Travel Related

Delta Files to Suspend Flights at Nine Airports in Seven States!

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr
Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


This isn’t good optics.

Just after being granted over $5 billion in government aid, Delta Air Lines filed to suspend flights at nine US airports.

Why is this such a big deal?

Well, it goes against a government mandate stating that airlines receiving government help in this particular package must still serve all of its destinations.

The Affected Airports

According to M Live, the airports in question are:

  • Brunswick, GA (BQK)
  • Flint, MI (FNT)
  • Hilton Head, SC (HHH)
  • Kalamazoo, MI (AZO)
  • Lansing, MI (LAN)
  • Melbourne, FL (MLB)
  • Peoria, IL (PIA)
  • Pocatello, ID (PIH)
  • Worcester, MA (ORH)

Most of those cities are within one or two hours’ driving distance of other airports served by Delta (and/or other airlines).

It’s About The People. Mmmhmm.

M Live reports that in its request to the government, Delta says business is bad at those particular stations. And that from April 1-22, the carrier flew an average of eight passengers per day from Flint, six from Lansing, and five from Kalamazoo.

But is that really the reason Delta wants to suspend service?

Keep in mind the government said airlines could operate as few as one flight a week from their destinations — provided they kept operations going at those airports.

The airline said in its filing:

Delta remains committed to ensuring that every community it serves will continue to receive convenient access to its domestic network during this public health emergency. However, nothing is more important to Delta than the safety of its employees and customers. During this pandemic, airport employees and crews must place themselves at risk to staff each flight and Delta seeks to reduce this risk as much as possible.

One way Delta seeks to minimize health risks to its workforce is by limiting the number of airport stations that remain open for business during the COVID-19 health emergency to reduce the total number of airport staff who must report to frontline work.

Now, I suspect there’s a good deal of credence in their statement.

But Delta took a shot at United — who filed a similar exemption request for Kalamazoo and several different airports:

“United sought relief for those points for solely economic reasons, highlighting historically low load factors …

Here, by contrast, Delta seeks an exemption to protect the health and safety of airport staff by reducing their exposure to the health risks associated with COVID-19. Delta submits that the public interest in protecting airport workers from the risk of exposure to a potentially deadly virus outweighs the inconvenience of the additional driving distance to access Delta’s network for such a small number of passengers.”

Just so we’re clear: Delta cited low load factors in their exemption request, then panned United for doing the same thing, and reverted to the we’re doing this to keep people safe rationale.

Call me crazy — but does it look a little bit like Delta’s taking the government money and running? At the very least, their timing just stinks.

I certainly hope these are only short-term suspensions — and Delta doesn’t ultimately cut these airports from their schedule for good.

Or let this start a precedent we see for the next several years.

— Chris

Some airlines now require masks for travel. Get yours at Amazon.

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

16 Comments

  1. Brian Fisher Reply

    I’m not as surprised by HHH or BQK, both of those airports should still have alternatives with an hour or so, maybe an hour and a half for people who still need to fly. HHH has always seemed a bit redundant to SAV in my mind, but I guess there is a population on Hilton Head that want the extra convenience.

  2. Losing PIH (Pocatello) would be a big blow. Delta is the only carrier at the airport and they only have 3 staff so I don’t really think it’s about the keeping the people safe. They already cut 2 flights a day so only 1 on the schedule. Pre-Covid, the flights were almost full every day as the prices were so much cheaper than IDA (1 hr away) and SLC (2 hrs away). And they have free parking!

  3. The govt won’t allow it. Time to get back to the real normal as it was b4 this bs.

  4. Losing Delta at Peoria would be horrible. Peoria is a great airport and my favorite. Driving 90 miles to BMI would not be a good option and the airport at MLI leaves much to be desired.

  5. FNT is a mainline Delta station. They can’t be laid off.

    AZO and LAN are both DGS-operated. However, both stations had consistently high load factors pre-COVID.

    It would behoove this author to apply a little common sense and realize that YES, these are temporary suspensions. Delta was the big player in the AZO market with 6 departures a day (4 DTW and 2 MSP) that were consistently full. They’ll be back.

  6. Did you miss the part about these airports are within 60 miles of a larger airport with more service that the ones in question? Tell all the truth.

    • @phil: “Most of those cities are within one or two hours’ driving distance of other airports served by Delta (and/or other airlines).”

    • @phil – Just as an FYI, back when it was safe to get on a jet and not get the virus, I frequently drove to AZO vs flying out of SBN (much closer to home) because the ticket prices were often WAY cheaper. Oh and my local FLYSBN folks constantly push the idea (even has a handy tool to check the cost savings for me) of supporting local airports vs the short-ish drive to Chicago airports that are often half price to fly out of vs. flying from close to home. That is the truth of local airports.

  7. JFC!
    What a crap article WITH AN EXCLAMATION POINT IN THE HEADLINE!

    Glad you investigated this FULLY.
    So, which is it? Is Delta going to “completely suspend flights at nine US airports”? Are these “only short-term suspensions”?

    3 minutes I can’t get back, back a good warning never to read this blog again.

    • @Heywood: You know what? You’re right. “Completely suspend” isn’t great wording. I amended the post. Thanks for your three minutes.

  8. Airlines are doomed ,iit will be years until it ever gets back to normal, if ever, then add the list of restrictions they’ll come up with, testing, vaccinations,Id cards and who knows what not,as if air travel wasn’t miserable enough,then as a cherry on top ,they will now require you to wear a freaking mask.

    • @Dexter – The jet in the top featured photo IS a Delta Connection jet, taken by me, in South Bend SBN. It is a CRJ-200 and the jet that is most impacted at the smaller airports listed in the post. Perhaps you do not fly out of smaller airports much?

Write A Comment

BoardingArea