Delta has slashed their fares in their Shuttle markets – New York City to Boston or Washington, DC – by 50-60% for walk-up purchases. The tickets come out of a limited inventory bucket – Q – but they are way cheaper than they used to be and shouldn’t be too hard to find unless the plane is already sold out. This appears to be a direct response to Delta’s shrinking traffic loads on their shuttle flights, once a cash cow for the carrier, and competition from Amtrak and the various bus services now plying the routes for $30 or less.
Delta began downgrading the Shuttle service last December when they removed the dedicated fleet (goodbye comfortable 34” legroom) and switched most of the NY-DC operations over to regional jet service (albeit nice RJs). That move, and the associated cut in capacity wasn’t enough to keep the planes flying full, however, and apparently the next step is to cut the prices in half to match the cut in plane size.
The NYC – Washington, DC fare is now $169+tax and the Boston fare is $129+tax, a sharp drop from the $329+ walkup fares that used to be common on the routes. No word yet on a competitive response from US Airways or Continental (from Newark) but price cuts are likely in their immediate future, too.
Advance purchase tickets are still even cheaper – as low as $100 with limited availability – but the new walkup cuts are still quite significant in their own right.
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