Delta is going big at Seattle, making it in to a major gateway for traffic to Asia. Of course, they need to feed traffic in to those flights and Alaska Airlines was a willing and eager partner in that effort, helping to push passengers in to the wide-body flights. But sharing that traffic with partners also means sharing revenue with those partners and where they can avoid that it seems like Delta is ready to do so. They’re significantly upping their own service on short-haul business markets – Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas – and hoping to control more of their own passenger traffic that way.
Six new daily nonstop flights from San Francisco beginning March 29, 2014, increasing to seven daily flights on June 5,2014. Two additional flights from Las Vegas for a total of three daily nonstop flights beginning January 6, 2014, increasing to five daily nonstop flights on April 1, 2014. Two additional flights from Los Angeles for a total of seven daily nonstop flights beginning June 5, 2014.
That’s a lot of flights in markets which already have a lot of flights; when the full schedule goes into place I count ~25x daily in LAS-SEA, ~30x daily in LAX-SEA and ~35x daily SFO-SEA. Oh, and United is fighting back in the SFO market, adding frequencies and switching to mainline service. So, with all that capacity and so many options how do you compete? For Delta the answer is bonus miles. Lots of them. As in double SkyMiles for the next 12 months.
Double miles on new routes isn’t actually all that incredible. It is more of a standard offer in most cases. What is not standard here is the duration of the promotion. The double miles offer is out there for more than a year of travel, though there is a 2.5 month limit on purchase date. Still, a year of double miles promo on new routes is virtually unprecedented.
Such a major bonus offer makes me think that, while Delta is keen to grab a chunk of the market, it isn’t going to be nearly as easy as other markets they’ve entered recently. Competition is often good for customers, at least in the short term. More frequencies, lower fares and more miles are all a good thing in theory. It will be interesting to see how long it lasts.
Registration is required to earn the bonus so go ahead and take care of that.
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