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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 25, 20, 3:33 pm
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Exclamation Has DL Cut too many flights? Analysis and discussion of schedule cuts.

Originally Posted by Adam1222 View Post
I do. And I realize it must be very frustrating for you. But I also realize that airlines cannot preserve full schedules based on the fact that some people need to travel. And that *you* still need to travel to Orlando doesn't that Orlando traffic includes a lot of leisure and convention traffic.

That you need to travel and the schedules are not convenient or even impossible does not mean Delta "underestimated" demand or has screwed up in anyway.

I get it: it's totally frustrating and inconvenient. But to go on and on about how Delta is doing the wrong thing by reducing its schedules because *you* have a good reason to travel seems to ignore reality.
​​​​​​
Here's my five cents on this, I think you might be reading a little too much into this, hear me out, I don't think anyone in here is advocating for Delta to completely keep their full schedule which would cost them a lot more than they're losing right now. Anyone who suggests a full schedule right now clearly doesn't understand how supply and demand works. I think we have common ground there. I think their points are that Delta has just cut too deep which I can attest to. I know you disagree but from what I've seen at least for June, Delta has consolidated way too many flights through ATL and SLC making it impossible for a lot of people to make connections (could be based on when the flight from a person's originating city may be or due to flights just being sold out and/or oversold). I am just going to use ATL-SLC as an example since that is a route I frequent. There are a lot of dates in June where that routing is a complete PITA due to most if not all of the nonstops being sold out or oversold (big problem in early June). I have a flight booked from ATL-SLC on June 3rd, wanted to go June 2nd but couldn't since everything except an 8AM flight at time of booking was full or I could connect for an obscene price. Ended up snagging a seat on the 3rd and now every nonstop on the 3rd is full too. I don't remember if it was you but I talked about the situation on the 2nd with someone and they said "oh it's schedule change Saturday stuff is gonna open up don't worry about it", it's been two weeks and no nonstop options have opened up except for that 8AM flight. As a matter of fact, my uncle who works for Delta who I called two days after the schedule change said several of those flights were oversold by at least 70 one of them by 92, I'm sure that is changed but do you really see 92 people on a 199 seat 757 with social distancing requirements in place making it more like 119 seats canceling? Not to mention the fact that my uncle also said Delta royally screwed up with June and July, I'd trust his point of view on this more than just about anyone else's. Do you really see that many people canceling schedule change, COVID, or any situation when it feels like most of Delta's flights have been consolidated through ATL and SLC which multiple people on this forum have pointed out? When I booked the flight on the 3rd there were only 2 available flights, one at 8AM, and one at 1:50PM, I got a seat on the 1:50, now everything is full or oversold. So yes, I would say Delta has underestimated demand especially if American, that's right, American has better options on a Delta hub to hub route than Delta did at time of booking. Not near as many people are canceling as Delta thought clearly even as flights are still filling up considerably well after schedule changes.

Last edited by coke cans and winglets; May 25, 20 at 4:12 pm
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Old May 25, 20, 5:59 pm
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Originally Posted by rylan View Post
I'm certainly not advocating nor so I expect DL to be running anywhere near as full schedule. But as others have said and we are experiencing, if they cut flights to the point where the most things left are sold out 4-6 weeks from now then that would suggest they've cut too many and not left options for pax to rebook.
I'm not looking to travel to MCO, just referred to it since that was a topic of discussion.

Sure if a pile of people end up canceling and free up seats then it may work out, but this interim period is just a mess.
And I pulled up the MCO flights to show it was simply not true that everything is sold out, because that was what someone was claiming was a problem. But it's not. Not in the first week of June. Just checked mid and late June and also, most days at least 2 flights have 9+ seats left in Y. Six weeks from now, they are back up to 6 flights a day on ATL-MCO, and there are plenty of seats. (ATL-SLC also has plenty of seats 6 weeks out).

I know folks love to armchair route plan, but there are people who analyze data and run models over these decisions. That someone on here cant find flights s/he likes is not evidence that Delta cut too much. Cutting even a single frequency could screw up people's travel. That another airline has an option (as of today) that works better isnt proof of anything. (Not every airline makes its cuts for the summer at the same time.)

