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winginit
Posts: 1101
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2013 9:23 pm

Re: DL Future Expansion

Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:24 pm

AAvgeek744 wrote:
winginit wrote:
ANA787 wrote:
PDX-CDG anyone?


I'd guess we'd see DL metal into CDG from LAX before PDX.


Why compete with AF? Isn't their JV metal neutral?


Brand presence to better leverage POS preferences - not unlike what DL and VS have been doing with metal swaps in hubs served by both carriers.
 
jbs2886
Posts: 1114
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:07 pm

Re: DL Future Expansion

Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:28 pm

winginit wrote:
AAvgeek744 wrote:
winginit wrote:

I'd guess we'd see DL metal into CDG from LAX before PDX.


Why compete with AF? Isn't their JV metal neutral?


Brand presence to better leverage POS preferences - not unlike what DL and VS have been doing with metal swaps in hubs served by both carriers.


Unlikely, unless DL changes its position on European flights from LAX. DL tried DL and Virgin on LHR flights, DL left. There is no DL to CDG or AMS either.
 
winginit
Posts: 1101
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2013 9:23 pm

Re: DL Future Expansion

Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:35 pm

jbs2886 wrote:
winginit wrote:
AAvgeek744 wrote:

Why compete with AF? Isn't their JV metal neutral?


Brand presence to better leverage POS preferences - not unlike what DL and VS have been doing with metal swaps in hubs served by both carriers.


Unlikely, unless DL changes its position on European flights from LAX. DL tried DL and Virgin on LHR flights, DL left. There is no DL to CDG or AMS either.


We'll see, but DL is making a bold statement with their LAX facility investment, and it's such that if ever there were a time to introduce DL metal to their primary JV European flow hubs (CDG and AMS), I would suspect that it would coincide with that facility investment. LHR was a different beast given the local focus, and I imagine even DL would admit they had a dreadful product offering back when they tried it.
 
tphuang
Posts: 354
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:04 pm

Re: DL Future Expansion

Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:54 pm

jagraham wrote:
DL recently fixed SEA-ORD. I would have to presume LAX-ORD nonstop would be high on their list now that they have more gates.

I really don't think gates is the reason delta is not on lax ord. You saw what happened when they entered sea ord and bos sfo. Aa and ua reaction to delta entering lax ord would be much more brutal in my opinion. Not going to be an easy ride for delta trying to expand in lax. Aa and ua will be weary of delta taking their corporate clients.
 
jagraham
Posts: 189
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2016 11:10 pm

Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:52 am

tphuang wrote:
jagraham wrote:
DL recently fixed SEA-ORD. I would have to presume LAX-ORD nonstop would be high on their list now that they have more gates.

I really don't think gates is the reason delta is not on lax ord. You saw what happened when they entered sea ord and bos sfo. Aa and ua reaction to delta entering lax ord would be much more brutal in my opinion. Not going to be an easy ride for delta trying to expand in lax. Aa and ua will be weary of delta taking their corporate clients.


DL needs ORD as it is their biggest hole in their LAX feed. Their Asian connections need it. Their Skyteam partners need it. In addition to making DL more attractive to corporate travel departments. It is very unlikely that DL will ever be #1 on that route with AA, UA (and WN at MDW) with hubs on both ends. But the route merits at least a 717. And may need bigger planes depending on demand from connecting Asian passengers for lie-flat on that leg of the trip.
 
CHI2DFW
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed May 31, 2017 1:44 am

Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:02 am

jagraham wrote:
tphuang wrote:
jagraham wrote:
DL recently fixed SEA-ORD. I would have to presume LAX-ORD nonstop would be high on their list now that they have more gates.

I really don't think gates is the reason delta is not on lax ord. You saw what happened when they entered sea ord and bos sfo. Aa and ua reaction to delta entering lax ord would be much more brutal in my opinion. Not going to be an easy ride for delta trying to expand in lax. Aa and ua will be weary of delta taking their corporate clients.


DL needs ORD as it is their biggest hole in their LAX feed. Their Asian connections need it. Their Skyteam partners need it. In addition to making DL more attractive to corporate travel departments. It is very unlikely that DL will ever be #1 on that route with AA, UA (and WN at MDW) with hubs on both ends. But the route merits at least a 717. And may need bigger planes depending on demand from connecting Asian passengers for lie-flat on that leg of the trip.


ORD is not needed for Asia or Sky Team. ORD is needed for O&D and corporate contracts. These are the 2nd and 3rd largest markets in the country. DL competes on LGA from ORD with AA $ UA, huge market, but much shorter flight. Plus EWR, HPN, JFK, and WN (who does fly MDW-LAX). I'm not going to consider F9. Virgin has a token presence too, but not a threat.

I'm sure the trolls will say this kills the DL Midwest hubs, but how many people are flying ORD-MW Hub-LAX (longer and / or backtracking)? Same argument when DL started ORD-SEA (curious how that is doing).
 
EddieDude
Posts: 6587
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:20 am

jagraham wrote:
I cannot find anything about deferring A339s. Ten A359s have been deferred to 2021 or later. When the A339s and the rest of the 242t A338s arrive at Delta, they will allow A359s and 777s to be deployed elsewhere.

Perhaps I am mistaken and there has been no deferral of the A339s; sorry if that is the case. And you mean 242t A332s right?

panamair wrote:
with the upcoming winter schedule, there will be no more 777s at JFK as both CDG and TLV switch to the A333.

Thanks panamair. Will be interesting to see if the 777s return to JFK for the next summer season or not.
Upcoming S4 0221 LIS-PDL A310-300!!!
 
jagraham
Posts: 189
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2016 11:10 pm

Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:47 am

EddieDude wrote:
jagraham wrote:
I cannot find anything about deferring A339s. Ten A359s have been deferred to 2021 or later. When the A339s and the rest of the 242t A338s arrive at Delta, they will allow A359s and 777s to be deployed elsewhere.

Perhaps I am mistaken and there has been no deferral of the A339s; sorry if that is the case. And you mean 242t A332s right?

panamair wrote:
with the upcoming winter schedule, there will be no more 777s at JFK as both CDG and TLV switch to the A333.

Thanks panamair. Will be interesting to see if the 777s return to JFK for the next summer season or not.


242t A333s, sorry
 
PHLCVGAMTK
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:50 pm

Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:07 am

I'd like to go back to the original leak text and try to extrapolate from the exact words of the original poster.

ADrum23 wrote:
"This is a result of Network turning their efforts to "focus" cities. These are cities that are underserved and are not a hub for competitors. The model for DL was RDU. In short order, we add ~20 non-stops per peak day (often only 1 flight to many hubs) and a transatlantic flight to CDG, AMS or LHR.


The first thing that jumps out at me is that this requires very, very little in the way of CapEx on DL's part. It's not routing connections through any of these cities, since all or almost all of the flights are to its own hubs. This means that, barring some truly unfortunate timing w/r/t flying times and banks at hubs, they can continuously flow through a small number of gates at the focus city airport. And 20 flights per day just isn't much, so you might not have much of a fixed base in terms of crew or TechOps, although that's not a certainty, and this is Delta and they do weird things in both of those categories.

Even with one flight a day to each of its hubs, DL is suddenly in a much better advertising position to sell corporate contracts to local businesses: "Hey, wouldn't you like to fly with the airline that is flying nonstop TATL and to NYC and LAX and BOS and SEA?" Actually flying all those routes to all those cities might be a little expensive, but it wouldn't surprise me to find out that DL has, or thinks it has, a structural advantage on CASM for both personnel (non-unionized labor) and fuel (the couple of basis points per gallon it gets from the Trainer refinery, not just directly from crack spread but also the insider knowledge it gets for negotiating with suppliers elsewhere).

