Travel Related

Delta IS the Best Airline Choice for West Coast Travelers!

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr
Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Delta Air Lines Boeing 757-200, tail number N535US, parked at Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport - LAX - California.
Hello Delta!

Each time I fly an airline other than Delta, I’m reminded why Delta is the best — especially for West Coast travelers like me.

Facilities, Sky Clubs, and More!

Delta is upgrading several of its western US facilities. The most well-known is probably the Delta Sky Way at LAX: a multi-year, bajillion dollar project that started with Delta’s move from terminal 5 to terminals 2 and 3.

Right now, a shuttle bus connects the two terminals. But if you’re a Delta Diamond, you just might luck out like we did a few months ago and get a ride in one of the Delta Porsches.

Delta Diamond Medallion Porsche at Los Angeles International Airport - LAX - in California.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend!

The move gave Delta more gates — which, of course, means more flights to more destinations. Delta is also upgrading the terminals, including an overhaul of terminal 3 (which currently looks more like a third world bus station that it does an airport terminal)

American, United, Alaska, JetBlue, and several other airlines are squeezed into five terminals sharing narrow aprons. This results in overcrowded terminals (Delta flyers who departed or arrived into the Alaska gates in T6 know exactly what I mean). Plus, the delays for aircraft to be towed to and from gates gets annoying. I don’t miss those at all.

Delta currently has two LAX Sky Clubs — one of which is very nice. Heck, even United flyer Live and Let’s Fly, Matt liked it! (except for that one time). Plus, they opened a satellite lounge for overflow seating, eating, and drinking so more people can enjoy the Delta experience. A brand new Sky Club will connect both terminals — and it sounds like there will also be a Sky Deck!

Also in the Los Angeles metro area, Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Bob Hope  Hollywood Burbank Airport offers service to SLC. John Wayne/Orange County offers flights to Atlanta, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and Seattle. Ontario flies Delta metal to Salt Lake and Atlanta.

Before we go any further, let’s take a quick peek inside the Southwest Airlines club lounge:

Southwest Airlines boarding area at Hollywood Burbank Airport in California.
This is a SWEET club? Maybe not.

Delta is also planning big things for the massive upgrade to the Salt Lake City airport. According to Jasen Lee’s article in the Deseret News, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said, “Delta is contributing millions of dollars to the redevelopment budget of the airport, and he said that money will help the airline sustain and grow its operation at its Utah hub.”

Routes to Asia, upgraded facilities, and a Sky Club with Sky Deck are also said to be part of Delta’s plans for the new SLC.

Delta cranked up operations at Alaska hub Seattle, offering a nice selection of flights and two Sky Clubs — including its impressive flagship lounge.

A view of the Delta Sky Club in terminal A/B at Seattle SeaTac Airport in Washington.
Oh my – this is amazing!

The Bay Area offers a number of Delta options: San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland offer a good selection of Delta flights. San Francisco touts a spacious Sky Club with good food and great ambiance.

To top it all off, Delta recently added a SkyClub to American-heavy Phoenix — not exactly on the West Coast but close enough to it.

The Dreaded “C” Word

I’m talking about “Chicago.”

How many people have you ever heard say, “I love connecting through Chicago O’Hare!”

Go ahead. I’ll wait….

via GIPHY

Don’t get me wrong. I love Chicago. Great city. Great people. Great food. FANTASTIC Seminars. But something I love about Delta is the fact Chicago O’Hare isn’t one of their hubs.

Admit it, United and American peeps: you get nervous connecting through O’Hare when your connection is anything shorter than two days. And that’s during the 2 weeks a year there is good weather. I know O’Hare’s improved in recent years — but my money (and points) are still on Minneapolis and Detroit.

Aircraft

I live under one of the approach patterns for Hollywood Burbank Airport and a departure route for LAX. Know what I see a lot of?

CRJ-200s.

None of them are Delta Connection. Sure, I see some Delta Connection CRJ-700s and CRJ-900s, and several Embraer planes.

But every single, stinkin’ barbie jet I see is either United Connection or American Eagle.

Even for the super-short LAX to San Diego flight — make sure to sit on the left side, it’s gorgeous! — Delta operates Embraer 170-series planes. Can’t say the same for United.

I love these smaller jets

Delta One has expanded to several West Coast markets: LAX, Seattle, San Francisco, and San Diego. Not quite on the coast but still in the West lies Las Vegas — another Delta One destination to/from JFK.