There are hard decisions for the airline industry to make. Not only is there a cost to running extra unnecessary planes, but every extra plane they fly puts employees at risk. Discretionary travel is not recommended, and data shows most Americans aren't planning to take that travel this summer. For every route that you find oversold one day, there will likely be two others that go out close to empty. Outside the U.S., many airlines remain completely shut down, or are operating even more skeletal service.

And to be clear, I've had all my summer travel plans on Delta screwed up by schedule reductions. One became impossible with the current schedule, and I will likely cancel another because the new schedule makes the trip too complicated. But I'm not ranting at Delta.
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Old May 25, 20, 6:14 pm
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Originally Posted by coke cans and winglets View Post
Here's my five cents on this, I think you might be reading a little too much into this, hear me out, I don't think anyone in here is advocating for Delta to completely keep their full schedule which would cost them a lot more than they're losing right now. Anyone who suggests a full schedule right now clearly doesn't understand how supply and demand works. I think we have common ground there. I think their points are that Delta has just cut too deep which I can attest to. I know you disagree but from what I've seen at least for June, Delta has consolidated way too many flights through ATL and SLC making it impossible for a lot of people to make connections (could be based on when the flight from a person's originating city may be or due to flights just being sold out and/or oversold). I am just going to use ATL-SLC as an example since that is a route I frequent. There are a lot of dates in June where that routing is a complete PITA due to most if not all of the nonstops being sold out or oversold (big problem in early June). I have a flight booked from ATL-SLC on June 3rd, wanted to go June 2nd but couldn't since everything except an 8AM flight at time of booking was full or I could connect for an obscene price. Ended up snagging a seat on the 3rd and now every nonstop on the 3rd is full too. I don't remember if it was you but I talked about the situation on the 2nd with someone and they said "oh it's schedule change Saturday stuff is gonna open up don't worry about it", it's been two weeks and no nonstop options have opened up except for that 8AM flight. As a matter of fact, my uncle who works for Delta who I called two days after the schedule change said several of those flights were oversold by at least 70 one of them by 92, I'm sure that is changed but do you really see 92 people on a 199 seat 757 with social distancing requirements in place making it more like 119 seats canceling? Not to mention the fact that my uncle also said Delta royally screwed up with June and July, I'd trust his point of view on this more than just about anyone else's. Do you really see that many people canceling schedule change, COVID, or any situation when it feels like most of Delta's flights have been consolidated through ATL and SLC which multiple people on this forum have pointed out? When I booked the flight on the 3rd there were only 2 available flights, one at 8AM, and one at 1:50PM, I got a seat on the 1:50, now everything is full or oversold. So yes, I would say Delta has underestimated demand especially if American, that's right, American has better options on a Delta hub to hub route than Delta did at time of booking. Not near as many people are canceling as Delta thought clearly even as flights are still filling up considerably well after schedule changes.
Very well said! Delta has indeed cut way too deep for June and July (and the latter part of May too, but that is almost in the past). Nice to hear your uncle's perspective coming from a DL insider. As an airline pilot myself I can attest to the demand is coming back much faster than what DL's scheduling department predicted and they have gotten themselves in a real bind.
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Old May 25, 20, 6:21 pm
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Originally Posted by coke cans and winglets View Post
My point exactly, if stuff is sold out that far out 2 weeks after the schedule change something's up. I like DL as an airline but I am not going to blindly defend everything they do and this is one thing I am not defending, they need to pull their act together, this shouldn't be happening this far out, they are actively losing customers because of it too.
In the beginning of all these inventory issues I chalked it up to Saturday Schedule Change weirdness. But as we saw from the June schedule release these issues did not resolve themselves. Nor do I have hope for July to resolve itself either. And when it comes time for August we will see the same thing. They are in a circle they can't seem to get out of: massive cuts, auto-rebooking issues (many that are impossible connections, thus taking up more inventory), cabin capacity limitations, a mostly non-functioning website that won't let customers cancel or change, hours long wait times to speak to an agent that can't do much either, and finally their statement that passengers can just no-show and their tickets will automatically become credits. Add all of these up and they can't accept new bookings and are driving customers elsewhere. I love DL too (had hoped to fly for them one day and was quite close to getting an interview before this mess happened). But right now they are causing their own downfall.
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Old May 25, 20, 6:28 pm
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Originally Posted by GagaPilot View Post
Very well said! Delta has indeed cut way too deep for June and July (and the latter part of May too, but that is almost in the past). Nice to hear your uncle's perspective coming from a DL insider. As an airline pilot myself I can attest to the demand is coming back much faster than what DL's scheduling department predicted and they have gotten themselves in a real bind.
Do airline pilots get access to detailed economic forecasting?

