Jumbo jets become a rare treat

American puts most of them on popular cross-country routes such as New York John F. Kennedy to Los Angeles and San Francisco, but occasionally uses them on other routes to position a plane for international service or for maintenance, says Tim Smith, an American spokesman.

Travelers have the best chance of flying a wide-body jet in the USA in these cities based on average daily flights scheduled for November:

•Atlanta. Atlanta has the most domestic wide-body service, with Delta's average of 33 wide-body departures a day to 11 destinations in the Lower 48 states. The cities most served by wide-body jets from Atlanta are Los Angeles, Orlando and Las Vegas, with six departures on average a day. Delta also operates about three flights a day to San Francisco and Tampa.

•Los Angeles. American operates wide-body jets on approximately 14 flights a day from Los Angeles, including nine to New York JFK and two to Miami. Delta flies an average of six daily flights on wide bodies from Los Angeles to Atlanta, and United flies one daily flight each from Los Angeles to Washington Dulles and Chicago O'Hare.

•New York JFK. American runs nine flights a day to Los Angeles and five flights a day to San Francisco with wide-body jets.

It runs four flights a day to Miami and one to San Diego. Delta also has a couple of wide-body flights to Atlanta.

Even though they're dwindling, wide-body jets will continue flying across the USA, Swelbar says, because they're economical ways to feed hubs and international flights.

"It's the international focus that will keep the wide bodies in the domestic market," he says. "These planes are not obsolete. They're important."

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