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En route to the Hawaiian island of Maui, TPG Editorial Intern Danielle Truglio first flew Delta’s 757-200 economy product New York-JFK to LAX. Then, for her roughly six-hour leg from Los Angeles (LAX) to Maui’s Kahului Airport (OGG), she continued on the same carrier and product. Here’s her review of that flight.
Booking the Flight
The total cost of my round-trip ticket from New York-JFK to Maui (OGG) round-trip was $1,576.48, including the return flights booked in Delta First. Economy prices for LAX-OGG flights are usually priced around $250-$300 each way, and while economy-class upgrades vary between carriers, Delta charges approximately $119 for its Economy Comfort seats.
Here’s the breakdown of my JFK-OGG fare:
Round-trip tickets: $1,468.38
Taxes and fees: $108.10
Award travel on Delta can vary, but looking at the calendar between October 2015 and March 2016, it seems you can reliably fly one-way, nonstop from LAX-OGG in Economy for 22,500 SkyMiles + $5.60 each way. Occasionally, a redemption of 27,500 SkyMiles + $5.60 pops up, but this is usually for Saturday flights.
If you want to check bags, you’ll have to shell out $25 for the first and $35 for the second. However, Delta has a number of American Express cards that allow cardholders to avoid checked-bag fees, regardless of their Medallion status. The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express cards all allow cardholders and up to nine companions on the same reservation to check a bag for free.
LAX’s Terminal 5
When I arrived at Los Angeles’ (LAX) Terminal 5 (also known as the Delta Terminal), I was relieved to discover that my next gate was close by, so I didn’t have to switch terminals or go through security again. Instead, I was able to spend all of my three-hour layover getting some work (and eating) done. I bought a yogurt parfait from the Farmers Market To-Go and headed to my gate to get some work done. I later got a delicious iced coffee from a cute little kiosk called Coffee Bar, then simply waited for my flight to begin boarding — which was a breeze… at first.
Cabin and Seat
I booked this trip close to last-minute and was consequently assigned a seat in the very back of the plane. Before sitting down, I was aware of a stench coming from the lavatory, which was not what I wanted to experience right before a long flight.
That wasn’t my only discomfort. Though I was on a longer flight, I felt like this particular aircraft was markedly more cramped. The 757-200’s Economy cabin has a total of 153 seats arranged in a 3-3 configuration, and all 132 standard Economy seats have a (very narrow) width of 17.2 inches and 31-33 inches of pitch. The one bright spot: My flight wasn’t completely full, so the middle seat next to me remained empty the entire flight.
I knew that we wouldn’t have Gogo inflight Wi-Fi service as we flew over the Pacific, but I was disappointed to see that the aircraft also lacked seat-back touchscreens and the Delta Studio entertainment system. There were small drop-down overhead screens, but they were difficult to comfortably watch without craning my neck. Fortunately, Delta does have a rather entertaining safety video, which gave everyone on the plane a nice laugh before our departure.
I ultimately ended up forcing myself to sleep on this flight, as there wasn’t much else to do. If you don’t easily sleep on planes, I’d suggest bringing along a book, magazines, or a tablet pre-loaded with some entertainment.
As I mentioned in my review of the Economy flight between JFK-LAX, Delta does serve food on longer flights — but passengers seated in Economy Comfort get preference on each flight’s limited stock. Because I fell asleep for a good duration of the flight, I missed my already-narrow opportunity to purchase food, and instead ended up requesting a glass of orange juice and a second mini-bag of pretzels.
The version of the 757-200 that Delta flies on the LAX-OGG route is stuffy, tired and cramped. I was disappointed by the poor quality of the aircraft and lack of modern/any amenities. And although I didn’t expect an Economy seat toward the rear of the plane to be a cakewalk, I was unpleasantly surprised by the amount of physical discomfort I experienced in a narrow seat set near a none-too-fresh lavatory.
For this almost-six-hour flight to Maui, spending $119 to upgrade to Delta Comfort for more legroom and a shot at ordering food would certainly be worthwhile. If you’re looking for in-flight entertainment on this route, though, remember that you probably won’t find it on Delta or American — I’d recommend that you consider flying United or Hawaiian, instead.
Have you flown from Los Angeles to Maui? We’d love to hear your comments or questions below!
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