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Is it common for Delta to cancel a flight due to lack of passengers?

Is it common for Delta to cancel a flight due to lack of passengers?

Old Oct 2, 18, 7:10 am
  #1  
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Is it common for Delta to cancel a flight due to lack of passengers?

I ask because I am T-12 hours from a flight with the following seats remaining on an A320:
F: 5
C+: 18
Y: 123

This is the last flight out for the day, but there is a flight 2 hours earlier that is (slightly) more full. Would Delta cancel my flight because of lack of passengers? I could potentially make the earlier flight if I rush, but should I bother or could that flight get cancelled and have passengers potentially move to my flight since it's at a later time? It's pretty important that I am home tonight.
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Old Oct 2, 18, 7:18 am
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DL hardly ever cancels flights, and certainly not for low loads.
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Old Oct 2, 18, 7:21 am
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It's extremely unusual to cancel a flight just for one segment having a low load. That plane has to get where it's scheduled to go so it can run the next segment, even if there's nobody on it.
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Old Oct 2, 18, 7:25 am
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123 in Y is far from a low load. Also that plane and crew then must operate another segment. It's common misconception that airlines cancel low load flights. Maybe some third world, sketchy airlines. However not on anyone else.

Note DL as had a couple flights with only 1 passenger make recent news.
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Old Oct 2, 18, 7:34 am
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Originally Posted by flyerCO View Post
123 in Y is far from a low load. Also that plane and crew then must operate another segment. It's common misconception that airlines cancel low load flights. Maybe some third world, sketchy airlines. However not on anyone else.

Note DL as had a couple flights with only 1 passenger make recent news.
Agreed that it is unlikely for Delta to cancel the flight. With that said, OP said those were the seats remaining. I assume it is an A32K which means that (estimated) loads are:

11 booked in F (probably all Medallions)
0 booked in C+
3 booked in Y
= 14 passengers / 9% load

These are indeed low loads. But, as others pointed out, the plane has to run the first segment in the morning so it needs to get to whatever airport it needs to get to.
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Old Oct 2, 18, 7:40 am
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Passengers booked in BE may not get seat assignments until the gate, so 123 empty seats isn't an exact indication of load.
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Old Oct 2, 18, 7:40 am
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Originally Posted by ethernal View Post
Agreed that it is unlikely for Delta to cancel the flight. With that said, OP said those were the seats remaining. I assume it is an A32K which means that (estimated) loads are:

11 booked in F (probably all Medallions)
0 booked in C+
3 booked in Y
= 14 passengers / 9% load

These are indeed low loads. But, as others pointed out, the plane has to run the first segment in the morning so it needs to get to whatever airport it needs to get to.
Oops didn't notice that. Regardless the flight could be full with BE fares who don't have seat assignments. I'd wager the plane has a much higher load then what it appears.
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Old Oct 2, 18, 7:48 am
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Originally Posted by flyerCO View Post
Oops didn't notice that. Regardless the flight could be full with BE fares who don't have seat assignments. I'd wager the plane has a much higher load then what it appears.
Agreed, but I doubt it is that much higher. In my experience BE passengers are usually all given seat assignments at T-24 hours when loads are low (I've seen available seats drop from 100 down to, e.g., 35 between T-26 and T-24 but never seen such a drop T-12 to T-0 which would be implied if seats were assigned at check-in rather than T-24).

Regardless, even if seats are not granted till check-in, at least a portion of BE passengers would check in at T-24 (or around that time). Given that this number is only 3 (per OP), that tells me that the BE population can't be that large.
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Old Oct 2, 18, 7:57 am
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Forget about loads. Neither DL, not AA or UA, cancel flights due to loads. That aircraft and crew is needed at the other end of the line.

The only problem created by a low load is in IRROPS. Among the factors DL, as well as other carriers, applies in determining which flights get limited numbers of aircraft, are loads. Note "among".

This is not worth worrying about.
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Old Oct 2, 18, 8:41 am
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Originally Posted by ethernal View Post
Agreed, but I doubt it is that much higher. In my experience BE passengers are usually all given seat assignments at T-24 hours when loads are low (I've seen available seats drop from 100 down to, e.g., 35 between T-26 and T-24 but never seen such a drop T-12 to T-0 which would be implied if seats were assigned at check-in rather than T-24).

Regardless, even if seats are not granted till check-in, at least a portion of BE passengers would check in at T-24 (or around that time). Given that this number is only 3 (per OP), that tells me that the BE population can't be that large.
If this was T-4 or T-3 I might agree. However lots of passengers don't do OLCI and wait till airport to checkin.
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Old Oct 2, 18, 9:07 am
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Thanks for info everyone! I guess I'm just used to travelling popular routes during popular times. I think I might leave my F seat and grab 3 C+ seats instead!
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Old Oct 2, 18, 9:34 am
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I never heard of that happening before
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Old Oct 2, 18, 9:55 am
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I've experienced Delta regionals canceling due to low loads. But this was back when NWA was still around.
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Old Oct 2, 18, 9:58 am
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Originally Posted by skchin View Post
I've experienced Delta regionals canceling due to low loads. But this was back when NWA was still around.
That was a long time ago, and long before Delta started it's goal to maximize the number of "Brand Perfect" days (as defined by a day with a 100% completion rate for all Delta flights - mainline or regional). Delta cares about loads, but they care about them in the context of estimated loads months in advance where they will cancel/consolidate flights. When it comes to day of departure, Delta doesn't care about loads. Heck, nowadays Delta will fly an empty plane 4000+ miles in order to be a rescue flight for a plane that has MX issues.
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Old Oct 2, 18, 11:45 am
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I've ridden an MD-90 from ORD to MSP that was around 15% full, so at least judging from my experience, there is hope for you.
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