Getting to Quito, Ecuador in Delta First Class

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In this post we’ll cover the experience getting to Quito, Ecuador in Delta First Class.  I’ll start by reminding readers that we are ATL based and Delta frequent fliers both with Diamond status in 2023.  Given our status and the fact that Delta flies directly to Quito the capital city in Ecuador with daily service this was our first choice for the first flight of the trip.

Planning

Fares in cash and miles were a bit pricey given the limited service on this route.  We opted to book Economy tickets for 56,000 miles and $15.60 in taxes and fees each.  We then used Global Upgrade Certificates (a Diamond Choice Benefit) to move up to First Class for this approximately 5.25 hour flight.  We normally wouldn’t have elected to use Global Certificates for a flight like this; however, these expire and we didn’t have a longer international trip in the year to “optimize” their use.

On the Ground

Our trip started in the ATL International Terminal where we checked-in, checked two of our bags, and went through regular security as the TSA PreCheck line was not open in the early afternoon when we were checking-in.  After a quick trip through security, we made the short walk into the International Terminal atrium and up the escalator to the SkyClub on the upper level.  We had access to the SkyClub by both carrying the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card; access is not granted to those traveling to Quito on Delta First Class tickets as it’s in “northern” South America. The only other club in this concourse is The Club ATL (accessible with PriorityPass) which is only a slight improvement over sitting at the gate in our opinion.

a glass window with text on it

Fortunately there was no line to enter the SkyClub (there was when we were leaving).  After a quick scan of our boarding passes we were in and looking for a table in the rather crowded lounge.  This lounge is one of the better SkyClubs at ATL with an outdoor deck (full during our visit), a few extra food options, and a variety of seating areas.

Here’s the central bar with both complimentary beverages as well as upgraded wines and spirits for purchase.  TIP: There are typically packaged snacks on the bar which are convenient for grab and go.

a group of people standing in a bar

The hot and cold food bars are a bit nicer at this SkyClub than most.  During this visit they had a hot Grilled Jerk Chicken that I hadn’t tried before and really enjoyed with a sweet potato dish.

a pan of food on a stove a counter with bowls of salads and bottles of saucesFor those looking to be a little hedonistic, there is a dedicated area for cookies and brownies as well as a popcorn machine that is unique to this location at ATL.  I wish Delta would provide a Gluten Free sweet, but these only rarely make appearances in SkyClubs.

a tray of cookies on a table a machine with popcorn inside

There’s also a convenient self-serve beverage station in most SkyClubs providing ice water, lemonade, and ice tea (“unsweet” as we say in the south).

a group of beverage dispensers on a tableWe enjoyed a snack and complimentary Prosecco before making our way over to Terminal E where our gate was located.  This required a quick ride on the Plane Train.

a glass of champagne on a tableOur plane was parked at Gate E16 and the gate agent had a little “party” going with some Latin music playing.  There was also a good view at our 757-200 aircraft that was going to take us to Quito.

a line of black poles in a airport an airplane at an airport

In the Air

Before long it was time to board.  We entered the aircraft and turned-left, which is always fun.  There are a couple rows of Comfort+ seats in the forward cabin before you get to First Class at the front of the aircraft.

a row of seats in an airplaneSitting at our seats were amenity kits, a pillow, blanket, and a large bottle of water.

a seat with a screen on the side and a bottle of water on the side

The amenity kits distributed were from Delta’s current offering and interestingly these were basic kits for Premium Select passengers.  This hits on one thing that most US airlines do which is to treat flights between the US and Central America, the Caribbean, and the northern part of South America like Domestic First Class with a bit of a “plus” rather than DeltaOne their “International” Business Class product.  That means amenities like noise cancelling headphones and an after dinner desert trolly are non-existent.

a table with items on it

We experienced a bit of rough air after take-off so it was almost an hour before dinner was served.  This started with a drink service and then our pre-ordered meals were served on single-trays including starter, salad, bread, entree, and dessert.  When we had made the reservation we had booked Gluten Free special meals for both of us; however, when the message came to pre-order our meals we looked and saw that there were two options that we knew from experience included GF entrees.  We opted for the Beef Short Rib provided by Fox Brothers, a popular BBQ restaurant in Atlanta as well as the Lemon Roast Chicken.  These entrees are typically better than the GF option; however, this meant that we had to avoid the items containing gluten in our meals.

a tray with food on it a tray with food on itWe both enjoyed our meals, though the skin on the chicken somehow missed the “roasting” part.  Service was friendly and our wines were refilled out of real bottles with real corks!!!

After dinner I worked on my laptop for a bit making use of the Fast(ish), Free Wi-Fi while watching a movie on the seatback IFE.  This isn’t Delta’s best system; however the screen was clear and responsive and everything worked as it should.

a sign on a seat

a map of the world with a plane flying Before I knew it we were starting our descent into Quito’s airport UIO.  The lights coming through a thin layer of clouds made for a visually interesting approach.

aerial view of a city at night

We landed and immediately taxied to our gate and we were off the plane in a few minutes.  To our surprise a man in a suit met us on the jet bridge with a sign with our names on it to help us with our luggage and to escort us through immigration, baggage claim, customs, and out to our Celebrity Cruises transit to our pre-cruise hotel.

a man in a suit with a suitcase

This was to be one of many “surprises” that Celebrity Cruises provided during our trip.  We’ll cover them all as we continue with this trip report.  That concludes our review of getting to Quito, Ecuador in Delta First Class.  This was our only flight on Delta during this trip as we flew on Avianca chartered flights round-trip to Baltra in the Galapagos and then on Copa for our trip back from Quito to Atlanta.  – Michael

As promised, here’s a bonus wildlife photo from the Galapagos islands.  This giant Galapagos Tortoise was feasting on grass in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island during the dry season before heading down to the coastal area during the upcoming wet season.

a large tortoise on grass with Aldabra in the background

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5 COMMENTS

    • @dee – For the ATL International Terminal (also known as Terminal F), they have a split schedule for morning rush and then again for afternoon rush ahead of evening international departures. We were just a bit too early.

      6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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