Best intra-US airline for business class

I can put up with cattle-class for a short trip - I’ll just have my legs sticking out into the aisle. I’m more concerned with the long hops.

Exactly how tall are you? I’m 6 foot 3 and I can handle a five hour flight in economy if I have to. But yeah as others have said its basically called first in the US instead of business class for domestic flights. And as far as service goes I’d recommend Virgin America as the least worse choice. (All US airlines suck compared to asian / european airlines).

I don’t think VA runs the routes he wants.

That looks really interesting. I’ll definitely be visiting that! If all you are concerned about is legroom then you may consider that many us airlines offer something called economy plus. Basically you pay slightly more for a seat that has more legroom and a bit more pitch on the recline. Amenities vary per airline.

It’s not business class, but Delta does have an Economy Plus upgrade which I tried for the first time a few weeks ago which I absolutely thought was worth the $20 upgrade price (this was for a short two-hour flight; prices may vary on longer hops.) No idea if they fly any of your routes, but it’s worth knowing about. It also gives you priority boarding–you board right after first class and the economy plus seats are the few rows directly behind. The seat size is the same as economy, but you do get a noticeable few extra inches of space between the rows. It was enough to make a significant difference in comfort for me (I’m 5’11" about 185 lb,) If you want a lot of legroom, select a seat from the first row behind the first class partition. You’ll get even morel legroom. However, the problem is you lose underseat storage and you get the in-armrest-pullout-trays instead of the tray that pulls out from the seat in front of you. This makes working on a computer a bit more awkward.

ETA: Ninja’d! (ETA: Oh, and I don’t know about the pitch on the incline–I didn’t test that out and I rarely tilt my seat back on a flight. I would guess it probably reclines more, since there’s more room between the rows and more space to recline into.)

Delta’s domestic first (business) class is quite comfortable, even on their affiliate regional flights. However, your particular regional flight does not offer first/business class. The flight from SLC to Cody is under 90 minutes, so you should be able to handle coach just fine. Delta’s regional affiliate out there is SkyWest, which operates CRJ200’s in a single-cabin (all-coach) configuration.

The trip from DC to SLC is operated by Delta’s mainline and has a very comfortable domestic first-class; that trip is about five hours or more, depending on weather.

What about a rental car from Billings? Looks like it’s about a 4-hour drive, and it’s got to be cheaper than flying to rent a car for a couple of days.

If you have extra time and are in for adventure you may wish to do white water rafting down the Colorado (that’s the river that created the grand canyon)

The OP already has ground transportation between Cody and Phoenix with the tour group so the car rental would have to be 1-way, which almost surely will increase the rate.

Salt Lake City is an international airport with direct flights from London, Amsterdam, and Paris. The OP can fly international business class from Aberdeen to SLC via one of those cities and have a much better experience than he’ll get with domestic first. I would book that leg along with a the Washington, DC–>Aberdeen return leg as a multi-city business class ticket (~$3000), and then book the SLC-Cody ($150) and PHX-Wash (~$200 econ, $250 prem. econ., ~$415 first) segments separately.

The trans-Atlantic portions can be done about $500 cheaper on non-Skyteam airlines but involve an extra stop in the US. For example $2470 on SAS/United through Copenhagen and Chicago but that’s 33+ hours compared to 14. The non-Skyteam options also have you going through customs at what are surely much busier US gateways than SLC.

Yes, we’re gonig to be visiting the Grand Canyon.

I’m currently trying to get the tour organisers to tell me about the hotels in Cody and Phoenix, so I can arrange to start early and stay late.

Maybe, but not necessarily - I’ve done it through Hotwire for the same price as RT (though a totally different city pair). And it might still be cheaper than a plane ticket (and faster than waiting for an air connection).