Living in Atlanta, I’m going to fly Delta. The End…sort of. I’ve called Delta an airline that does the right things well, and they are. The overwhelming majority of my Delta service experiences are top notch. But just saying that does not mean that I don’t occasionally look around. Recently, I experimented successfully (IMHO) with American in Atlanta. Then there are other little nuggets of opportunity….. like returning from Orlando after a quick summer getaway cruise. I spent this morning shopping for return flights as the flights down are already done and here’s what I found.

Delta (MCO-ATL)

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Southwest (MCO-ATL)

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At some point, the miles and elite benefits matter a lot less than money in the bank. The lowest available Southwest fare is half that of the lowest “Basic Economy” Delta fare (that I’d never buy anyway). Admittedly, the first class price point on Delta is the only possibility other than Southwest that I considered here. It’s definitely worth $69 (the difference between the lowest coach fare I’d purchase on Delta and first class) to me to avoid the Orlando boarding “experience” by getting on first and “turning left” on the Delta 757. If there were no other airline option, I’d buy the Delta first fare at this price point.

But…I’ve got options. Given that I’ll be traveling with MrsMJ on this trip, we’d be glued to the bottom of the Delta upgrade list (assuming I buy the “main cabin” fare) and I just would not use a regional upgrade certificate for such a short flight. Even when you factor in Sky Priority and Comfort+ seating with a complimentary cocktail from Delta vs. buying Early Bird Check In ($12.50 each) in addition to the fare with Southwest, the math on this one was pretty simple – I’m flying Southwest…..again. Do I think Delta cares? No. But my bank account does, and that’s quickly becoming my favorite loyalty program. And then there’s Southwest’s Companion Pass.

-MJ, May 25, 2015