LIT in fall schedule

 
Old Jul 31, 05, 4:52 pm
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LIT in fall schedule

I fly out of LIT, mostly on DL. I was looking at an itinerary I have for September today and noticed that one of my flights had been changed. I was scheduled on DL19 LGW-ATL arriving at 8:05 pm connecting to DL1506 ATL-LIT leaving ATL at 9:59 pm. The new website showed that they had me arriving into ATL on DL19 at 8:05 pm and leaving ATL on an ASA flight at 6:40 pm. As there was something obviously wrong, I called SMS. Turns out that DL1506 has been removed from the fall schedule and there is no flight ATL-LIT after 6:41 pm. So, they had to change the LGW-ATL flight to get me to LIT same day.

Now, looking at the fall schedule, they have nothing from ATL-LIT after 6:41 pm. What that means is that if you are visiting NYC or Washington or anyplace east, you will not be able to get a late flight back into LIT on DL. Can't do business in an east coast city, catch a 5 pm or 6 pm flight in that city and make it back home same day. Good reason to use another carrier. In the current schedule (and for the past 20 years that I've been flying DL), there has been at least two late night ATL-LIT flights (now there is a 10 pm and an 11 pm).

I've been a loyal DL flyer for years, but looks like maybe time to change. Guess I'll need to see what AA or NW or CO will do for a platinum medallion member.
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Old Jul 31, 05, 5:20 pm
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It's been reported here that a few other cities also have this problem, Jacksonville, FL, Daytona Beach and Melbourne, FL to name a few. I've been told this is only a seasonal change and flights will be back in a few months. I will have to fly out of Orlando starting in September and that won't make me happy.
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Old Jul 31, 05, 5:27 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyingDoc
I fly out of LIT, mostly on DL. I was looking at an itinerary I have for September today and noticed that one of my flights had been changed. I was scheduled on DL19 LGW-ATL arriving at 8:05 pm connecting to DL1506 ATL-LIT leaving ATL at 9:59 pm. The new website showed that they had me arriving into ATL on DL19 at 8:05 pm and leaving ATL on an ASA flight at 6:40 pm. As there was something obviously wrong, I called SMS. Turns out that DL1506 has been removed from the fall schedule and there is no flight ATL-LIT after 6:41 pm. So, they had to change the LGW-ATL flight to get me to LIT same day.

Now, looking at the fall schedule, they have nothing from ATL-LIT after 6:41 pm. What that means is that if you are visiting NYC or Washington or anyplace east, you will not be able to get a late flight back into LIT on DL. Can't do business in an east coast city, catch a 5 pm or 6 pm flight in that city and make it back home same day. Good reason to use another carrier. In the current schedule (and for the past 20 years that I've been flying DL), there has been at least two late night ATL-LIT flights (now there is a 10 pm and an 11 pm).

I've been a loyal DL flyer for years, but looks like maybe time to change. Guess I'll need to see what AA or NW or CO will do for a platinum medallion member.
Look at the sked thru CVG good late night flights to LIT
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Old Jul 31, 05, 5:34 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyingDoc
Can't do business in an east coast city, catch a 5 pm or 6 pm flight in that city and make it back home same day. Good reason to use another carrier.
I fly out of LIT as well and I agree. I've switched most of my flying to AA and NW for that and other reasons.
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Old Jul 31, 05, 6:03 pm
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What I don't understand is this -- if Delta wants to cut a flight, why don't they cut a flight in the middle of the day? Why would you cut out the last flight of the evening, destroying the ability of your customers to reach their destination without waiting until the following morning? If you cut a midday flight, someone who would like to take that flight could wait for the next one, which isn't going to be 8 or 12 hours later.

But, as long as late evening flights are available out of CVG, I guess it's not that big of a deal. I am actually taking one of those this week. I usually fly through ATL to get mainline service rather than a CRJ to another CRJ via CVG, but if it's CVG or nothing, then I'll settle for the CRJ.
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Old Jul 31, 05, 6:08 pm
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Originally Posted by JS
What I don't understand is this -- if Delta wants to cut a flight, why don't they cut a flight in the middle of the day? Why would you cut out the last flight of the evening, destroying the ability of your customers to reach their destination without waiting until the following morning?
I have often wondered this myself (I almost always have to stay one more night at a client site just to get a flight home and not get stuck in transit at CVG). I am not usually a consipacy lover, but have to wonder if this is partially to make the hotels happier with Delta. That extra night means money in the hotel's pockets. No other explanation makes a whole lot of sense, well except for maybe that if late night flights are delayed there is more chance they will run into crew hour issues.
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Old Jul 31, 05, 6:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Traveller
It's been reported here that a few other cities also have this problem, Jacksonville, FL, Daytona Beach and Melbourne, FL to name a few. I've been told this is only a seasonal change and flights will be back in a few months. I will have to fly out of Orlando starting in September and that won't make me happy.
Like the cities mentioned above, this cut is only temporary for the slow period of Sept/Oct. The late flights to LIT return in mid-November. Systemwide DL is cutting more capacity for Sept-Oct, in order to reduce losses during this low season. These cuts are more extreme than in past years...largely because of high-fuel prices.

There is still a late flight from CVG in the Sept/Oct schedule which would accomodate those coming from Northeast/Midwest.
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Old Jul 31, 05, 6:36 pm
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Originally Posted by Lehava
I I am not usually a consipacy lover, but have to wonder if this is partially to make the hotels happier with Delta. That extra night means money in the hotel's pockets.
Quite the opposite. The cuts DL is making (to LIT for example) actually reduce the number of crews that are overnighting in LIT. This means fewer hotel stays for DL crews which is one of the prime reasons DL is cutting the late night flights. If you cut a midday flight, you save on crew costs for operating that flight. If you cut a late-night flight, you save on crew costs for operating that flight PLUS the hotel costs and associated per diem.

