Delta drops 3 US cities, cuts 7 routes in network shake-up

Dec 12, 2021

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.

The route-map adjustments continue to hit small U.S. cities the hardest.

The latest cuts come from Delta, which is pulling seven routes and dropping 3 cities from its network.

The pull-down is largely focused on regional connectivity. Delta Connection partner SkyWest Airlines historically operated six of the seven routes getting axed.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

You’ll find the full list of route cuts below, as first seen in Cirium schedules and later confirmed by a carrier spokesperson.

Origin Destination Notes
Detroit (DTW) La Crosse, Wisconsin (LSE)
Minneapolis–Saint Paul (MSP) Great Falls, Montana (GTF)
Minneapolis–Saint Paul (MSP) Lincoln, Nebraska (LNK) Market exit
Minneapolis–Saint Paul (MSP) Marquette County, Michigan (MQT)
Salt Lake City (SLC) Cody, Wyoming (COD) Market exit
Salt Lake City (SLC) Grand Junction, Colorado (GJT) Market exit
Salt Lake City (SLC) Indianapolis, Indiana (IND)

The headline is that three small U.S. cities are losing Delta service entirely. Flights to Grand Junction (GJT) and Lincoln (LNK) will end on Jan. 9, 2022, while seasonal service to Cody (COD) has been suspended since October 2021.

A carrier spokesperson shared the following statement confirming the move.

Due to ongoing travel demand impact from the pandemic, we have made the difficult decision to suspend Delta Connection service to these markets. We are working to reaccommodate customers with alternate plans or offer refunds as quickly as possible. We are grateful to all who supported this service throughout the years.

The unused regional aircraft will be redeployed for service to cities with greater demand.

Map of Delta’s route cuts, with blue lines indicating market exits (Map courtesy of Cirium)

Of the three markets getting cut, perhaps the most interesting backstory is the one associated with Cody, Wyoming.

This small city qualifies as an Essential Air Service (EAS) market, meaning that the federal government provides subsidies to a chosen airline to guarantee service to this city.

United Express holds the EAS contract in Cody through May 31, 2022. Delta’s service wasn’t subsidized by the government, and it likely wasn’t operating profitably.

Notably, Delta will continue to serve the four other airports that are losing routes with flights from other hubs. SkyWest will continue serving Great Falls (GTF) via SLC, La Crosse (LSE) via MSP and Marquette (MQT) via DTW. (Delta serves Indianapolis from multiple U.S. hubs.)

Delta’s cuts are the latest to hit small U.S. cities.

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.

While Delta pares back its domestic network, the airline is bullish on the return of transatlantic travel next summer.

This week, the airline also filed plans to return to the New York-JFK to Stockholm (ARN) market, with daily seasonal service starting on June 1. The carrier last operated the route five years ago, according to Cirium schedules.

Adding Stockholm to its 2022 route map translates to an over 100% capacity increase on European routes relative to summer 2021. In total, Delta plans to operate up to 70 daily flights from 21 destinations in Europe to 10 U.S. airports next summer.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


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.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • 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.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.