If we had a dollar for every report from an Uncle/Aunt/Cousin/Stepsister's best friend's with "intel" that turned out to have no basis in fact, we'd all be very wealthy.
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Old May 25, 20, 6:36 pm
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Originally Posted by Adam1222 View Post
Do airline pilots get access to detailed economic forecasting?

If we had a dollar for every report from an Uncle/Aunt/Cousin/Stepsister's best friend's with "intel" that turned out to have no basis in fact, we'd all be very wealthy.
You can believe what you wanna believe but he also does a good bit of office work for them in fact that is what he mostly does nowadays but still flies some (probably should have made that more clear) but I am just saying I trust that he has qualified to have a strong opinion on this. I talked to him about the July schedule and he said they have royally screwed up with scheduling. As a matter of fact he originally didn't think June was cut too deep and went on the ideology that a bunch of people would cancel but he has changed his mind on that. My points still stand.
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Old May 25, 20, 6:37 pm
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Originally Posted by Adam1222 View Post
And I pulled up the MCO flights to show it was simply not true that everything is sold out, because that was what someone was claiming was a problem. But it's not. Not in the first week of June. Just checked mid and late June and also, most days at least 2 flights have 9+ seats left in Y. Six weeks from now, they are back up to 6 flights a day on ATL-MCO, and there are plenty of seats. (ATL-SLC also has plenty of seats 6 weeks out).

I know folks love to armchair route plan, but there are people who analyze data and run models over these decisions. That someone on here cant find flights s/he likes is not evidence that Delta cut too much. Cutting even a single frequency could screw up people's travel. That another airline has an option (as of today) that works better isnt proof of anything. (Not every airline makes its cuts for the summer at the same time.)

There are hard decisions for the airline industry to make. Not only is there a cost to running extra unnecessary planes, but every extra plane they fly puts employees at risk. Discretionary travel is not recommended, and data shows most Americans aren't planning to take that travel this summer. For every route that you find oversold one day, there will likely be two others that go out close to empty. Outside the U.S., many airlines remain completely shut down, or are operating even more skeletal service.

And to be clear, I've had all my summer travel plans on Delta screwed up by schedule reductions. One became impossible with the current schedule, and I will likely cancel another because the new schedule makes the trip too complicated. But I'm not ranting at Delta.
I think the area you are missing is that for customers who (in normal times) have to book itineraries with one or two connections are where the "impossible" travel is coming from which means DL cut too much. Living in ANC I am used to almost always having a double connection if I am going anywhere in the eastern or southern US. (Except for the few summer months a year we have a direct ATL flight... but even then it is usually priced at a premium).

For those routes that still have a non-stop flight, while many are sold out, yes it is true many are not. It might not be the date/time one prefers... but at least there is an option. For those routes requiring 1 or 2 connections, it's like winning the lottery to find combinable segments that have inventory available. That's the issue here. Take SEA-ATL for example. The red-eye (which thankfully has returned) is sold out almost every day in June. That's a key link for travel. XXX-SEA-ATL-YYY. With no redeye inventory available it makes it almost impossible for one to travel. The majority of the day-time flights from SEA-ATL get in to ATL too late to make a connection due to the reduced schedules out of ATL. There are no longer many late night options leaving ATL. For earlier flights SEA-ATL that arrive in time to make a late afternoon connection, the origin doesn't have a flight that will get to SEA in time.

Believe me I am not complaining simply because my preferred date/time/routing is not available. I am complaining because I simply can't book a route with Delta even when looking at a 2 week date range... there's literally no options. That's the issue.
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Old May 25, 20, 6:44 pm
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Originally Posted by Adam1222 View Post
Do airline pilots get access to detailed economic forecasting?

