Delta Launches Joshua Tree Express Between Atlanta and Ontario, CA

Miley may prefer to drop into LAX, but veteran travelers know
that the real party in the USA begins once you’re well outside
of LA traffic. In what’ll no doubt be nicknamed
The Joshua Tree Express
(or Coachella
Express
during certain weeks of the year), Delta Air Lines is

adding
much needed transcontinental service to an LA-area
airport that isn’t Los Angeles International (LAX).

Joshua treeLanding
at ONT should provide plenty of open road in Southern California
(Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

Beginning April 22, 2019, Delta will fly between its home at
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) and Ontario
International Airport (ONT) in Southern California. It’ll start
as a once-a-day route, increasing to twice daily beginning June 9,
2019. For weekend warriors looking to explore the wilds of
SoCal’s desert region without having to spend hours commuting to
and from LAX, this is a major boon. Before the announcement,
Delta’s only scheduled flight into ONT originated at Salt Lake
City (SLC) — a route that will continue alongside the
Atlanta-Ontario service.

Delta will serve the LA Basin via Ontario starting in June 2019 (Image courtesy of Great Circle Mapper)Delta
will serve the LA Basin via Ontario starting in June 2019 (Image
courtesy of Great Circle Mapper)

The flights will operate on the following schedule and will go
on sale Oct. 20, 2018 (*Begins June 2, 2019):

  • Ontario International Airport (ONT) 10:55am
    Departure ⇒ Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
    (ATL) 6:25pm Arrival
  • Ontario International Airport (ONT) 10:45pm
    Departure ⇒ Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
    (ATL) 6:05am (+1) Arrival*
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) 8:30am
    Departure ⇒ Ontario International Airport (ONT) 9:57am
    Arrival
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) 7:30pm
    Departure ⇒ Ontario International Airport (ONT) 8:57pm
    Arrival*

The on board Delta experience will be on Boeing
737-900ER
aircraft with 20 seats in first class, 21 in Delta
Comfort+ and 139 in the main cabin. Every seat includes access to
Wi-Fi, free personal inflight seatback entertainment screens, power
ports as well as complimentary snacks and beverages.

Joshua treeGazing
at stars within Joshua Tree National Park (Photo by Darren Murph /
The Points Guy)

Alan D. Wapner, President of the Ontario International Airport
Authority and Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Ontario, sounds
understandably stoked: “We are thrilled to add Delta’s nonstop
service to its Atlanta hub, a key development in Ontario’s
evolution as a gateway airport. The world’s busiest airport,
Atlanta offers Southern Californians a world of opportunities for
air travel through Delta’s extensive global network. In just two
years since the airport’s transition to local control, we’ve
made tremendous strides in improving our facilities, services and
amenities and, as a result, airlines and air travelers are bullish
on Ontario.”

As
construction
slogs on at LAX, having another option into the LA
Basin can only mean good things. Plus, this flight could be a
best-kept secret for Medallion members hungry for an upgrade to the
West Coast. It’s likely that ATL-ONT won’t be filled with as
many top-tier
Delta elites
given that there aren’t Asia and South Pacific
connections available once one lands, but that makes it easier for
the rest of us to enjoy Delta’s complimentary upgrades on
domestic flights.

This route may also offer lower SkyMiles
award redemptions
compared to LAX, where demand will no doubt
be higher. Delta has been on a tear of late with
domestic SkyMiles award ticket sales
, and we could certainly
see ONT fitting into one of those once the route goes live.

Joshua treeFamily
road trips abound from ONT, including desert hiking in Southern
California (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

If you’re planning to book a seat for next summer, make sure
you use the right credit card. We’ve assembled a guide covering
the best
cards for Delta loyalists
, and the Delta Reserve® for
Business Credit Card from American Express
, which includes
gratis Delta Sky Club lounge access, is offering an elevated
welcome bonus of 70,000 miles after you spend $5,000 within the
first three months (offer expires Nov. 7, 2018).

Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News2
Delta Launches Joshua Tree Express Between Atlanta and Ontario, CA