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Delta’s Also Adding Lie-Flat Beds to San Diego Transcons

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JetBlue made headlines when it announced ambitious expansion plans for its beloved Mint business-class product, which will soon be available on all of the routes below:

The lie-flat seats are already available on select flights from JFK (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Aruba and Barbados) and Boston (San Francisco and Barbados). And yesterday, JetBlue announced that Mint will soon launch on JFK-San Diego — seats are now on sale ($499 each way) for flights beginning August 15, 2017.

JetBlue’s Mint cabin has 12 seats arranged in a 2-2 configuration, and 4 seats in a much more private 1-1 configuration, with sliding doors. So, while some carriers may swap in comparable aircraft on the San Diego route, their product won’t be able to beat (or even match) JetBlue.

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Now, it appears that Delta has quietly upgraded its JFK-San Diego service, with a 757 outfitted with the airline’s lie-flat business-class seats. This is the “75S” configuration, typically used for flights on premium transcon routes, such as JFK to LAX and SFO. As of June 8, 2017, however, one of these aircraft will be flying to San Diego every day, with the following schedule:

  • Delta 2647 New York (JFK) 8:05am Departure ⇒ San Diego (SAN) 11:03am Arrival
  • Delta 403 San Diego (SAN) 12:10pm Departure ⇒ New York (JFK) 8:46pm Arrival

These flights are priced from $623 each way, or, oddly, $1,668 round-trip (more than twice the cost of two one-ways).

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These 757s offer 16 lie-flat seats in a 2-2 configuration, 44 Delta Comfort+ seats and 108 regular economy seats. There’s on-demand entertainment and AC power at every seat, plus Gogo Wi-Fi, so this model represents a step up in both cabins.

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So what do the other airlines have in store? Alaska is launching nonstop service from Newark to San Diego soon, but these flights will be operated by a standard domestic 737. American also offers nonstop San Diego flights (from JFK), and while the airline has recently begun replacing the terrible angle-flat seats on its international 757s, it’s unlikely that AA has an aircraft to spare for San Diego flights at this point.

That leaves United, which does have a fleet of lie-flat 757s that are used for some p.s. flights between Newark and LAX/SFO, and there’s currently a surplus of this variant after the carrier pulled these planes from several European routes.

Currently, United’s lie-flat 757s are being used on non-premium routes, such as Denver to Maui:

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And Newark to Miami:

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Over the summer, I managed to fly this same configuration from Newark to Houston to Anchorage, and from Kauai to San Francisco. So United clearly has more of these 757s available than it needs to operate current p.s. and international routes.

Regardless of United’s intentions, it’s clear that JetBlue has motivated Delta to step up its product on San Diego flights. And, if United adds lie-flat service, too, business-class passengers will have yet another option for earning miles while flying in comfort. Complimentary upgrades should be available as well, unless airlines add their premium transcon service to these flights, which doesn’t appear to be in the cards at this point.

Will you be flying Mint to San Diego?

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