Triangle Trip

Delta is the best when flying coast-to-coast in the US

by on Jan.17, 2009, under Airlines, Business Travel

I have been commuting coast to coast for over 10 years – that’s between New York and California. I have flown out of JFK to LAX and SFO months at a time. There were only two carriers back in the 90s… now we’ve five options:

1. American
2. Delta
3. JetBlue
4. United
5. Virgin Ameirca

I have experienced all carriers and want to share my experience with everyone. Here are the plus’s and minuses for each:

1. American:

PLUSES:  Price – usually cheaper than Delta and UA. Coach seats are pretty roomy vs. the other four.

MINUSES:  The AA terminal at JFK is a zoo. Planes are older.

2. Delta

PLUSES:  Price – usually cheaper than UA. New seats inside the plane – leather. Live TV in coach. If you’re a Medallion Gold or Platinum, 80% chance to be upgraded to First.

MINUSES:  If you buy a low fare ticket, you will not get full mileage in your bank. Skyteam points are not as valuable as Star Alliance or OneWorld.

3. JetBlue

PLUSES:  Newer planes. Flights are cheap. Free live TV. Food for sale is decent.

MINUSES:  Have to fly to OAK or SJC vs. SFO. Long Beach or Burbank vs. LAX. No first class upgrades.

4. United

PLUSES:  Star Alliance points and UA offers 100% on all flights regardless of the price of tickets. JFK terminal is extremely clean. If upgraded to buniess, service is awesome – personal DVD player, plugs on all business class seats, etc.

MINUSES:  UA divided plane into 50% business, 50% coach. As a result, there are not that many seats available for sale in coach. Tickets are generally expensive.

5. Virgin Ameirca

PLUSES:  Plugs on all seats, games and TV on your seats, comfortable throughout the cabin, ticket can be pretty cheap as well.

MINUSES:  Limited flights throughout the day. Can only bank Virgin points.


In summary, you should fly Delta if you have Medallion status as you will get upgraded. Fly United if you have enough points to spend on the upgrades. Go with Jetblue if you’re cost conscious or don’t mind flying to alternative airports.

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4 comments for this entry:
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    […] your coast-to-coast travel cost would go up as economy seats generally fills up the fastest (see previous post regarding best coast-to-coast travel option). This forces united customers to buy business class […]

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