Delta Announces Los Angeles – Beijing Route

Temple of Heaven with a circular roof

Most of the recent big route news out of Los Angeles has revolved around American Airlines starting up service to Auckland and service to Hong Kong and the airline has been making a big play for Los Angeles market as a whole. United is pretty impotent when it comes to flights out of LA but it looks as if Delta is fighting back.

Delta has announced that it will commence daily service between Los Angeles and Beijing from 16 December 2016 (pending regulatory approval). 

Per Delta:

Delta’s Los Angeles-Beijing flight will offer customers convenient connections to more than 39 cities in China, including – Chengdu, Shenyang, Qingdao, Xian and Hangzhou on SkyTeam partners China Eastern and China Southern, while the Los Angeles-bound Beijing flight will offer key connections to Denver, Las Vegas, Portland, San Diego and Phoenix as well as 35 other markets throughout the U.S., Canada and Latin America.

beijing-great-wallOne of my favorite memories from my trips to Beijing is one of visiting the Great Wall

Delta already has a number of Asia-Pacific routes from Los Angeles including flights to:

  • Tokyo Narita
  • Tokyo Haneda
  • Sydney
  • Shanghai

And now it will become the only airline to serve both Beijing and Shanghai from Los Angeles.

The overlap between Delta and American on Asia-Pacific routes out of Los Angeles is quite significant with American offering non-stop flights from LA to:

  • Tokyo Narita
  • Tokyo Haneda
  • Sydney
  • Shanghai
  • Hong Kong
  • Auckland

Delta’s Los Angeles – Beijing Schedule

From 16 December 2016 Delta will operate its daily service between Los Angeles and Beijing on the following schedule:

DL9 LAX 12:30 – 17:45+ 1 day PEK
DL8 PEK 19:30 – 15:45 LAX

Westbound flights are scheduled at 13 hours 15 minutes while Eastbound flights are scheduled for 12 hours 15 minutes.

Delta’s Los Angeles – Beijing Offering

Delta will operate its new Los Angeles – Beijing route with a Boeing 777-200 aircraft configured with 37 fully flat Delta One seats, 36 Delta Comfort seats and 218 regular Economy Class seats.

Delta_Airlines_Boeing_777-200ERDelta 777-200 Seat Map Courtesy of SeatGuru (Click To Enlarge)

An example of a Delta One cabin:

DeltaOne copy

Some of the benefits of flying Delta One include:

  • All aisle access seating
  • Westin Heavenly In-flight Bedding on 180-degree flat-bed seats.
  • A selection of regionally-tailored, chef-curated meals which are paired with wines selected by Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club access before the flight
  • Noise-canceling headsets and MALIN + GOETZ items in a TUMI amenity kit

Things shouldn’t be too terrible further back in the aircraft either:

delta-777-200-seat-dimensions

Assuming SeatGuru’s figures are correct and Economy Class seat with 18.5″ of seat width is almost unheard of in the modern aviation world (take a look at my comparison of USA-Asia Economy Class seats here) although the 31″ of seat pitch (roughly equivalent to leg) room isn’t exactly industry leading.

Bottom Line

I love watching airlines go at each other in any given market and when that market happens to be Los Angeles (where I spend quite a bit of time) I love it even more. Competition is a great thing and, now that the US government in its infinite wisdom has left us with just 3 major US carriers, I’ll take whatever competition I can get.

I can’t help but feel that, as far as China goes, American is getting a little left behind (I’m happy to be corrected). United has just announced yet another route between the West Coast and China and Delta has a strong tie-ups with both China Eastern and China Southern so it will be interesting to see if American will react.

Whatever happens, a new route from a major airline is always nice to have and, if it helps to keep a check on prices between the West Coast and Asia, that’s a nice bonus to have.