Airport managers are going to love those new nonstops, especially TATL in markets that don't have a TATL nonstop yet. DL can expect to be greeted with open checkbooks. In cities where those incentives come with a exclusivity clause, it also shuts out competitors from picking up that money.

It's not just the power of the nonstops, though. Flying to (nearly) all of its own hubs, including one of CDG, AMS or LHR, means that the focus cities are now one stop away from anywhere DL and AF/KL or VS fly. Maybe Y passengers will only care about price, but premium cabin fliers are going to be looking for comfort and faster trip times. Hold that thought.

Where is DL going to implement this focus city strategy? RDU is the model. So we're mostly looking at mid-market cities. The Midwest has been brought up a lot: we can safely assume IND, but also frequently mentioned in this thread and elsewhere are MKE, CLE, and CMH. To that list, perhaps add STL and PIT. Elsewhere in the country, AUS, and maybe MCO. Cities where AA and UA aren't going to sink enormous amounts of resources to defend; they're not capable of supporting a full hub on their own, so the US3 have abandoned large segments of market share to WN and the LCCs. Remember all those premium cabin flyers looking for the best network for corporate contracts? Where else are they going to go? WN doesn't fly to Europe. AA and UA will fly nonstop to their own hubs in NYC/LAX/ORD, but for non-hub flights (especially secondary European destinations) they might well only be able to offer a two stop flight. And yes, between AA and UA, they have hubs in all of the top 10 metropolitan areas, but corporate customers are going to be looking to fly to AA hubs on UA contracts and vice versa. It's a tight bind, and while no single city is worth the resources to get into a slugging match, letting DL sweep up all the high-value traffic in market after market is going to hurt yields network-wide. There are some countermeasures, like building up those secondary routes in Europe through PHL and EWR, but that's very expensive in the short term.

The big question mark is where DL is going to find the TATL demand to fill all those new flights. It doesn't have anything smaller than a 763 on hand for these mission lengths, and the precedents of IND (propped up by GE Aviation air freight) and CVG (propped up by GE Aviation air freight AND a big contract from Procter and Gamble) don't bode well for load factors. Also, where is DL getting its hands on so many 763s (and/or 764s)? And how long does it expect to keep flying them? A330s might be longer for this world, but they have even more seats to fill. Perhaps a 752 can squeeze out a flight from MKE, CLE, or PIT to LHR, but LHR has by far the worst onward connectivity of DL's 3 European hubs, and the same question of "where do you get the 752s and how do you keep them flying" still applies. CDG is also just a friendlier environment for expansion, from a technical feasibility standpoint; far less restricted than either LHR or AMS. A321LRs don't help, they don't have the range. Boeing MoM might be an ideal plane but is too far over the horizon.

To summarize: I think DL is leveraging certain structural advantages it has to attack both WN's p2p network overall, and AA and UA's hub-and-spoke networks from the biggest and least defensible spokes. It's an interesting gambit, only possible because of idiosyncrasies at DL, and because they are sufficiently flush with cash that they can take risks. It is not something that DL's competitors can imitate; they must counterattack asymmetrically in order to maintain position.
 
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Midwestindy
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:44 am

PHLCVGAMTK wrote:

The first thing that jumps out at me is that this requires very, very little in the way of CapEx on DL's part. It's not routing connections through any of these cities, since all or almost all of the flights are to its own hubs. This means that, barring some truly unfortunate timing w/r/t flying times and banks at hubs, they can continuously flow through a small number of gates at the focus city airport. And 20 flights per day just isn't much, so you might not have much of a fixed base in terms of crew or TechOps, although that's not a certainty, and this is Delta and they do weird things in both of those categories.

It is not something that DL's competitors can imitate; they must counterattack asymmetrically in order to maintain position.


Great analysis btw!

I'll also add in that most of these cities under consideration like MCO (basically already a focus city), IND, AUS, e.t.c have more than 20 departures per day, for IND that number is already pushing 40 departures per day. In addition, I am also expecting to see some more p2p routes pop up as well, especially considering the CSeries will free up a lot of RJs, and the fact that DL has the gates at IND, AUS(soon once the expansion is complete), and MCO to add a lot more.

I also think DL is unique in that they have many mid-sized cities (outside of their hubs) where they control a lot of the FF base(JAX/PDX/MKE/IND/CMH/MSY/MCO/TPA/MEM/e.t.c). AA and UA don't have as many of these cities (outside of hubs) where they control a large portion of the FF base, UA has CLE, and AA has PIT, RDU(DL focus city), STL, BOS (DL"hub"), and BNA. So it makes sense that DL can use this kind of strategy, and AA and UA would be less effective (although I don't know if they would want to).

This strategy is also extremely low-risk-high reward as well, considering the first two years the TATL flights will be heavily subsidized, and if they aren't profitable after the first two years they can easily cut route. However, if the flights are profitable, they gain a cash-cow long-haul flight...
 
commavia
Posts: 11265
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 2:30 am

Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:21 pm

PHLCVGAMTK wrote:
It's a tight bind, and while no single city is worth the resources to get into a slugging match, letting DL sweep up all the high-value traffic in market after market is going to hurt yields network-wide.


Okay, but therein - I suspect - would be where AA and United revenue management folks might "take issue" with the entire analysis above. Their words and actions indicate that AA and United do not, at least yet, actually believe that Delta is going to "sweep up all the high-value traffic" in these non-hub "focus cities."

Put differently, AA and United may well have concluded that these non-hub "focus city" markets generate so much high-value business traffic just to the largest O&D centers that are AA/United hubs that the incremental, additional revenue contribution from point-to-point business traffic isn't worth the direct cost, nor the opportunity cost of diverting resources away from the hubs, and thus undermining their scale economies. Given the world they see at their huge megahubs in huge metro areas, I could understand how AA and United would arrive at, and justify/rationalize, such an approach - different than Delta.

I agree that Delta does have some unique drivers of its competitive behavior - like minimal union inflexibility, for instance - that AA and United can't replicate, and that may help explain some of the strategic divergence on this issue (and several others between Delta and its peers). But on the flip side, as said previously, I also at least somewhat subscribe to the view that part of what has motivated some of these moves by Delta is the fact that it's dominated megahubs tend to be in smaller markets where there is less competition, to be sure, but also less of this aforementioned high-value traffic to buoy the entire network.
 
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Polot
Posts: 7001
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:01 pm

Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:41 pm

jagraham wrote:
EddieDude wrote:
jagraham wrote:
I cannot find anything about deferring A339s. Ten A359s have been deferred to 2021 or later. When the A339s and the rest of the 242t A338s arrive at Delta, they will allow A359s and 777s to be deployed elsewhere.

Perhaps I am mistaken and there has been no deferral of the A339s; sorry if that is the case. And you mean 242t A332s right?


242t A333s, sorry

All 10 242t A333s have been delivered since April. The only widebodies DL has on order are the A350s and A339s.
 
bmacleod
Posts: 2805
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2001 3:10 am

Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:49 pm

tkoenig95 wrote:
At the rate this thread is going, DL will be the next empirical Pan Am and I'm loving it!


Many analysts were predicting DL was headed that way after they took over Pam Am's operations...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_American_World_Airways#Bankruptcy
"What good are wings without the courage to fly?" - Atticus
 
MIflyer12
Posts: 2889
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:58 pm

Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:17 pm

Midwestindy wrote:
I also think DL is unique in that they have many mid-sized cities (outside of their hubs) where they control a lot of the FF base(JAX/PDX/MKE/IND/CMH/MSY/MCO/TPA/MEM/e.t.c).


