Delta pulls lie-flats from Boston to LAX, leaving JetBlue as sole holdout
In a sign that business travel isn't coming back any time soon, Delta Air Lines is making a big adjustment on one of its flagship transcon routes.
Going forward, the Atlanta-based carrier is swapping the premium 168-seat Boeing 757-200 for a 160-seat Boeing 737-800 on the Boston (BOS) to Los Angeles (LAX) route, per Cirium schedules and confirmed by the carrier. To compensate for the downgauge, the carrier will fly the route four times a day, up from the previously planned thrice-daily service.
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Despite the increased frequency, the move spells bad news for those looking for the best onboard experience. That's because the 757s sport 16 lie-flat business-class pods. Arranged in a 2-2 configuration, the Collins Diamond seat isn't the industry's best, but it's definitely a big step up from the 737.
The 737 has 16 standard domestic recliners in a 2-2 configuration. The seats recline just a few degrees, and there are no legrests or footrests, as you'll find in the Delta One cabin on the 757.
There are also eight fewer extra-legroom Comfort+ seats on the 737, compared to the 757. Fortunately, both jets are equipped with high-speed Wi-Fi, seat-back monitors, power and USB ports.
Along with the downgauge, Delta will no longer market the service as one of its signature Delta One transcon routes.
In Delta's words,
Regarding service between Boston and LAX, our Domestic Delta One offering has been limited for the past year and has been mostly flown with domestic First Class equipment. We continue to closely monitor demand trends and are in a position to adjust quickly to demand, recognizing that lie-flat Delta One service is important to our business travelers transiting Boston and LAX.
As Delta explains, it could decide to restore lie-flat service if, and when, demand returns. For now, however, the carrier has pulled lie-flats through April 2022.
Before the pandemic, airlines were rushing to fly their nicest cabins between Boston and both Los Angeles and San Francisco, largely and attempt to woo business travelers with large expense accounts. Delta began offering premium service between BOS and LAX in April 2018, "during strategic flight times...to customize the service offering to align with times when customers are seeking the Delta One experience."
More Delta news: 39 new and expanded routes to 22 destinations
Nowadays, without appreciable levels of business travel, the airline seemingly doesn't see enough demand to warrant flying its premium-heavy jets to Boston.
Turns out, Delta's not alone. United made a similar move earlier in the pandemic, replacing its premium transcon service from Boston with standard domestic equipment.
That leaves hometown carrier, JetBlue, as the only airline left serving the West Coast with lie-flats. According to Cirium schedules, the carrier plans to fly its Mint-equipped Airbus A321s from Boston to the following U.S. cities through the rest of the year:
- Las Vegas (LAS)
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- San Diego (SAN)
- Seattle (SEA)
- San Francisco (SFO)
Flying JetBlue? Read this Mint review first
Despite the apparent softness in the Boston market, the lie-flat wars are heating up down the coast in New York. United Airlines recently returned to JFK airport, with flights to both LAX and SFO on its swanky "high-J" Boeing 767-300ER.
American Airlines and JetBlue will soon coordinate schedules between the coasts, offering flyers a top-notch onboard experience on both the Airbus A321T and the Mint-equipped A321.