If we had a dollar for every report from an Uncle/Aunt/Cousin/Stepsister's best friend's with "intel" that turned out to have no basis in fact, we'd all be very wealthy.
No, we don't see the "economic forecasts" (we tend to look more at weather forecasts ). But what do see is evidence on the front-lines daily. Planes reaching capacity limitations due to the virus and flights that are now in an "oversold" situation. Gate agents frustrated because they have no options to rebook passengers. The list goes on.

I am sure DL looked at many forecasts about demand and how much to cut. I think it has become obvious the forecast they chose was wrong. It happens all the time with weather forecasts. The key is to move on from it and reassess the situation. I am sadly not seeing DL do that.
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Old May 26, 20, 7:05 am
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Originally Posted by GagaPilot View Post
No, we don't see the "economic forecasts" (we tend to look more at weather forecasts ). But what do see is evidence on the front-lines daily. Planes reaching capacity limitations due to the virus and flights that are now in an "oversold" situation. Gate agents frustrated because they have no options to rebook passengers. The list goes on.

I am sure DL looked at many forecasts about demand and how much to cut. I think it has become obvious the forecast they chose was wrong. It happens all the time with weather forecasts. The key is to move on from it and reassess the situation. I am sadly not seeing DL do that.
​​​​​​So, in other words, more anecdotal meaningless data insisting that Delta got it wrong.
(If you're on a plane and it's full, that isn't evidence there should be ... More planes. Indeed, even an oversell by 2 or 3 doesn't mean there should be another flight.)

​​​​(And ANC, another highly seasonal destination that was driven by tourist traffic. Look at that.)

That some people will find their journeys impossible is a consequence of responsible network planning in the midst of a pandemic.

Look, it seems some of you will continue to insist no matter what anyone says that Delta got it wrong based on anecdotal evidence. I really do wish you the best of luck in your next careers as airline route planners.

Hopefully when it is safe and advisable for non-essential travel and people aren't dying every day as the disease surges to peaks in parts of America, you will look back at this criticism in a different light.

Last edited by Adam1222; May 26, 20 at 7:19 am
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Old May 26, 20, 7:35 am
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Originally Posted by Adam1222 View Post
And I pulled up the MCO flights to show it was simply not true that everything is sold out, because that was what someone was claiming was a problem. But it's not. Not in the first week of June. Just checked mid and late June and also, most days at least 2 flights have 9+ seats left in Y. Six weeks from now, they are back up to 6 flights a day on ATL-MCO, and there are plenty of seats. (ATL-SLC also has plenty of seats 6 weeks out).
6/1: 1 of 3 flights sold out entirely, 2 of 3 sold out in F
6/2: 2 of 4 flights sold out both in Y and F
6/3: 1 of 4 flights sold out in Y, all available in F
6/4: 2 of 4 flights sold out both in Y and F
6/5: 1 of 4 flights sold out in Y, 2 of 4 sold out in F

That's just not really good enough a week or more out. If they're going to be blocking a bunch of seats the capacity is going to have to increase so that these flights aren't selling out weeks in advance. Or if it's really people who are just waiting until the last minute to cancel then DL should be encouraging them to cancel as early as possible so that it's not a game of musical chairs to find out what flights actually have seats on them.
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Old May 26, 20, 7:55 am
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Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
6/1: 1 of 3 flights sold out entirely, 2 of 3 sold out in F
6/2: 2 of 4 flights sold out both in Y and F
6/3: 1 of 4 flights sold out in Y, all available in F
6/4: 2 of 4 flights sold out both in Y and F
6/5: 1 of 4 flights sold out in Y, 2 of 4 sold out in F

That's just not really good enough a week or more out. If they're going to be blocking a bunch of seats the capacity is going to have to increase so that these flights aren't selling out weeks in advance. Or if it's really people who are just waiting until the last minute to cancel then DL should be encouraging them to cancel as early as possible so that it's not a game of musical chairs to find out what flights actually have seats on them.
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.
​​​​
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Old May 26, 20, 8:09 am
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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.
​​​​
That's basically 40% of flights sold out more than a week in advance. Again, just not really good enough, especially considering the available ones are mostly either early morning departures or the last flight of the night, not particularly useful in many cases.