As for JAX, MKE, IND, CMH, MSY, and TPA, that frequent flyer count is built up from long years of frequent service to proximate hubs.

commavia wrote:
Put differently, AA and United may well have concluded that these non-hub "focus city" markets generate so much high-value business traffic just to the largest O&D centers that are AA/United hubs that the incremental, additional revenue contribution from point-to-point business traffic isn't worth the direct cost, nor the opportunity cost of diverting resources away from the hubs, and thus undermining their scale economies.
Emphasis mine.

And that's the thing: every new P2P route that overflies a hub weakens the economic case for frequencies to the hub, and to all the destinations served from the hub.

Every carrier operating a connection-dependent hub network structure (and that's surely the case with Delta - look at the fractions of connecting traffic out of ATL/DTW/MSP) has to strike a balance. It may be Rule #1 in airline hub economics: Don't compete with yourself!

RDU may be the template for focus city development. Recall the double MQM promo a few years ago, with very generous bonuses out of PIT, RDU, STL and BNA?

https://thepointsguy.com/2010/06/delta- ... tl-flyers/

U.S. carriers don't indicate profitability by city nor by route. We are left to infer they like their expansion results based on observing they're sticking with the strategy (or doing more of it)! I'll point out that DL put a bunch more flights into CVG when it shut down the DFW hub. Sometimes one takes the least-bad choice. CVG sure doesn't have 600 DL flights a day these days.

Frankly, I don't think IND-CDG says much other than to the desperation of Indiana officials to use public monies to get a TATL flight. If DL sticks with announced capacity and frequencies long after the subsidy funds are gone, maybe then we have an element of evidence.
 
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Midwestindy
Posts: 1201
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:05 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
Frankly, I don't think IND-CDG says much other than to the desperation of Indiana officials to use public monies to get a TATL flight. If DL sticks with announced capacity and frequencies long after the subsidy funds are gone, maybe then we have an element of evidence.


According to the person who stated the rumor,
"We first select the focus city, then approach them and negotiate the money to indemnify startup losses. Not the other way around."

So, therefore, DL came to IND.
Also remember that IND had been pushing for BA to LHR for years, and the possibility of DL to Europe only came about this summer...

Furthermore, DL only gets $$ if the route is successful, so DL wouldn't have started this route if they didn't have confidence in its success.
Last edited by Midwestindy on Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 12438
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:12 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
commavia wrote:
Put differently, AA and United may well have concluded that these non-hub "focus city" markets generate so much high-value business traffic just to the largest O&D centers that are AA/United hubs that the incremental, additional revenue contribution from point-to-point business traffic isn't worth the direct cost, nor the opportunity cost of diverting resources away from the hubs, and thus undermining their scale economies.
Emphasis mine.

And that's the thing: every new P2P route that overflies a hub weakens the economic case for frequencies to the hub, and to all the destinations served from the hub.

Every carrier operating a connection-dependent hub network structure (and that's surely the case with Delta - look at the fractions of connecting traffic out of ATL/DTW/MSP) has to strike a balance. It may be Rule #1 in airline hub economics: Don't compete with yourself!


I'm not sure that's true. The p2p routes certainly pick up some passengers who would otherwise select a competitor, and the cost of flying a passenger RDU-BNA is less than the cost of flying a passenger RDU-ATL/CVG-BNA.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
ibhalla
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:30 am

Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:15 pm

LAX772LR wrote:
ibhalla wrote:
You removed a fraction of my statement and took it out of context.

Ironic: you speak of missing context, yet lack the wherewithal to notice WHY I quoted only that specific part of your statement.......


ibhalla wrote:
Delta is more weary and more conservative when starting international routes, especially when they aren't from ATL.

Just as an FYI: repeating it isn't going to make it any less false than the first time you inaccurately asserted such....


Look it mate, what facts do you even have to back up your point? And telling people that they're idiots don't help you make a point, it just makes you look like you wanna fight somebody.
Houstonian avgeek (is that a thing?) and frequent flyer. Qantas is my fav airline. (JetBlue is a close 2nd.)
 
commavia
Posts: 11265
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 2:30 am

Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:49 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
the cost of flying a passenger RDU-BNA is less than the cost of flying a passenger RDU-ATL/CVG-BNA.


It very much depends on how "cost" is accounted. I strongly suspect that there are many situations where the incremental, marginal cost of flying a passenger on a nonstop, point-to-point RJ route is, in fact, higher - on a fully-allocated unit basis - than flying that passenger through a hub. To start with, the the unit cost of an RJ seat is almost always higher than on a mainline aircraft. But more broadly, hub scale economies are stunningly cost-efficient, and beyond that, the incremental, marginal cost of putting a connecting passenger on a plane already going to the hub anyway is, in most cases, effectively zero. The plane is going with or without them. Contrast that with a point-to-point "network orphan" flight that exists solely or near-solely for the purpose of transporting people between only those two points, and now you have to honestly burden that flight with all the costs associated with its operation - and that is far more than zero per seat.

That's not to say that the economics of point-to-point flights don't work - they obviously do - but like with everything else, it's a matter of "compared to what." If an airline thinks it can derive incremental higher unit revenue (from offering the convenience of a nonstop) that overcomes the incrementally higher unit cost, that obviously may be a smart idea.

And, I think, therein lies the ultimate reason for the divergence between the assessments of AA/United vs Delta - the former two don't appear all that enthusiastic about their ability to derive unit revenue premiums commensurate with the unit cost premiums, at least as compared to the yields they're already getting on the high volumes of business traffic they're already carrying to, from and through their massive hubs. Delta, on the other hand, seems to derive more of its unit revenue premiums at many of its hubs not so much from the size of those hubs' business travel markets, but rather Delta's dominance of said traffic. But that introduces a scalability issue - when Delta already controls virtually all premium traffic in and out of smaller metro area hub markets, where is it to turn for more high yielding traffic? It can't really increase share any more in DTW, MSP, SLC, ATL, etc. So it instead is pursuing high yielding traffic outside hubs altogether.
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 12438
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:03 pm

commavia wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
the cost of flying a passenger RDU-BNA is less than the cost of flying a passenger RDU-ATL/CVG-BNA.


It very much depends on how "cost" is accounted. I strongly suspect that there are many situations where the incremental, marginal cost of flying a passenger on a nonstop, point-to-point RJ route is, in fact, higher - on a fully-allocated unit basis - than flying that passenger through a hub. To start with, the the unit cost of an RJ seat is almost always higher than on a mainline aircraft. But more broadly, hub scale economies are stunningly cost-efficient, and beyond that, the incremental, marginal cost of putting a connecting passenger on a plane already going to the hub anyway is, in most cases, effectively zero. The plane is going with or without them. Contrast that with a point-to-point "network orphan" flight that exists solely or near-solely for the purpose of transporting people between only those two points, and now you have to honestly burden that flight with all the costs associated with its operation - and that is far more than zero per seat.

That's not to say that the economics of point-to-point flights don't work - they obviously do - but like with everything else, it's a matter of "compared to what." If an airline thinks it can derive incremental higher unit revenue (from offering the convenience of a nonstop) that overcomes the incrementally higher unit cost, that obviously may be a smart idea...


CASM is higher, but let's not forget that the M in CASM stands for miles and in my cases the p2p routes shave hundreds of miles off of an itinerary.

