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Has DL Cut too many flights? Analysis and discussion of schedule cuts.

Has DL Cut too many flights? Analysis and discussion of schedule cuts.

Old May 26, 20, 3:23 pm
  #16  
 
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Originally Posted by GagaPilot View Post
No. That’s not the message.

With those flights sold out, there’s a good chance people can’t construct valid connections.

Sure, if they are taking just that one flight then they are all set. Who cares what time of day it is or whether it is F/Y? At least there’s an option.

But, try making a valid connection (or two) using those available flights. Many times it’s just not possible.

Speculation on my part, but there are two competing goals at play here.

Obviously Delta wants to get you from XXX-YYY-ZZZ as efficiently as possible, but as discussed, with all of the cuts it isn’t working currently. The only real solution to that is to redevelop “connection banks” at the hubs, where most of the destinations have flights that arrive and depart around the same time. Without the banks, and with the greatly reduced flying schedule, many connections simply don’t work.

That all being said, there are two big financial obstacles to developing banks in the interim. Currently DL is canceling some flights, and leaving in place what remains. Creating banks likely requires schedule adjustments of those remaining flight, and often adjusting those remaining flight schedules by more than 90minutes. This of course leads to having to pay out even more refund money to currently booked pax, and quite possibly Delta would rather have bad connections than be forced to pay those additional refunds.

The second issue is aircraft utilization. Using DTW as an example, they only need one CRJ a day to fly to LAN, AZO, MBS, and TVC, as long as all those flights are spread out across the day (ie DTW-LAN-DTW in the morning, DTW-AZO-DTW in the early afternoon, etc.). If all four of those same destinations need to arrive and depart DTW in the same 4 hour window, that means 4 planes and 4 crews, which obviously costs more.

I guess what I am saying is that DL could do a better job with scheduling connections, but right now it may not be the most profitable decision to move forward with.
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Old May 26, 20, 3:45 pm
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by kavok View Post
Speculation on my part, but there are two competing goals at play here.

Obviously Delta wants to get you from XXX-YYY-ZZZ as efficiently as possible, but as discussed, with all of the cuts it isn’t working currently. The only real solution to that is to redevelop “connection banks” at the hubs, where most of the destinations have flights that arrive and depart around the same time. Without the banks, and with the greatly reduced flying schedule, many connections simply don’t work.

That all being said, there are two big financial obstacles to developing banks in the interim. Currently DL is canceling some flights, and leaving in place what remains. Creating banks likely requires schedule adjustments of those remaining flight, and often adjusting those remaining flight schedules by more than 90minutes. This of course leads to having to pay out even more refund money to currently booked pax, and quite possibly Delta would rather have bad connections than be forced to pay those additional refunds.

The second issue is aircraft utilization. Using DTW as an example, they only need one CRJ a day to fly to LAN, AZO, MBS, and TVC, as long as all those flights are spread out across the day (ie DTW-LAN-DTW in the morning, DTW-AZO-DTW in the early afternoon, etc.). If all four of those same destinations need to arrive and depart DTW in the same 4 hour window, that means 4 planes and 4 crews, which obviously costs more.

I guess what I am saying is that DL could do a better job with scheduling connections, but right now it may not be the most profitable decision to move forward with.
All excellent and valid points. I completely agree DL is trying to operate as efficiently as possible using the least amount of resources as possible for money reasons. I just feel they went a bit on the extreme side.

That said, if one searches by “schedule” you are likely to find at least one valid routing. AAA-BBB-CCC (or even-DDD).

However, the next issue becomes does all 2 or 3 segments have inventory available? With cabin capacity limits, autorebooked passengers from cancelled and consolidated flights, this is where the “sold out” is coming into play.

On one hand you could argue DL should make an attempt to contact passengers about their intent to take their travel, but that takes time, agents, and opens the door to lots more refunds (bleeding more cash). On the other hand this would almost certainly cause some inventory to open up and get more bookings going. That said, I’m not sure it would be enough.