Also, the late-night flights on many routes have some of the lowest load-factors. Some of the late night flights only exist to get the plane to the outstation, so that it can be there in the morning when loads are higher.
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Old Jul 31, 05, 6:47 pm
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Originally Posted by ConnFlyer
Like the cities mentioned above, this cut is only temporary for the slow period of Sept/Oct.
Has anyone told Delta that Sept/Oct is not a slow period for Florida?
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Old Jul 31, 05, 7:02 pm
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Originally Posted by Traveller
Has anyone told Delta that Sept/Oct is not a slow period for Florida?
Yes, it is. In fact for many Florida airports, September is the slowest month of the year. Kids go back to school (no trips to Disney World) and it's also the peak of hurricane season.

For example, Daytona Beach (DAB):

Enplanement's by Month (2003 2004)

January 20,577 21,874
February 22,009 25,166
March 28,013 31,938
April 22,939 29,341
May 23,527 28,029
June 23,145 27,191
July 24,020 29,272
August 24,685 26,982
September 19,977 16,313
October 23,133 25,027
November 22,800 25,263
December 22,947 24,543

You'll notice that September is the worst month for both years.
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Old Jul 31, 05, 7:07 pm
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Originally Posted by ConnFlyer
Quite the opposite. The cuts DL is making (to LIT for example) actually reduce the number of crews that are overnighting in LIT. This means fewer hotel stays for DL crews which is one of the prime reasons DL is cutting the late night flights. If you cut a midday flight, you save on crew costs for operating that flight. If you cut a late-night flight, you save on crew costs for operating that flight PLUS the hotel costs and associated per diem.

Also, the late-night flights on many routes have some of the lowest load-factors. Some of the late night flights only exist to get the plane to the outstation, so that it can be there in the morning when loads are higher.
But wait the crew hotel costs are a handful of people at a negotiated rate. I was thinking those of us who travel on the flight. Even on a flight of 50 people that is 50 hotel rooms. I think the load issue depends on the area. For those of us who fly to small airports it seems the later flights are fuller because of business people trying to get home after meetings. If you only have 3 flights a day into an airport the first and last tend to be fullest, the middle one is usually more leisure than business flyers.
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Old Jul 31, 05, 7:08 pm
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Originally Posted by ConnFlyer
You'll notice that September is the worst month for both years.
Maybe that's because DL cuts too many flights?
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Old Jul 31, 05, 9:06 pm
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Originally Posted by JS
But, as long as late evening flights are available out of CVG, I guess it's not that big of a deal. I am actually taking one of those this week. I usually fly through ATL to get mainline service rather than a CRJ to another CRJ via CVG, but if it's CVG or nothing, then I'll settle for the CRJ.
I must say that I hate the CRJs out of CVG and will do almost anything to avoid them, including changing airlines. So, the choice is not CVG or nothing. The choice is Delta vs. another airline.

In the itinerary I outlined, DL had to change an international flight in order to make a connection. They could not connect me though the late flight via CVG (I didn't ask the agent, but I assume that either the LGW-CVG or CVG-LIT flights are full).

Delta was the #1 airline in LIT in passenger numbers for many years, probably decades. WN took over that title a few years ago. Now, DL is fighting with AA for #2 and it looks to me as though they are losing the battle when I can't fly home in the evening after a day's business. DL used to have frequent service out of LIT via DFW to many places. Now, the choices are ATL, CVG, or SLC (a 3 hour 4 minute CRJ flight!!). You basically can't go west from here without flying east to CVG or ATL (unless you want to get on one of the 2 CRJs each day to SLC; again I will do almost anything to avoid CRJs, particularly more than 3 hour CRJ flights!!!!).

I know LIT is a small-medium airline market, but we are located in what has been Delta's stronghold and they are losing the competitive battle.
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Old Jul 31, 05, 9:14 pm
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Originally Posted by ConnFlyer
If you cut a late-night flight, you save on crew costs for operating that flight PLUS the hotel costs and associated per diem.

Also, the late-night flights on many routes have some of the lowest load-factors. Some of the late night flights only exist to get the plane to the outstation, so that it can be there in the morning when loads are higher.
I know they have to cut costs to survive, but for many business travelers (i.e. higher revenue fares), the ability to get home late in the day is important. So, cutting a late night flight may save them 5 hotel rooms, but may lose business for them. I suppose that is the balance they must decide, but in the September-October schedule, they have a 5 pm and a 6:41 pm flight. Why not have one of them a couple of hours later?

I don't have specific numbers, but in my experience of frequently taking the late night ATL-LIT flights, I would say that the load factor on these flights is at least 80%. Often, they're full.
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Old Jul 31, 05, 9:15 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyingDoc
I know LIT is a small-medium airline market, but we are located in what has been Delta's stronghold and they are losing the competitive battle.
Maybe DL is making a decision to pull out of the small-medium market, at least mainline Delta. I would like to know why the MD88 flights out of MLB to ATL that are usually 100% full are losing money? The schedule change is forcing me to fly out of MCO (extra 1/2 hr drive, extra 20 min to find parking, extra 1/2 - 1 hr security) and I don't like it. Could be I will find a better airline out of MCO. It really is depressing to read the other airlines' forums on FT when there is a thread about Delta. I have yet to read a complimentary post about Delta, so maybe sticking with Delta is not the thing to do.
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