The other cost to consider is opportunity cost. It makes a lot more sense to free up a seat on RDU-ATL if that seat will go to someone paying $5,000 for RDU-ATL-SCL than if it will go to someone paying $50 for RDU-ATL-MCO. It's true that the aircraft are going to the hubs anyway, but given industry load factors the opportunity cost of sending 50 or 100 passengers going to the same place through a hub is likely pretty high.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
masseybrown
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:07 pm

And that's the thing: every new P2P route that overflies a hub weakens the economic case for frequencies to the hub, and to all the destinations served from the hub.[/quote]

As Steve Jobs said, "If we don't cannibalize the Mac, somebody else will." Substitute hub for Mac, and we're talking about airlines. The infinitely expanding mega-hub model may have reached the end of its usefulness; DL appears to be the airline most interested in developing alternatives.
 
commavia
Posts: 11265
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:47 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
The other cost to consider is opportunity cost. It makes a lot more sense to free up a seat on RDU-ATL if that seat will go to someone paying $5,000 for RDU-ATL-SCL than if it will go to someone paying $50 for RDU-ATL-MCO. It's true that the aircraft are going to the hubs anyway, but given industry load factors the opportunity cost of sending 50 or 100 passengers going to the same place through a hub is likely pretty high.


That's revenue management 101. Airlines have collectively spent billions designing algorithms to weigh precisely such situations, literally billions of times each day. That's hardly anything new. Thus, again, why I don't question for a second that point-to-point routes clearly can make sense in some cases. The incremental, marginal cost of flying an airplane full of seats - empty or full - between two cities where virtually all onboard traffic will be O&D is, almost certainly, higher in most cases than connecting passengers in that city pair over a hub with scale economies and planes already going there. But, in contrast, the unit revenues by definition must be - and should be - higher, too.

masseybrown wrote:
As Steve Jobs said, "If we don't cannibalize the Mac, somebody else will." Substitute hub for Mac, and we're talking about airlines.


If airlines were truly concerned about some other model "cannibalizing" hubs, I'd agree. But I don't think anyone is all that concerned about such cannibalization happening - at least writ large. It is important to note that arguably the first, largest and most prominent proponent of hewing away from hubs in favor point-to-point - Southwest - has steadily moved more and more in the direction of high-cost, network-complex hubs as time has gone on. The reason is because, outside of the possible exception of highly-price-elastic leisure markets, the only network structure that has proven consistently viable and successful at catering to very, very high numbers of city pairs, including service to small and mid-size markets, is hub-and-spoke.

masseybrown wrote:
The infinitely expanding mega-hub model may have reached the end of its usefulness; DL appears to be the airline most interested in developing alternatives.


I do not think the economics of hubs has even come close to approaching the end of its usefulness - in fact, I'd say the underlying economic logic of hubs is only getting more and more important as time goes on and the market evolves. As said, I can't help but wonder if - as others have suggested - part of the divergence in Delta's approach to point-to-point flying versus its network peers is more reflective of the differences in these carriers' hub structures than a more broadly divergent assessment of hub economics in general.
 
MIflyer12
Posts: 2889
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:58 pm

Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:58 pm

masseybrown wrote:
And that's the thing: every new P2P route that overflies a hub weakens the economic case for frequencies to the hub, and to all the destinations served from the hub.


As Steve Jobs said, "If we don't cannibalize the Mac, somebody else will." Substitute hub for Mac, and we're talking about airlines. The infinitely expanding mega-hub model may have reached the end of its usefulness; DL appears to be the airline most interested in developing alternatives.[/quote]

What was Mac's peak market share? Six percent? The firms that pursued economies of scale (as air carriers do through hubs) came to rule the PC market. See commavia's remarks regarding the marginal cost of thru-hub flying.

You're overlooking my 'find a balance' remark. The successes of Allegiant (Bangor - Saint Petersburg!!) and Southwest show that P2P economics can work. It's much less clear if DL should have 100 or 1000 P2P flights out of its ~6,000 flights/peak day schedule.
 
masseybrown
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:06 pm

commavia wrote:
masseybrown wrote:
As Steve Jobs said, "If we don't cannibalize the Mac, somebody else will." Substitute hub for Mac, and we're talking about airlines.


If airlines were truly concerned about some other model "cannibalizing" hubs, I'd agree. But I don't think anyone is all that concerned about such cannibalization happening - at least writ large. It is important to note that arguably the first, largest and most prominent proponent of hewing away from hubs in favor point-to-point - Southwest - has steadily moved more and more in the direction of high-cost, network-complex hubs as time has gone on. The reason is because, outside of the possible exception of highly-price-elastic leisure markets, the only network structure that has proven consistently viable and successful at catering to very, very high numbers of city pairs, including service to small and mid-size markets, is hub-and-spoke.

masseybrown wrote:
The infinitely expanding mega-hub model may have reached the end of its usefulness; DL appears to be the airline most interested in developing alternatives.


I do not think the economics of hubs has even come close to approaching the end of its usefulness - in fact, I'd say the underlying economic logic of hubs is only getting more and more important as time goes on and the market evolves. As said, I can't help but wonder if - as others have suggested - part of the divergence in Delta's approach to point-to-point flying versus its network peers is more reflective of the differences in these carriers' hub structures than a more broadly divergent assessment of hub economics in general.


The legacy carriers seem to be acutely aware of the growing success of the ULCC's and more determined to resist losing national market share; and the ULCC system is a hub-killer, or at least a hub-shrinker. Looking back, TWA and PanAm were weakened (and never really recovered) when the other lines let travelers bypass the near monopoly JFK had on European flying in the 70s. WN smoked the legacies by bypassing hub competition. Now the ULCCs are doing the same.

Hubs will always have a role, just not the only role. I think Delta sees this and is trying different ways to deal with it.
 
commavia
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:58 pm

masseybrown wrote:
the ULCC system is a hub-killer, or at least a hub-shrinker.


All I can say is that, with respect, I think that is completely and utterly ridiculous.

masseybrown wrote:
Looking back, TWA and PanAm were weakened (and never really recovered) when the other lines let travelers bypass the near monopoly JFK had on European flying in the 70s.


That comparison is so fraught with so many extenuating circumstances and peculiar differences that it renders it largely meaningless, in my view. I do not believe that we can reasonably draw any conclusions about the effect of, for instance, Spirit, Frontier and Allegiant on DFW or DEN or ATL today compared to how the 767 impacted Pan Am and TWA at JFK three decades ago.

masseybrown wrote:
WN smoked the legacies by bypassing hub competition.


... right up until Southwest ran out of places to grow organically and could no longer keep unit costs low through expansion, and then started building huge hubs itself for the exact same reasons as AA, Delta and United have them.

masseybrown wrote:
Now the ULCCs are doing the same.


No they aren't.

masseybrown wrote:
Hubs will always have a role, just not the only role. I think Delta sees this and is trying different ways to deal with it.


Like with oh-so-many other things, we'll see how it works out. AA and United both seem to have quite definitively concluded, at least for now, that the incremental value generated from significant point-to-point flying isn't worth the cost. Given the network structures both have, and the competitive landscape as it exists today - I can see how and why they drew that conclusion, and tend to agree. Delta, with a different network structure and some of its own unique competitive attributes, may have concluded somewhat differently. They may well be right, too - personally, I think both strategies will end up being successful for the respective carriers that pursue them.
 
LAXdude1023
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:30 pm

masseybrown wrote:
commavia wrote:
masseybrown wrote:
As Steve Jobs said, "If we don't cannibalize the Mac, somebody else will." Substitute hub for Mac, and we're talking about airlines.