I feel that DL is in a sort of “survival mode” where they are focusing on customers whose travel can still be non-stop even with the cuts. For those passengers who require connections (even both before and after the schedule cuts) it’s now “May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor.” Is it a smart business decision? Maybe. Maybe not. Is it helping people to book and fly on DL? Definitely not.
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Old May 26, 20, 4:01 pm
  #18  
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I haven't been paying a lot of attention to DL fleet choreography, but to pull the thread on kavok's aircraft utilization thought, "circle" routes might be a way to start looking at the problem ... for instance, DTW-LAN-AZO-DTW and DTW-MBS-TVC-DTW in the morning; DTW-AZO-LAN-DTW and DTW-TVC-MBS-DTW in the afternoon
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Old May 26, 20, 4:29 pm
  #19  
 
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Originally Posted by jrl767 View Post
I haven't been paying a lot of attention to DL fleet choreography, but to pull the thread on kavok's aircraft utilization thought, "circle" routes might be a way to start looking at the problem ... for instance, DTW-LAN-AZO-DTW and DTW-MBS-TVC-DTW in the morning; DTW-AZO-LAN-DTW and DTW-TVC-MBS-DTW in the afternoon
While this in theory works, the early loop needs to be very early in the day to get to DTW in time to fly to say ATL, then the second loop set of the day doesn't go out until very late to ensure ATL inbounds make it. With frequency down to 1x a day, and a lot of them are to hub AM, from hub PM, missing a connection often means driving is the better option.
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Old May 27, 20, 6:51 am
  #20  
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I feel all airlines cut too much. I can't get between lots of cities without a either a 30 minute impossibly quick or 8+ hour incredibly long connection (or forced overnight). We're not talking small cities either, major/large cities dont have connections at all in some cases.
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Old May 27, 20, 7:31 am
  #21  
 
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Originally Posted by GagaPilot View Post
I just feel they went a bit on the extreme side.
Extreme times call for extreme measures. We could sit here an also debate that some companies only needed to lay off 10% of their staff and not 20%, but at the end of the day everyone is fighting for survival and this is the time for decisive action that considers the realistic worst case scenario. Simply put, companies have to go extreme right now or they're gambling with their future existences.
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Old May 27, 20, 7:40 am
  #22  
 
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It is virtually impossible to properly predict demand when there are zero penalties for no-shows. A flight with 100 sold seats might only have 20 passengers show at the airport and the other 80 still get a full-value voucher. Meanwhile, DL could have sold 25+ seats to passengers who would have taken the flight. This is clearly unsustainable.
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Old May 27, 20, 8:18 am
  #23  
 
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Originally Posted by sydneyracquelle View Post
It is virtually impossible to properly predict demand when there are zero penalties for no-shows. A flight with 100 sold seats might only have 20 passengers show at the airport and the other 80 still get a full-value voucher. Meanwhile, DL could have sold 25+ seats to passengers who would have taken the flight. This is clearly unsustainable.
Exactly. Majority of people might not show up because of the change fee policy. Most people are traveling for essential reasons; ignoring Memorial Day weekend, I don't think passenger counts are even 10% of what they were last year: https://www.tsa.gov/coronavirus/passenger-throughput.

Date / Total Traveler Throughput / Total Traveler Throughput(1 Year Ago - Same Weekday)
5/26/2020 264,843 2,453,649
5/25/2020 340,769 2,512,237
5/24/2020 267,451 2,070,716
5/23/2020 253,190 2,124,825
5/22/2020 348,673 2,792,670
5/21/2020 318,449 2,673,635
5/20/2020 230,367 2,472,123
5/19/2020 190,477 2,312,727
5/18/2020 244,176 2,615,691
5/17/2020 253,807 2,620,276
5/16/2020 193,340 2,091,116
5/15/2020 250,467 2,664,549
5/14/2020 234,928 2,611,324

DL is burning $50 million each day. They need to manage that and ensure that they can keep their runway as long and open as possible. The reality is that they'll emerge from this a smaller airline than they were before, and I'm not sure demand for travel will return that quickly if demand for air travel is still this depressed. Even if they have sold out flights, if they're flying them capped at 60% capacity, I'm not sure any of their flights are still profitable, especially with fare caps in place until end of July.