I'm not sure where I implied "more people's lives should be put at risk" however yes, the schedule needs to start coming back as demand increases. It's not April anymore.
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Old May 26, 20, 8:43 am
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Originally Posted by Adam1222 View Post
And I pulled up the MCO flights to show it was simply not true that everything is sold out, because that was what someone was claiming was a problem. But it's not. Not in the first week of June. Just checked mid and late June and also, most days at least 2 flights have 9+ seats left in Y. Six weeks from now, they are back up to 6 flights a day on ATL-MCO, and there are plenty of seats. (ATL-SLC also has plenty of seats 6 weeks out).

I know folks love to armchair route plan, but there are people who analyze data and run models over these decisions. That someone on here cant find flights s/he likes is not evidence that Delta cut too much. Cutting even a single frequency could screw up people's travel. That another airline has an option (as of today) that works better isnt proof of anything. (Not every airline makes its cuts for the summer at the same time.)

There are hard decisions for the airline industry to make. Not only is there a cost to running extra unnecessary planes, but every extra plane they fly puts employees at risk. Discretionary travel is not recommended, and data shows most Americans aren't planning to take that travel this summer. For every route that you find oversold one day, there will likely be two others that go out close to empty. Outside the U.S., many airlines remain completely shut down, or are operating even more skeletal service.

And to be clear, I've had all my summer travel plans on Delta screwed up by schedule reductions. One became impossible with the current schedule, and I will likely cancel another because the new schedule makes the trip too complicated. But I'm not ranting at Delta.
ATL-SLC 6/1 2/4 sold out in Y, all sold out in F
ATL-SLC 6/2 4/5 sold out in Y and F
ATL-SLC 6/3 4/5 sold out in Y, all sold out in F
ATL-SLC 6/4 5/5 sold out in Y and F
ATL-SLC 6/5 4/5 sold out in Y, all sold out in F
ATL-SLC 6/6 4/5 sold out in Y and F
That is a whopping 79% of flights that are full on that route. Nice to see how I said early June but you just looked up 6 weeks out but we can entertain that too, just looked it up for ATL-SLC a month from now, 40% of the flights are sold out and those seat numbers are going down as we speak, that shouldn't be the case a month out, last time I checked the Super Bowl or some other big event wasn't in late June or in SLC.
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Last edited by coke cans and winglets; May 26, 20 at 8:51 am
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Old May 26, 20, 1:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Adam1222 View Post
​​​​​​So, in other words, more anecdotal meaningless data insisting that Delta got it wrong.
(If you're on a plane and it's full, that isn't evidence there should be ... More planes. Indeed, even an oversell by 2 or 3 doesn't mean there should be another flight.)

​​​​(And ANC, another highly seasonal destination that was driven by tourist traffic. Look at that.)

That some people will find their journeys impossible is a consequence of responsible network planning in the midst of a pandemic.

Look, it seems some of you will continue to insist no matter what anyone says that Delta got it wrong based on anecdotal evidence. I really do wish you the best of luck in your next careers as airline route planners.

Hopefully when it is safe and advisable for non-essential travel and people aren't dying every day as the disease surges to peaks in parts of America, you will look back at this criticism in a different light.
Anecdotal evidence is not valuable? Umm, yes it is. Again, customers cannot book flights to the majority of DL destinations. GAs and phone agents cannot re-accommodate passengers because they have no options.Sure, when this is over, it will be interesting to pull the data and run a statistical analysis of what routes came back quickest, what routes needed more/less capacity, etc. But right now this is all we have. DL needs to start seeing consistent days where bookings outrank cancellations. While they are seeing this on some days, the issues with their schedules and cuts are hindering the ability to book. DLís network has severe inventory and connectivity issues.

Again, I say this as an airline pilot who has relied on DL for not only paid leisure travel, but paid company travel, and the occasional commuting as a crew member.

Itís obvious you donít think itís safe/advisable to travel right now, and thatís OK. Please stay home if you are concerned. But donít downplay the fact that those of us who want/need to travel right now cannot depend on DL to get us where we need to go.
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Old May 26, 20, 2:01 pm
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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.
​​​​
No. Thatís not the message.

With those flights sold out, thereís a good chance people canít 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 thereís an option.

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