If airlines were truly concerned about some other model "cannibalizing" hubs, I'd agree. But I don't think anyone is all that concerned about such cannibalization happening - at least writ large. It is important to note that arguably the first, largest and most prominent proponent of hewing away from hubs in favor point-to-point - Southwest - has steadily moved more and more in the direction of high-cost, network-complex hubs as time has gone on. The reason is because, outside of the possible exception of highly-price-elastic leisure markets, the only network structure that has proven consistently viable and successful at catering to very, very high numbers of city pairs, including service to small and mid-size markets, is hub-and-spoke.

masseybrown wrote:
The infinitely expanding mega-hub model may have reached the end of its usefulness; DL appears to be the airline most interested in developing alternatives.


I do not think the economics of hubs has even come close to approaching the end of its usefulness - in fact, I'd say the underlying economic logic of hubs is only getting more and more important as time goes on and the market evolves. As said, I can't help but wonder if - as others have suggested - part of the divergence in Delta's approach to point-to-point flying versus its network peers is more reflective of the differences in these carriers' hub structures than a more broadly divergent assessment of hub economics in general.


The legacy carriers seem to be acutely aware of the growing success of the ULCC's and more determined to resist losing national market share; and the ULCC system is a hub-killer, or at least a hub-shrinker. Looking back, TWA and PanAm were weakened (and never really recovered) when the other lines let travelers bypass the near monopoly JFK had on European flying in the 70s. WN smoked the legacies by bypassing hub competition. Now the ULCCs are doing the same.

Hubs will always have a role, just not the only role. I think Delta sees this and is trying different ways to deal with it.


ULCC's thrive in markets that are mid-sized to small and have little premium traffic. STL, CLE, PIT, etc. would be great spots for Norwegian to com in and do long haul service. Those cities will never again be hubs because the days where smaller markets can have hubs are dead. The only exceptions seem to be CLT which works because of high yielding finance traffic and geographic location and SLC which works because of geographic location.

Cities like ORD, DFW, IAH, DEN, ATL, etc. are huge markets jammed packed with O&D and lots of high yielding O&D at that. Thats where hubs will never die or shrink.
It is what it is...
 
AAvgeek744
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:52 pm

ADrum23 wrote:
tkoenig95 wrote:
At the rate this thread is going, DL will be the next empirical Pan Am and I'm loving it!


And they'll likely end up the same way Pan Am did if they expand too much.


Pan Am in the 60s and 70s had way more international destinations than they did at the end. Lots of flights not touching the U.S.directly (SYD-HKG, CKG for example). Can't say if they made money on those routes but they kept them around a long time. Their demise began when Juan Trippe ordered way too many 747s at a time the economy was cratering, and the slow death blow came when they made arguably the worst merger in history with National. I seriously doubt DL is going to over-expand. They don't seem to mind cutting loss making routes now, I suspect they'll stay that way.
 
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Midwestindy
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:30 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
As for JAX, MKE, IND, CMH, MSY, and TPA, that frequent flyer count is built up from long years of frequent service to proximate hubs.


That is much too simplistic of an explanation, if that were the case AA/UA would own the CMH/MKE/IND FF bases. Notice how DL has a skyclub in IND, MKE, CMH, MSY, and JAX while UA and AA don't...
 
papatango
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:41 pm

Delta does not have a club in CMH
 
DeltaRules
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:12 pm

PHLCVGAMTK wrote:
I'd like to go back to the original leak text and try to extrapolate from the exact words of the original poster.

The big question mark is where DL is going to find the TATL demand to fill all those new flights. It doesn't have anything smaller than a 763 on hand for these mission lengths, and the precedents of IND (propped up by GE Aviation air freight) and CVG (propped up by GE Aviation air freight AND a big contract from Procter and Gamble) don't bode well for load factors. Also, where is DL getting its hands on so many 763s (and/or 764s)? And how long does it expect to keep flying them? A330s might be longer for this world, but they have even more seats to fill. Perhaps a 752 can squeeze out a flight from MKE, CLE, or PIT to LHR, but LHR has by far the worst onward connectivity of DL's 3 European hubs, and the same question of "where do you get the 752s and how do you keep them flying" still applies. CDG is also just a friendlier environment for expansion, from a technical feasibility standpoint; far less restricted than either LHR or AMS. A321LRs don't help, they don't have the range. Boeing MoM might be an ideal plane but is too far over the horizon.


For reference, CVG-AMS (and I think LGW as well) ran with 757s for a time. I'd think anything inside that range or of similar lengths could work using the 757. They could even rotate them into/out of ATL via a place like CMH (which already sees 757 service) if they needed to.

papatango wrote:
Delta does not have a club in CMH


It wouldn't surprise me if they put one in, though. I think there's still space where Mulligan's Restaurant used to be across from TSA.
A310/319/320/321/333, ARJ, BN2, B722/73S/733/734/735/73G/738/739/744/757/753/767/763/764/777, CR1/2/7/9, DH6, 328, EM2/ERJ/E70/E75/E90, F28/100, J31, L10/12/15, DC9/D93/D94/D95/M80/M88/M90/D10, SF3, SST
 
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Midwestindy
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:17 pm

papatango wrote:
Delta does not have a club in CMH


Thanks for clarifying, I had just assumed on that one.
 
jagraham
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:40 pm

commavia wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
the cost of flying a passenger RDU-BNA is less than the cost of flying a passenger RDU-ATL/CVG-BNA.


It very much depends on how "cost" is accounted. I strongly suspect that there are many situations where the incremental, marginal cost of flying a passenger on a nonstop, point-to-point RJ route is, in fact, higher - on a fully-allocated unit basis - than flying that passenger through a hub. To start with, the the unit cost of an RJ seat is almost always higher than on a mainline aircraft. But more broadly, hub scale economies are stunningly cost-efficient, and beyond that, the incremental, marginal cost of putting a connecting passenger on a plane already going to the hub anyway is, in most cases, effectively zero. The plane is going with or without them. Contrast that with a point-to-point "network orphan" flight that exists solely or near-solely for the purpose of transporting people between only those two points, and now you have to honestly burden that flight with all the costs associated with its operation - and that is far more than zero per seat.

That's not to say that the economics of point-to-point flights don't work - they obviously do - but like with everything else, it's a matter of "compared to what." If an airline thinks it can derive incremental higher unit revenue (from offering the convenience of a nonstop) that overcomes the incrementally higher unit cost, that obviously may be a smart idea.

And, I think, therein lies the ultimate reason for the divergence between the assessments of AA/United vs Delta - the former two don't appear all that enthusiastic about their ability to derive unit revenue premiums commensurate with the unit cost premiums, at least as compared to the yields they're already getting on the high volumes of business traffic they're already carrying to, from and through their massive hubs. Delta, on the other hand, seems to derive more of its unit revenue premiums at many of its hubs not so much from the size of those hubs' business travel markets, but rather Delta's dominance of said traffic. But that introduces a scalability issue - when Delta already controls virtually all premium traffic in and out of smaller metro area hub markets, where is it to turn for more high yielding traffic? It can't really increase share any more in DTW, MSP, SLC, ATL, etc. So it instead is pursuing high yielding traffic outside hubs altogether.


And making major moves in NYC and LAX, where DL's presence previously was not significant . .
 
commavia
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:46 pm

jagraham wrote:
And making major moves in NYC and LAX, where DL's presence previously was not significant . .


Yep. Delta can boost the level of premium traffic moving across its network by boosting its corporate share in NYC and LAX, and in trying to opportunistically capture incremental share in select point-to-point markets. Delta is obviously also doing the same thing in SEA, but I personally think that is fundamentally different than NYC or LAX - I think Delta's primary goal in SEA is building a longhaul gateway, and the drive to capture corporate share in SEA is more about boosting the overall economics of the the hub to support that primary goal.
 
masseybrown
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:40 am

:white: I acknowledge people's points about the genius of today's mega-hubs; but because of increasing cost, complexity, inefficiency, and customer dissatisfaction I doubt that model will survive in the long run. Nothing else has.
 
