Delta Rushes to Add Flights to American Airlines Hubs for College Football Playoffs

Dec 7, 2018

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You know what they say: go where the demand takes you, even if it’s into enemy territory. Or, something like that. Delta has become the first of the major US carriers to publicize increased service between destinations that it doesn’t typically link up in advance of this year’s College Football Playoff. In all, Delta is adding more than 1,500 additional available seats surrounding the games, both into destination airports considered to be American Airlines hubs.

For fans of Clemson and Notre Dame, who will meet in a semifinal matchup at the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29, 2018, Delta is adding additional service to Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW) from New York (JFK) and Greenville-Spartanburg (GSP). Each flight will be serviced by a Boeing 737-900ER.

The flights will operate on the following schedule and are on sale right now:

  • Dec. 28, 2018 — DL8810: New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) 9:30am Departure ⇒ Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW) 1:03pm Arrival
  • Dec. 28, 2018 — DL8815: Greenville–Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) 10:00am Departure ⇒ Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW) 11:50am Arrival
  • Dec. 30, 2018 — DL8815: Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW) 12:00pm Departure ⇒ Greenville–Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) 3:50pm Arrival
  • Dec. 30, 2018 — DL8809: Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW) 12:30pm Departure ⇒ New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) 4:59pm Arrival

What’s interesting about the flights is the lack of additional service from South Bend International Airport (SBN) — the airport closest to Notre Dame’s campus in Indiana. Evidently, data shows that alumni from the school are more likely to be in the Big Apple than near campus itself, whereas GSP is certainly the most notable major airport near Clemson’s campus in South Carolina.Delta jets airplanes at airport

If you’re hoping to catch the semifinal between Alabama and Oklahoma at the Orange Bowl on Dec. 29, 2018, you’ll find additional flights into Miami International Airport (MIA) from Birmingham (BHM) and Oklahoma City (OKC), the two major airports in close proximity to each campus. Each flight will be serviced by a Boeing 757.

The flights will operate on the following schedule and are on sale right now:

  • Dec. 28, 2018 — DL8819: Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM) 8:30am Departure ⇒ Miami International Airport (MIA) 11:30am Arrival
  • Dec. 28, 2018 — DL8817: Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport (OKC) 9:15amam Departure ⇒ Miami International Airport (MIA) 1:05pm Arrival
  • Dec. 30, 2018 — DL8819: Miami International Airport (MIA) 12:00pm Departure ⇒ Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM) 1:00pm Arrival
  • Dec. 30, 2018 — DL8817: Miami International Airport (MIA) 1:00pm Departure ⇒ Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport (OKC) 3:00pm Arrival

Predictably, fares on these special routes are anything but cheap. A round-trip ticket from JFK to DFW for the Cotton Bowl will set you back north of $800 in coach, or a laughable 73,000 SkyMiles.

If you really want to offend yourself, try parting ways with 200,000 SkyMiles (!) for round-trip in first class.

Rates for the nonstop flight between GSP and DFW are even more comical. You’re looking at $1,329 for main cabin and a cool $2,731 for first class. That’s roughly $16 per minute to enjoy the forward cabin spoils of a 737-900ER.

SkyMiles pricing isn’t any better. You could go to Hawaii a few times… or, you could take a handy nonstop to a college football game.

Alabama fans camped out close to campus will find somewhat less egregious pricing for the nonstop to Miami.

Though, 61,000 SkyMiles for a main cabin seat on a two-hour flight is quite the premium.

Finally, Sooners fans coming from their home state can shell out around $1,000 for a round-trip ticket to the Orange Bowl.

Or, shell out 97,000 SkyMiles for the same privilege.

For those planning to pay cash and support their team in person, be sure to use a credit card that earns maximum rewards on airfare purchases. And, if you’re a Delta diehard, check out our guide to the best credit cards for Delta loyalists.


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