Delta Air Lines scraps 6 transatlantic routes for winter
The bottomless demand for long-haul travel may be ending sooner than Delta Air Lines originally expected.
The Atlanta-based carrier filed plans over the weekend to scrap six long-haul routes for the winter 2023-2024 season, as first seen in Cirium schedules and later confirmed by a carrier spokesperson.
Specifically, the airline will stop flying the following flights in late October.
- Atlanta-Dusseldorf, Germany (service ends Oct. 26).
- Atlanta-Stuttgart, Germany.
- New York-Berlin.
- New York-Copenhagen.
- New York-Geneva.
- New York-Stockholm.
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In a statement explaining the move, a spokesperson shared that "Delta is making routine adjustments in six transatlantic markets from Atlanta and New York-JFK as the demand environment for winter travel becomes more clear. These markets will shift to seasonal service.”
Additionally, Delta will suspend two routes to Beijing (from Detroit and Seattle) for the entirety of the winter season.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that Delta and its competitors are facing softer demand during the historically less busy months of the winter season, which typically is especially slow in the transatlantic market.
In fact, two of the routes that Delta is cutting — New York to Berlin and Geneva — were first scheduled to be operated seasonally, but then the airline decided to increase the service to year-round following stronger-than-expected booking trends.
Now, just about two months later, Delta is backtracking on that decision, as presumably there wasn’t enough interest to support year-round flights.
Delta isn’t the only major airline seeing what appears to be a softness in bookings for slower winter months.
United Airlines issued updated investor guidance March 13, saying that “the Company is observing new seasonal demand patterns, with lower-demand months such as January and February 2023 growing less than higher-demand months.”
Of course, Delta’s cuts project roughly a year into the future, but the airline's changes appear to be in line with United's about the return of seasonal booking patterns in many markets.
That said, Delta’s cuts will have no impact on its financial guidance, a company spokesperson told TPG.
Travelers booked on one of the canceled flights will be offered alternative one-stop options through Delta’s joint-venture partners, Air France and KLM, which operate flights to all of the aforementioned European destinations through their Paris and Amsterdam hubs, respectively.
Alternatively, those with canceled flights can instead opt for a full refund back to the original form of payment.