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LAX772LR
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:07 am

masseybrown wrote:
today's mega-hubs; but because of increasing cost, complexity, inefficiency, and customer dissatisfaction I doubt that model will survive in the long run. Nothing else has.

The latter isn't true at all.

Sure some historical hub markets have been (or may someday be) be wound down, but others have been hubs (due to location/geography, layout, amenities, population, etc) more or less since the day planes could land there. That's not likely to change in the furthest foreseeable future.

I doubt airfields at the likes of LON, PAR, HKG, ATL, PEK, etc will ever not be hubs, so long as we're flying rock-spooge powered tubes with wings.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
commavia
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:33 am

masseybrown wrote:
I acknowledge people's points about the genius of today's mega-hubs; but because of increasing cost, complexity, inefficiency, and customer dissatisfaction I doubt that model will survive in the long run. Nothing else has.


And with respect, I think that is detached from economic and operational reality. There is no other model yet that has proven as efficient, effective and lasting. Indeed, when I look at the way the airline industry - in the U.S., and globally - is evolving, and the trends of cost, complexity, efficiency and customer service, I see every single one of those vectors favoring the hub and spoke model over diminishing it.
 
Cubsrule
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:22 pm

commavia wrote:
masseybrown wrote:
I acknowledge people's points about the genius of today's mega-hubs; but because of increasing cost, complexity, inefficiency, and customer dissatisfaction I doubt that model will survive in the long run. Nothing else has.


And with respect, I think that is detached from economic and operational reality. There is no other model yet that has proven as efficient, effective and lasting. Indeed, when I look at the way the airline industry - in the U.S., and globally - is evolving, and the trends of cost, complexity, efficiency and customer service, I see every single one of those vectors favoring the hub and spoke model over diminishing it.


With regard to customer service, I think it depends on the airline we are talking about. DL's customer experience at ATL is pretty bad: big crowds, surly agents, and packed lounges pretty much all the time. If my itinerary permits it, I almost always pick DTW even if it's a bit more expensive. AA and UA don't really have a single hub that is so much larger than all the rest that the customer experience is markedly worse. On AA, I'd make all my domestic connections at MIA if the geography were different, but CLT, DFW, LAX, ORD, and PHL all have their pluses and minuses. I might pick one hub over another for a certain itinerary (e.g. I probably would not do an international-domestic connection at ORD the Sunday after Thanksgiving), but none of them has the ATL experience. Other than network breadth, ATL does not have many pluses for DL customers.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
jetlanta
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:48 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
commavia wrote:
masseybrown wrote:
I acknowledge people's points about the genius of today's mega-hubs; but because of increasing cost, complexity, inefficiency, and customer dissatisfaction I doubt that model will survive in the long run. Nothing else has.


And with respect, I think that is detached from economic and operational reality. There is no other model yet that has proven as efficient, effective and lasting. Indeed, when I look at the way the airline industry - in the U.S., and globally - is evolving, and the trends of cost, complexity, efficiency and customer service, I see every single one of those vectors favoring the hub and spoke model over diminishing it.


With regard to customer service, I think it depends on the airline we are talking about. DL's customer experience at ATL is pretty bad: big crowds, surly agents, and packed lounges pretty much all the time. If my itinerary permits it, I almost always pick DTW even if it's a bit more expensive. AA and UA don't really have a single hub that is so much larger than all the rest that the customer experience is markedly worse. On AA, I'd make all my domestic connections at MIA if the geography were different, but CLT, DFW, LAX, ORD, and PHL all have their pluses and minuses. I might pick one hub over another for a certain itinerary (e.g. I probably would not do an international-domestic connection at ORD the Sunday after Thanksgiving), but none of them has the ATL experience. Other than network breadth, ATL does not have many pluses for DL customers.



With all due respect, your notions of the ATL experience are outdated. There isn't much chance that you use ATL more than I do, and my experience is that the gate agents are generally great. There was a time when that wasn't the case, but that time is not now. And I rarely find the SkyClubs to be overcrowded anymore. Quite the contrary, they are less crowded than they used to be. They are also more numerous and generally "better" than ever. While they can't do much about the width of the hallways, the current renovation project is making the gate experience much more pleasant (and much better for AvGeeks). And, the most important point in my mind, there is no airport in the country that does a better job of keeping it's restrooms clean.

When you add in the breadth of service offered along with the efficiency and on-time record ATL offers, you get a pretty damn great hub.
 
Cubsrule
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:54 pm

jetlanta wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
commavia wrote:

And with respect, I think that is detached from economic and operational reality. There is no other model yet that has proven as efficient, effective and lasting. Indeed, when I look at the way the airline industry - in the U.S., and globally - is evolving, and the trends of cost, complexity, efficiency and customer service, I see every single one of those vectors favoring the hub and spoke model over diminishing it.


With regard to customer service, I think it depends on the airline we are talking about. DL's customer experience at ATL is pretty bad: big crowds, surly agents, and packed lounges pretty much all the time. If my itinerary permits it, I almost always pick DTW even if it's a bit more expensive. AA and UA don't really have a single hub that is so much larger than all the rest that the customer experience is markedly worse. On AA, I'd make all my domestic connections at MIA if the geography were different, but CLT, DFW, LAX, ORD, and PHL all have their pluses and minuses. I might pick one hub over another for a certain itinerary (e.g. I probably would not do an international-domestic connection at ORD the Sunday after Thanksgiving), but none of them has the ATL experience. Other than network breadth, ATL does not have many pluses for DL customers.


With all due respect, your notions of the ATL experience are outdated. There isn't much chance that you use ATL more than I do, and my experience is that the gate agents are generally great. There was a time when that wasn't the case, but that time is not now. And I rarely find the SkyClubs to be overcrowded anymore. Quite the contrary, they are less crowded than they used to be. They are also more numerous and generally "better" than ever. While they can't do much about the width of the hallways, the current renovation project is making the gate experience much more pleasant (and much better for AvGeeks). And, the most important point in my mind, there is no airport in the country that does a better job of keeping it's restrooms clean.

When you add in the breadth of service offered along with the efficiency and on-time record ATL offers, you get a pretty damn great hub.


I'll agree that lounge crowding has improved, but it's still tough to find a quiet corner. My agent experiences have gotten a lot worse over the past 12-18 months, essentially since DL cracked down on the agents on D0 and started making the agents push very hard on gate checking bags. The pylons for boarding groups are an enormous step backward as far as gate crowding and, as you say, while the train and hallway layout isn't Delta's fault, it does not make for a good experience.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
jumbojet
Posts: 1839
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:12 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
jetlanta wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:

With regard to customer service, I think it depends on the airline we are talking about. DL's customer experience at ATL is pretty bad: big crowds, surly agents, and packed lounges pretty much all the time. If my itinerary permits it, I almost always pick DTW even if it's a bit more expensive. AA and UA don't really have a single hub that is so much larger than all the rest that the customer experience is markedly worse. On AA, I'd make all my domestic connections at MIA if the geography were different, but CLT, DFW, LAX, ORD, and PHL all have their pluses and minuses. I might pick one hub over another for a certain itinerary (e.g. I probably would not do an international-domestic connection at ORD the Sunday after Thanksgiving), but none of them has the ATL experience. Other than network breadth, ATL does not have many pluses for DL customers.


