Shuttle change as Delta adds first class DCA-LGA-BOS

329438560_b7d007ee5d_o.jpgChange comes slow to the shuttles, the once-profitable air links that ply the major city-pair corridors of the Northeast, those between New York and Washington and New York and Boston. The biggest recent change was back in November 2005, when Delta downsized the aircraft it used on these routes from B737s to MD88s with 134 seats. Rival US Airways Shuttle, which inherited the Trump Shuttle, which was successor to the Eastern Shuttle, the original, starting back in 1961, uses the 120-seat Airbus A319 family on its service. Delta, which is the successor to the Pan Am Shuttle, now says that it will go to a two-class seating configuration this December 1, adding 14 first-class seats as to the aircraft’s 128 open, unreserved economy seats.

2436535848_7f7aff788f.jpgThe seats up front are also first-come, first-serve; the customers in first will get more snack options and cocktails, and the seats will be used for upgrades as well as straightforward sale. The prices are not yet listed. Having planes in two classes rather than all-coach gives Delta the option of using the aircraft anywhere on its system. US Airways has a 12-seat first-class section, and offers an upgrade on the day of flight. US Airways leaves each city on the hour, while Delta departs on the half hour. Delta uses LaGuardia’s old Marine Terminal (above) in New York, a glorious 1930s-era Federal Project-style building that’s right next to the water. You used to be able to take a ferry service right into midtown Manhattan.

To help draw attention to the new seating, Delta offers double SkyMiles on the shuttle, giving twice the usual Medallion Qualification Miles to members who register on-line and fly by December 15. The Delta Shuttle planes will have on-board broadband wi-fi by spring, with a $9.95 fee for each shuttle segment.

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