October 04, 2007

Delta: Say Goodbye to Anytime Frequent Flyer Awards

(Thanks to View from the Wing for this):

Most airlines offer frequent flyer awards that let you fly on any flight if you use double the normal number of miles.  Delta is no longer one of those airlines.  The carrier will now open up an additional number of seats if you pay double the price, but not all of the seats.  This is a giant load of crap.

October 4, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 27, 2007

Delta to Overhaul JFK Operations and Add New Flights: It's Good News, Really!

Delta announced a major expansion at JFK, including 14 new international routes.  This is great news, as a number of these routes are thinly serviced or not serviced at all nonstop (new flights include service to Tel Aviv, Edinburgh, Dakar, Nairobi, Lagos, Cairo, Amman, Malaga, Cape Town, Panama City (Panama), Guatemala City, Port of Spain, San Jose (Costa Rica), and Liberia (Costa Rica).  As I've mentioned here, about 2 years ago, no US airline served any cities in Africa - with this announcement Delta now serves 6 in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Well done.

Even better, Delta is actually trying to make operations at JFK more bearable.  They're eliminating all turboprop flights to ease the number of takeoffs and landings.  Now about 2/3 of flights will be served by larger 2-class airplanes (up from about 40% last year).  And they're pushing some of their shorter trans-Atlantic flights to after 7pm to ease the crazy amount of Europe-bound traffic that leaves between 5 and 7. 

Bravo to Delta for actually making changes that will positively impact your flying experience.

September 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (6)

August 22, 2007

Delta Names New CEO

You'll can certainly read more about this elsewhere, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Delta has named former Northwest CEO Richard Anderson as their new chief executive.  Anderson is known for making tough but fair decisions, though Northwest lost a nice chunk o' change under his leadership.  Although I'm not expecting a Delta/Northwest linkup, I would expect them to take a page from Northwest's playbook and expand their Asian services.

I'm always curious, though, for an industry that consistently loses a ton of money, why do airlines keep choosing CEOs from within the industry?

August 22, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3)

August 13, 2007

Delta Ups a Bunch of Fees

USA Today reports that Delta has increased a bunch of its fees without bothering to let people know (ah, sneaky).  Telephone reservations now cost $20, same day standby will cost you $50, and (most annoying of all) a $75 fee to book a "free" ticket within 20 days of departure.  We can assume others will match these increases.

August 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3)

July 18, 2007

Delta (Sort of) Strands to Alaska Kids in Salt Lake City

A 15 year old and a 10 year old travelling on their own from Dothan, Alabama to Fairbanks (through Salt Lake City) on Delta found themselves stranded in Salt Lake City for 20 hours after they missed their connection.  Delta gave the kids hotel vouchers and basically told them to go fend for themselves.  Their family is blaming Delta, which deserves some of the blame, but the airline said the kids were not registered at unaccompanied minors and did not know they needed assistance.  But, still...

July 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 17, 2007

Senators Tell Delta How to Do Route Planning

I found this to be annoying:

USA Today is reporting that Delta will drop service from Binghamton, NY, to JFK and Atlanta in September because they could not make the route profitable.  That's not annoying.  What's annoying is that NY Senators Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton "blasted" the decision, with Schumer saying, "Delta's move is premature and poorly thought out. The New York City service had a solid start, and Delta needs to give it time to take root and let it prosper, while the Atlanta route has consistently carried a high volume of passengers."  Schumer also works in route planning for Delta?

What's annoying is that when the airlines go bankrupt they get called to task by Congress for running their businesses into the ground.  Then these senators start whining that the airlines aren't continuing unprofitable routes.  Please, stick to what you know best (I don't know what that is, specifically...)

July 17, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)

June 29, 2007

Delta Flight Diverted Because of Apple Juice

Yes, that's it.  A passenger on a Delta flight from LaGuardia to Greensboro, NC, became unruly after flight attendants took too long to prepare his apple juice, causing the plane to divert to Philadelphia where, if there is any justice in the world, authorities kicked his ass.