Delta One – Yes please.

All this talk about aircraft leads me to:

Environmentally Friendly

There’s something we West Coasters love more than sushi, tofu, and quinoa: environmental causes.

Plastic drinking straws are public enemy number one here in Los Angeles. Hotel shampoo, conditioner, and lotion bottles might be chased out of California.

So where does Delta come into play? Its new A220 planes, which land in SLC this May. In addition to the wider seats, massive windows, and big bins, the plane is more environmentally-friendly than other jets. According to Airbus, “The engines feature 20% lower fuel burn per seat than previous-generation aircraft, half the noise footprint, and decreased emissions.”

Do you know how many Birkenstock-clad feet are tingling with excitement right now?

For Shorter Flights, Though?

Traveling within, say, California or Nevada isn’t necessarily Delta’s strong suit. Southwest has the edge here.

For as much fun (and easy) as it is to rag on the bus Southwest, I will give them this: they’ve pretty much locked down the short flight market. There are zillions of flights every day from Southern California to the Bay Area. Wanna get away to Vegas? Southwest has you covered. Reno to Vegas? Take the airline of LUV.

Call me spoiled and bougie, but I like having a reserved seat — especially when traveling with others. I also don’t like having to completely stop my life for 24 hours before a flight just to check in. You know, in hopes I don’t draw anything below B15 in Southwest’s thrilling game of boarding group Bingo.

And then, of course, there’s the whole having to talk to — and trust! — strangers, just so you can find your place in your respective boarding group. Ew.

One of my clients regularly books me on Southwest, despite my telling them how much better Delta is. I think they do it just to toy with me.

Now, there is something where Delta must improve on its shorter routes — and it’s something I’ll cover soon.

Seriously?

Like you, I love flying. And I know traveling is a privilege. The closest some people ever get to a passenger jet is driving by an airport — or maybe looking in the sky. Many of us ride several legs a day just for fun and to rack up elite status miles.

Debating and ranking airlines is a very good problem.

A Delta Air Lines 767 is seen from the Delta Sky Club at Seattle SeaTac International Airport - SEA - in Washington state.
Clearly the best choice

 

I’ve flown American, United, Southwest, and several other airlines plenty of times. Most of them are very good (though I can’t in good conscience name the one that begins with an “A” and ends with “llegiant.” Thought I was gonna die that night.)

I’m just saying Delta is the best option for West Coast flyers.

Perhaps One of the Biggest Selling Points About Delta is…

Not a single Boeing 737 MAX in the Delta fleet.

Et Tu, American?

Southwest?

Alaska?

A Southwest airlines 737 max 8 landing at Ronald Regan National Airport(DCA) Arlington, Virginia, USA November 8th, 2018 Plane-Boeing 737 Max 8 Registration-n8704q Airport- DCA Photo Credit- Domonic Evaninia
Domonic Evaninia – ©iStock.com/EliWilson

What Are Your Thoughts?

Agree? Disagree? Want to persuade me to fly another airline instead of Delta? The comment section is yours! – Chris

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

22 Comments

  1. Tell us about how Shatner flies

    What do the studios pay for do they get special “deals” on those big first class seats

    Do celebs get free VIP airport treatment or do they pay for it

  2. ghostrider5408

    Disclaimer I am a mm on Alaska, yes I can say Alaska. Also been a Delta flyer with an account number beginning with 200. I do fly Delta from time to time and they have been improving I give you that but to say it’s the “best” west coast flyer a bold statement one that I am not sure many will agree with you on. Having grown up on the east coast then moved west Delta east coast not west. Delta is not a long term loyality minded airline, simply not

  3. Chris Carley

    @ghostrider: Thanks for the comment.

    Also, happy early Top Gun Day, Ghostrider! (May 13)

  4. Chris Carley

    @Greg: Airlines have corporate clients and group travel discounts. Studios can fall into those categories, just like other businesses.

    There are both paid and free VIP “greeter” services. IME, the free ones provided by airlines are a bit riskier — the employees sometimes have a loose lips. They may tip off paparazzi and news services to a celebrity’s arrival or departure. The paid ones generally keep a tighter lid on details.

    It’s been several years since I worked for Mr. Shatner – although I did see him on television the other day flying something with tail number NCC-1701…

  5. @Greg: I’m seeing lots of ads for SlyLuxTravel discounted first class travel, and online comments saying they are all resale frequent flyer tix. Do you have any background on them? Are they safe to use?

