For a quick comparison of United Vs. Delta Airlines, Delta is superior regarding free flight changes, customer service, and overall flight experience. But United is a more budget-friendly airline with other perks, such as being a member of Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline network.
So which is better can only be decided by comparing all the services you are looking for. Let’s dive deep into analyzing the price, experience, seating, and facilities United and Delta Airlines offer.
United Vs. Delta - A Detailed Comparison
Before we get into the details of both airlines, have a look at the origin and popularity of United and Delta.
It is the world’s third-largest airline, established in 1926 as Varney Air Lines. United Airlines merged with Continental Airlines in 2010 to build a large fleet.
It is the world’s second-largest airline, established in 1925. Delta is the founding member of SkyTeam Alliance and merged with Northwest Airlines in 2008.
Hubs And Destinations
Being a member of Star Alliance, United Airlines has more than 300 destinations all across the five continents. It covers approximately 210 US cities and 120 international flight destinations.
There are 26 carriers included in the world's largest alliance, Star Alliance, which serves almost 1300 airports. United Airlines hubs and destinations in the US are:
- Los Angeles
- New York
- San Francisco
While the international hubs and destinations are:
- Hong Kong
- São Paulo
The flying destinations of Delta Airlines are almost 309 that travel across 50 countries. There are 17 carriers included in this SkyTeam airline.
SkyTeam covers more than 1000 destinations in 170 countries in the world.
Delta Airlines hubs in the US are:
- Los Angeles
- New York
- Salt Lake City
While the international hubs and destinations of Delta are:
- Mexico City
- Paris-Charles de Gaulle
United Airlines is the winner here.
When it comes to seating, the first priority is always the comfortability when traveling in the country or internationally.
United Airlines (Economy)
The seating is classified into economy and premium. The economy seating has received mixed reviews from travelers, and some have complained the seats are too small even in the new jets, and the legroom is also limited.
While the headrest is also outdated and chairs aren't comfortable for long flights.
Delta Airlines (Economy)
With the basic economy ticket, you will get into the Main Cabin, where you can find comfortable seats and video screens in the headrest for entertainment.
United Airlines (Premium)
There are three First Class choices, and the new Polaris Business Class has gained popularity due to better quality and experience. However, other First Class options can vary depending on the plane's age.
It'd be better to book flights for lie-flat seats and choose wider-body planes for a better experience.
Delta Airlines (Premium)
There are two premium class options to choose from, Delta Airlines. The First Class seating is large, offers more privacy, includes special services, provides the best foods and drinks, and priority boarding.
While the Delta One seating is comparably better than United Polaris but is expensive, you will also get exclusive chef-curated food and beverages.
Delta is the winner here.
There is only a slight difference regarding extra fees, but understanding what costs will be added to your book price can help book the right ticket.
Here are the fees you will need to pay for United Airlines:
For Delta Airlines, you will need to pay the following fares:
Delta is the winner here due to the lower fee for checked baggage and no fee for carry-on for basic economy tickets.
You will find slight differences in the flight reward earnings when comparing United and Delta Airlines.
If you are a member of the United MileagePlus Program, you can receive redeemable miles depending on your elite level and the amount of money you spend. Check out this table to explore miles earning potential for United Airlines flights:
Delta SkyMiles depends on the cost of your ticket before the implementation of taxes and fees. Here is how many numbers off SkyMiles you can earn per dollar, depending on your elite level.
United is the winner here due to a long list of partner airlines.
Best Basic Economy Tickets
It is important to compare the basic economy fare policies to determine whether you should save a few dollars. Restrictions are almost similar in both United and Delta Airlines, but few other significant differences make one better.
They have a standard booking approach where you can select all requirements and compare them with other Star Alliance airlines. On average, a flight on East Coast will cost around $485, while from New York to Los Angeles, it will cost almost $615. A trip to France will cost you around $975.
There are five different classes on Delta flights available for different destinations.
Delta Airlines is the winner here due to no cost for carrying a bag to fly on a basic economy ticket.
Airline Pet Policies
Who doesn't love to travel with their fluffy buddy? But flying can be troublesome if you are unaware of their pet policies.
They charge almost $125 for each way to travel with your pet and an additional $125 if there is a stopover of 4 hours or more in the US.
You will need to purchase a second ticket for two pets, and only cats and dogs are allowed to board flights.
It costs $95 for a ticket to travel with a pet. In one carrier, you can carry only one pet and bring two pets if they are aged between ten weeks and six months. Their size should accommodate the same carrier.