June 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2)

May 14, 2007

Delta's Business Class Sale to Europe

Delta has a launched a great business class sale to Europe, with fares that only about twice as much as the cheapest coach seats (frequently business class fares to Europe can run up to 20 times a coach ticket).  One-way ares from New York to Brussels start at $789 each way, Manchester (UK) $779, and Madrid ($989).  Given that coach fares to Europe are nuts this summer, this is a good alternative (as is Silverjet's ongoing Freequent Flyer promotion, where you  can get a round trip business class ticket to London for about $1000).

May 14, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)

April 30, 2007

Delta Exits Bankruptcy

Delta emerged from bankruptcy 19 months after entering chapter 11.  The carrier said it has created $3 billion in annual financial improvements and cut its debit in half.  And if you really believe they'll do well, their stock begins trading again on May 3.

April 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 23, 2007

Delta to Launch Nigeria Service

Bravo to Delta for announcing nonstop service from Atlanta to Lagos, Nigeria, beginning in December.  Any nonstop service to Africa is a plus for Americans and even moreso for those living in African nations who were forced to stop in London or Paris anytime they wanted to go anywhere (which makes doing business there even more difficult).  Speaking of difficult, in the linked article you'll notice that a spokesman for North American Airlines (which flies thrice weekly to Lagos from New York) calls the market "challenging" which is code for "good luck bribing your way through that mess."

To steal a comment from the Airliners.net board, this service will also make it easier for Atlantans to fly to Lagos to pick up their $34,720,000 they're helping a prince smuggle out of the country.

February 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2)

January 11, 2007

Will Delta Spurn US Airways for Northwest?

The WSJ is reporting that Delta has been in talks with Northwest Airlines about a potential merger.  Odd that Delta had been swearing that they wanted to remain independent while at the same time talking to Northwest.  I'd be interested if anyone can explain why they'd be interested in Northwest (still in bankruptcy) and not in US Airways (profitable).  Thoughts?

January 11, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2)

January 10, 2007

US Airways Increases Offer for Delta

After saying that it wasn't going to increase its offer for Delta, US Airways has increased its offer by about $1 billion and 11 million shares -- certainly not a small amount of money.  According to US Airways, this is above what Delta has claimed to be its valuation given its standalone plan.  As I'm not a financial analyst, I have no idea whether this is a good idea or not.  We'll see where US Airways' stock opens today to see what people think (yes, I know, this was lame.  I just can't pretend to know where Delta should be valued.  I still think, though, that jamming together Delta and US Airways before America West is fully merged with US Airways is a mistake.  But what do I know.)

January 10, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

December 20, 2006

Man Found Sleeping on Empty Delta Aircraft

In the continuing farce of airport security...

A man was found sleeping on a Delta 737 in Raleigh airport yesterday morning before the flight was boarded.  I'm glad security was focused on keeping bottled water off the aircraft, while keeping no eye on a guy sleeping on an airplane.  Well done!

December 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Delta Rejects US Airways Bid

You can read much more about this elsewhere, but in case you didn't see it (if you're reading this site, though, you probably have seen it.  I'll shut up now) Delta rejected US Airways' buyout offer.  The most interesting reason given by Delta is that the merger would create monopoly power on 2,000 city pairs.  I would think this would be a good thing for an airline, as they could increase fares, but they're saying that the merger would never pass Department of Justice scrutiny.  Look for US Airways to increase their offer, only to be rebuffed again.  My guess?  Delta will ultimately stay independent.

December 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2)

November 15, 2006

Holy Crap: US Airways Offers $8 Billion for Delta

OK, I've thought about this a bit, and I think this is probably a great purchase.  Or a terrible one.  For full disclosure, I own a bit of US Airways stock.  But it's not like anyone listens to me, so it doesn't matter what I think.  But here's what I think.  US Airways basically thinks that Delta is a great company that is clouded in a sea of bad management, bad decisions and high costs.  If you fire the management (done), stop making terrible pricing decisions (done), and eliminate the costs (done, as Delta is non-union), that you will end up with a more giant version of the so-far-successful merger between US Airways and America West. Bravo. 

Or they can end up trying to integrate the extraordinary mess that is Delta, which will in turn drag down the nice job they've done combining the 1st two airlines.  That would be ugly and horrible.

But (and I've said this before), the executive team at US Airways is probably the best of all the network carriers (Continental, perhaps, excluded).  They've made a long string of great decisions, and they run their airline by the numbers, not by irrational competition.  Who ever thought you'd be able to use your America West miles to fly to Senegal.  Crazy.

November 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 14, 2006

Delta Offers Gold Status for London Trip

If you're flying to London on business, Delta has a pretty good offer for you.  If you fly between now and January 15th, they'll give you Silver Medallion status if you fly in non-discounted coach (about $1600) or discounted Business Class (about $2200) between JFK and London.  If you fly in regular Business class, they'll give you Gold status for the year.

Competition to London in premium class continues to heat up, as British Airways unveiled their new business class product, which will have more comfortable seats, new entertainment systems and some other stuff.  Seats will be installed by 2008 or so.

November 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 12, 2006

Delta, Northwest Expand International Routes

Delta and Northwest have both announced major international expansion plans yesterday, with Delta, especially, continuing to shift its strategy toward higher yield, lower competition routes.

Delta will begin service next summer from Atlanta to Prague, Vienna, Seoul and Dubai, while they'll begin service from JFK to Pisa and Bucharest around the same time.  Delta briefly (very briefly) served Dubai just before 9/11.  The carrier hopes to achieve 40% of its revenue from its international operations.  They're trying a very different approach for a US airline, for the most part avoiding competition and opening new routes where they can command a premium.  Assuming they can get their costs in line, monopoly routes + lie flat beds could mean success for them.  Finally.

Northwest, meanwhile, is introducing new service to Brussels and Dusseldorf from their Detroit hub, as well as nonstop service from Hartford (????) to Amsterdam.  Northwest has had meagre service to Europe compared to its other SkyTeam partners, so this should make people in the midwest quite happy.  Even better, they're adding about 4 inches of legroom in coach.  Things are finally getting better in the back of the plane.

October 12, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2)

October 11, 2006

Delta to Offer Lie-Flat Seats

Good news for Delta flyers:  The airline announced that it will be the first US carrier to offer fully lie-flat seats beginning in 2008.  Expect to see all of the airline's 777s and 767s equiped with the new product by 2010 (yes, that's a while from now).  Assuming they are still in business, you'll enjoy fully flat beds and, also nice, a seating arrangement where you don't need to climb over the person next to you to get out of the window seat.  This makes American's new seat look like a workbench.  Expect Continental and/or United to match sometime soon...

October 11, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2)

September 14, 2006

Delta to Offer In-Flight Seatback TV/Movies in US

Delta is borrowing a nice feature from the sadly departed Song and will offer seatback TV, movies and music on all domestic flights over 4 hours.  Their rollout schedule is more complicated than I care to explain, but if you're flying Delta on a 4 hour flight, you'll soon feel like you're on JetBlue.

September 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 08, 2006

Is Delta New York's Biggest Airline?

The WSJ (reg required, sorry) takes a look at Delta's claims that it is "New York's largest airline" "America's largest airline" and/or "becoming the second-largest carrier to Latin America."  As you've probably guessed by now, by nearly all measures all 3 of those claims are nonsense (for New York, they exclude Newark because it's not in New York, which would be like saying Detroit and Cincinnati don't have airports because their airports aren't in those cities).  They're also a distant 3rd in flights to Latin America, behind American and Continental.  Truth in advertising, baby!

August 8, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 31, 2006

United Sells Delta Its Route from New York to London...Sort Of

Delta purchased the rights to serve London from New York's JFK airport for $21 million.  United had served the route to Heathrow (after it purchased the route from Pan Am years ago), but Delta will have to fly into the less-desirable Gatwick.  United noted that the route had not been profitable for them, but that won't stop Delta, which called the route the "crown jewel" of its JFK operation.  Crown jewels are usually flashy and cost too much.  Delta's assuming, though, that the large feeder service it's built at the airport will make it possible from them to make the route profitable when United couldn't do it.  They face tough competition from British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Continental, American, Air India and an assortment of others.  BA and Virgin have 19 daily flights between them.  Good luck!

