Delta Announces Hourly West Coast Shuttle: Los Angeles – San Francisco

by on August 1, 2013 · 11 comments

in Delta

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The common theme amongst US carriers this year has been the mad rush to recapture business travelers now that the economy is rebounding and road warriors are back on the road. Each major carrier has been investing in new premium products and even premium coach seats for the road warrior whose upgrade doesn’t clear, but wants to be treated better than the non-loyal economy class flyer.

Investments haven’t only been focused on the in-flight product. Delta has been investing a lot to beef up their New York presence, with a multi-million dollar investment in a renovated JFK Terminal 4 (complete with a swanky new SkyClub), but their growth strategy is not limited to the east coast. Today they announced that they will be launching hourly Los Angeles and San Francisco service beginning on Sept. 3, 2013. The new service features 14 daily flights in each direction which leave at the top of the hour. The route will be operated by Delta Connection partner, Compass Airlines using E-175 aircraft with a 76 passenger capacity configured with 12 seats in the First Class cabin, 12 Economy Comfort seats and 52 Economy seats.

Delta E-175.. one of the more comfortable regional jets in the sky

Delta E-175.. one of the more comfortable regional jets in the sky

I’ve flown Delta and US Airways shuttle service between Boston/NY/DC/Chicago many times and the experience is usually much less chaotic than normal flights. The shuttle flights are generally all out of the same gate areas and switching between flights is generally pretty easy. For morning flights, Delta offers bagels/newspapers and alcoholic drinks are free. The whole experience is meant to allow business travelers a quicker and more seamless experience between business hubs.

Even if you don’t fly Delta, this new increased competition is sure to keep fares competitive, at least in the short term. A quick glance at fares shows that one-eways between the city pairs are $69-$79 on most days in September and October and you can fly Delta, Virgin America, United or American.
LAX SFO cheapDetails from the Delta press release:

Customers flying the Delta Shuttle between Los Angeles and San Francisco will enjoy:

  • Check-in as close as 30 minutes prior to departure
  • Dedicated check-in counters exclusively for Shuttle customers
  • Gates located near security
  • Complimentary newspapers for all customers including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Financial Times and more
  • Assigned seating
  • Two classes of service with complimentary upgrades for SkyMiles Medallion members when available.
  • Complimentary onboard snacks provided by LYFE Kitchen, a California-based lifestyle food brand, offering great-tasting, good-for-you food
  • Complimentary beverages in-flight including Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. craft beer, Starbucks coffee and wine from Wente Vineyards in all classes of service
  • Access to in-flight Wi-Fi on all Shuttle flights

Delta SkyMiles members will earn a minimum of 500 miles for all Shuttle flights.

LAX Renovation
Delta has partnered with the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles World Airports to invest $229 million to overhaul Terminal 5 at Los Angeles International Airport. The construction project has already begun and will be complete in 2015. Highlights of the project include doubling the size of the ticketing lobby and federal security screening checkpoints; an exclusive Sky Priority experience with a separate lobby and checkpoint; a renovation of the Delta Sky Club; new baggage carousels; upgraded facilities to improve international baggage recheck; and new finishes providing a cleaner, brighter customer experience. All Delta and Delta Connection flights serving Los Angeles offer customers the option of First Class, Economy Comfort or Economy seating, along with in-flight Wi-Fi. Delta operates the largest Wi-Fi-equipped fleet in the world, including all Delta Connection two-class regional jets.”

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  • Leslie

    Don’t forget that Southwest is heavily into this route as well! About 11 flights a day every hour to hour and a half. My husband takes the Southwest flights regularly for business, and Southwest has the advantage of also having extensive LA Area to Bay Area connections between and among the alternate airports (BUR, SNA, ONT, and OAK or SJC). Sometimes it is more advantageous to go into one of those airports and out of another depending on traffic, time of day, and where you actually need to be or live. In any event, we welcome the competition and more chances for even lower fares.

  • James

    As a frequent LAX->SFO flyer, this can only be great. Although heading into SFO might not have been the best choice – OAK or SJC are much less frequently jammed by fog and traffic.

    On a slightly different topic, I’m also extremely concerned and consistently annoyed that Sky Priority (or any level of priority) get special access to TSA lanes and scanning equipment. As a Gold Medallions member, even being in one of those lanes bothers me (although I still do it.)

    Exclusive access clubs and faster boarding on the plane? No problem. We’re paying/have paid for that. But the TSA is the government giving special privileges to private companies high-paying customers – in a really blatant way.

  • Allan Klein

    This is great. I’ll take what I can get, but I wish they offered BUR-SFO instead.

  • Sandy

    If economy is rebounding, why are there less of credit card offerings with bonuses?

  • Jimmy

    Does this compare to UA’s LAX-SFO product? I couldn’t find whether they offered similar shuttle services with amenities that Delta just rolled out with

  • sfomsp

    Reads like an announcement from PSA or AirCal in the 80s.

    Nice to see, let’s see if it pays off.

    United’s Shuttle in the 90s was chronically plagued by the fog delays. I guess the business model difference this time is using regional carrier cost basis.

  • Justin

    Perhaps the airlines pay for the separate screening lanes for their premium customers?

  • disqust101

    Er, because the economy is rebounding?

  • ssk

    They don’t, but they should

  • Avidan

    This would have been great news for me…except I joined Surf Air last month.
    I haven’t looked back since. I fly a round trip every week from Burbank to SF, and the convenience of never dealing with a commercial airport is worth almost any price (and it still nearly penciled as a wash in cost!)

  • tomg63

    This is not controlled by the TSA, but rather by the airport. The Airport decides how to arrange the lines. The TSA’s jurisdiction starts at the guy checking IDs. At many airports, you’ll notice that the priority line feeds into the same ID checker as the regular line and after that everyone goes through the same thing. TSA-pre is something else altogether.

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