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Delta drops lie-flats from NYC to San Diego, leaving JetBlue as only luxe option

Nov. 07, 2022
4 min read
Delta drops lie-flats from NYC to San Diego, leaving JetBlue as only luxe option
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Flying domestically in a lie-flat seat is a rare treat, and moving forward, there's going to be one fewer option to experience this thrill.

That's because Delta Air Lines will no longer operate lie-flat-equipped jets to San Diego, as first seen in Cirium schedules and later confirmed by the carrier.

In recent years, the airline has deployed a mix of wide-body jets and Boeing 757-200s that are equipped with lie-flat Delta One pods in the pointy end of the plane on select frequencies on the 2,446-mile route from the New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to the San Diego International Airport (SAN).

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

These have been popular flights with premium travelers looking to splurge for additional comfort on these roughly six-hour transcons.

By offering flat beds in business class, the airline could offer its signature Delta One product on these routes, which usually commanded a revenue premium over flying on a competitor, such as Alaska Airlines, that didn't offer such posh seats up front.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

While that strategy may have worked in the past, especially when business travel was at record levels before the pandemic, Delta seemingly isn't seeing enough demand to support flying a lie-flat-equipped Boeing 757 to San Diego.

Feb. 11, 2023, will mark the final lie-flat service that Delta operates to San Diego, and going forward, the carrier will exclusively operate Boeing 737s on this route.

"As with any route, we are constantly evaluating which aircraft is best-suited to operate the service, and beginning early next year, Delta’s JFK-SAN route will be operated on the 737," reads the statement shared by carrier spokesperson Drake Castadena.

Delta's Boeing 737s are outfitted with domestic recliners in first class, and these seats aren't nearly as spacious or comfortable as the lie-flat pods on more premium planes.

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As such, it'll be interesting to see if Delta adjusts its pricing strategy for the forward cabin on these flights to account for the fact that the onboard product won't be as nice.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Going forward, Delta loyalists who are looking to cross the country in style will need to fly between New York and either Los Angeles or San Francisco to enjoy lie-flat seats. (Delta transcons from Boston and Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles also feature Delta One pods on the Boeing 757-200.)

With Delta pulling its luxe seats from the New York to San Diego route, it leaves JetBlue Airways as the sole carrier consistently offering a lie-flat product on these flights.

JetBlue's well-regarded Mint business class is available for purchase on at least one daily frequency from New York to San Diego. (The carrier also flies a Mint-equipped Airbus A321 from Boston to San Diego, too.)

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

These planes feature JetBlue's original Mint product, with 16 seats arranged in an alternating 2-2 and 1-1 configuration.

This original Mint experience, which first launched back in 2014, is really starting to show its age. Between the outdated inflight entertainment systems and seat cushions that frequently deflate in the air, flying in Mint isn't necessarily as premium as it once was. That said, the food and beverage offerings and above-average onboard service continue to shine.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

And, if you're looking for a lie-flat option to San Diego, JetBlue is going to be your only choice going forward.

United Airlines is the only other carrier that sometimes flies lie-flat-equipped jets from the New York area to San Diego. Over the years, the carrier has deployed Boeing 757-200s and Boeing 767s on some flights from its hub at the Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to the California city.

But, based on United's current schedule, only 57 flights from Newark to San Diego are planned to be operated by the Boeing 757-200 through November 2023. The rest will be operated by Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s — standard domestic jets — Cirium schedules show.

Featured image by ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
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  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
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  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees