DELTA’S NYC STRATEGY IN JEOPARDY? Delta has stated repeatedly that it’s “playing to win” and dominate the air travel market in metro New York. A key part of that plan was a complex gate swap with US Airways at La Guardia, which would have allowed Delta to expand into the US Airways terminal there. However, that plan has recently fallen afoul of regulators. In addition, Delta has made no announcements about what it plans to do with its unpopular 60’s-era terminal at JFK. Until Delta can offer world-class (or just competitive) facilities at these airports, it’s unlikely it will be dominating NYC’s richly competitive market any time soon. Thoughts? Please leave your comments below!
2009 ON-TIME PERFORMANCE: GOOD AND BAD. Good first: Overall airline on-time performance in the U.S. improved dramatically in 2009, showing the best results since 2003, with 80 percent of flights arriving on-time. But it seems like TICKET readers might have been getting to their destinations on time, but when they turned around to come back to Atlanta, there were some problems. Now the bad news: ATL ranked 29th out of 31 major airports for on-time performance for full year 2009. That’s pretty bad. Among airlines, both Delta and AirTran ranked in the bottom half of the pack. AirTran ranked 17th of 19 carriers for the year with 76 percent of flights on time. Delta ranked 12th with an average 79 percent of flights on time. Our take: ATL is one of the few airports that has actually enjoyed a net INCREASE in the number of flights it handles recently, so congestion is still a big issue. Airports that have lost flights are enjoying congestion relief and more on-time flying.
MORE AVOD ON DELTA. Delta recently announced that it would complete the addition of audio-video on demand (AVOD) entertainment systems to each seat in coach cabins on its B747 and B767ER aircraft— which means personal start-and-stop entertainment on all wide-body aircraft between now and 2013. Also, Delta says that it will have in-flight Wi-Fi on nearly 530 aircraft by this summer.
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MORE FIRST CLASS ON DELTA REGIONALS. One of the biggest problems with the growth of regional jet usage for frequent flyers has been the inability to upgrade on the mostly all-coach “barbie jets” flown by partners such as ASA, Comair and SkyWest. To help fix that, Delta says it will add first class seats on an additional 66 CRJ-700 regional jets over the next three years, for an eventual total of 219 CRJ’s with big seats up front.
BAGGAGE FEES RISE AGAIN. Delta and other carriers raised fees for non-Medallion travelers to $25 for the first checked bag and $35 for the second checked bag. That’s an extra $120 round trip for those who check two bags. AirTran’s fees remain at $15 for the first bag and $25 for the second (an extra $80 for two round trip).
AIRTRAN GETTING CREATIVE. As airlines search for new revenue streams anywhere they can get them, AirTran is a recent standout. We’ve written in the past about its new in-flight, seat back ads. More recently, it’s been eagerly wrapping its planes in new skins that promote its sports marketing partnerships. Now, it’s teamed up with none other than Little Debbie in a promotion. Isn’t that sweet…. visit www.littledebbie.com for promotion details.
NEW FLIGHTS AirTran has resumed flights between ATL and Gulfport/Biloxi and will add new flights between ATL and Tunica, Miss. on May 6th. (Gamblers will be pleased to note that AirTran is offering a special fare of $49 each way if you book by Mar 31.)
SAVANNAH POST-SCRIPT: Folks in Savannah who raised their voices to the powers-that-be at Delta have finally won! In a previous post, I wrote about how Delta’s ATL-SAV advance purchase fares soared to nearly $500 after AirTran abandoned the market last year. After several public volleys in the local newspaper, Delta has instituted a new $278 round trip advance purchase fare in the market, which seems to have cooled the rhetoric.
REASON FOR MORE AIRLINE FEES? It’s TAXES, silly! One of the main reasons airlines are slapping fees on nearly everything, but generally leaving fares alone, is taxes. It seems that airline revenue from luggage fees, food sales, headsets, standby changes, mileage purchases, airport lounge passes and anything else that is not a mandatory part of the purchase is not subject to the 7.5% tax on the price of airline tickets.
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airtran.com | delta.com | Hotwire
Folks: Ted is referring to the above news about Savannah
Hmmm. Thanks for letting us know. Sounds like Delta is probably offering a limited number of seats at that price (the number of which they’d never disclosed citing competitive reasons). Once that handful of seats is gone, fares go back up to scandalous levels. There should be cheaper flights on US Airways if you are willing to stop in Charlotte. –editor
Delta lies. The $278 policy does not apply for a trip I am looking at March 31-April 1. It is $530. What gives?