I've looked at the realities of flying with Delta, mostly focusing on the positives of Delta and why switching may be the best idea. There is obviously a flip side to Delta and it isn't a small one. Delta's business class sucks, their planes sucks, and the company needs to join the current millennium with these products.
Now lets tackle problem one, the business class seats. Business class is all about the seat, getting you to your destination with a balance between efficiency and maximum comfort to arrive rested and ready to work. Having flown a few times in American business class, the one thing they do extremely well is the business class seat, with one of the best products on the market. Delta One has a lackluster feel with staggered seating in a fully face forward position. These seats seem to be rather devoid of privacy and more focused on revenue for Delta than a justifiable heavy expense for merely a mediocre seat.
Delta does have a herringbone configuration on their 777 fleet, but that fleet is fairly small and the seats look to take their design from Virgin Atlantic's aging A340 fleet design. This means that while the seats are angled, and fully flat, they are also very tight and almost claustrophobic in design.
On the topic of planes, I have always been hard on Delta for overuse of planes. That is to say, they don't embrace new planes very well and often buy used planes for cheap rather than move to a newer more expensive but far more efficient plane. Much of Delta's Trans Atlantic fleet is made up of 767's. These aircraft are old, much smaller, and much less comfortable. The 767 is an old design that has not been updated to join the quieter, more comfortable future we now live in.
So is this enough to make me drop Delta and run back to American? Well I've thought about it, since American has a much better seat. However, what we should keep in mind here is that Delta is where I will do my domestic flying with the occasional international trip for mileage. In most cases though, big trips will be financed by points and miles in one place or another and that means my choices will be to fly with who ever those points get me on, not necessarily Delta.
Even on the flights I've taken in business class this year, of the 3 I've taken, 2 have been American and the other was United. I have 5 more scheduled this year and none of them are with American. This just goes to show that while American has great hard products on their fleet, the points let me try the cream of the crop sort of products and I don't need to stick to my preferred carrier outside of the US unless I choose to for mileage reasons.
So, for now, we stick with the plan to switch to Delta, and use points to fly in comfort.