July 31, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 27, 2006

Delta Raises Fares

You may remember that 2 years ago, with much fanfare Delta announced its so-called SimpliFares program.  The idea was that it would simplify its fare structure and cap its top fares at $499 each way.  Those were the days.  Delta announced yesterday that it was raising its top fares to $704 each way, a 40% increase over the so-called SimpliFares.  If it seemed like you were paying more for your next business flight, you were probably right.

July 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 19, 2006

Delta Nonstop to Mumbai and Accra

Delta Air Lines is launching the only nonstop service from the US to Mumbai beginning this November.  The flights from New York will replace its current one-stop service to both Mumbai and Chennai.  As you may have noticed, Delta has begun a huge international expansion this year.  As part of this, the airline has also announced 4x weekly nonstop service from New York to Accra, Ghana, beginning in December.  Any nonstop service to Africa is good news, and the $399 one-way initial fare isn't too bad, either (though service to Europe, which is about the same distance, is roughly half the price in December).

June 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

June 02, 2006

Delta Turns a Profit

I rarely talk about airline financials (12 months of data times God knows how many airlines = I can't be bothered), but since I still get questions about whether Delta is going to go out of business I thought I'd let you know that Delta posted an operating profit in April (excluding reorganization charges).  This is a massive turnaround from even a year ago.  So, stop worrying about your Skymiles.  Or better yet, use the damn miles and go someplace.  Oh right, it's absolutely impossible to use Delta miles on Delta.  Go use them on Northwest.

June 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 24, 2006

Woman's Death on Plane Goes Unnoticed

A passenger on a Delta flight from Fort Lauderdale to Salt Lake City died during the flight, but no one noticed until she did not get off the plane.  Flight attendants did not notice the woman until everyone had left plane except her.  Which she did not do because she was dead.  In case you're wondering, this is not how I want to go.

May 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

April 18, 2006

Continental Snipes at Delta in Ads

Quick note:  in the New York Times this morning, Continental Airlines has an ad that reads: "Only one airline flies nonstop to the most cities in Europe from the New York area.  And it ain't Delta."  Delta's been touting their huge increase in New York flights lately.  Well, it looks like their SkyTeam partnership does not mean the end of competition.  That's a good thing...

April 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 14, 2006

Delta Reaches Agreement with Pilots

Delta reached an agreement with its pilots, averting a strike.  Feel free to book with them again...

April 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 05, 2006

Delta's Pilots Authorize Strike

The 6,000 pilots at Delta Air Lines authorized a strike yesterday by an overwhelming margin.  An arbitration panel is expected to issue a ruling on April 15 on whether the pilots' contract can be voided--the pilots union said that despite the binding nature of the arbitration panel's findings, they will strike if it rules against them.  This deadline gives the two sides a bit over a week to come to an agreement.  Currently, Delta has requested $305 million in pay cuts while the union has offered $140 million.

A strike would likely force the liquidation of the carrier, so I'm not expecting that to happen.  I would still book on Delta for upcoming flights.

April 5, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 24, 2006

Delta Will Serve All 50 States

Delta Air Lines announced that with the addition of Wilmington, Delaware, to its route network it will be the only carrier to serve all 50 states since United did it in the mid-1980s.  Of course, Delta is losing money at a rapid clip, so hell, you can set up an airline and have it lose money serving all 50 states.  Even so there's something pretty cool about that.  Delta will serve the route with an Atlantic Southeast Airlines regional jet with 3 flights a day to Atlanta.  Fares start at $129 each way to Atlanta.

Fares start at only $79 each way for flights to Orlando THROUGH Atlanta, which is yet another of the reasons why people hate airlines and their supposed SimpliFares pricing schemes.

Somewhat related to this, United had a promotion in 1985 called the United Airlines 50 State Marathon, where anyone who flew United to all 50 states in 50 days won free first class travel for a year.  77 people managed to do this.  Without the help of the Internet.  Impressive.

March 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 08, 2006

Delta to Expand Flights at JFK

Delta announced a huge expansion of its services out of JFK, including 46 new nonstops to various cities (primarily on the East Coast).  This growth will create a solid feeder network to the bankrupt airline's fast-growing international services out of JFK.  As Pan Am learned quickly, without a feeder network into your JFK-based international flights, yer screwed.  It's also good news for passengers in cities such as Detroit and Cleveland, as they'll gain new service (and one hopes lower fares) to JFK.