If the no-show rate is that high (I'm not sure we know), my guess is that they'll suspend the change fee waiver or make changes to it if they wish to continue to offer it, as they'll probably want to continue to get cash wherever they can.
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Last edited by ab2013; May 27, 20 at 8:28 am
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Old May 27, 20, 9:04 am
  #24  
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my anecdotal data tells me that the cuts are sufficiently deep enough to keep me from flying one upcoming trip. i didn't like the schedule options which required an SLC connection to a 2nd tier city in the intermountain west, so i decided to drive 12 hours each way. the excessive cost of rental cars at my destination was also a factor in my decision.
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Old May 27, 20, 9:21 am
  #25  
 
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I will say that last week I had to fly TPA/CLE and back. It took 4 separate tickets to pull it off. TPA/ATL - DL. ATL/CLE - DL. Had 3 hour wait in ATL. I'm ok with that but DL website would not sell as one ticket.

Return, CLE/ATL - DL. ATL/TPA - WN

And this was leaving CLE at 11 am. As we speak now there are more TPA/ATL/TPA flights, but I think what I had to do last week will be the new norm for a while.

Safe travels and buy first if you want the front. I don't think upgrades are in effect.
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Old May 27, 20, 9:32 am
  #26  
 
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Originally Posted by Adam1222 View Post
so you're saying
6/1: plenty of seats on 2 flights
6/2: plenty of seats on 2 flights
6/3: plenty of seats on 3 flights
6/4: plenty of seats on 2 flights
6/5: plenty of seats on 3 flights


Wow first class is sold out. What a terrible airline.
they really should put more people's lives at risk so you have more options other than multiple daily flights in coach.
​​​​
I think you need to consider that DL is blocking seats in F and middle seats in Y, so a "full" flight is only 60% full in reality.
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Old May 27, 20, 11:17 am
  #27  
 
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I realize it is anecdotal, but I do somewhat feel like their decisions have been more grave than other airlines. For instance, out of AUS, there are only 2 flights a day to ATL, both in the morning. I can logically get my head around the reduction in flights, but the cuts have made it difficult to minimize time in cities and I have to spend the night. Whereas I can easily make it from Austin to the east coast and back in the same day on WN/UA/AA.

One hope I have (albeit a minor thing in the grand scheme) is that some sort of rationalization comes out of this. For instance, I travel in and out of ELP a lot and originally there were 3x to ATL. It would be awesome to go to 2x ATL and 1xSLC/LAX for instance, which would definitely shorten the flight (obviously not sure about yield/profit). I could get around that plan and deal with the schedule in the AM or PM, but before 'rona I was relegated to WN/AA to logically get in/out of ELP. Looks like that will continue for the near future.
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Old May 27, 20, 11:38 am
  #28  
 
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Originally Posted by TPAtoAnywhere View Post
I will say that last week I had to fly TPA/CLE and back. It took 4 separate tickets to pull it off. TPA/ATL - DL. ATL/CLE - DL. Had 3 hour wait in ATL. I'm ok with that but DL website would not sell as one ticket.

Return, CLE/ATL - DL. ATL/TPA - WN

And this was leaving CLE at 11 am. As we speak now there are more TPA/ATL/TPA flights, but I think what I had to do last week will be the new norm for a while.

Safe travels and buy first if you want the front. I don't think upgrades are in effect.
This is a perfect example of cutting too deep. Thanks for sharing. 4 separate tickets to pull off what should have been a relatively easy round trip involving a single connection each way.
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Old May 27, 20, 12:53 pm
  #29  
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Originally Posted by TPAtoAnywhere View Post
I will say that last week I had to fly TPA/CLE and back. It took 4 separate tickets to pull it off. TPA/ATL - DL. ATL/CLE - DL. Had 3 hour wait in ATL. I'm ok with that but DL website would not sell as one ticket.

Return, CLE/ATL - DL. ATL/TPA - WN

And this was leaving CLE at 11 am. As we speak now there are more TPA/ATL/TPA flights, but I think what I had to do last week will be the new norm for a while.

Safe travels and buy first if you want the front. I don't think upgrades are in effect.

Did you do this because you were not willing to fly a single ticket on UA/AA/WN, or also because there were no single ticket options on those airlines either?
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Old May 27, 20, 4:28 pm
  #30  
 
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Nothing available for either trip I want........another one I was considering is available for double the resonable fare.
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