Alaska Airlines vs Delta Airlines: Which Airline is Best? Full Guide

spellbound travels Alaska airlines vs delta airlines

When it comes to choosing the right airline for your travels, you might be wondering what’s the difference between Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines. These two major carriers offer a range of services that cater to various traveller preferences. Let’s take a closer look at the distinctions between Alaska Airlines vs Delta Airlines, comparing their routes, in-flight experiences, loyalty programs, and more. So, whether you’re planning to explore the Pacific Northwest or jetting off from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City, you can choose the right airline for you!

Routes and Partnerships

When considering Alaska Airlines vs Delta Airlines, the differences in routes is HUGE! Delta Airlines, as one of the largest American airlines, has a vast domestic and international presence. With daily flights connecting major cities in North America, Delta Airlines is a major player in the industry. It even has codeshare agreements with international airlines like Qatar Airways and Virgin Atlantic, expanding its reach to international destinations.

Alaska Airlines, on the other hand, is known for its strong presence in the West Coast, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. If you’re looking to explore destinations in this region, Alaska Airlines is your go-to carrier. While not as extensive as Delta’s, Alaska Airlines’ route network is impressive, making it a big winner for travellers looking to explore the Western United States.

Loyalty Programs

When it comes to frequent flyer programs, Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan and Delta’s SkyMiles program are worth mentioning. Alaska Airlines offers a solid customer service and its frequent flyer program is highly regarded.

Let’s explore which loyalty program is worth it depending on your specific needs!

Alaska Airlines Mileage Pan:

If you’re a frequent traveller, you can earn Alaska Airlines miles and even elite status through their co-branded credit card, which can be a great value for those who frequently fly with this airline. Whether you’re jetting off to Hong Kong or exploring the British Isles, the Mileage Plan can help you get there with rewards piling up.

Alaska Airlines allows you to accumulate miles not only through flights on Alaska Airlines but also through its extensive network of partner airlines, including American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Air France and Hawaiian Airlines, to name a few. This means that even if you’re venturing beyond Alaska’s own routes, you can continue to earn miles towards free flights and other perks. 

The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan offers elite status tiers that provide exclusive benefits to its most loyal travellers. With MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75K levels, you can enjoy priority boarding, complimentary upgrades, and enhanced baggage allowances. The program is designed to cater to your travel habits, ensuring that the more you fly with Alaska Airlines, the more you get in return.

One of the most enticing aspects of the Mileage Plan is the ability to redeem your miles for award tickets. Whether you’re planning a domestic escape or embarking on an international adventure, the Mileage Plan allows you to turn your accumulated miles into tangible travel experiences. With a variety of partner airlines, you have access to a wide range of destinations, making it easier to explore the world. Alaska Airlines also offers unique benefits for its frequent flyers, such as complimentary snacks, in-flight entertainment options, and premium economy seats on select flights. These perks make the Mileage Plan even more rewarding and enhance your overall in-flight experience.

Delta’s SkyMiles:

Delta’s SkyMiles program, on the other hand, is one of the largest among US airlines. With a variety of elite status tiers, including Medallion status, it caters to a wide range of travellers. Accumulating SkyMiles allows you to redeem award tickets and enjoy priority boarding, first class seats, and more. Both programs have their perks, so it ultimately comes down to your travel habits and preferences.

One of the key benefits of Delta’s SkyMiles program is the numerous opportunities to earn miles. Like Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines has an extensive network of partner airlines, including major international carriers such as Virgin Atlantic, Air France, and Korean Air, which means you can accumulate miles not only on Delta flights but also on partner airlines’ journeys. This is especially valuable for those who frequently travel to international destinations.

In addition to earning miles through flying, Delta’s SkyMiles program offers various opportunities to rack up miles through credit card partnerships. For frequent flyers who want to maximize their travel benefits, the program provides an array of options to boost their mileage balance.

Delta’s SkyMiles program has a tiered elite status system that provides a spectrum of advantages to its members. With Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallion levels, frequent travellers can enjoy benefits like complimentary upgrades, priority boarding, and access to Delta Sky Club lounges. These elite tiers are tailored to meet the needs of travellers with varying preferences and levels of loyalty.

