Delta’s New LAX-DCA Route Will Have Lie-Flat Seats

Filed Under: Delta

I somehow missed this news on Friday (I mean, to be fair, I think we all missed every bit of news that was not Donald Trump and his love of Tic-Tacs and unwanted sexual advances on Friday), but Delta has made another game-changing move in its battle for dominance with American and United at LAX.

Currently Delta has no nonstop service to Washington, D.C. from LAX, which is both odd and frustrating for me, personally, since I live in one city and have family in the other. (Typically, I’ll either fly Alaska and credit my miles to Delta, but with no hope of an upgrade, or I’ll connect in Salt Lake or Atlanta.)

However, on Friday Delta not only announced new nonstop service beginning April 24, 2017 between Los Angeles and Washington-National — thus, directly competing with both American Airlines and Alaska — but announced that its new DCA service will be on a Delta One-configured 757-200 aircraft with 16 lie-flat seats. Presumably, this is the same aircraft configuration Delta occasionally flies between New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco, which means the seats don’t all feature direct aisle access.

Delta One 757 seats
Delta One 757 seats

This is actually terrific news not only for folks who regularly fly the LA-DC route, but also for the future of domestic first class flying in general. Delta seems to be competing here, not with American, but with JetBlue’s Mint expansion, and it seems likely the LAX-DCA route will be a bit of a test run for Delta to see how its enhanced premium product does elsewhere.

The timing of the once-per-day flight is actually pretty convenient, as well: Delta #2036 will depart Los Angeles at 8:30 a.m. and arrive into National at 4:50 p.m., and Delta #1913 will depart National at 5:45 p.m. and arrive into Los Angeles at 8:30 p.m.

In order to free up the restricted slot at Washington-National, Delta is shifting one of its twice-daily Salt Lake City flights to Washington-Dulles.

What is unclear right now (although I’ve reached out to Delta for a response and will update if there is anything to report) is whether the lie-flat product will be standard domestic first class, subject to unlimited complimentary upgrades, or whether First on this route will be “Delta One,” with its enhanced food and beverage service, access to special check-in areas at LAX, and restrictive upgrade policy.

UPDATE: Delta has confirmed its 757 service between Los Angeles and Washington will be domestic first class, not “Delta One.”  This means no enhanced food service, Westin Heavenly bedding or special check-in, but this also means the seats are up for grabs with unlimited complimentary upgrades, which for me is a huge plus.

What do you think of Delta’s new route?

  1. This is so great. There were a handful of cities that frustratingly didn’t have direct flights, with DC being one. That the flight is to National makes it all the better. Now, if I could just get a non-stop to Chicago from LAX that would be GREATTTTTT.

  2. They’re being a little bit assy with pricing. I would hope they consider it as a Delta One flight…that would make the $1200 palatable.

  3. The timing for DCA-LAX is perfect for business travelers but the LAX-DCA timing makes it almost certain people will split one-ways based on timing.

  4. @Nick why would you fly Alaska and credit to Delta? Isn’t Mileage Plan a more lucrative FF program than SkyMiles?

  5. I feel every true transcon city pairs in the US can support lie-flat business class (no direct aisle is needed) IF the airlines can figure out how to right-size the routes and timing.

    I’m aware that Jet-Blue have a different cost structure, but the writings on the wall for DL, UA and AA. They have to compete, up their product and slash premium fares….it’s happening and is not the first time DL has dived in.

  6. @Nick honest question, why would you fly Alaska and credit to Delta? Isn’t Mileage Plan a more lucrative FF program than SkyMiles?

    Not trying to flame, not sure why my first comment was deleted…

  7. Not really odd that DL didnt have this flight before. DC is a spoke for Delta and the DC-LAX market is already served very well by multiple nonstops as well as tons of connections. LA, while important for DL, is only getting to the point now where there is space to accommodate this trip. I’m not surprised they gave up a SLC flight for it, but I don’t think the market was crying out for it. It’ll be interesting to see how this impacts the other DCA niche players in this market. Fares are usually pretty cheap, so I’ll be surprised if DL makes a huge profit on this one nonstop roundtrip. But that’s not the point.

  8. Seems unlikely this would be marketed as anything other than domestic F with standard upgrade rules. DL flies the same bird on a once-daily SAN-JFK frequency.

  9. So excited for this announcement. Flights are well timed…early enough arrival in DC for an evening reception/dinner and the return to LAX leaves late enough for a full day of meetings. So glad I won’t have to rely on AA for this anymore.

  10. AA originally started the DCA-LAX with a 757 with 24 standard F seats (good for upgrades). But the 757 had too many mechanical issues, and AA could not swap out with another route if the 757 had to cancel. AA now uses a 738, which is the main legacy AA aircraft out of DCA.

    AA could put back a 757 with an international configuration, but then that would again be that only aircraft type at DCA from AA/US.

  11. ? any carrier have lie-flat transcon Calif. to Washington now?
    you’d figure that ever since the whitehouse jacked up silicon valley for contributions way back in mid ’90’s, that there’d be such heavy San Jose-Dulles traffic that the con-trails would’ve block out the sun by now.

    and the computer-chair-welded geeks’d have such bad backs they’d have to travel lie-flat.

    silly-Con Ceo’s have their ‘lie-flat’ private planes, but we gremlins at the screens are in screaming back pain at age 28, and REALLY NEED lie-flats. SandHIll Rd. ought make it happen, and offer lie-flat access as a perk.

    i can hardly wait until the avalanche of workers’ comp claims and ‘workplace violence’ lawsuits against our multi-billionaire masters erupts. the CEO-cum-delicate-sensibility-spouses wee little do-gooder-for everyone-else tax-free ‘foundations’ will go begging for annual donations of appreciated stock.

    rise up, all ye wrecked L-4 discs! you deserve comp for a lifetime of pain, disability, and multiple surgeries!
    plus all the life-extending exercise you’ll never be able to do, the opiate dependence that has but a 10% chance to ever end, and the normal marital performance you’ll forgo.

    get real!


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