Delta to begin hourly flights between LAX and SFO; fares could fall

Delta will begin an hourly shuttle between Los Angeles and San Francisco using E-175s operated by Compass Airlines.

Delta will begin an hourly shuttle between Los Angeles and San Francisco using E-175s operated by Compass Airlines. The planes are the roomiest of regional jets.

There’s a good old-fashioned airline battle going on in Los Angeles – and travelers could win, at least in the short term.

Continuing its build up at Los Angeles International Airport, Delta Air Lines announced Thursday it will begin hourly shuttle service to San Francisco International Airport beginning on Sept. 3.

Technically the route is not quite Delta, as it will be flown by Delta Connection partner Compass Airlines. But it will look and feel like Delta. Compass will be using the roomiest of regional jets – the E-175, with 12 seats in first class, 12 in premium economy and 52 in economy.

There will be 14 flights on most days in each direction. They will leave Los Angeles on the hour starting at 7 a.m. and continuing through 9 p.m. (Delta skips 8 p.m., however.) The San Francisco departure schedule is similar, with hourly service and the last flight at 8 p.m.

Delta already has a strong schedule between Los Angeles and San Francisco. On Thursday, for example, it and its partner SkyWest Airlines had 11 flights from LAX to SFO. But the fact that Delta is now advertising its San Francisco flights as a “shuttle” should trigger some sort of response from its competitors. You could see bargain fares.

The LAX to SFO route is among the most competitive in the world. In addition to Delta, Southwest, American, United and Virgin America fly the route. United, which has hubs at LAX and SFO, has 15 flights between the cities on most days.

Delta is modeling the new flights on its popular shuttle between New York La Guardia and Washington, D.C. Passengers will receive free snacks and beer, as well as complimentary newspapers. Given how competitive airlines are with each other, you might soon also see those perks on some of Delta’s competitors.

This, incidentally, is not the first time an airline has had a “shuttle” between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The most recent iteration was operated by United, which had “Shuttle by United” between 1994 and 2001.

What do you think of Delta’s move?

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United Airlines worker accused of stealing from luggage at SFO after Asiana crash

This is a pretty depressing story, if true.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a United Airlines employee and his wife were charged with stealing from passenger luggage during the period after a Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crash landed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6.

According to the Chronicle, Sean Sharif Crudup and his wife allegedly took valuable clothing belonging to a couple who were supposed to return to San Francisco, but whose travel plans were alerted after the crash. The luggage reached San Francisco before they did.

Crudup and his wife allegedly took some clothing to Nordstrom, where they returned it for about $5,000, according to the Chronicle and law enforcement sources.  Nordstrom is known for having liberal return policies.

It’s not clear how often this happens. But it’s worth nothing that bags arrive before and after their owners all the time — not just after plane crashes.

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Lufthansa A380: Go inside the cockpit with pilots landing at SFO

Curious about the approach into San Francisco International Airport?

Pilots Eye TV put camera on the cockpit of a Lufthansa A380 and created a great video, which you can watch above. It’s an all access pass to what really happens inside the cockpit  — the sort of thing passengers rarely get to see. It even includes back and forth with air traffic controllers. And who doesn’t love those great German accents?

What do you think? Landing an airplane is pretty complicated, right?

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Asiana Flight 214: Some of the best news stories from Sunday and Monday

I was off the grid for a few days, and, given my beat, that turned out to be a bad thing. But when I returned to civilization, I was impressed by the breadth and depth of much of the coverage of Asiana Flight 214. Some of it, of course, has been uninformed. But most of it – especially from the knowledgable bloggers and reporter who regularly cover the industry, has been pretty good.

I wanted to highlight some particularly strong stories here on the blog.

Terror on Jet in San Francisco: Seeing Water, Not Runway via The New York Times

Asiana attendant describes dramatic evacuation from the Associated Press.

Asiana plane was far below target speed before San Francisco crash from Reuters

Why the San Francisco Plane Crash Wasn’t More Deadly via the Wall Street Journal

NTSB: Jet was traveling below target speed before crash via USA Today

Asiana Flight 214 attendants lauded as ‘heroes’ via USA Today. As someone who recently flew Asiana, I should say I am not surprised by this. The flight attendants I met on my travels were unusually professional and appeared to be extremely well trained.

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