United vs. Delta: Which is better when you fly from NYC to Tokyo?

There are two airlines of the United States which have flights directly from NYC to Tokyo.

There are two other airlines that fly directly from JFK to Tokyo, which are Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways (ANA.)  But here this time, I would like to have a comparison of our own, two of the three major airlines.

HUB AIRPORT United Airline’s hub airports are JFK and Newark International Airport. But for the flight to Narita Airport, Tokyo, they fly from Newark. So if you live in Manhattan and Jersey, taking United should be more convenient, location wise.

As for Delta, their hub airport for long haul flights is JFK.  The airport’s accessibility is pretty good if you like in 5 boroughs.


JFK Terminal 4

For your information, just in case, you need to transfer between  JFK and Newark, there is a shuttle bus service available for your convenient.

AIRCRAFT United Airlines flys with Boeing 777-200.  Average age of United‘s 777 is 11-13 years old.

Classes of services are United Business First, which is the airline’s Business class.  Coach class cabin is divided into two classes by United Economy Plus and Economy Class. Economy Plus seats have ore leg space then Economy Class. But the in-flight meal is the same.  Here is a seat configuration of the aircract.


CLICK HERE for UA 79 seat configuration.


As for Delta, the aircraft they use for Tokyo bound is Boeing 747-400. Average of their 747 are about 20 years.

They can still fly 747 because, the airline use its privilege to have another hub in Narita Airport, where they pool many aircraft to make  connections to other Asian destinations, such as, Seoul, Beijing, Manila, Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong.

United Airlines does the same at Narita to connect their flights from Main Land U. S., Guam,  Honolulu, Hawaii to other destinations in Asia.

As for maintenance of aged 747, Delta is depending on Narita Airport. Narita is famous for having a state of art maintenance system for aircraft, to fix any isses that caused their rather 747’s. Delta operate Tokyo flight with three classes, Business Elite, Economy Cmnfort, and Economy Class.


CLICK HERE for DL 172 seat configuration.


Delta pre- flight instruction video

(Courtesy of Delta)


SERVICE On both Delta and United Airlines service to Tokyo, Narita, they will serve Lunch, Snack and about 2 hours prior to arrival, they serve light breakfast.

All non beverages are free in all classes.  Alcohols are free in Business Class and in Coach class Alcoholic drinks are available for purchase.



Delta In-flight meal from Guam to Narita

MILEAGE PROGRAM United Airlines‘ Mileage Program is called United Mileage Plus.  You can be awarded for free travel as low as 10,000 miles. I am a member of this program, and I like it, because it is easy to earn miles not only by flying, but also from staying at associated hotel all over the world, by using credit cards and car rentals, etc.

The mileage will not be expires as long as there is at least one transaction on your account. So it is easy to keep it.  I also think United let passengers to earn miles with less restriction, and their minimum mileage for free travel is very low.

You can also earn mileage from Airlines that participate Star Alliance.  Star Alliance is the largest airline alliance of  the world, and some of the members are Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, ANA All Nippon Airways, Lufthansa and Air Canada. So that makes it easier for you to earn miles.



As for Delta Airlines, their mileage program is called Delta Skymiles.  You can earn miles by staying at associated hotels and by spending money on Credit Card partners, such as, Delta American Express Card.

With Delta, there s no blackout dates. many seats are available for fewer miles.  But you have to spend little more miles to get free ticket to Tokyo.

As Delta is participated in and also a core member of world airline alliance, Skyteam.  Skyteam is consists of 20 airlines from all over the world, such as Air France, KLM, Kenya Airways, Korean Airlines, and newly added Garuda Indonesia. You can earn miles by flying those airlines for Delta‘s free airline ticket.



PRICE I have an impression that United is always providing cheaper fares to Tokyo from the U. S. overall, but it may vary.  As I check the price, sometimes Delta has better deal on connecting flights via LAX.

The average of round trip is around $1,200 on low to shoulder season, and for peak season, it will go up around up to $1,500.

I usually compare price by checking webpages, such as, Google flights, TripAdvisor, and Kayak. For the flight from the U. S., especially for Trans Pacific flights,

I have a feeling that Google flights have better deal and more choice. It is simply fun to play with airfare search engines period.   Well, I hope the information I provided today will be a use for your next trip to Tokyo, and further to other Asia regions.

Have a good one everybody and Von voyage!


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