Delta has suspended flights to 16 cities across the US because of coronavirus
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Delta Air Lines has suspended flights to 16 cities across the U.S., from Bangor near Maine’s craggy Atlantic coast to Lincoln in Nebraska’s rolling prairies.
The Atlanta-based carrier’s suspensions are an extensions of ones they made in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic when the federal government allowed airlines to suspend a limited number of U.S. cities. However, Delta stands out continuing the flight hiatus in more cities for far longer than its competitors.
American Airlines and United Airlines also suspended a number of destinations in the early days of the pandemic but they have resumed flights to the vast majority of those airports. A TPG analysis of Cirium schedule data through September 2021 shows American only indefinitely out of Worcester, Massachusetts (ORH), and United out of Stockton, California (SCK). In addition, American has confirmed an exit from Oakland (OAK) and temporarily suspended flights to 11 small cities.
The 16 cities that Delta has not set plans to return to are:
- Akron-Canton, Ohio (CAK)
- Aspen, Colorado (ASE)
- Bangor, Maine (BGR)
- Erie, Pennsylvania (ERI)
- Flint, Michigan (FNT)
- Fort Smith, Arkansas (FSM)
- Lincoln, Nebraska (LNK)
- Manchester, New Hampshire (MHT)
- New Bern, North Carolina (EWN)
- Newburgh/Stewart, New York (SWF)
- Newport News/Williamsburg, Virginia (PHF)
- Peoria, Illinois (PIA)
- Santa Barbara (SBA)
- Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania (AVP)
- Williston, North Dakota (XWA)
- Worcester, Massachusetts (ORH)
“At this time we do not have a date to resume service to these markets,” Delta spokesperson Drake Castañeda told TPG. “We are continuously monitoring demand trends and are rebuilding our network as demand resumes.”
Delta could resume flights to any of these cities at any given time. The airline has been finalizing its monthly schedules about 30 days out. This means a city that has no flights today could see service resume in December with only about a month’s notice.
Still, the indefinite nature of the suspensions only adds weight to the uncertainty of the recovery. U.S. airlines have made deep cuts to their November schedules — the latest month that is finalized — with flying due to be about 40% less than the same period in 2019, Cirium shows.
Data from trade group Airlines for America (A4A) shows that U.S. domestic travel was down 63% year-over-year during the week ending Oct. 4.
“Every city has it own little story,” Joe Esposito, senior vice president of network planning at Delta, said during the Boyd International Aviation Forecast Summit on Sept. 12. In other words, air travelers are coming back differently in every market.
Esposito pointed to Delta’s hubs in New York and Salt Lake City as examples. Flights in New York will be at about a quarter of 2019 levels in November as local travel remains depressed. But Salt Lake City will be at roughly 90% of last year in response to a strong return in flying out West.
Delta only served two of the 16 cities it has suspended indefinitely — Aspen and Santa Barbara — from Salt Lake City, according to Cirium.
For the time being, Delta appears to be more focused on restoring traveler confidence in flying than in restoring destinations. Delta CEO Ed Bastian spoke of continuing to block middle seats through January and about other safety measures during the airline’s third quarter earnings call on Oct. 13.
“We carry at Delta more than one million people per week and have no documented transmissions onboard our aircraft,” he said, citing recent findings by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
However, things remain tough for airlines. Delta delayed its goal of ending daily losses by year-end to spring and will only fly about 40% to 45% of what it flew a year ago in the fourth quarter — just three points more than the three months that ended in September.
Featured image by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.