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Delta cuts 5 routes and adds 1, puts its newest jet on 6 more

Aug. 08, 2022
6 min read
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This weekend brought a mixed bag of schedule updates for Delta Air Lines.

The Atlanta-based carrier will be ending five of its regional routes in the coming weeks, the latest cities to see service cuts as the industry copes with an ongoing pilot shortage. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a pilot shortage that was already becoming a problem. At the onset of the pandemic, airlines offered buyouts and early retirement packages to their older pilots. As demand for travel roared back, large airlines had to hire new pilots to replace the ones that retired, with regional airlines being a primary source for the new hires. The major airlines are now hiring hundreds of pilots a month, many coming from the regional carriers.

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All four U.S. carriers that rely on regional airlines have made significant route cuts in recent months. The latest changes, from Delta, are as follows, according to Cirium schedule data and confirmed by the airline:

  • Detroit (DTW) to Allentown, Pennsylvania (ABE) — ends Sept. 11.
  • Detroit (DTW) to Cedar Rapids, Iowa (CID) — ends Oct. 5.
  • Detroit (DTW) to Dayton, Ohio (DAY) — ends Oct. 5.
  • Detroit (DTW) to Fort Wayne, Indiana (FWA) — ends Oct. 5.
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Moline, Illinois (MLI) — ends Oct. 5.
(Screenshot from Cirium)

Delta will continue to serve all of those cities via existing service it already offers from other hubs. All routes that are ending are operated either by SkyWest Airlines, the nation's largest regional airline, or by Delta-owned Endeavor Air.

More: How a pilot shortage could leave travelers with higher fares and fewer options

In a statement, Delta said the decision was demand driven.

“We continue to monitor and adjust our flight schedules as needed on an ongoing basis; staying in line with current customer demand trends," a Delta spokesperson said.

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A new route for Westchester County

It was not all cuts for Delta on the regional side of its operation.

The carrier will add flights between its hub at Boston Logan Airport (BOS) and Westchester County Airport (HPN), located north of New York City.

The flights will begin on Oct. 6 and are scheduled for up to three round trips a day using 69-seat Embraer 170s and 76-seat Embraer 175s. Delta partner Republic Airways will operate the 166-mile flights, which will be the airport's shortest regularly scheduled flight.

(Screenshot from Cirium)

It's not the first time that a Delta partner has flown this route. Defunct Delta Connection partner Business Express operated the route in the 1990s. Since then, it has seen on-again, off-again service from partners of now-defunct US Airways and Continental Airlines, according to Cirium.

Security at Westchester County Airport. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The airport, also known as White Plains, is a favorite of locals in the suburban bedroom communities who favor the airport's convenience, easy parking and short security lines. Breeze began flying to the airport this summer, and is scheduled to commence transcontinental flights to Las Vegas' Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) next month.

New routes for Delta's newest jet

As more of Delta's newest aircraft, the Airbus A321neo, gets delivered, we are beginning to get a clearer picture of how — and where — Delta plans to use the swanky new jet. In the new schedule update, six new routes for the fuel-efficient, 194-seat aircraft have been added, according to Cirium:

  • Atlanta (ATL) to Orlando (MCO) — select dates in October and November.
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Orlando (MCO) — select dates in October and November.
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) — select dates in September, October, November, March and April.
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Kahului/Maui (OGG) — select dates in September, October and November.
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Seattle (SEA) — select dates in September, October and November.
  • Seattle (SEA) to Orlando (MCO) — select dates in October and November.
Delta's new A321neo routes. (Screenshot from Cirium)

Notably, the new routes are a big boost for Delta's hub at Los Angeles International Airport, with a transpacific hop to Hawaii added, a mid-continent flight to Minneapolis and a transcontinental flight to Orlando. Delta will also serve its Seattle hub from Los Angeles with the plane.

The Delta spokesperson cautioned that the new A321neo routes are subject to change.

More: Inside Delta’s newest jet, the Airbus A321neo, with snazzy first-class recliners

The A321neo will also fly from Seattle to Kahului/Maui starting next month.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The new plane features a brand-new first class recliner seat that features winged headrests for added privacy, the ability to pair Bluetooth headphones with the aircraft's inflight entertainment system in first class and Airbus' Airspace cabin design, which features new mood lighting and larger overhead bins.

Delta has ordered 155 A321neos from Airbus and has so far received five — the most recent delivery being last week, according to Airbus.

Featured image by Photo by David Slotnick/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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