In today’s Flight review on AU Abroad, we take you on Delta Air Lines‘ A320 service from Los Angeles, California to Austin, Texas in the USA.
Airline: Delta Air Lines
Route: Los Angeles (LAX) to Austin, DL2420 (Virgin Australia codeshare ticket)
Seat: 16C (Aisle Seat, of a 3-3 configuration in Economy)
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Scheduled Flight Time: 2 hours 28 minutes
On Schedule? 20 minute late departure and arrival due to President Obama’s Air Force One being at Austin’s Airport, which created a late arrival of the aircraft into Los Angeles. Because America.
Frequent Flyer Program:
Delta’s program is SkyMiles, though one of their many partners is Virgin Australia, whose Velocity frequent flyer program is interchangeable with Delta’s own. In fact, having a Virgin Gold card in many ways is better than having Delta’s own SkyMiles card at the same tier.
As a Velocity Gold Member, I had access to The Sky Club in LAX Terminal 5 – something which isn’t even accessible to many premium flyers of the Delta network, though it was still a busy lounge. The room had limited hot food – soup and mac n cheese – with an assortment of cold snacks. You’ll find a mix of paid premium and free drinks, such as a jack and coke, while the room is spacious and comfortable, with fast wi-fi and nice bathrooms. They don’t seem to make announcements for the flights, however, so be sure to keep an eye on the time and the boards.
Check-in & Baggage:
The treatment of the Gold and Platinum Velocity Card holders starts with a completely separate, pain free priority boarding check in area. Though being LAX, still expect substantial delays going through security, priority passenger or not. Even if you don’t have a premium card or aren’t flying a premium cabin, however, the Delta set up in Terminal 5 has improved greatly in recent years. Two bags are included when you’re sky priority but otherwise there is a $25 fee for your checked luggage, depending on the ticket type.
There is no free meal service on the flight, which is more than fine for a short flight – though frustratingly, it seems that this is the standard treatment for all economy domestic flights in the US – but there are complimentary non-alcoholic drinks served – including Coke products and Starbucks coffee. If you want an alcoholic drink, you’re looking at between US$6 and US$8. There are some cookies, pretzels and peanuts available for free, with most other food and snacks are between US$8 and US$10.
There’s no traditional in-flight entertainment on board the majority of Delta’s domestic flights, rather you login to the Gogo inflight Internet wi-fi on your personal device, which comes available with some free entertainment options in addition to the paid wi-fi internet which is optional for the entire flight. As part of the free options, there are tonnes of movies, a few TV shows and some web series. This includes Australia’s own Please Like Me and shows like Top Gear. The first 7 episodes of Mr. Robot treated me to some excellent viewing. You need the Gogo app to use all this, but impressively you can download that while in flight, saving you the need of any pre-flight panic.
We were warned us of bumps en route, and there were, but on the whole it was a pretty easy flight. The A320 aircraft, however, is ageing, and this is primarily observed in the seats. Loose trays and minor chair damage definitely shows this as a cabin in need of an update. The seats have no moveable headrests but are comfortable all the same. And the leg room is decent as long as the person in front of you doesn’t recline. On this flight, the sink in the bathroom was unusable, so my hand sanitizer came in very handy. A must have on any flight, if we’re going to be honest!
Following on from the lead of airlines like Virgin America, Delta has worked hard to improve the domestic travel experience in America, and have become one of the best in the country. Though some of the planes definitely need a bit of upkeep, I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with the staff in recent years – and this flight was no exception. They are attentive and assist you as best they can. Of course, however, every flight is difference.
The writer flew on his own expense in March 2016, travelling to the annual SXSW conference.