Virgin Australia and Delta passengers travelling to San Francisco's SFO airport via Los Angeles LAX will have fewer flight options and longer waits in LAX once Delta cuts its schedules in December.
There are three key flight cuts, affecting mainly Virgin's V Australia's passengers from Melbourne and Brisbane (and to a lesser extent Sydney), who will have to wait up to two hours longer in LAX for their connections. Virgin Australia passengers usually connect onto Delta for their US journeys as part of the airlines' joint venture agreement.
The key LAX-SFO cut for Australian travellers is the 1045 flight from LAX, a crucial connection option for Virgin Australia's Sydney and Melbourne flights, and an important backup option for Delta's own passengers.
From SFO-LAX, there are two problematic cuts: the 1650 and 2050 flights, which get into LAX to connect with V Australia Melbourne and Brisbane flights.
Flight changes come into effect from 1 December, and are currently extending out to mid-February, which is as far into the future as Delta's schedule has been finalised.
So if you're flying to San Francisco on V Australia or Delta, make sure that your connecting flight is the best option. Here's the lowdown on precisely what's changing.
(Interested in what you'll find on V Australia's business class -- in the exclusive Row 5, even? Don't miss our flight review of the trans-Pacific LAX-bound service.)
In detail: Australia to San Francisco
V Australia's daily VA01 flight arrives from Sydney at 0945, while Delta's DL16 arrives earlier at 0730. V Australia's Melbourne flights arrive at 0800. V Australia's Brisbane flights arrive earlier at 0625.
Virgin's Sydney passengers could possibly have made it through US immigration and customs within the hour, although it's unlikely. Even Delta's own passengers arriving at 0730 will find it tricky to make the connection in 90 minutes, especially if flights are late.
But Melbourne passengers haven't a hope of getting through the gates in 45 minutes to make the 0845, so they'll have to wait a full three-and-three-quarter hours for their 1145 connection.
The schedule relevant to arriving Australian flights looks like this:
- DL4661 departs LAX at 0745, arriving SFO at 0911
- DL4663 departs LAX at 0845, arriving SFO at 1014
- The 1045 departure has been cut
- DL4784 departs LAX at 1145, arriving SFO at 1314
- DL4720 departs LAX at 1245, arriving SFO at 1411
There are also 1545, 1645 and 2045 flights, while the 0645, 1045, 1445 and 1845 flights have been cut.
In detail: San Francisco to Australia
For Sydney, V Australia VA002 departs LAX at 2220 daily, while Delta's flight DL17 heads out half an hour later at 2250.
Melbourne V Australia flight VA08 leaves LAX at 2035, while VA008 to Brisbane leaves 2355.
The cuts are another particular inconvenience for Melbourne passengers. The 1650 flight, which could have got them into LAX at around 1810 (which should be enough time to transit if boarding cards were all sorted) has been cut.
But worse, Brisbane passengers will have to leave SF earlier and hang around LAX for nearly four hours now that the 2050 flight from LAX has been axed. The latest flight they can take is the 1850 from SFO, which gets into LAX at 2006.
The schedule for getting from San Francisco to LA for your Australian-bound flight looks like this:
- DL4780 departs SFO at 1450, arriving at 1608
- The 1650 departure has been cut
- DL4795 departs SFO at 1750, arriving at 1907
- DL4770 departs SFO at 1850, arriving at 2006
- The 2050 flight has been cut
There are also departures at 0650, 0950, 1050 and 1350, while the 0850, 1250, 1650 and 2050 flights have been cut.
(GDS schedule data via airlineroute.net)