  6. As an avid reader of Rene’s blog who’s based in LA, midway between LAX and BUR, and I’m glad you’ve joined up with Rene. While I find BUR far more convenient to get to and from, I’ve tended to use LAX, since, until recently, Delta service out of Burbank was mostly (if not always) on CRJ-200s. Thanks for pointing that now all three daily flights use Embraers — good news. There is still a CRJ-200 operating out of the greater LA region, however, and that’s one of two daily flights from Palm Springs to SLC. As for LAX, it’s going to be several years of agony while T3 is demolished and rebuilt.

  7. I wholeheartedly disagree that Delta is the best choice for West Coast travelers, that’s unless you live near the two hub cities of LAX and SEA. I live in the SF Bay Area and as a DM, Delta is a nightmare in terms of time waste. I fly with Delta because my work schedule is beyond insane and I cover too wide of an area all over the world, the predictability of Delta’s operations and its (no longer true) transpacific network allowed me to pack more meetings closer together. Delta generally cost more than United and American, and United runs endless amount of direct flights from SFO, whereas it’s a connecting flight for Delta to 95% of my destinations. While I appreciate the small things like better snacks onboard, the experience is not significantly better or worse than United or American, especially those other two are improving at an alarming rate.

    I am stupidly loyal to Delta and it’s one of those times I cheat on Delta with another airlines, is what reminds me how bad it is for West Coast passengers. Every year after I decide to stay with Delta for my DM status, within a month or so, Delta makes some devaluation or changes that makes it even harder for me to maintain DM.

  8. The schedule for Delta on the west coast leaves a lot to be desired. I will go out of my way to still fly Delta within reason. But one of my upcomming trips is on United because I couldn’t get a late enough flight. United and Alaska were still offering flights 5 hours after the last Delta flight.

  9. Chris Carley

    @AjayLA: Thanks! Your BUR sentiments are pretty much the same as mine! A lot of my travel goes through MSP and LAS, so LAX is more convenient — plus they have the SkyPubs! 🙂

  10. Chris Carley

    @Will: Thanks for the comment! For airlines improving at alarming rates, I’m not sure why I read so much about people bailing on United and American. (Even Ben at One Mile at a Time seems to be flying DL more and more!) United certainly didn’t do itself any favors when it 86ed its award chart (yes, I know DL hid theirs a while ago, too). Is there one airline you’d recommend for West Coast travelers?

  11. Chris Carley

    @Jeff: Where were you flying to/from?

  12. Couple things…

    LGB-SLC has multiple daily flights

    And it’s the Deseret News, not the Deseret Times.

    You can tell I’m super excited about the changes at SLC. Though as a kid I mourned the addition of Terminal 2 since I loved to stand on the world map in T1 (now under the TSA lines). But the new SLC will be fantastic.

    I live in an amazing place, in the approach path for SLC and under the flyover for west coast to Europe flights…it’s fantastic!

  13. As with another reader from above, I also live in the SF Bay Area and as much as I enjoy flying Delta, I consistently have to make connections at LAX (or SEA) whether domestic or Intl. If flying intl, the SFO-LAX connection onwards to Tom Bradley Intl having to depart airside and reenter through security just makes the whole experience miserable. I go out of my way to avoid flying through LAX but can’t always line up the schedule. I avoid United at all costs so options get limited but I wouldn’t classify Delta as the best airline either for folks in the bay area.

  14. Don’t like having to go thru LAX ( esp term 2-3) to go anywhere like San on the west coast !! Not a United fan but saves alot of time tho

  15. A lot of good points in this post, but If I lived on the West Coast, I’d fly Alaska. Its frequent flyer program and international partners are far superior to DL. Alaska is pretty much on par with DL as far as operational efficiency and customer service.

    I’ve accumulated nearly 1 million AA flight miles and living on the East Coast, strangely I can’t recall ever connecting in ORD except to international flights. Never thought about it until now. ORD has great prices on international flights. Those ORD connections are a pleasure thanks to the Flagship Lounge or even better the Polaris Lounge when in business class on a Star Alliance carrier.

  16. Interesting on the VIP handlers for free from the airlines.

    How do they verify a passenger is a celebrity? What’s the cutoff / criteria for getting the free meet and greet at LAX?

