Delta brings back 2 Salt Lake City routes in jab at United

Mar 2, 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.

Throughout the pandemic, airlines have been busy adjusting route maps to find pockets of leisure-focused demand.

One of the latest moves comes from Delta Air Lines, which is bringing back two Salt Lake City (SLC) routes it last flew years ago, as confirmed by a carrier spokesperson.

Beginning on May 5, Delta plans to resume once-daily flights to Moab, Utah (CNY), for the first time since April 2015. Delta Connection partner SkyWest Airlines will fly a 50-seat CRJ-200 on the route, which is slated to run through October.

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

One week later, Delta will start service to Durango, Colorado (DRO). These twice-daily flights will also be operated by SkyWest Airlines on a CRJ-200 and run at least through February 2022.

The Durango flights will technically mark a service resumption for Delta, though the carrier hasn’t flown the route in nearly 13 years.

Delta’s regional expansion from Salt Lake City makes sense. Moab’s favorable location near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks make it a popular summer destination. As travelers take to the outdoors to minimize COVID transmission, airlines have been busy boosting flights to warm-weather cities and national parks.

Interestingly, Moab is an Essential Air Service (EAS) market, meaning that airlines can apply for subsidies from the federal government to serve the airport. SkyWest, operating as United Express, currently holds the EAS contract for its daily Denver flights, which runs through June 2023.

But for Delta, the new Moab route is part of a broader SLC expansion, even if it can’t get a subsidy.

The carrier is bolstering SLC’s connectivity to drive more traffic through one of the fastest-growing hubs in the Delta network. (It doesn’t hurt that the city’s new airport and Delta Sky Club are both destinations in and of themselves).

Salt Lake City traffic has proven quite resilient during the pandemic. Cirium timetables show that Delta dropped just about 7% of SLC flights in the fourth quarter of 2020 as compared to the same quarter in 2019. Networkwide, that number skyrockets to a whopping 63%.

More SLC: Take a look at the city’s brand-new airport

In addition to positioning SLC as Delta’s gateway to the west, the routes will also pit the carrier against United, which flies to both Moab and Durango from its mega-hub in Denver. United has been on a major Denver-based expansion spree, boosting flights to Florida and other nearby regional destinations.

Like SLC for Delta, United’s Denver traffic hasn’t declined nearly as much as it has on the coasts. United has been busy growing Denver, though Delta’s push to add flights to Durango and Moab might signal that the carrier is serious about competing on one-stop itineraries to these smaller cities.

Related: How to visit America’s national parks for less

Both Delta and United can now offer flyers connecting flights to Moab and Durango. However, transiting in Denver will likely remain preferable for travelers coming from points to the east, since it minimizes the amount of backtracking.

Elsewhere, Delta is boosting two routes from its Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) hub. SkyWest Airlines, operating for Delta Connection, will fly to Lincoln, Nebraska (LNK), twice daily using the 50-seat CRJ-200 beginning May 26. The carrier last flew to LNK in July 2020, before suspending the route due to the pandemic.

Delta will also extend the schedule for its MSP to San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU), route, which was previously slated to wrap up in April. Now, the once-weekly Boeing 737 service will continue at least through February 2022.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

 

 

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

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.

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®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 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, 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.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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.