With New Flight to Fairbanks, Delta’s A220 Explores the Last Frontier

Apr 23, 2019

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It’s rare to see new commercial routes to Alaska, particularly north of Anchorage, which is why an update in Delta’s schedule piqued our interest. Beginning Oct. 1, Delta’s daily nonstop between its hub in Seattle and Fairbanks International Airport will shift operations to the company’s newest narrowbody jet, the Airbus A220-100.

One-way tickets for the inaugural flight are pricing from $150 (basic economy) to $279 (first class), or from 14,000 (standard economy) to 23,500 (first class) if using Delta SkyMiles. (Delta is a 1:1 transfer partner with American Express Membership Rewards points.)

You can be on the first A220 flight from Seattle to Fairbanks for as little as $150 (or 14,000 SkyMiles) one-way

The shift is curious on a number of levels. For most of Delta’s initial A220 routes, we’re seeing the A220 supplant regional jets like the CRJ900 and Embraer ERJ-170/175. In those instances, moving to the A220 gives passengers seatback entertainment screens, faster onboard Wi-Fi, more lavatories and wider economy seats. It also gives Delta more seats to sell, moving from the 69 – 76 seat range on the regional birds to 109 seats on the A220.

delta a220 business travel laptop tray table
Business travelers will appreciate the added room in main cabin on the A220 (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

On the SEA-FAI route, Delta’s replacing a 160-seat Boeing 737-800 with the A220. While it represents a major upgrade in terms of creature comforts, it’s a downgrade in capacity.

Moreover, Delta’s messaging from the get-go pegged the A220 as a mainstay for medium-haul routes with lots of business traffic. At 1,533 miles, the 3 hour, 57 minute jaunt between Seattle and Fairbanks will become the longest A220 route flown by Delta, and a solid chunk of passengers will likely be flying for things like Northern Lights viewing, exploring far-flung national parks and driving the famed Top of the World Highway.

, Expansive views from The Top of the World Highway, which is mostly unpaved (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)Of course, Delta may also be banking on traffic to nearby Eielson Air Force Base, as well as connections onward to oil fields on Alaska’s North Slope.

In addition to the SEA-FAI route, Delta will insert an A220 for service to Denver from Seattle and Salt Lake City beginning Oct. 1, as well as Orange County through Salt Lake City. For families seeking a more direct route to Disneyland in Southern California, that’s a welcome alternative to flying into LAX.

With a range of over 2,700 nautical miles, we remain hopeful that Delta will insert the new aircraft on cross-country routes like Detroit to Seattle or Atlanta to San Francisco. Below, you’ll find the full list of Delta A220 routes to date.

Route In-Service
Atlanta (ATL) to Salt Lake City (SLC) March 2, 2020
Boston (BOS) to Detroit (DTW) June 1, 2019
Boston (BOS) to New York (LGA) February 7, 2019
Boston (BOS) to Minneapolis (MSP) July 11, 2019
Denver (DEN) to Seattle (SEA) October 1, 2019
Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) to Detroit (DTW) June 1, 2019
Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) to New York (JFK) July 26, 2019
Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) to New York (LGA) February 7, 2019
Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) to Minneapolis (MSP) June 28, 2019
Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) to Salt Lake City (SLC) June 1, 2019
Detroit (DTW) to Newark (EWR) June 1, 2019
Detroit (DTW) to New York (JFK) July 26, 2019
Detroit (DTW) to New York (LGA) June 1, 2019
Detroit (DTW) to Seattle (SEA) June 12, 2019
Newark (EWR) to Minneapolis (MSP) June 30, 2019
Fairbanks (FAI) to Seattle (SEA) October 1, 2019
Houston (IAH) to New York (LGA) June 1, 2019
Houston (IAH) to Minneapolis (MSP) July 4, 2019
Houston (IAH) to Salt Lake City (SLC) June 13, 2019
New York (JFK) to Boston (BOS) October 5, 2019
New York (JFK) to Salt Lake City (SLC) March 2, 2020
New York (LGA) to Minneapolis (MSP) August 29, 2019
New York (LGA) to New Orleans (MSY) August 31, 2019
New York (LGA) to Fort Myers (RSW) August 31, 2019
Minneapolis (MSP) to Salt Lake City (SLC) August 30, 2019
Seattle (SEA) to San Francisco (SFO) August 13, 2019
Seattle (SEA) to San Jose (SJC) June 13, 2019
Seattle (SEA) to Salt Lake City (SLC) August 31, 2019
San Francisco (SFO) to Salt Lake City (SLC) August 31, 2019
San Jose (SJC) to Salt Lake City (SLC) June 1, 2019
Salt Lake City (SLC) to Orange County (SNA) September 2, 2019

Boosting Your SkyMiles Balance

If you’re looking to jump on one of the first A220 flights to Alaska using SkyMiles, you’ll need to make sure you have a healthy balance to spend. There are a variety of ways to earn Delta miles, from Delta-operated flights to trips on SkyTeam airlines to various non-travel partners. However, one of the best ways to boost your SkyMiles balance to score a few free trips is by adding one of these cards to your arsenal:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express ($550 annual fee; See Rates & Fees); 60,000-point welcome bonus after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months, though be sure to check the CardMatch Tool to see if you’re targeted for a 100,000-point welcome bonus (you can transfer Membership Rewards points directly to Delta SkyMiles) (Targeted offer subject to change at anytime). Terms apply.
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express ($595 annual fee; See Rates & Fees); Earn up to 75,000 bonus points: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 bonus points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms apply.
  • Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express ($450 annual fee, $550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020; See Rates & Fees); 40,000-mile welcome bonus plus 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months. Terms apply.
  • Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card ($450 annual fee, $550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020; (See Rates & Fees); 40,000-mile welcome bonus plus 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. Terms apply.

Additional A220 Coverage

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H/T: Airlineroute

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve Business Card, click here.

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