March 8, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 03, 2006

AirTran and Delta Fight Over On Time Performance

AirTran and Delta are in a bit of a pissing match after Delta put out a press release saying that their on-time performance topped that of AirTran in Atlanta.  While this is true, it was overshadowed by Delta's announcement yesterday that it lost $300 million in January.  Well done.  Anyway, in response, AirTran put out a wonderfully bitchy press release ripping on Delta for their overall operations, noting: "Based on the most recent DOT report, Delta was 21 percent more likely to cancel your flight, 64 percent more likely to lose your bag, an astounding 1,440 percent more likely to bump you against your will and, I suppose, not surprisingly, Delta customers complain 93 percent more about their Delta flights and service than AirTran customers."

The release concluded: "So if you don't need to get there and don't really like your luggage, fly Delta."

Damn, that's good stuff.

March 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

March 01, 2006

New Service to Africa

Good news for people trying to travel to Africa:  two announcements yesterday from airlines adding service to the continent.

Delta's application to fly from Atlanta to Johannesburg (with a stop in Dakar, Senegal) was approved yesterday.  Service begins December 4th.

EasyJet announced that it will fly its first route to Africa with service from London to Marrakesh, Morocco, beginning in July.  (The airline also announced service to Istanbul and Rijeka, Croatia, where I went on vacation last year and can highly recommend).  Fares start at about $45 each way.

March 1, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

JetBlue to Try to Raise Fares...and Delta's not Leaving

The NY Times takes a look at the state of JetBlue and finds that the carrier is struggling to raise fares in its highly competitive northeast-to-Florida markets.  JetBlue has blamed the low fares on irrational competition from Delta (and Continental, to an extent).  The article notes that JetBlue has been able to fill its planes to a higher capacity at a higher average fare than Delta, which is impressive.  But the fares are not high enough.

And while JetBlue had 2 days to celebrate a report that Delta was significantly reducing capacity on northeast-to-Florida routes, it turns out that report was not true.  A data error caused Delta to report schedule changes incorrectly, leading one airline analyst to assume that it was cutting back routes.  Oops.  Let the irrational competition continue.  On a plus note, consumers will continue to benefit from the ridiculously low fares from New York to Florida.

March 1, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 27, 2006

Airlines Try to Make Fare Advertisements More Confusing

Legacy airlines are pushing a proposal that would make it more difficult to compare fares.  I know you'll be shocked by this, but a number of airlines (United, American, Delta, Continental and Northwest) want to be able to exclude fuel surcharges from the fares that they advertise.  Currently, the fares they advertise must include all of the revenue that they get to keep (and excludes certain taxes and other fees)  Why is that a big deal?  Because airlines could then publish $3 fares from New York to London, and tack on a so-called $275 "fuel surcharge."  This is nonsense.  Let the Department of Transportation know that you won't stand for this crap.  (Or more likely that you will stand for it because let's be honest, they're not going to listen to you).

February 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

February 24, 2006

Venezuela May Cancel Flights from US

Venezuela's government has announced (sorry, Spanish only...too lazy to translate) that they have cancelled all of Delta's and Continental's flights from the US to Caracas beginning March 1.  Most of American Airlines' flights are affected as well (though not the flights from Puerto Rico).  As you may know, the US is in a bit of a pissing match with the Venezuelan government over oh-so-many issues.  This probably stems from the US refusing to allow Venezuelan airlines to fly to the US on safety grounds.  The affected airlines are still showing the flights as available after March 1st, so the governments may be negotiating.

February 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (3)

February 10, 2006

Delta Seeks Permission to Fly to Senegal and South Africa

Delta Air Lines announced that it has applied for permission to fly from Atlanta to Johannesburg, South Africa, with an intermediate stop in Dakar, Senegal.  If permitted, the flights will begin in December, 2006.  These flights would mark the only non-charter flights to Africa by a US carrier (North American Airways flies to Ghana, but it's technically a scheduled charter).  Bringing flights to Africa is a major step forward in bringing the continent into the fold of the world's economy.  And Senegal can certainly benefit from the tourism---this is a great step by Delta, one that I hope succeeds.

February 10, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)