Why can't DL fly from SFO Bay Area to ORD?

Old Sep 7, 17, 9:48 pm
  #1  
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Why can't DL fly from SFO Bay Area to ORD?

I apologize if I have a flair for the obvious, but it pains me every time I get screwed on a flight on either AA or UA trying to get to ORD. Any carrier can have a mechanical issue or other unforeseen problem, but DL, IMHO, has always been the best in getting a manager out there and kick butt to solve problems.

After getting screwed by nearly any carrier while flying mega mega millions of miles, over the years, I have always despaired that the carriers were all the same---just different paint on the planes. But DL has, by the way they strive to get me to my destination on time, even in adversity, won me over long ago

So, I would love to have a DL option in getting to ORD from SFO, SJC, or even OAK. Anybody have a better grasp of history than I on this? I have been a FT contributor and lurker for about 2 decades.
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Old Sep 7, 17, 9:56 pm
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Neither are DL hubs, one is a hub for both of DLs largest competitors and the other end for one of those two as well.

Basically the yields DL could get would be junk. Why enter it? DL has basically nothing to gain by flying such an off route, and in fact tends to not really compete out of/into ORD at all for same reason.
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Old Sep 7, 17, 10:00 pm
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This seems awfully straightforward to me. Both SFO and ORD are outstations for DL. DL, like all the other US airlines, has quite limited service that doesn't touch a hub. DL is a bit more willing than AA or UA to fly non-hub routes opportunistically, but a route that is hub-to-hub for UA, essentially hub-to-hub for WN (OAK-MDW), and also served by AA and VX (which each have a hub at one end) doesn't scream "opportunity".
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Old Sep 7, 17, 10:24 pm
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DL doesn't even fly LAX - ORD and LAX is a hub. It's either SJC/SFO-SLC-ORD or SJC/SFO-MSP-ORD oh and if you really want a few more MQM SJC/SFO-SEA-ORD.
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Old Sep 7, 17, 10:38 pm
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I've heard that DL desperately wants a larger ORD presence, but it just can't get the gate space. ORD-SFO isn't happening regardless.
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Old Sep 7, 17, 10:43 pm
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Originally Posted by ashill View Post
Both SFO and ORD are outstations for DL.
Yet DL has Sky Clubs in both airports.
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Old Sep 7, 17, 11:08 pm
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Originally Posted by ashill View Post
This seems awfully straightforward to me. Both SFO and ORD are outstations for DL. DL, like all the other US airlines, has quite limited service that doesn't touch a hub. DL is a bit more willing than AA or UA to fly non-hub routes opportunistically, but a route that is hub-to-hub for UA, essentially hub-to-hub for WN (OAK-MDW), and also served by AA and VX (which each have a hub at one end) doesn't scream "opportunity".
Thanks to all for the thoughts. Frankly, if you think you're any good, and competitive, you look for an opportunity to prove it. Look at what DL has done with the SFO-JFK route. It used to be dominated by AA, with UA nearly equal.
Now, UA has abandoned the route and AA is almost a bit player (Virgin helped on that). DL has 8 big 757's with wonderful coffin Delta 1 seats in Business First, flying SFO-JFK daily. My wife and I think they are terrific. DL was nowhere like this 5 - 10 years ago. And I don't believe it's because DL became so dominant at JFK (but it could have).

I would bet the north 40 that if DL could get viable slots at ORD, they would think about it. Hub or not, the SFO bay area is the number 4 market in the country, if you concede that NY, LA, and Chicago are ahead. That's a lot of flying pax. Those of us in the Bay Area have been desperate for years to see somebody give comeuppance and competition to UA, who has gotten away with taking us for granted and damn near abuses us with the way they have handled IRROPS and such.

DL proved they could smoke the other guys on SFO-JFK. Why not shake 'em all up and do it on a route between two major markets (SFO-ORD? Hubs are a big deal, but are they truly everything? I hope not. WN's business model did well with direct point service. You basically just needed a chance to prove to the world you could do a good job. I believe there are a lot of DL loyal flyers in the SF Bay Area who would support flying to ORD, and do it with their dollars.

Sure, DL's nearby hubs a MSP and DTW are way too close, and they have superb international feeding connections. I'm wondering if the carrier can break out of the mind-set that everything has to be building bulk through hub connections. This is a viable opportunity, IMHO, and I hope the poster who said that it is slots that are holding everything up is not the case. I would love to see SFO-ORD on DL.

Heck, if we all take a step back and look at LAX----UA, AA, and DL are all telling the world that LAX is their focus city or hub. Can one airport be a "hub" for so many carriers? I would like to see an ambitious carrier, like DL, bet big on itself and provide its good service between major markets. I'd bet they'd kick A$$.
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Old Sep 7, 17, 11:08 pm
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Originally Posted by davie355 View Post
Yet DL has Sky Clubs in both airports.
If being a hub is now criteria, then a number of clubs must be closing soon.
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Old Sep 7, 17, 11:35 pm
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Originally Posted by FullFare View Post
Thanks to all for the thoughts. Frankly, if you think you're any good, and competitive, you look for an opportunity to prove it. Look at what DL has done with the SFO-JFK route. It used to be dominated by AA, with UA nearly equal.
Now, UA has abandoned the route and AA is almost a bit player (Virgin helped on that). DL has 8 big 757's with wonderful coffin Delta 1 seats in Business First, flying SFO-JFK daily. My wife and I think they are terrific. DL was nowhere like this 5 - 10 years ago. And I don't believe it's because DL became so dominant at JFK (but it could have).

