Following on AA’s need to ground and inspect their MD80s yesterday, Delta announced that they were performing a similar set of checks, and similarly taking a number of planes out of service in order to do so. The Delta action affects about 130 planes and there were a number of cancelled flights as a result. All these inspections are apparently to verify that the cable ties holding some wires in place are correctly spaced. Who knew that cable tie spacing was so important??
Particularly interesting to me are the Delta Shuttle flights between New York’s LaGuardia and Wasington’s National and Boston’s Logan airports. These flights are cash cows for Delta, with fares often higher than a dollar and a half per mile for a walk-up ticket. And these flights are operated with a dedicated sub-fleet of MD-88 airplanes, the type included in the grounding. Somewhat amazingly, Delta has managed to control the damage on this route, cancelling only a couple of the flights so far, while keeping the vast majority of them flying (2 cancelled to DCA and 3 to BOS, out of 16-18 for each city). Other routes are not so lucky, but at least Delta’s keeping the money route operating.
UPDATE (5:11pm EDT): Apparently Delta can’t even keep the money route going full speed – they cancelled four more DCA flights and three more BOS flights. Not a good day to be flying on Delta or AA, though Amtrak is probably doing brisk business on their Acela routes between NYC and Boston/Washington.
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