Delta says happy flyers give it a powerful profit ‘potion’
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.
One thing that sets Delta apart, at least from most carriers, is the admiration and trust of its customers — something that its leaders see as a valuable, money-making asset.
“When you have scale and people like you, it really is a powerful potion,” Delta president Glen Hauenstein said during an investor day on Thursday. “All of our strength really comes off of that… We have relevance in major markets, and customers like flying with us.”
That strength was on display throughout the investor day presentations. Delta anticipates 4-6% year-over-year growth in top-line revenues, to around $49 billion, in 2020 from its various revenue-generating initiatives. Initiatives that would not be possible if the airline did not continue to meet — and exceed — its customers’ expectations.
For example, when Delta rolled out an upgraded international long-haul economy meal service in November, it was not simply to give travelers another reason to fly them. Instead, executives cited higher net promoter scores — a measure of customers’ loyalty to a brand and willingness to recommend it to others — in test markets that directly correlated to a willingness to pay more for Delta flights.
Onboard service is just a piece of Delta’s successful “potion.” Other aspects include its expansive network of core and coastal hubs, equity and joint venture partners around the globe, strong brand and on-going fleet transition, according to Hauenstein.
Delta aims to buoy many of these strengths in 2020. The airline’s newest hub, Boston Logan (BOS), will gain two new routes to Europe, making it an even more attractive transatlantic gateway. A new partnership with Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic launches Jan. 1 while approval of a planned partnership with Canada’s WestJet is expected in the first half of the year. And Delta will take delivery of around 75 jets, including its first Airbus A321neos and more Airbus A220s, A330neos and A350s. The carrier also expects to retire its last McDonnell Douglas MD-88.
Joint ventures, or bilateral partnerships where airlines can coordinate and act as essentially one doe flights in a specific markets, are worth about $18 billion annually to Delta, according to a separate financial presentation. The pending WestJet and planned LATAM Airlines pacts are valued at another roughly $3 billion annually.
“Strong guide, growing and sustainable competitive advantages, [and] multi-year opportunities to monetize passenger personalization,” was how J.P. Morgan analysts summarized Delta’s investor deck in a Thursday report.
For all of the revenue opportunities presented Thursday, Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian did not forget the airline’s raison d’etre — travel.
“People are enticed and they want to travel. They want to experience,” he said, adding that the airline is focused on making this accessible while turning a profit at the same time.
Featured image by Alberto Riva/TPG.
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, 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 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- No delivery fees for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with a DashPass subscription from DoorDash -over a $100 value. Activate with your Chase Sapphire card by December 31, 2021.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.