Wait, it’s not Friday and you are doing the weekly news roundup? Yes, I know it is Thursday but I have some rather BIG Delta news on the way and am waiting for a quote from Delta Corp people before I post so let’s do this today and stay tuned for the breaking news on the way tomorrow (or maybe later today).
First off, everyone who loves the current setup for Delta in LAX please raise your hand (I see no hands, so we all agree). I think it is just great that Delta is moving to Terminal 2 & 3 in LAX. Not only will it give you access to the International terminal with the Korean lounge but also a much better experience in LAX all around. Now the question remains, will they redo the Delta One PVT check-in area that is all but pointless currently and make it something worth really using? Yes, LAX will be a mess during the transition but I for one am looking forward to May 12th to begin with and much more during the year. But beyond that, will LAX be the home “hub” where the brand new CS100s in 2018, that I first blogged that Delta was considering buying about a year ago, will call home? I cannot wait to fly this new jet with all its upgrades. This will be the standard all smaller jets will have to meet!
Next up Alaska should be very afraid and had better keep doing what they do best i.e. an amazing frequent flyer program, great service and more because big bad Delta just keeps coming. They already have MKE-SEA direct service just north of Chicago but starting in June ORD-SEA will go live as well. Remember that Delta does not really like its Skyteam partners all that much and it really does not like those who once were their partners. Interesting times!
Next up a touching story of one traveler helping another. A very warm story to be sure and I truly commend the offer to help out this mom with twins. But it is troubling to me that she made it to her seat before the issue was addressed by Delta since it seems, when her car seat was taken away, she had not paid for an extra seat for the +1 kid in the car seat? After all, like you see in the shot above with me next to a little one, the mom and dad each got a 1st class seat because they were well aware you cannot have two lap kids in one row even with two parents present because there is only one spare oxygen mask per row – period. I feel for everyone involved in this story including the Delta people. Safety does come first. What do you think?
Lastly let’s take a look at $DAL stock price this year to date and talk about travel and what is going on. With this I have my normal disclaimer – I do not buy or sell any airline stocks in my account or my wife’s accounts ever!
It has been an up and down year (no pun intended) for Delta share holders. The good news is that oil prices have remained around the $50 per barrel level (or close to it) for a very long time now. We know no matter how many creative ways Delta finds to charge a fee, or segment the exact same seat into a “unique experience” (think C+), if oil goes back to $100 it will mean a world of hurt for the bottom line. But more than oil, what worries me is:
- The drive to sell cheap upgrades long term impact
- The fight with other airlines for domination
- The end of the cash cow of European flights
Delta is pushing for 20×2020 – that is, to only have 20% of 1st class seats open for complimentary medallion upgrades. This is good on the one hand as selling 1st class is what they ultimately want but if they are doing it super cheap they both kill the ability to sell them at a premium price as well as the loyalty of medallions who are working for upgrades on often expensive coach class tickets. Delta needs to remember folks may not just step up and buy 1st class now, they may move on to another airline and buy 1st class with them.
Lastly we have the fight with AA, UA & AS. You can only fly a route long term if it is profitable (duhh). But the airlines beating each other up in the past was one of the reasons they did not make money for years. Also, when you look at how cheap flights to Europe are becoming, it marks the end of this hugely lucrative market for Delta. Good news for flyers but not so much for $DAL investors.
So these were this week’s Delta stories that got my attention. Were there others that piqued your interest? Have any thoughts about the ones above? Feel free to comment below. – René