I recently had the opportunity to attend an event in London to celebrate the launch of Delta's new route from London Heathrow to Salt Lake City. Launching on Sunday, the flight marks Delta's eighth non-stop transatlantic offering from Heathrow and the first direct service between the two cities. You can see my previous post here.
The event took place at the rather glamorous Landing Forty Two; which is aptly on the 42nd floor of the Leadenhall Building, otherwise know as "The Cheesegrater" due to its shape. Landing Forty Two is the highest dedicated events space in the city; and the views as you can see were pretty spectacular.
The event itself was a celebration of Delta's latest route, which is operated in codeshare partnership with Virgin Atlantic; seeing as Delta have a 49% stake in the UK-based airline. If you didn't know, Utah is known as the state with the "Big Five" national parks of Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef. 2016 also marks the centennial of the US National Parks service. The mid-western state is also famous for it's fourteen ski resorts and the state capital of Salt Lake City is commonly referred to as the up and coming Silicon Valley; making it a popular destination for the entrepreneur and the adventurous.
Guests included Frank Jahangir, Staff VP of Sales and Affairs in EMEA; Nadia Clinton, Country Manager; and many more executives from the airline. Frank kicked off the evening by welcoming everyone and inviting guests to explore the various areas around the event space; which included a wine bar, tourism stand, culinary demonstration area, and a virtual reality experience.
Photo: Frank Jahangir, Staff VP of Sales and Affairs for Delta in EMEA.
The VR experience was quite fun, as it allowed guests to feel what it's like to fly in Delta One and learn about the experience. You could even pick up a "virtual cookie" and if you tried to place it towards your mouth... You could smell it! It was a shame it was only virtual, but I had a conversation with some of the account managers for Delta in the UK who said the reaction to the VR offering has been very popular and they may reward participants with an actual cookie in the future. That would be cool!
During his welcome speech, Frank plugged the VR experience seeing as participants would be entered into a draw to win a multi-centre holiday to Utah for two people. Unfortunately I was not lucky on this occasion, but there is always next time, right? 😉
I also had the opportunity to speak to some of Delta's brand ambassadors who had been flown in for the event. It was lovely to hear that they are genuinely passionate about the company and really sold the Delta experience to me. There was a Delta SkyClub area which showcased the wines which have been selected for the Delta One cabin on the London to Salt Lake City route by Delta's Master Sommelier; Andrea Robinson.
The culinary demonstration area was also very popular and it was nice to see some familiar faces from when I visited Gate Gourmet (Delta's caterer in the UK), from an event I attended last year.
A selection of small plates were handed out during the course of the evening, including a made-to-order ice cream sundae; which is as popular in the sky as it was at this event.
Erik Varwijk; VP of Commercial at Virgin Atlantic was also in attendance and it was delightful to hear how both airlines are happy with their transatlantic joint venture and partnership. If you didn't know, Virgin are actually adopting Delta's technology, beginning with their passenger service system (Air 4) which is scheduled to go live in October. It is a great example of companies working better together to enhance the customer experience through technology. Erik also dropped a hint to expect some exciting news regarding new transatlantic routes operated in partnership with Delta in the next few weeks. Which is exciting.
Overall the event was great fun and I loved having the opportunity to attend and learn more about flying with Delta, their partnership with Virgin Atlantic, and of course about visiting Utah; somewhere where I hope to visit in the near future. The team representing the Utah tourism association explained that the state is perfect for those wanting to seek something a little different. You can combine a little bit of the wild west with the best of mother nature and all that is on offer.
Thanks so much to the team at Delta Air Lines for the very kind invitation and hospitality, Visit Utah and the team behind the stunning Landing Forty Two venue.
From April 24, the non-stop service will operate daily from London Heathrow to Salt Lake City. In the Winter, the service is scheduled to operate up to four times a week. For further information just hop on over to Delta's website.