With all due respect, your notions of the ATL experience are outdated. There isn't much chance that you use ATL more than I do, and my experience is that the gate agents are generally great. There was a time when that wasn't the case, but that time is not now. And I rarely find the SkyClubs to be overcrowded anymore. Quite the contrary, they are less crowded than they used to be. They are also more numerous and generally "better" than ever. While they can't do much about the width of the hallways, the current renovation project is making the gate experience much more pleasant (and much better for AvGeeks). And, the most important point in my mind, there is no airport in the country that does a better job of keeping it's restrooms clean.

When you add in the breadth of service offered along with the efficiency and on-time record ATL offers, you get a pretty damn great hub.


I'll agree that lounge crowding has improved, but it's still tough to find a quiet corner. My agent experiences have gotten a lot worse over the past 12-18 months, essentially since DL cracked down on the agents on D0 and started making the agents push very hard on gate checking bags. The pylons for boarding groups are an enormous step backward as far as gate crowding and, as you say, while the train and hallway layout isn't Delta's fault, it does not make for a good experience.


I'd like to chime in. You just previously mentioned that you avoid ATL and opt for DTW when possible. How many flights out of ATL in the past 18 months have you had?

My flights through ATL have all been pretty seamless and never had a problem with a gate agent. The way DL is set up at ATL and most other airports, there should be no real need to even approach the gate agent but for those times I have, never had a problem.

You mentioned sourly agents, that tends to be a UA problem. Maybe you had a UA flight through ATL on that particular occasion?
 
Cubsrule
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:42 pm

jumbojet wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
jetlanta wrote:

With all due respect, your notions of the ATL experience are outdated. There isn't much chance that you use ATL more than I do, and my experience is that the gate agents are generally great. There was a time when that wasn't the case, but that time is not now. And I rarely find the SkyClubs to be overcrowded anymore. Quite the contrary, they are less crowded than they used to be. They are also more numerous and generally "better" than ever. While they can't do much about the width of the hallways, the current renovation project is making the gate experience much more pleasant (and much better for AvGeeks). And, the most important point in my mind, there is no airport in the country that does a better job of keeping it's restrooms clean.

When you add in the breadth of service offered along with the efficiency and on-time record ATL offers, you get a pretty damn great hub.


I'll agree that lounge crowding has improved, but it's still tough to find a quiet corner. My agent experiences have gotten a lot worse over the past 12-18 months, essentially since DL cracked down on the agents on D0 and started making the agents push very hard on gate checking bags. The pylons for boarding groups are an enormous step backward as far as gate crowding and, as you say, while the train and hallway layout isn't Delta's fault, it does not make for a good experience.


I'd like to chime in. You just previously mentioned that you avoid ATL and opt for DTW when possible. How many flights out of ATL in the past 18 months have you had?


Over any given 18 month period, I'm probably through ATL an average of once a month, though it tends to come in spurts.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
Indy
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:57 pm

I am sorry but ATL is one of the worst airports to connect through. The concourses are overly crowded, the walks between connections can be lengthy, there are no moving walkways in the concourses, and there is an overall lack of quality eateries at the airport. I would much prefer to connect in DTW if possible. The only advantage of connecting in ATL is that if there is a problem with your plane it is relatively easy for DL to get a replacement. One late night flying ATL-IND we had to change gates twice because of equipment problems. That likely wouldn't have happened anywhere else. Still ATL is a very unpleasant connecting spot.
Indy = Indianapolis and not Independence Air
 
RDUDDJI
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:36 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
The pylons for boarding groups are an enormous step backward as far as gate crowding and, as you say, while the train and hallway layout isn't Delta's fault, it does not make for a good experience.


Absolutely not. The pylons have moved the SP/Z1/2/3 masses out of the way so pre-boarders and now the FC/DM's (read: ones who spend the most on DL) can board without having to pick their way through all the "blockers". Prob not fun for some of the Z1/2/3 peeps, but it makes premium/priority boarding an actual benefit now.

Don't get me started on how stupid DL's whole zone numbering scheme is. It's not surprising it's such a mess everywhere else since there are *4* boarding groups before Zone 1. Any logical person flying DL the first time would assume that Z1 is the first to board.
Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
 
RDUDDJI
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Re: DL Future Expansion

Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:57 pm

Indy wrote:
I am sorry but ATL is one of the worst airports to connect through. The concourses are overly crowded, the walks between connections can be lengthy, there are no moving walkways in the concourses, and there is an overall lack of quality eateries at the airport. I would much prefer to connect in DTW if possible. The only advantage of connecting in ATL is that if there is a problem with your plane it is relatively easy for DL to get a replacement. One late night flying ATL-IND we had to change gates twice because of equipment problems. That likely wouldn't have happened anywhere else. Still ATL is a very unpleasant connecting spot.


Off topic, but IMO, ATL is the best U.S. domestic (and one of the top in the World) to connect through...if connecting on the hub carrier. Agreed that terminals are too small for number of peeps today, but the pure size of it's operation means that connections are plentiful, frequencies are excellent to most markets, and their RWY/TWY layout is (almost) perfect for their efficient operation. Long walks are subjective but they also have a train system unlike many US hubs. Only issue with ATL is the occasional summer TStorm or Ice Storm. Although these days DTW/MSP are just as likely, if not more (thanks climate change), to see afternoon TS in the summer than ATL. There's a reason that newer (greenfield) airports model their concourses like ATLs (DEN, DTW). It's extremely efficient. You can't really compare the DTW and ATL ops. DTW is a fraction of the size of ATL.
Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
 
Indy
Posts: 4290
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2005 1:37 pm

Re: DL Future Expansion

Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:11 pm

RDUDDJI wrote:
Off topic, but IMO, ATL is the best U.S. domestic (and one of the top in the World) to connect through...if connecting on the hub carrier. Agreed that terminals are too small for number of peeps today, but the pure size of it's operation means that connections are plentiful, frequencies are excellent to most markets, and their RWY/TWY layout is (almost) perfect for their efficient operation. Long walks are subjective but they also have a train system unlike many US hubs. Only issue with ATL is the occasional summer TStorm or Ice Storm. Although these days DTW/MSP are just as likely, if not more (thanks climate change), to see afternoon TS in the summer than ATL. There's a reason that newer (greenfield) airports model their concourses like ATLs (DEN, DTW). It's extremely efficient. You can't really compare the DTW and ATL ops. DTW is a fraction of the size of ATL.


I think comparing DTW and ATL is fair. When you over expand at an airport you cannot wash your hands of responsibility and act like the overcrowding doesn't count against the airport. It really does count. While there may be endless connecting opportunities at ATL, the experience is still unpleasant. It represents the worst that commercial aviation has to offer. Being #1 in size doesn't make you #1 in customer satisfaction or anything else. And that there is the problem. Other airports have gone out of their way to improve the travel experience for their customers. ATL never really got on board with that. At this point it is likely too late for it to ever really improve much. I guess you could say they have painted themselves into a corner. According to a J.D. Power survey of customer satisfaction, ATL ranks 18th in the U.S. among large airports. If you combine the large and medium size airport satisfaction scores, ATL would be down into the 40's. ORD, which isn't a fraction of the size of ATL, was ranked #10 in the list of large airports. So you can be a very large airport and not provide a bad travel experience.
Indy = Indianapolis and not Independence Air
 
Prost
Posts: 2022
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:23 pm

Re: DL Future Expansion

Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:12 pm

Regarding expansion, there is one contraction: NRT-GUM is being cancelled. Internal website only so far.
 
klm617
Posts: 1516
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2015 8:57 pm

Re: DL Future Expansion

Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:19 pm

Indy wrote:
I am sorry but ATL is one of the worst airports to connect through. The concourses are overly crowded, the walks between connections can be lengthy, there are no moving walkways in the concourses, and there is an overall lack of quality eateries at the airport. I would much prefer to connect in DTW if possible. The only advantage of connecting in ATL is that if there is a problem with your plane it is relatively easy for DL to get a replacement. One late night flying ATL-IND we had to change gates twice because of equipment problems. That likely wouldn't have happened anywhere else. Still ATL is a very unpleasant connecting spot.



