It was time to return to New York after a few days in St. Maarten. I was excited to compare Delta's Boeing 757 with JetBlue's seven-year old A321ceo aircraft because of the lack of entertainment and wi-fi.

I paid particular attention to the status of my flight, as it had been plagued with operational issues all week. While the 757 made it out of JFK with an hour and a half delay, schedule padding saw the delay reduced to about 45 minutes, and Delta's app reflected as much.

I didn't want to spend more time in the terminal than necessary because SXM is still rebuilding from the damage done by Hurricane Irma. The terminal was packed on the first day of the winter schedule ramp-up.

Lots os passengers in the SXM terminal

There was a mechanical issue that caused the boarding to be delayed. When your aircraft is 31 years old, you don't want to hear that. The Delta pilots who flew the 757 from JFK were unsure if the new crew would be able to defer the problem or if the delay would be serious. I made a terrible decision after looking for alternative flights.

The Delta app told me to hop on the already boarding Atlanta flight just to my left and connect onward to JFK after I paid $6 for three hours of airport wi-fi. I thought that was the case.


The Atlanta connecting option was only realized after I confirmed the change. I was able to find a Delta employee who was willing to change me back to my original flight after I panicked and called Delta.

It would be great if Delta provided a warning that the new flight would leave on a different day. The important date change detail was missed.

The chaotic boarding process began just as I was rebooking to my original flight.

I boarded the 757 via the air stairs after walking to a hard stand.

Passengers board the Delta 757 via air stairs.

The only passenger who could guess the age of the 757 was me. The cabin is bright, the overhead bins are large, and the passenger service unit has cool air blowing out of the individual air vents. To the untrained eye, this was a brand new plane.

An economy class seat triple onboard the Delta Boeing 757.

We ended up taking off nearly two hours late because of the slow operations at the facility. Those passengers who missed their connections were not happy about the delay.

The 757 was fully equipped with Delta's top-end domestic configuration. The Panasonic inflight entertainment system had over 300 movies by my count, which was more than the zero movies offered by the airline.

Panasonic seatback IFE on the Delta Boeing 757.

It may sound crazy but I didn't see a lot of what I wanted to see. I would like to be connected.

After takeoff, the Viasat Ka-band wi-fi went live with an offer of free internet for Delta SkyMiles members, or a flat fee for anyone who didn't want to sign up for a SkyMiles account.

Delta's advertisement for free Wi-Fi on a mobile device.

There was adequate coverage on the route because the hardware on this aircraft could talk to the ViaSat-2 satellite. For the entire flight, there was internet access.

After takeoff, my speed tests showed 35 Mbps down and 0.72 Mbps up, but I was able to stream YouTube at1080p without any issues, and even managed 1440p with some buffering. Access to the streaming service seemed to be slow. The experience was very similar to what JetBlue offered earlier in the year to St. Maarten on its ViaSat-2- capable A320.

Screenshot of a speedtest, with a download speed of 34.8 Mbps

Delta doesn't stock fresh food for sale on Caribbean routes so it's a good thing that I bought some airport pizza, as this flight became an all day long nightmare.

Extra sustenance came from the bags of Sun Chips and almonds, as well as the Woodford Reserves I enjoyed after cashing in some drink vouchers.

Snacks, club soda and a couple of bottles of Woodford Reserves are displayed on the tray table

Some snack boxes were for sale. Delta did not provide a printed menu card or a digital menu on the IFE screen.

The pre-flight communication from Delta was good and the onboard hard product was great.

The aircraft cabin was in great shape. The lavatories looked brand-new.

A clean aircraft lavatory, as snapped by the author (who can be seen in the lav's mirror).

The 757s will leave Delta's fleet in the near future. The 757s were refurbished by the US major and they shine through.

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The author credited all images.