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Delta cuts 10 routes as regional connectivity continues to suffer, but good news in NYC

Dec. 20, 2021
4 min read
Delta cuts 10 routes as regional connectivity continues to suffer, but good news in NYC
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The route-map adjustments continue to hit small cities the hardest.

The latest move comes from Delta Air Lines, which is cutting 10 routes across its network, most of which were operated by its regional affiliates on short domestic hops.

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The cuts were first seen in Cirium schedules and later confirmed to TPG by a carrier spokesperson. A full table of the routes getting axed is below.

OriginDestinationOperated by
Atlanta (ATL)Rochester, Minnesota (RST)Endeavor Air CRJ900
Boston (BOS)Bermuda (BDA)Delta A319
Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP)Lansing, Michigan (LAN)Endeavor Air CRJ200
Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP)Freeland, Michigan (MBS)Endeavor Air CRJ200
Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP)Tulsa (TUL)SkyWest E175
Salt Lake City (SLC)Cleveland (CLE)Delta Airbus A319/A320 mix
Salt Lake City (SLC)Columbus (CMH)Delta Airbus A319/A320 mix
Salt Lake City (SLC)Des Moines (DSM)SkyWest E175
Salt Lake City (SLC)Madison, Wisconsin (MSN)SkyWest E175
Salt Lake City (SLC)Pittsburgh (PIT)Delta Airbus A319

The cuts hit the airline's Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) and Salt Lake City (SLC) hubs the hardest, with 70% of the affected services touching one of these airports.

Interestingly, this marks back-to-back weeks of big network cuts for Delta — both of which are focused on regional connectivity primarily from the MSP and SLC hubs. Last week, the Atlanta-based carrier dropped three U.S. cities from its network and slashed seven routes (six of which were from MSP and SLC).

In confirming the latest pulldown to TPG, a carrier spokesperson shared that "we continue to evaluate our network and make changes in line with customer demand, as we have throughout the pandemic.” It's anyone's guess if, or when, any of these routes make a comeback for Delta.

Delta's latest route cuts (Map courtesy of Cirium)

As airlines look to rebuild their network, small U.S. cities continue to bear the brunt of the changes. Many regional airports don't have the demand to warrant service right now, especially with the staffing shortages that airlines are facing.

Last month, United filed plans to pull out of 11 markets, nearly all of which were operated by regional partners. The Chicago-based airline cited a lack of demand and staffing shortages as the reasons for the route-map shake-up.

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In a recent interview with TPG, United CEO Scott Kirby commented on the future of 50-seat regional jets. His perspective was that there may not be a future for serving some small markets due to unfavorable economics compounded by pilot shortages.

“We’re still debating what the long-term future of 50 seaters really is,” Kirby said. “The challenge is, do you want to serve places like Erie, Pennsylvania, at all, or Cody, Wyoming, or do those places just get cut off of the connectivity to the world?”

While Delta may be paring back some of its regional connectivity, it's boosting service in another area of the country: the hotly contested New York market.

This week, the airline filed plans to bring back five seasonal summer routes from its New York/LaGuardia (LGA) hub, including flights operated by its Delta Connection regional affiliates to the following destinations.

DestinationOperated by
Asheville, North Carolina (AVL)Republic Airways Embraer 175
Wilmington, North Carolina (ILM)Endeavor Air CRJ900
Nantucket (ACK)Endeavor Air CRJ900
Traverse City, Michigan (TVC)Endeavor Air CRJ900
Martha's Vineyard (MVY)Republic Airways Embraer 175

The move comes on the heels of a big New York-focused expansion from American Airlines and JetBlue Airways, who've partnered together through the Northeast Alliance to become a formidable competitor against Delta and United in the Northeast.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

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  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
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  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023