IFE is free. And why these two routes? They are the tightest and most competitive routes in the US. While market share is desireable (and it matters), but Delta is really driving our Net Promoter Score. This is a big part of what's driving the change. Delta may not make a ton of money or gain a lot of market share, the increase of the NPS is what matters to the brand at this point.
Disagree; if the free meals don't pay dividends to DL in some manner -- increasing average fares, increasing market share, bringing more passengers to DL, etc. -- no way will DL continue to provide them. The cost of the service + loss of buy on board profits makes this a quite costly proposition -- no way will DL continue it because it feels warm and fuzzy about its NPS.
Delta News Network report today:
"This enhancement comes on the heels of a test conducted late last year, where the airline closely monitored customer satisfaction scores to determine the impact on the in-flight experience and saw a significant increase as a result of the test.
“We are all about making our Main Cabin experience the best it can be for our customers and offering free, high quality meals is a big part of that experience,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s Senior Vice President – In-Flight Service. “When we tested this concept, our customers loved it and appreciated it so we are implementing in our most strategic markets."
NetPromoter scores are related to what you, B727FA, are saying. They are a proxy for how much a customer will become an evangelical and/or a blind follower. This is a decision to spend $5 to $7 (and honestly I would be shocked if the entire cost of the "meal" including delivery, storage, warming, waste, replacement/broken/stolen is more than $7) to gain a marketing/sales advantage over the competition.
1. how much meals will cost on these 12 routes that already get catering and full meals in F/C
(and look at how much press DL is getting from this decision....it has hit national, general press and got a story on CBS...that's worth millions)
2. most of which (except JFK-LAX/SFO) operate only once or twice per day
3. all of which have very heavy competition, most of which have at least three carriers (JFK-LAX/SFO have four; BOS-LAX has five)
4. all of which are high profile routes and have significant paid-F and business travelers (i.e. many elites are sitting in coach)
5. Several routes, particularly the SEA routes, are specifically designed to feed Int'l and therefore are competing with JL, CX, NH, LH, LX, etc.
(If I'm a DL elite in BOS/NYC/RDU...knowing that I'm getting better than average service makes the SEA connection to HKG more
palatable/acceptable when otherwise looking at a n/s from EWR or ORD on UA. I'll admit it still doesn't compare to CX. But all those miles!)
6. It's hard for B6 in particular and AS to compete
B6 doesn't have the catering infrastructure nor the galley space to serve a 150 coach meals
It would drive up AS' costs in markets (particularly RDU and FLL) where they have less brand presence
In sum, this is a $1,000 per flight decision. if this gets three more "H" or "Q" fare passengers that are now "X" or "V" fares then it paid for itself; if DL can price the n/s at $20 over the connection the whole thing is a win; if it helps pull a few medallions over to DL for TPAC through SEA its a home run.