  17. @Chris – We always hear people leaving UA and AA but there are equal amount of people switching to them – other wise those two would be out of buisness. UA, since the scandal, has improved a lot.. Their hard products in some ways are better than DL lately, especially with Polaris updates…

    @Kory @Jeff – I agree with both of you. Scheduling from West Coast is very problematic for DL. If I want to go anywhere around or east of Texas, I’d almost have to connect at ATL, DTW or MSP. This means I am on the 6am flight out of SFO or SJC and can’t land at the final destination before 5pm, so an entire day is gone. On the return flight, I can’t get anything late enough, like after 5 or 6pm to take advantage of the full business day, because most flights connect back through those 3 airports – your departure can’t be later than 3pm, if you want to get back to West Coast before midnight… Or, you can do the next AM flight and catch the 5/6am flight if you want to salvage the afternoon… Connecting through SLC is usually the best option time-wise, but the fare is so high that it’s double or triple of UA, AA or AS’ direct flight!!

    International flights through LAX or SEA are also problematic schedule wise. DL partner connecting flights via NRT, ICN or PVG usually arrive after 9/10pm in Asia. By the time you clear custom, get your luggage and ride to city center, it’s at or after midnight. Same route direct flight on UA would get you to Asia no later than 3-5pm, and you have an entire evening of time left to have a decent meal and relax… International connection at LAX and SEA on inbound are the worst I have ever experienced. LAX means leave TBIT and reclear security at T2 and T3. SEA means an overcrowded IAF with PreCheck, so you have to remove shoes/belts and content with a bunch of foreign visitors that aren’t familiar with TSA rules…

    I think for West Coast, your choice is simple if you are in SF Bay Area, UA is the best. If you are in Seattle, AS is flight better than DL but about the same. If you are in LAX, it’s a wash, DL has better service and AA has way more direct flights.

  18. @Will: Interesting. I’ve taken several flights to/from Dallas and Austin from LAX. Both destinations have had several convenient options not involving a connection anywhere — nonstops RT.

    Delta metal to Asia has never been a problem for me. Flew nonstops to PEK (though not PVG) and NRT from SEA — both times I arrived mid-afternoon, about the same time as the UA flights. Flew LAX to HND nonstop — was on the ground around the same time, about 3pm.

    Definitely looking forward to TBIT, T2, and T3 being connected!

  19. @Chris I hope you know Asia has a lot of metropolitan cities beyond PEK and TYO. I’d suggest check the availability of UA direct flights to Asia from SFO…you’d be shocked and how many places they go to, direct, and all of them arrive mid or late afternoon to give you use of the evening. If you try to go further into Asia with DL, beyond the coastal cities like TYO, ICN, PEK, PVG, you will not arrive into your hotel until nearly at or after mid-night. This is what I do on a bi-weekly basis, so I know the schedules and flight number of the connecting flights on KE, CI and MU like the back of my hand. When NRT was around as a real hub, we could at least get into those cities after dinner time and still allow for a decent night of sleep.

    DL 6 to HND arrives around 2-3pm, and you then have very limited transfer options around that time to rest of Asia on SkyTeam partners. If you are open to fly with ANA and JAL for rest of Asia, you have a bit more but still very limited options because of security and terminal transfer time.

    I appreciate your love for Delta but facts are facts, when it doesn’t even fly into financial capital like HKG, it really says a lot about Delta’s reach into Asia.

    Domestically, using Texas as you indicated:
    Houston: no direct flight from IAH/HOU to LAX
    Austin: one direct flight from AUS to LAX, schedule has been shifted but it’s around 4:30pm. This means you have to wrap up your business or meeting by 2pm, that leave just an hour meeting window after lunch. For those of us don’t live near LAX, that connecting from LAX to our home city will arrive after 11pm (I know, I am on that flight frequently). That’s a double penalty of not able to have a fall day of use and arrive home likely at or after midnight.
    Dallas: no direct flight from DAL; DFW has a direct flight to LAX that depart at 12:30pm or so. This means you can fit in an morning meeting at the most, and that’s if you can get your customers to show at work at 8 or 9am.

    What else have a I missed? 🙂

  20. @AjayLA: Here’s some good news — Delta will relaunch BUR to ATL service on July 8! DL had this route several years ago — I vividly remember the 757 buzzing my North Hollywood house on the departure turn before hitting the VNY VOR 🙂

Write A Comment

BoardingArea