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Post Pandemic departure from DL preference due to service levels at home airport?

Post Pandemic departure from DL preference due to service levels at home airport?

Old Apr 21, 21, 9:55 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: BHM LEX NYC
Programs: 2.76MM DM, DL Reserve, HH Diamond, Nat Exec Elite, SPG, PC, etc...
Posts: 416
Post Pandemic departure from DL preference due to service levels at home airport?

Being BHM based and DL loyal hasn't faired well during the COVID-Era here and DL is the last airline to reestablish routes with no plan in site. Prior to COVID DL was the majority carrier here for years and during the pandemic has slipped to next to last with market share as AA and WN grabbing the lion's share of the traffic current traffic. So that said, if AA continues to add routes and improve service here at BHM while DL just watches by, it should come to no surprise when I abandon DL for AA. At least that's what it is looking like for me so far...

Anyone else having similar experiences in their home airport?

* Please excuse typos from my iPhone
JesseRohr is offline  
Old Apr 21, 21, 12:03 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: SAT
Programs: DL Plat, UA Gold, AA Gold
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If AA works for you, you should go for it. It's not exactly an answer to your question, but I've found that being in an area that is close to a fortress hub, flying another carrier can be beneficial if they have enough flights to make it feasible. For example, from SAT it's less than an hour flight to IAH on UA or DFW on AA, so many frequent business travelers fly one of those. This means I've been able to have more success with upgrades as a low-to-mid-tier Delta medallion than similar elite status levels with AA/UA. You also might be more recognized and given favors by AA ground crew if you're flying out all the time as opposed to the ground crew from DL that probably sees tons of Diamonds at BHM. The main downside is having to fly farther out of the way to Delta hubs although this might be less impactful for you due to CLT's location (but are they flying a lot of single-cabin aircraft BHM-CLT as opposed to flights to DFW/ORD/MIA?). I don't have an answer for you, but those are some things to consider.
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Old Apr 21, 21, 12:50 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
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Looks like BHM-ATL is currently 8x daily and goes to 9x in May. BHM-DTW goes from 1x daily to 2x in May and BHM-LGA resumes in June. BHM-ATL goes all mainline and 11x daily in June (which is a quite significant capacity jump given there will also be no seat blocking). These are all fairly firm now (with weekend update through June 17th). That looks pretty close to pre-Covid levels. The main route that still looks fairly light in schedule is BHM-LGA at 1x daily instead of 3x.

Last edited by xliioper; Apr 21, 21 at 2:12 pm
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Old Apr 21, 21, 1:13 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by JesseRohr View Post
Being BHM based and DL loyal hasn't faired well during the COVID-Era here and DL is the last airline to reestablish routes with no plan in site. Prior to COVID DL was the majority carrier here for years and during the pandemic has slipped to next to last with market share as AA and WN grabbing the lion's share of the traffic current traffic. So that said, if AA continues to add routes and improve service here at BHM while DL just watches by, it should come to no surprise when I abandon DL for AA. At least that's what it is looking like for me so far...

Anyone else having similar experiences in their home airport?

* Please excuse typos from my iPhone
Less from a point of view of flight schedules and more so from on board service, but yes, I have experienced this also. If I want to go to LAX, I can either fly via ATL on Delta with standard domestic F seating and no service on board the aircraft (yes, drinks now as of the last week). If I take AA on the other hand I can go via MIA and have a 777 with lie flats and transcon food/beverage service, oh, and a pillow + blanket. JetBlue is also an excellent option via MIA or FLL.

Point is, if better options exist, use them. Loyalty is nothing more than an investment. If you can get a better return elsewhere, do it. I see so many people over pay for flights and wind up with some crappy product all in the name of what? A 1 in 70 chance to get an upgrade to domestic F on a 739 from Atlanta to LGA a couple times a year?

Now, donít get me wrong, for the folks that live in ATL, DTW, SLC, MSP, I get it, youíre sort of stuck.
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Old Apr 21, 21, 1:36 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Back in Reds Country (DAY/CVG). Previously: SEA & SAT.
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Originally Posted by JesseRohr View Post
Anyone else having similar experiences in their home airport?
As others have noted, you should always be evaluating whether you are getting the desired value out of various loyalty programs and if AA seems to be the logical choice, then there's nothing wrong with switching. It's sometimes easier said than done but sometimes you have to "vote with your wallet".

At my home airport (SAT), DL has still been workable for the few times I've traveled and for the short hops I've taken I've preferred seat-blocking over other cabin service, and I've noticed service (frequency) is slowly returning on DL making DL workable for the travel I've done or have coming up. SAT-ATL is coming up to 6x daily - it was down to as low as 3-4x daily during COVID. 6x daily is getting back up to pre-COVID levels of frequency. SAT-DTW is 2x daily, both mainline now. SAT-MSP is going up to 2x daily, with a mix of mainline and regional (E175). Both DTW and MSP were 2-3x daily pre-COVID, depending on the day of the week and time of the year. SAT-SLC is going back up to 3x daily which is about what it was pre-COVID, I believe. SAT-LAX is finally back, currently 1x daily and going up to 2x daily soon, which is what is was pre-COVID. So now the only pre-COVID route out of SAT that hasn't returned is SAT-JFK.
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Old Apr 21, 21, 2:06 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
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SAT-JFK is currently scheduled to return on August 5th on an A320. Although that's pretty far out and clearly not that firm yet.

Last edited by xliioper; Apr 21, 21 at 2:13 pm
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Old Apr 21, 21, 3:56 pm
  #7  
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All good responses. I don't even care about the upgrades any longer, I simply buy the F ticket for pretty much everything. I've cheated on DL a few times in the past 15 years and always feel guilty, now I feel like with all the additional AA routes being added (that service places I need to get to) they're clearly trying to make a bigger footprint at BHM that DL doesn't seem to care to compete with.

The main purpose of my thread is to see if there is a service paradigm shift happening at other airports where the carriers are shuffling the deck chairs.
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Old Apr 21, 21, 5:33 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: HEF
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Originally Posted by JesseRohr View Post
DL was the majority carrier [at BHM] for years and during the pandemic has slipped to next to last with market share as AA and WN grabbing the lion's share of the current traffic.
I've flown to BHM at least once per year for the past 25 years. WN had non-stops from BWI, but I always preferred to fly Delta jets. Delta used to have a great station at BHM, which included a Crown Room Club. Sadly, the club closed at least a decade ago, and then the concourse where it was located was torn down as the airport was rebuilt. I think WN has hurt Delta badly at BHM, and AA built up its services as BHM is located between CLT and DFW.
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Old Apr 21, 21, 6:21 pm
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Originally Posted by ND76 View Post
I've flown to BHM at least once per year for the past 25 years. WN had non-stops from BWI, but I always preferred to fly Delta jets. Delta used to have a great station at BHM, which included a Crown Room Club. Sadly, the club closed at least a decade ago, and then the concourse where it was located was torn down as the airport was rebuilt. I think WN has hurt Delta badly at BHM, and AA built up its services as BHM is located between CLT and DFW.
Except AA hasn't really added anything they didn't already have before Covid. Summer of 2019 was 7x BHM-CLT, 3x BHM-DCA, 7x BHM-DFW, 2x BHM-MIA, 2x BHM-ORD, 3x BHM-PHL. This summer they are 6x BHM-CLT, 1-2X BHM-DCA, 6x BHM-DFW, 2x BHM-MIA, 1x BHM-ORD, 3x BHM-PHL. While DL has been slower to restore flights and service, it's pretty clear they are currently restoring a lot of this. I'm not a fan of the safety theater like most everyone else, but they are pulling back on it (albeit slowly -- likely mostly to save face). Obviously, DL has always been very ATL centric out of BHM and that hasn't really changed (they were 10x daily in summer 2019 and are now 11x daily for summer 2021). But if someone always books FC anyway, I suppose there are not a lot of reasons to be loyal (other than not having to maintain multiple lounge memberships).

Last edited by xliioper; Apr 21, 21 at 6:55 pm
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Old Apr 21, 21, 6:34 pm
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by JesseRohr View Post
I've cheated on DL a few times in the past 15 years and always feel guilty,.
why do you feel guilty?
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Old Apr 21, 21, 7:49 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by JesseRohr View Post
All good responses. I don't even care about the upgrades any longer, I simply buy the F ticket for pretty much everything. I've cheated on DL a few times in the past 15 years and always feel guilty, now I feel like with all the additional AA routes being added (that service places I need to get to) they're clearly trying to make a bigger footprint at BHM that DL doesn't seem to care to compete with.

The main purpose of my thread is to see if there is a service paradigm shift happening at other airports where the carriers are shuffling the deck chairs.
If youíre buying F anyway, then that 100% would settle it for me. All domestic carriers are pretty much the same at this point with the exception of the limited routes with lie flats. AA offers slightly better food service than the others, this is especially notable on transcons. Also JetBlue offers excellent service on transcons.

With that said, being BHM based youíre probably not going to be flying on a ton of transcons so youíre best off just booking with the cheapest option that offers the best service for your flight.
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