Delta drops 4 domestic routes, including not-yet-launched service from Boston

4d ago

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The airline route-map adjustments may have slowed down in recent months, but Delta is still making some notable network cuts.

The Atlanta-based carrier cut four domestic routes during its latest batch of schedule updates, as first seen in Cirium timetables and later confirmed by an airline spokesperson.

Delta is ending nonstop flights between the following four city pairs:

  • Atlanta (ATL) and Colorado Springs (COS).
  • ATL and Oakland (OAK).
  • Boston (BOS) and Memphis (MEM).
  • Detroit (DTW) and Sacramento (SMF).

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Of the cuts, perhaps the most interesting is the route between Boston and Memphis. This service was originally scheduled to begin in October 2020, but it was delayed due to the pandemic.

Delta’s revised plan was to inaugurate the route on Sept. 6 with its regional affiliate Republic Airways flying a 76-seat Embraer 175 on the 1,139-mile hop.

However, the route is now getting scrapped before it even begins.

That’s somewhat surprising given that Delta has otherwise been going all-in on its Boston hub in recent months. The carrier is in growth mode there, and is poised to become the largest carrier at Logan International Airport this summer.

In recent years, Delta has fought neck-in-neck with JetBlue Airways for dominance in Boston. Delta recently launched two new flagship long-haul markets from Boston (to Athens and Tel Aviv), and the airline has been busy boosting its domestic connectivity to become the the city’s largest airline.

(Map courtesy of Cirium)

Plus, when American Airlines and JetBlue unveiled their Northeast Alliance in July 2020, the two airlines promised plenty of growth in New York and Boston. The two carriers have since launched a slew of new routes, and Delta has responded in kind with its own offensive in Boston, adding new routes, boosting frequencies and upgauging flights with its newest jets.

However, Delta will now cede the Boston to Memphis market to American Airlines, which just started a nonstop flight between the two cities on June 5 as part of the Northeast Alliance pact.

For its part, Delta explains that the market conditions no longer warrant flying the route from Boston to Memphis. In a statement shared with TPG, a carrier spokesperson said:

We are constantly evaluating our network strategy based on a myriad of factors related to market and operating conditions. As such, we can confirm that a recent adjustment made to our network plans will no longer include our upcoming Boston-Memphis service.

Delta made a similar move last month when it dropped plans to serve Toronto from Boston, after making a splashy announcement in May 2021 touting the new route as part of a broader expansion in Boston.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The route would have gone head-to-head with American’s new three-times-daily service (along with a plethora of daily flights on Air Canada and WestJet). At the time of Delta’s announcement, it was clear that the airline wanted to strengthen its appeal to locals in the Boston area.

While Delta continues to grow in Boston, the airline doesn’t seem to feel the need to compete with American (and JetBlue) on the Memphis or Toronto route.

As for the three other route cuts, Oakland in particular is the big loser, as the city is losing Delta service from Detroit (announced last month) and now from Atlanta.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

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