I agree while I don't fly though there as much as some of you I have not had one seamless connection at ATL. Each time I have transferred there it has be a stressful experience from having my seat given away when the plane I was suppose to be on was still at the gate due to no fault of my own because of a late inbound gate agent had already left and checked out from her shift. From running through the airport another time just to make sure I wasn't left there as Delta is prone to giving your seat away even when you inbound is a bit late making your connection tight and each and every time the staff has been less than helpful. The masses of people you have to get through to make sure you catch your connecting flight is a huge problem. ATL is horrific as a connection hub the thing is the customer has been so conditioned that this is now the norm when it comes to air travel that they find these undesirable thing to be acceptable. I have come from a time when airlines knew your in bound was running 10 to 5 minutes late the waited for the connecting passenger and from what I've been shown that's not the case any more. I understand that if it's my fault I should get left behind but when one f your in bounds is running late by 10 to 15 minutes you should as a customer driven business allow those passenger to catch their flight especially with the overbooking as it is a messed connection could cost the customer several hours of convenience if not day punishing him for something he did not contribute to.
the truth does matter, guys. too bad it's often quite subjective. the truth is beyond the mere facts and figures. it's beyond good and bad, right and wrong...
 
klm617
Posts: 1516
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2015 8:57 pm

Re: DL Future Expansion

Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:25 pm

RDUDDJI wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
The pylons for boarding groups are an enormous step backward as far as gate crowding and, as you say, while the train and hallway layout isn't Delta's fault, it does not make for a good experience.


Absolutely not. The pylons have moved the SP/Z1/2/3 masses out of the way so pre-boarders and now the FC/DM's (read: ones who spend the most on DL) can board without having to pick their way through all the "blockers". Prob not fun for some of the Z1/2/3 peeps, but it makes premium/priority boarding an actual benefit now.

Don't get me started on how stupid DL's whole zone numbering scheme is. It's not surprising it's such a mess everywhere else since there are *4* boarding groups before Zone 1. Any logical person flying DL the first time would assume that Z1 is the first to board.


I had to laugh had the gate agent in ANC call the zones one by one but never checked the boarding passes to see if the passengers were following her instruction. A verbal altercation ensued from a gentleman how was trying to board because he had preferred boarding and the gate agent was just letting everyone board no matter what zone they were in blocking his path to the gate for his preferred boarding perk. Was just shaking my head at her usprofessionalism and her inability to keep the boarding process orderly .
the truth does matter, guys. too bad it's often quite subjective. the truth is beyond the mere facts and figures. it's beyond good and bad, right and wrong...
 
commavia
Posts: 11265
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 2:30 am

Re: DL Future Expansion

Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:38 pm

Prost wrote:
Regarding expansion, there is one contraction: NRT-GUM is being cancelled. Internal website only so far.


Interesting. I'll look forward to seeing the public confirmation - but if true, I can't say I'm particularly surprised.

I've long expected that as Delta's overall presence in Japan has continued to decline, and especially now with its focus (smartly) shifting to Korea and ICN, the economics of the Japan beach flying would deteriorate.
 
RDUDDJI
Posts: 1797
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 4:42 am

Re: DL Future Expansion

Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:46 pm

Indy wrote:
RDUDDJI wrote:
Off topic, but IMO, ATL is the best U.S. domestic (and one of the top in the World) to connect through...if connecting on the hub carrier. Agreed that terminals are too small for number of peeps today, but the pure size of it's operation means that connections are plentiful, frequencies are excellent to most markets, and their RWY/TWY layout is (almost) perfect for their efficient operation. Long walks are subjective but they also have a train system unlike many US hubs. Only issue with ATL is the occasional summer TStorm or Ice Storm. Although these days DTW/MSP are just as likely, if not more (thanks climate change), to see afternoon TS in the summer than ATL. There's a reason that newer (greenfield) airports model their concourses like ATLs (DEN, DTW). It's extremely efficient. You can't really compare the DTW and ATL ops. DTW is a fraction of the size of ATL.


I think comparing DTW and ATL is fair. When you over expand at an airport you cannot wash your hands of responsibility and act like the overcrowding doesn't count against the airport. It really does count. While there may be endless connecting opportunities at ATL, the experience is still unpleasant. It represents the worst that commercial aviation has to offer. Being #1 in size doesn't make you #1 in customer satisfaction or anything else. And that there is the problem. Other airports have gone out of their way to improve the travel experience for their customers. ATL never really got on board with that. At this point it is likely too late for it to ever really improve much. I guess you could say they have painted themselves into a corner. According to a J.D. Power survey of customer satisfaction, ATL ranks 18th in the U.S. among large airports. If you combine the large and medium size airport satisfaction scores, ATL would be down into the 40's. ORD, which isn't a fraction of the size of ATL, was ranked #10 in the list of large airports. So you can be a very large airport and not provide a bad travel experience.


It sounds like you like hanging out in airport terminals. We business travelers do not. A connecting airport is something to spend the minimum amount of time at. I typically try to schedule ~60 min between flights, because I prefer walking to the train. However, I routinely book <40min connections in ATL and never have missed one (knock on wood). The few times I have missed flights at ATL, by the time I got there, there was already another one boarding. Good luck with that at DTW (or most other hubs), in most cases you'd be waiting about 3-4 hours for the next bank.

I could care less about airport terminal satisfaction. If I wanted to hang out in the airport terminal/concourses, I'd get a(nother) job there. Just get me from point A to B (with a possible stop in C). Any study that ranks ORD over ATL is suspect. If you think ATLs concourses are bad... (Note: I used to work at ORD).

TL;DR: you judge an airport on its concourses, business travelers judge it on it's efficiency and frequencies.
Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 12438
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Re: DL Future Expansion

Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:11 pm

RDUDDJI wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
The pylons for boarding groups are an enormous step backward as far as gate crowding and, as you say, while the train and hallway layout isn't Delta's fault, it does not make for a good experience.


Absolutely not. The pylons have moved the SP/Z1/2/3 masses out of the way so pre-boarders and now the FC/DM's (read: ones who spend the most on DL) can board without having to pick their way through all the "blockers". Prob not fun for some of the Z1/2/3 peeps, but it makes premium/priority boarding an actual benefit now.

Don't get me started on how stupid DL's whole zone numbering scheme is. It's not surprising it's such a mess everywhere else since there are *4* boarding groups before Zone 1. Any logical person flying DL the first time would assume that Z1 is the first to board.


I think the theory makes a lot of sense, and in larger gatehouses and/or with smaller aircraft it works really well. The problem is the geography at certain gates (mostly on A and B in my experience) in ATL. Many gates in ATL are not set symmetrically within the gatehouse. At a number of those gates, DL put the pylons on the "short" side of the gatehouse so that there is not room for passengers line up in lines. My experience at those gates is that the lines quickly become a mob as they turn from parallel to the concourse to perpendicular to the concourse, and those mobs seem more likely to spill out into the hallway than the previous "gate lice" mobs. Keeping the door clear is good, but if I have to fight my way through the mob to get to the clear path to the door, moving the mob from directly in front of the door to off to one side of the door has not really gained me anything.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
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