These amazing suites are now flying domestically

Mar 12, 2020

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If you have a business or first-class flight in the coming days, you may find yourself in your airline’s most exclusive premium products as airlines struggle to figure out what to do with wide-body jets amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Big Three airlines have all questioned what to do with the dozens of planes idled by fears of the coronavirus outbreak in China, as we reported last month. These jets are typically used on long-haul flights to Asia, with American saying that it may use 10 unused Boeing 777s and 787s on key hub-to-hub route between Dallas and Los Angeles.

As TPG’s Ben Mutzabaugh reported earlier this week, American will move some of its wide-body aircraft to domestic routes as they’re pulled off international service. American and other airlines have already begun doing this after flights to China were halted during the initial novel coronavirus outbreak.

It could also use the larger 777-300ERs — the only wide-body aircraft featuring its Flagship First Class product — to replace Dreamliners on flights to Australia, as TPG’s Edward Russell reported last month.

Put simply: your next domestic business or first-class flight could be in Delta One or the aircraft that operates American Flagship First, both lie-flat products.

For the latest travel updates, bookmark TPG’s coronavirus hub page

Delta has already started operating its 777 — which features the Delta One Suites — between New York and its hub in Atlanta. The Points Guy himself, Brian Kelly, flew the product a few weeks back and was impressed with getting amenities like a blanket and pillow on the short flight. That aircraft is typically used on long-haul flights between Atlanta and Johannesburg.

Related: A review of Delta One business class on the first retrofitted 777

There are 28 suites in the Delta One cabin arranged in a forward-facing 1-2-1 configuration, with each featuring a sliding door that you can close for more privacy.

Delta is currently selling business-class tickets on the 777-200LR between New York and Atlanta for 23,500 Delta SkyMiles plus $5.60 one-way or $459 one-way. If you’re low on Delta miles, you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points or consider opening a cobranded Delta Amex card.

Related: Choosing the best credit card for Delta flyers

Another way is to take advantage of Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club program, where first-class intra-U.S. flights will only set you back 22,500 miles each way. Virgin Atlantic miles are pretty easy to collect, as the program is a 1:1 transfer partner with American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Points and a 3:1 transfer partner for Marriott Bonvoy.

Related: TPG Points Lab: Save miles booking Delta awards using Virgin Atlantic miles

And if you have $143 on hand, that’s enough to get you a one-way first-class seat on American’s A321 Transcon between Boston and New York, an hour-long flight. The cabin is comprised of 10 first-class seats arranged in a 1-1 configuration and is typically served on cross-country routes. If you want to use miles, you can book this seat for 32,500 AAdvantage miles plus $5.60. We’re also seeing several short- and medium-haul routes operating lie-flat seats, including Dallas (DFW) to Los Angeles (LAX) on the Boeing 787-9.

Bottom line

Obviously, you won’t get the same amenities on these short flights as you would on a longer flight. So don’t expect Delta’s popular Tumi amenity kit on your flight to Atlanta or Casper amenities like pajamas or slippers on American. Additionally, if you’re flying American’s A321T in first, you won’t have access to the Flagship lounge as you would on a qualifying transcontinental flight or Flagship First dining. Keep in mind that all of these routes are subject to additional equipment swaps, as the coronavirus outbreak evolves.

That said, if you’re an AvGeek who needs to travel in the next few weeks anyway, you might be in for a pleasant surprise on your next short flight.

Be sure to watch TPG’s dedicated page for coronavirus updates for the latest news.

Featured photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

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