Last week, I did a little research, flying Delta from Anchorage to Seattle and back.
Initially, my plan was to burn up some Delta credit from a ticket purchased during the pandemic. But I looked closely at the American Express offer on their page: 70,000 SkyMiles, plus a $200 statement credit ($2,000 minimum spend required during the first 90 days).
Keep in mind, SkyMiles is an entirely different currency than Alaska Air miles. Delta awards miles based on how much you spend, not how far you fly. Still, a roundtrip ticket to Seattle is 8,000 miles. To Denver, it’s 14,000 miles. To San Diego, it’s 13,000 miles. So, if I’m flexible, 70K SkyMiles is good for at least a couple of trips.
An important note: I was hoping to use the $200 statement credit right away on the Delta ticket in my checkout cart. Nope. You have to wait for the card to use the credit. So I waited about 6 days until the card arrived. By that time, Delta was offering its “Comfort+” seats for $35 extra each way. So I bought it…the net cost to me was $118 roundtrip.
Also, American Express is waiving the first-year fee of $99, in addition to offering one free checked bag with every Delta reservation.
Flying during the pandemic still is a pain. The masks. The social distance. But my trip on Delta was essentially hands-free. I downloaded the Delta app to check in and get my boarding pass. Even though I get one checked bag, I’m still carry-on only if I can help it.
Up until earlier this week, Delta had blocked off every middle seat on their 737s between Anchorage and Seattle. So that was nice.
In Anchorage, Delta’s gates are at the end of the “B” concourse. There are no concessions that are open on the B concourse. Everything from Starbucks to McDonalds is over on the “C” Concourse. But in Seattle, Delta has built out the A, B and S gates. There are plenty of ways to be distracted between flights with food and souvenir shopping.
The big difference with Delta’s “Comfort+” premium economy is the extra legroom. In fact, row 10, right behind first class, has more legroom than “F”. That said, there’s no seatback monitor. Delta’s Comfort+ seats also have some extra cushion in the seatback, but I couldn’t discern any big difference in the seat padding.
The “Delta Studio” is a nice feature, even in economy class. There are all kinds of music, tv shows and movies available on the seatback monitor. Bring your own headphones—or Delta will sell you some. No complimentary headphones exist!
Since Delta is on the “Gogo” internet plan, you also can stream the content to your tablet or phone, just like with Alaska Air.
But I used Gogo for the internet connection. The fast internet “suitable for streaming and sending files” is $34 for the flight. I had some work to do, so I decided to try it out. On the way to Seattle it was pretty good, clocking at 34.5mbps down/0.0mbps up . On the way up, the connection was pretty lame. It kept dropping the connection. Essentially a waste of money. That’s Gogo, IMHO.
No food was served on the flight, except in “F”. The flight attendants came through with a couple of tiny snacks, which I shared with the kids. HA. Not very good. I didn’t take advantage of the free drinks in Comfort+….rather I just left my mask on.
Delta’s crewmembers were very cordial and professional. There were clear instructions that you had to wear your mask over both your nose and mouth.
Since I didn’t check any bags, I didn’t time the baggage delivery. And I’ll save in-flight food and beverage for another time.
Delta’s service was crisp and attentive. The prices were good.
I hope Delta continues its fight for more passengers to/from Alaska. That’s because when the airlines are mad at each other, the traveler wins. Nothing else makes much of a difference in terms of affordable airfares between Alaska, the Lower 48 and beyond.
This summer, Delta will offer up to seven flights each day between Anchorage and Seattle. They’re flying from Fairbanks to Seattle, Minneapolis and Salt Lake. From Anchorage, they’re offering nonstop service to Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Detroit, Atlanta and New York’s JFK airport. Delta also is flying from Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan to Seattle.
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