Skip to content

Delta boosts transatlantic network with more flights, premium economy cabins

Nov. 08, 2021
5 min read
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.

It's an exciting day for Europeans (and other nationals) who've been locked out of America for nearly two years.

Nov. 8 marks America's big reopening to vaccinated travelers, and Delta is celebrating with an early-morning transatlantic network announcement covering much of the airline's upcoming schedule across the pond.

While the announcement doesn't include new routes, Delta is reaffirming its commitment to restarting much of its pre-pandemic service by next summer.

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

Delta to add 90% more transatlantic capacity

Headlining Delta's big European expansion is a 90% increase in additional transatlantic capacity next summer, compared to summer 2021. Relative to 2019, that number drops to somewhere between 85% and 90%. In total, the airline will operate up to 73 daily flights to 25 destinations from 10 U.S. gateways.

Much of the growth will come from Delta's primary transatlantic hub: New York-JFK. There, the airline will operate up to 29 daily flights to 23 European markets.

This includes restarting daily service to Zurich and Copenhagen on Feb. 6 and May 26, respectively, along with five-times-weekly flights to Brussels, Copenhagen and Edinburgh resuming on March 26, May 26 and May 1, respectively.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Another hub getting a big transatlantic boost is Boston, where Delta will add two new (previously announced) flagship routes, to Athens and Tel Aviv, during Memorial Day weekend in May 2022.

Delta has also reiterated plans to restore service on a handful of other routes from Boston, as well as from Atlanta, Portland, Cincinnati and Raleigh-Durham, with the full details at the bottom of this post.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

"With the lifting of restrictions to the U.S. and abroad, plus growing vaccination rates and tremendous pent-up demand, travel to Europe is expected to surge next summer – and Delta customers are assured to enjoy every moment from curb to claim," said Joe Esposito, Delta's senior vice president of network planning, in a statement.

8 markets aren't coming back

While Delta is bringing back much of its transatlantic capacity, what's happening to the remaining 10% to 15% that's not returning?

It turns out, eight markets aren't coming back next summer, including:

  • Dusseldorf, Germany (DUS)
  • Stuttgart, Germany (STR)
  • Berlin, Germany (BER/TXL)
  • Glasgow, U.K. (GLA)
  • Shannon, Ireland (SNN)
  • Malaga, Spain (AGP)
  • Ponta Delgada, Portugal (PDL)
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia (DBV)

Perhaps most interesting is that Delta isn't resuming service to Ponta Delgada, Portugal, or Dubrovnik, Croatia. Both of these markets are new cities operated by United Airlines — and Delta is seemingly ready to concede its traffic to one of its largest Big 3 competitors.

Every route to feature premium economy

In addition to the network expansion, Delta has great news for those looking to upgrade their onboard experience: Every European flight will offer a Premium Select cabin next summer.

Despite the pandemic, Delta has been busy retrofitting its Airbus A330 and Boeing 767-300 fleet with new premium economy cabins, upgraded seat cushions, mood lighting and other passenger-friendly enhancements.

These jets have historically been the backbone of the airline's European network, and they'll fly there once again next summer with some snazzy new cabins.

For those who aren't familiar, Delta Premium Select offers an upgraded experience without breaking the bank for a lie-flat Delta One pod. The cabin is outfitted with similar recliners to those you'll find in domestic first class, with some additional bells and whistles, like a footrest and leg rest, larger inflight entertainment screens and upgraded bedding.

Delta Premium Select on the retrofitted Airbus A330 (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Though the overhauled cabins offer a more premium inflight experience, Delta's top-tier Diamond Medallion members might not be pleased with the aggressive roll-out plans.

That's because those members will no longer be able to confirm an upgrade from coach to business class on these jets. Per an announcement last week, business-class upgrades will only be processed within 24 hours of departure, pending availability. However, top-tier members will be able to instantly confirm a bump into Premium Select, assuming that a seat is available for sale.

Bottom line

Delta is gearing up for the big U.S. reopening with an expanded transatlantic schedule. Though the airline isn't unveiling new routes, the carrier will restore much of its pre-pandemic capacity to the continent.

Along with restoring capacity, Delta will also fly its latest retrofitted jets on all European routes next summer.

Highlights of Delta's transatlantic schedule

  • Increase to twice-daily flights from New York-JFK to Amsterdam, London, Milan and Rome in summer 2022.
  • Resuming flights from New York-JFK to Frankfurt on Dec. 13, upgraded to daily in summer 2022.
  • Restarting five-times weekly service from Boston to Edinburgh on May 27.
  • Resuming daily service from Boston to Rome on May 1.
  • Restarting service from Atlanta to Munich on Dec. 13, upgraded to daily in summer 2022.
  • Resuming service from Atlanta to Milan on May 1.
  • Increase to three-daily flights from Atlanta to Amsterdam; London and Rome to twice daily.
  • Atlanta to Athens service to return on May 1.
  • Portland to Amsterdam resumes on May 3.
  • Cincinnati and Raleigh-Durham (RDU) to Paris resumes on Aug. 2 and Aug. 3, respectively.
Featured image by Most airlines have a different fare class for all 26 characters in the alphabet. (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.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees