Southwest Airlines Economy vs Delta Economy – What Airline Is Better?

When choosing to fly across the United States, no two carriers could be more different than Southwest Airlines and Delta Airlines. Both operate different aircraft, have different seats, fly from different hubs and offer different passenger perks.

Delta Economy
Southwest Economy VS Delta Economy. Photo: Simple Flying.

For those looking to fly soon, let’s break down the differences in their economy product and in Simple Flying style, find out which one is best.

Delta Airlines Economy

Delta operates a large mixed fleet of aircraft. As such, their economy product does vary slightly depending on whether you are flying long haul or short haul.

Delta’s new comfort plus economy. Photo: Delta

Typically, passengers will have a seat with 32 inches of pitch and 18 inches width. Most Delta aircraft have free seat-back entertainment screens, limited free wifi and snacks.

“Enjoy complimentary snacks on every flight over 250 miles. Plus, your choice of Starbucks® coffee, hot tea, a selection of Coca-Cola® products*, juices or water. Make your selection, sit back, snack and feel refreshed.” – Delta Website. 

You will have to pay a fee on basic economy fares to check a bag, however, so factor that into your price when looking online.

Southwest Airlines Economy

Unlike the very cosmopolitan and varied fleet of Delta, Southwest actually operates a mono-fleet comprised of only Boeing 737s.

Thus their economy product is standardized across their fleet and you are 99% guaranteed to have the same experience every time you fly (the remaining 1% due to the potential of a last-minute wet-lease aircraft).

Onboard the aircraft, economy passengers will be able to enjoy a seat with 33 inches of pitch and 17 inches across.

Southwest
Southwest economy. Photo: Southwest

But an additional benefit of flying Southwest is that every passenger can take two checked bags for free. This includes oversized items like skis and sports bags. As the main carriers like Delta rapidly escalate the cost of checked baggage among each other, it is incredibly refreshing to see an airline that does not charge these additional fees.

Lastly, passengers flying on Southwest can change their flight without penalty or paying extra fees. Passengers simply need to pay the difference in fares (if there is one) and they will be on their way.

Which is best?

Looking at the two different airlines above, it’s clear that both go for two different markets. Delta provides a very comfortable experience with a wider seat (with a lovely leather finish) and entertainment, but Southwest beats them on included baggage and fare flexibility.

We can’t ignore the fact that Southwest offers two free bags for every passenger. This can be a deal breaker when it comes to choosing between the two similar priced fares, as a flight on Delta could cost $50 more per passenger for the bags alone.

If you are worried about price, it comes down to whether or not you have baggage with you. If you are not worried about price, then why fly economy when you can fly first class?

What do you think? If you have flown one of these airlines let us know your thoughts in the comments!

5 comments
  1. Southwest is better by far. Being from Asia, one is used to a different level of service, even from Budget Carriers.
    Most American Airlines do know know how to spell service, let alone provide it.
    Southwest is one of the exceptions, and, one tries to use it as far as possible whenever we travel to the US every year or so.

  2. The Delta experience, personable people and free drinks in comfort plus and first class are one of the many reasons I fly Delta.

  3. As a Delta Million Miler and a Southwest A list I fly both a lot. The article fails to mention that Southwest also offers free entertainment on most flights via their free wifi feature to your mobile device.

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