In early September, Delta added hourly “California Shuttle” flights between San Francisco International and Los Angeles International using a fleet of Embraer 175 jets. And last week, the Atlanta-based carrier announced that starting next April it will add six flights per day between SFO and Seattle using the same type of aircraft.
Delta now offers up to 15 flights per day on the busy SFO-LAX route using the 76-seat Embraer 175 operated by its partner Compass Airlines. Flights depart SFO as early as 6 a.m. and return from LAX as late as 9 p.m.
Delta recently invited me to give the new service a try on a Tues-Sat trip from SFO to LAX.
Here’s what I liked:
1> A ghost town of a terminal for my mid afternoon flight south on a Tuesday at 4 pm. That’s likely to change as Delta bulks up at SFO with even more flights to Seattle next spring. But be warned: Delta’s Terminal 5 at LAX is much busier, more crowded, and currently undergoing a major renovation, which will be complete in 2015.
2> Fast and easy check in (including PreCheck) and security at Delta’s nearly exclusive terminal 1, Boarding Area C location.
3> Nice, new, roomy Embraer 175 jets w big square windows, all leather seats and overhead bins large enough for my rollaboard bag.
4> Three classes: standard economy (52 seats) , Economy Comfort (12) configured 2-2; first class (12) configured 1-2.
5> The first class section was full on both my south and northbound flights. Economy almost empty on the way down, full on the 9:30pm Saturday night departure from LAX
6> Super friendly, eager to please flight attendants and healthy, organic snacks like edamame hummus, raw sunflower seeds, whole grain crackers, raw veggies– for both first and economy passengers.
7> Gogo wifi on all flights (although my connection was spotty)
8> Free beverages, beer and wine, for all passengers in first and economy include Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. craft beer, Starbucks coffee and Wente Vineyards wines.
Although Delta paid for my ticket, fares are always low on this hyper competitive route, no matter what airline you fly. Currently, economy fares range from about $100 to $350 round trip, depending on how far in advance you book. First class runs $300-$500 round trip.