Delta To Snub Three More Cities as from January 9

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After a year and a half of stagnation, the air travel industry is beginning to show signs of recovery. According to the Department of Transportation data (TSA), the number of passengers flying rose for the first time in 17+ months on December 12, where 2 million plus travelers passed through checkpoints; and some airlines are now reporting higher prices for tickets as more people fly.

Although airline executives have been warning those recent improvements may not last, they have said demand had risen enough to make them more optimistic about the airline industry’s future. The executives say air business travel appears to be picking up, which could help further drive demand. Airlines report strong sales on corporate accounts even though consumer demand remains weak because many people are still cautious about spending money on nonessential items like vacations and trips.

Delta Will No Longer Fly to Lincoln, Cody, and Grand Junction

Delta, the second-largest carrier in the world has been at the center of some high-profile public relations missteps in recent months after calling attention to the fact that it would no longer fly to three cities (Lincoln, Cody, and Grand Junction). The move to drop more of its regularly operated flights at the end of 2021 is a result of part of a route reorganization effort. The change was made to match customer demand and increase the airline’s on-time performance.

Delta Air Lines Inc. is adjusting its network to achieve a more capacity-balanced, competitive cost structure by reducing flights and increasing available seat miles while maintaining on-time solid performance and the highest customer satisfaction in the industry. The route changes will end flights to Lincoln and Grand Junction on January 9, 2022. Flights to Cody, a seasonal route, have also been suspended since October 2021.

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Other More, Enroute Delta Flights, Scrapped off 

Delta Air Lines has announced plans to overhaul its route network dramatically, eliminating three cities outright and curtailing service in others.

The airline will also cut several flights from its hub at Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport, including the last-ever direct flight between Minneapolis–Saint Paul and Detroit. Delta Connection carrier SkyWest will operate the remaining Delta flights from the Twin Cities to Detroit. 

The exact change will also see Delta stop operating flights between Detroit and La Crosse, Wisconsin; Minneapolis–Saint Paul and Great Falls, Montana; Minneapolis–Saint Paul and Marquette County, Michigan; and between Salt Lake City and Indianapolis, Indiana. Delta will continue to serve those cities through other airports. 

Detroit travelers can catch a Delta flight from Lansing or Grand Rapids, while Marquette County travelers can continue to fly Delta out of Traverse City’s Cherry Capital Airport. Traverse City is roughly an hour’s drive away from Marquette County. Bookings for the discontinued routes have been removed from Delta’s website but will still be accepted. 

What Led to the Bold Decision?

The three cities that lost service are all key transit points. Rob Burr says he thinks the city needs to reach out to the airlines and find a way to bring it back. But Delta says as demand has changed, so too have its resources. 

It’s an abrupt change of plans for the airline, which had been adding new non-stop flights to smaller cities to tap growing demand for less expensive air travel while offering more flexibility and convenience. It was also an abrupt end, particularly for the Jackson, Mississippi-based carrier’s service to the New Orleans area, as Delta first offered non-stop flights between there and its Atlanta hub years ago.

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Delta Also Scaled Flight Services Back to Canceled Routes

Delta Air Lines announced that it would reduce the number of daily flights from the Brunswick Golden Isles Airport in Glynn County, Georgia, to its global hub in Atlanta to two per day during January and February. The reduction affects service operated by Delta Connection carrier Comair and impacts the use of the airport by area residents traveling to and from Atlanta. 

The airline has cut flights from Charlotte to many cities, including Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Fort Lauderdale, in the last two years. According to data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, it also eliminated service from Raleigh to Philadelphia and from Norfolk to Lexington, Ky. Delta’s reduced service at Brunswick Golden Isles Airport is not a new development. The airport authority began noticing the problem way back, Burr said. 

At first, he said, Delta was reducing flights during off-peak seasons like winter or July and August. Then it cut flights during the summer vacation season in August and September. Finally, Delta began cutting flights on peak travel days throughout the year, including Friday and Saturday evenings, Sunday mornings, and holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

“Historically they have left those markets alone,” Burr said. “They are trying to acquire pilots from other sources.” 

Because of the reduction in staff at Brunswick Golden Isles Airport, travelers have been forced to shelve the air routes of Atlanta to Rio de Janeiro from summer 2022 as an alternate place to catch their flight connections. While this may be more convenient for some travelers because Atlanta has a larger airport and more options for food and entertainment than Brunswick does, it adds more time to their trip overall — sometimes hours more.

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Sasha Webster is an Eat News correspondent in the UK. Her writing and professional background as a publicist for close to 10 years gave her an advantage in her work. She can produce bespoke website content that is useful to the target audience; matters business and finance, technology, real estate, healthcare, as well as entertainment pieces.

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