Delta Airlines – LEX – ATL – JNB Roundtrip

Flight Review

This year, I had the opportunity to take my family on the “trip of a lifetime” to South Africa to go on safari in the African bush.  As a result, we also got to fly Delta’s longest route – Atlanta to Johannesburg – which tallies about 15 hours flight time on the outbound and 17 hours on the return. 

Due to the long nature of the flight and the expense of business class tickets, I used 945,000 Skymiles to put my wife and two kids in the forward cabin – 315,000 miles for each seat.  While this redemption was not great, I had limited flexibility on dates, as we were timing the trip to our kids’ spring school break, and I wanted to lock in the arrangements well in advance.  I purchased an economy ticket that was not eligible for a SWU but I was able to pick an Economy Comfort seat due to my Diamond Medallion status with Delta.

These routes are serviced with Delta’s Boeing 777-200LR aircraft.  On these planes, Delta’s Businesss Elite class features lie-flat beds in a herringbone pattern that allows every passenger direct aisle access and quite a bit privacy.  My daughhter really liked the 14A seat since it puts you back in a corner that gives an even greater sense of privacy and seclusion when reclined.

Of course, my family enjoyed the flights a lot more than I did but, as I’ve noted in previous posts, the economy comfort seats do offer more rooom and a bit more recline.  While I generally have a hard time sleeping in a reclined position, I did find out that I can do it if tired enough.  Since I just got back from China on Weds. and left for South Africa on Friday, I was able to sleep some on the flight.

Service was competent on all flights and our on-time performance was pretty good.  For only the second time this year, I did have a slight departure delay due to a sick passenger that had to leave the plane in Atlanta.  However, Delta was very quick in getting the passenger’s checked bag off the plane and we were about one hour late in depating.  But, it is hard to fault Delta on this issue.

Final Grade: A

Points and Dollars

My ticket cost $1691.  For this, I earned 17,866 MQM’s plus my Diamond bonus miles of 22,332.  Add in the 3,382 miles I’ll get from charging it to my DL Platinum AMEX and my Skymiles total comes to 43,580.  When you put this in context, it is the same as purchasing Delta Skymiles at 3.9 cents per mile and having the flight thrown in for good measure.  Delta normally sells their miles for almost 3.8 cents each.  Now, I’m not saying that is a great deal but the miles earned on this route were pretty attractive for the cost of the ticket.


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