One of the most appealing aspects of the SkyMiles program is the opportunity to redeem miles for a wide range of benefits. Whether you’re looking to book award tickets for domestic flights or planning long-haul international journeys, SkyMiles opens doors to exciting travel experiences. Delta Airlines also provides premium services like first-class seats, priority boarding, and lounge access that can be purchased with miles, enhancing your travel experience.

It’s also important to note that SkyMiles members can enjoy the convenience of complimentary first bags on flights when they hold Delta’s co-branded credit cards, streamlining the check-in process and making your travels hassle-free.

In-Flight Experience

In recent years, Alaska Airlines has made significant improvements to its in-flight experience. Some of its planes feature complimentary snacks, while others even offer free food in the main cabin. You’ll also find in-flight entertainment options like video screens, making long flights more enjoyable. Alaska Airlines also offers premium economy seats, a great option for those who want a little extra comfort.

Delta Airlines, as a larger airline, has a range of offerings for in-flight experiences. With direct flights connecting the contiguous United States, Delta provides a wide range of amenities. First-class seats, complimentary snacks, and a loyalty program that allows you to access premium services make Delta a great choice for those who prioritize comfort and convenience on long-haul flights.

Generally, both provide similar in-flight experience (especially if you’re flying economy) so there isn’t much of a difference here!

Customer Service and On-Time Performance

Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines both have strong records for on-time performance, ensuring you get to your destination promptly. With Alaska Airlines’ solid customer service, you can expect a great experience from start to finish. They’ve also made new service expansions, and their recent hires show their commitment to providing excellent service.

Delta Airlines has a reputation for being a larger company, but they still manage to provide a great customer experience. Their social media presence and responsive customer service make them stand out, and they have made efforts to prioritize better service for their passengers. If you’re after superior customer service and on-time performance, Alaska Airlines might have won this battle!

Baggage Policies and Additional Perks

Both Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines offer some enticing perks when it comes to baggage policies. Alaska Airlines typically allows for free checked bags on domestic flights, which can save you money on your travels. Delta Airlines, on the other hand, offers free first bags for travellers with certain credit cards and priority boarding for cardholders. So in this instance, Alaska Airlines might be a better option if you’re hoping ot save on checked baggage fees.

Of course this is all dependent on your specific needs.

Ticket Pricing: Alaska Airlines vs Delta Airlines

Alaska Airlines is often recognized for its competitive pricing, especially on routes within its primary operating region, the Pacific Northwest. If you’re traveling to destinations within this region or even along the West Coast, you may find that Alaska Airlines offers competitive fares. The airline also frequently runs sales and promotions, providing travellers with opportunities to secure affordable tickets.

Delta Airlines, as one of the largest airlines in North America, offers a wide range of domestic and international routes. While Delta’s ticket prices can sometimes be on the higher side, it’s worth noting that the airline provides additional services and benefits, such as complimentary snacks, in-flight entertainment, and loyalty program perks, which can add value to your journey.

Another thing to note is that Alaska Airlines has a price guarantee, meaning if you find the same flight for less than $10 on another site (within 24 hours), they’ll refund you the difference. This can be a huge win for those hoping to travel on a budget and snag a cheap fare!

Another factor that can affect flight prices is the timing of your booking. Both Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines often adjust their ticket prices based on demand, so booking well in advance or taking advantage of last-minute deals can significantly impact the cost of your flight. Flexibility with travel dates and times can also help you find better prices, no matter which airline you book with.

The Bottom Line

After comparing Alaska Airlines vs Delta Airlines, it’s easy to get confused. With so many variables, it might be challenging to decide which one is best for you, so let me give you a hand!

If you often fly to many destinations around the US, as well as internationally, Delta might be your best bet based off the many routes they provide. You might also find a great deal on their economy tickets and can take advantage of their SkyMiles if you’re a frequent flier.

On the other hand, if you fly mostly in the Pacific Northwest, you might prefer Alaska Airlines. They offer convenience of a free checked bag, as well as the price guarantee that you don’t find with many airlines.

So, Alaska Airlines vs Delta Airlines – who won? Both offer great values, so it ultimately depends on your preferences and travel habits. Whether you’re jetting off from the West Coast or exploring the East Coast, both airlines have something unique to offer, making them top choices for your next flight.

Before you go, here are a few other flight blogs that might interest you:

I’ll be back shortly with a new blog but in the meantime, you can follow my adventures as a full-time traveller and digital nomad on InstagramTikTok and YouTube! 


Amy xx 

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