As the demand for air travel increases, Delta is boosting nationwide connectivity for travelers by adding new routes just in time for the upcoming summer season. Airline officials are becoming increasingly optimistic as more Americans resume travel, following a weekend when airport volumes hit record highs – a year since the onset of the pandemic.
Determining factors to the uptrend include the mass rollout of vaccines and a steady decline in the number of active COVID-19 cases in the country. In effect, airlines are eagerly expanding networks to cater to returning demand for leisure travel.
Delta bookings started picking up a few weeks ago as Americans began planning for spring and summer, CEO Ed Bastian remarked at an industry conference on Monday.
“We’ve seen some glimmers of hope over the last year, but they’ve been false hope,” Bastian said. “But this seems like it’s real.”
At the same conference, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said the airline sold more flight + hotel vacation packages last week than ever before.
Airline stocks rose on Monday, with United Airlines climbing 8.3%, American Airlines Group up 7.7%, and Delta up 2.3%. Additionally, airlines rescinded furlough notices previously issued to employees as Congress passed billions of dollars in a stimulus check to the embattled aviation industry.
Delta Adds New Routes
The Atlanta-based carrier announced the launch of new routes and more flights to outdoor destinations this summer.
The move from Delta expands frequencies to Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, along with new summer destinations.
- New weekend service from Detroit (DTW), Los Angeles (LAX), and New York (JFK) on May 28
- Increasing year-round Seattle (SEA) service to up to seven daily trips as of June 19.
- Launching a third daily flight this summer to Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) as of May 5
- Adding a year-round nonstop flight to Salt Lake City (SLC) starting May 5, followed by a second summer seasonal flight as of June 19
- Returning daily service from Atlanta (ATL) as of May 5, the longest nonstop flight offered from ANC and storing notable connections across the southeast. Nonstop ATL service will roll into the fall with three weekly trips.
New and Increased Service to Fairbanks
Delta will add frequencies to Fairbanks (FAI) with six nonstop flights from its primary gateway hubs by:
- Launching a new daily nonstop flight from SLC starting May 5
- Adding a third nonstop flight from SEA starting June 19
- Doubling service with a second nonstop flight from MSP starting June 19
In addition to flying to FAI from SEA in the winter months, Delta is extending MSP & SLC service year-round to offer passengers access to its widespread global network.
Returning popular summer seasonal service to Juneau, Ketchikan, and Sitka
Delta’s Alaska summer seasonal service from SEA starting Memorial Day weekend will be extended until the end of September, including:
- Daily route to Juneau (JNU)
- Daily route to Ketchikan (KTN)
- Daily route to Sitka (SIT)
Delta’s Key Initiatives
Delta continues to be a leader in health and safety in the aviation industry, being the only U.S. airline currently blocking the middle seat in an effort to raise passenger confidence and peace of mind. On that note, Delta has also permanently eliminated change fees to enhance flexibility while booking.
To streamline travel, the airline will soon be launching digital tools for passengers to manage booking, schedule testing, and automate document verification through the Delta website and app.
While investing in touchless features, Delta is enabling tap-to-pay technology beginning on March 16 for contactless payments on flight purchases.
To conclude, a statement from Delta CEO Ed Bastian reads: “There are still challenges ahead, but I remain incredibly hopeful and expect 2021 will be a year of reconnection with the people and places we love as vaccinations continue and our world safely reopens.”
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