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.
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:
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.
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….
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.
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?
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.
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.
All this talk about aircraft leads me to:
There’s something we West Coasters love more than sushi, tofu, and quinoa: environmental causes.
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.
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.
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…
Et Tu, American?
What Are Your Thoughts?
Agree? Disagree? Want to persuade me to fly another airline instead of Delta? The comment section is yours! – Chris