and 19.7” of width.
While this cabin felt prehistoric, it was more than sufficient for such a short flight, although head room was certainly at a minimum. Despite the seat being old, it was clean and in good order aside from a tray table that was a little janky.
Inflight service was delayed due to turbulence, or rough air as Delta calls it, on our ascent from Toronto, but as soon as it was safe to do so, the inflight team was up and about hustling through the cabin to complete their service. When they got to me, I requested my go to, a Ginger Ale, and was also given a pack of my favorite snack, the Biscoff Cookie.
Amenities & Service
This flight was equipped with GoGo Inflight WiFI, and although I did not purchase a full subscription, I quite enjoyed the free messaging feature that Delta offers to their passengers. In addition to Delta’s Sky Magazine, guests looking to further entertain themselves could access Delta Studio on their personal device for a myriad of movies, music and television shows. A moving map was also featured here.
The service on the flight was pretty standard for what I’ve come to expect from Delta: efficient and incredibly hospitable. Although there wasn’t much interaction given the duration of the flight, every member of the inflight team seemed genuinely happy and passed their positive energy onto those of us in the cabin.
Before long, we descended into John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. After a lengthy taxi, we pulled up to our gate a few minutes ahead of schedule. A major plus of this flight is that we pre-cleared customs in Toronto, so we simply strolled off the plane as if we were a domestic flight. Once off the plane, I grabbed my bag off the jetway and was on my way to the TWA Hotel.
This was yet another really good Delta experience. While they’re not always the most convenient as a Chicago-based flyer, I really really do like flying them - I might even say that I hold them in the same esteem as Southwest and Alaska! This flight was exactly what I needed: easy, on-time and convenient. With that being said, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Delta on this route, although I do want to give WestJet a try to add to my portfolio!