It can be easily argued that, on overnight flights, upgrading to a lie-flat business-class seat can be equivalent to booking a hotel room for the night. Delta, it seems, has taken that idea to heart with its latest partnership: The airline has announced that it will be offering Westin Heavenly In-Flight bedding, designed and manufactured exclusively for Delta, in all of its BusinessElite cabins throughout the world.
The new Westin Heavenly In-Flight bedding product will be available on all BusinessElite International flights, as well as BusinessElite flights between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle and between Atlanta and Honolulu, beginning in June 2013. BusinessElite customers will receive a Westin Heavenly sleeping pillow and a comforter. Passengers on flights over 12 hours also will receive a lumbar pillow.
Joanne Smith, Delta’s senior vice president of In Flight Service explained that in recent surveys, customers said that the most important part of the in-flight experience is sleep. In addition to the new Westin Heavenly In-Flight bedding, Delta is making investments in several other products and services to revamp the in-flight sleep experience. These include a white noise channel on Delta Radio, and new BusinessElite amenity kits featuring Tumi and Malin+Goetz products.
Delta is also enhancing the sleep experience by expanding full flat-bed seating. Delta is introducing full flat-bed seats in the BusinessElite cabin of all transcontinental flights operating between New York and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle beginning in March 2013. All of Delta's Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft serving these transcontinental markets will offer the flatbed seats over the next 24 months. Delta's decision to install full flat-bed seats on its transcontinental flights complements the airline's current investment in full flat-bed seats on its entire international widebody fleet of more than 140 aircraft. By the end of 2013, 70 percent of all Delta aircraft will have flat beds and, in early 2014, Delta’s entire widebody fleet is scheduled to be complete.
As a direct result of customer feedback, flight attendants are also modifying their in-flight service to better foster sleep. BusinessElite flights now offer an “Express Meal” that features lighter fare and a one-step delivery process on all international flights departing after 9 p.m. and flights between JFK and London’s Heathrow Airport. Delta will be designing a similar express meal menu for BusinessElite flights that are less than 10 hours long, as well as transcontinental flights.
To create a more restful cabin environment, flight attendants also are now proactively adjusting for appropriate lighting based on the time of day and streamlining cabin announcements to decrease noise disruptions.
Delta is showcasing its renewed focus on sleep at TED2013 in Long Beach, California, Feb. 26-March 1. The airline will host a talk from renowned Oxford neuroscientist and sleep expert Dr. Russell Foster addressing jet lag and how the eye tells time and demonstrate his research in action with the world's first Photon Shower – a small light chamber that conference attendees can enter for a short period of time to help reset their body clocks through a personalized, rejuvenating light treatment. The Photon Shower, along with Delta’s new amenity kits, charging stations and a juice bar, will live in Delta’s “Power Up” lounge, a space designed to help revitalize and energize TED attendees. Conference-goers can also relax and wind down in Delta’s “Power Down” lounge, a second activation space featuring flat-bed seats with Westin Heavenly In-Flight bedding, nap pods, and white noise calming music. Delta’s Sleep Bar at the Westin Long Beach will also provide conference attendees premium items and hospitality focused around aiding sleep.