I would bet the north 40 that if DL could get viable slots at ORD, they would think about it. Hub or not, the SFO bay area is the number 4 market in the country, if you concede that NY, LA, and Chicago are ahead. That's a lot of flying pax. Those of us in the Bay Area have been desperate for years to see somebody give comeuppance and competition to UA, who has gotten away with taking us for granted and damn near abuses us with the way they have handled IRROPS and such.

DL proved they could smoke the other guys on SFO-JFK. Why not shake 'em all up and do it on a route between two major markets (SFO-ORD? Hubs are a big deal, but are they truly everything? I hope not. WN's business model did well with direct point service. You basically just needed a chance to prove to the world you could do a good job. I believe there are a lot of DL loyal flyers in the SF Bay Area who would support flying to ORD, and do it with their dollars.

Sure, DL's nearby hubs a MSP and DTW are way too close, and they have superb international feeding connections. I'm wondering if the carrier can break out of the mind-set that everything has to be building bulk through hub connections. This is a viable opportunity, IMHO, and I hope the poster who said that it is slots that are holding everything up is not the case. I would love to see SFO-ORD on DL.

Heck, if we all take a step back and look at LAX----UA, AA, and DL are all telling the world that LAX is their focus city or hub. Can one airport be a "hub" for so many carriers? I would like to see an ambitious carrier, like DL, bet big on itself and provide its good service between major markets. I'd bet they'd kick A$$.
It wasn't Delta being stellar that forced UA off the SFO-JFK route. The merger with Continental plus the growth of Dulles as a hub to Europe did that. In the end LAX and SFO were the only destinations UA served from JFK. WN operating Bay Area-MDW is also a factor that isn't in play on the JFK route. Not to mention there is no XXX-Bay Area-ORD or Bay Area-ORD-YYY route that isn't served already involving an established hub. There are a lot of people in the market, but FF are not going to flock to Delta because the lack of destinations on either end means a double connection. That leaves them competing with Virgin and Southwest for those who prioritize price and that isn't profitable.
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Old Sep 7, 17, 11:48 pm
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Simply put there is way too much competition on this route for DL to step in. It's a hub-to-hub route for UA, and a hub-to-major-market route for AA. There is a ton of capacity already.

Originally Posted by davie355 View Post
Yet DL has Sky Clubs in both airports.
Yet, that isn't remotely relevant.

Delta isn't flying DEN-BNA, FLL-PHL, MKE-MSY, or MCO-DFW anytime soon either.

Last edited by CPMaverick; Sep 7, 17 at 11:55 pm
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Old Sep 8, 17, 12:51 am
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3 or 4 years ago, UA was in complete disarray (operating with 2 separate unions that weren't interchangeable, angry employees were trying to get the CEO fired, etc). I thought Delta could have stepped up with a bunch of SFO routes and really shaken UA's fortress hub. UA was in no position to respond to that challenge. Alas, they didn't do that.

To this day, when I see AA jets using DL gates at SFO, I shake my head. DL could easily operate enough flights to have boarding area C all by itself.

Nowadays, I think it's mostly about retaliation. If DL adds SFO-ORD, UA will immediately add SEA-ATL. And both airlines will make less profit than they do now. No one wins that game.
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Old Sep 8, 17, 12:52 am
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Originally Posted by davie355 View Post
Yet DL has Sky Clubs in both airports.
So do FLL and HNL. I don't see them opening a route between those cities anytime soon.

It would be hard for DL to make a profit on SFO-ORD. They have better route options for expansion.
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Old Sep 8, 17, 12:53 am
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The other issue is that the portion of its fleet that it would have to dedicate to the route just means it wouldn't make sense. It would be purely for O/D traffic and to be competitive it would have to more that just two flights a day which means more aircraft, more mainline aircraft and very little benefit.

DL is saying you can fly us out of SFO to ORD, just connect in SLC or MSP.

If you look at their other ORD flights they basically go to hubs or mini hubs, same as SFO.
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Old Sep 8, 17, 8:03 am
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Originally Posted by kjnangre View Post
3 or 4 years ago, UA was in complete disarray (operating with 2 separate unions that weren't interchangeable, angry employees were trying to get the CEO fired, etc). I thought Delta could have stepped up with a bunch of SFO routes and really shaken UA's fortress hub. UA was in no position to respond to that challenge. Alas, they didn't do that.
That timeframe, not coincidentally, was when VX swung to profit in a consistent way for the first time. They capitalized where DL didn't.

As for SFO-ORD -- look, this is basic economics. You've already got four airlines crowding this route (UA, AA, AS/VX, WN to MDW) plus NK out of OAK, and the yields are terrible. I just priced a VX one-way SFO-ORD for three weeks from now, and it's $90. Why would DL want to make a bloodbath bloodier?

DL is staying out of that market for the same reasons the Queen Mary doesn't run between Staten Island and lower Manhattan. There's already more than enough capacity on the route, they'd never make any money, and DL's mission lies elsewhere.
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Old Sep 8, 17, 8:09 am
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Originally Posted by davie355 View Post
Yet DL has Sky Clubs in both airports.
I'm looking forward to the upcoming MEM-NRT launch
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