Dogs, cats, and household birds are allowed on board.
Delta is the winner here for more pet-friendly policies.
Food And Drinks
Both United and Delta offer complimentary food, but there are some differences.
You can get food and drinks even if you are on a flight of 250 miles. Additional snacks are also provided to people who are still hungry even after a full meal. The snack box at United contains cheddar cheese puffs, gummi bears, honey mustard pretzels, and Oreo cookies for only $8. In contrast, the upgraded snacks will cost $10. Gluten-free and vegan food are also provided depending on specific dietary needs.
The same quality food is provided, but if a flight is under 250 miles, you won't get any snacks or drinks. Delta's snack box includes chips, chocolate, and dip for $8.99. The upgraded snack box includes wraps for a maximum of $10.49.
Special attention is paid to people who are vegetarian, vegan or prefer a gluten-free diet. Religious traditions are also followed to offer well-suited meals.
For longer flights, it is necessary to have some source of entertainment which is provided on both flights, but Delta offers free movie and shows streaming.
Here you will get recommendations to bring your own smartphone or laptop for entertainment as they are currently working on phasing out screens on the back of seats. Some flights have entertainment screens where you can watch DirecTV without any charges. You will have access to over 100 TV channels and movies. Power outlets and earbuds are also provided.
Delta offers free movie and shows streaming. You can have 1000 hours of entertainment free of cost with 12 channels of live satellite TV on some flights. You can watch TV series (HBO, Hulu, and Showtime), play games, and stream movies.
You can also access free inflight messaging by connecting your phone to WiFi.
Aircraft And Baggage Safety
Undoubtedly, air travel is the safest way of traveling compared to other ways of transportation. Let's have a look at United and Delta Airlines' safety, crashing incidents, and baggage safety.
These airlines have Airbus and Embraer planes but mostly use Boeing 757, 767, 777, and 787 models. These all are rated for high safety and regular maintenance. But the smaller aircraft have high risk. The Embraer 175 is most often used for regional flights with seating up to 75 guests.
There are many reports of passenger arrests and minor plane damage. Two plane crashes occurred on Flight 93 and Flight 175 in 2011.
While for baggage safety, there is a bag tracing web page where customers research lost luggage and file complaints.
Boeing and Airbus are included in Delta, but they most commonly use Boeing 717, 757, and 767 models. They often keep renovating and repurposing their old aircraft to save money on planes. However, they recently replaced outdated aircraft with brand-new Bombardier, Boeing, and Airbus models.
Delta has many fatal crashes before 2000, with almost 12 accidents. In 2015, approximately two dozen passengers were injured during a tough landing into a snow bank near LaGuardia Airport.
Delta provides access to track your bags to avoid any loss. In case you lose your baggage, you can submit an online claim or at the airport to initiate an investigation.
Travel Credit Card Perks
United and Delta have credit cards with multiple perks, such as free checked bags. You can also avail of premium cards with airport lounge membership, and it's almost a tie between these two.
Check out airline credit card options available by both airlines.
Is United Airlines better than Delta?
For a long time, Delta has been rated as a more reliable airline and has a posh factor in its amenities regarding first-class flights. Though United has many other facilities, it doesn't come close to the posh factor.
However, there isn't a clear winner due to so many competitive features. United has a strong loyalty program, lower award prices, and a better presence globally, while Delta charges less for baggage and is more frugal-friendly basic economy class.
Considering the detailed comparison of United vs. Delta Airlines, you can choose the most suitable for your requirements and save you money.
Who Has More Legroom Delta Or United?
Both airlines offer seating with legroom between 30 and 32 inches. But most Delta aircraft have legroom very close to 32 inches.
Is Delta Or United Safer?
In the overall list of US-based safest airlines reports of 2023, United Airlines is at number 14, while Delta Airlines is at number 20.
However, Delta has won multiple honors for its devoted safety and has been named the World's Most On-Time Airline for many years.
What Is The No 1 Airline In Us?
When it comes to affordability, reliability, customer experience, and additional services, Delta is rated as the best-performing airline.
Final Thoughts on United Vs. Delta Airlines
United and Delta Airlines are two large American airlines operating both domestic and international flights. Most services are similar in these airlines, but some significant differences make one better.
It is easy to determine which has better facilities by considering their route network, pricing, loyalty program, cabin experience, customer reviews, aircraft safety, and additional services with extra costs.
Delta is better than United Airlines in multiple ways, but you can prioritize your requirements and preferences to determine which one to choose for your next flight.