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Delta Makes a Big Bet on Global Travel

The airline is reintroducing a number of routes that it hasn't flown in a while.

Earlier this year, United Airlines officially overtook Delta Airlines in terms of flights between the United States and Europe. 

As noted by Travel Weekly, “This year, United  (UAL) - Get Free Report is scheduled to fly 3.7 million seats in the U.S.-Europe marketplace, an increase of 12.8% compared with 2019. Meanwhile, Delta  (DAL) - Get Free Report is scheduled to offer 17% fewer seats than it did in 2019, while American  (AAL) - Get Free Report has scheduled 15.3% fewer seats.”

United will be close to 300,000 seats above Delta in that key aviation market this summer and a robust 900,000 seats ahead of American, in part by offering 10 new transatlantic flights this year, including trips to scenic destinations such as Bergen, Norway, and Nice, France. 

But it would appear that Delta isn’t going to take any of this lying down. While it’s not certain if it’s meant as a direct response, the airline has announced that it will be offering a number of new flights to Europe next year, and will also bring back a few routes it hasn’t offered in a while.

Delta is Offering More European Flights JFK

Delta is both offering new routes to Europe and bringing back older ones.

For the first time ever, Delta will offer a flight between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and London’s Gatwick Airport. 

The company will also offer flights between JFK and Geneva for the first time since 1993, and service from JFK to Berlin since 2019. 

Delta Airlines Lead

But Atlanta and Los Angeles are Also Getting a Boost

But it’s not just JFK that is getting new options, as Delta is also offering more flights to Europe from its hubs in Los Angeles and Atlanta.

From Atlanta, next year it will resume flights to the German cities Stuttgart and Dusseldorf starting in May. It also plans to offer limited flights, just five a week, to Edinburgh, Scotland, which it hasn’t done since 2007.

From Los Angeles, next year it will resume flights to Paris, which were halted during the pandemic, as well as a flight to London Heathrow, which it hasn’t offered since 2015.

In total, this year Delta offered 1.71 million departing seats from the U.S. to Europe, which is down from 1.95 million in 2019.

But these new flights will boost the company’s overall transatlantic seat capacity by 8%. In total, next summer the company plans to offer 220 weekly departures to 26 European destinations.

Once covid vaccines became readily available, people began to cautiously return to air travel. While there was a great deal of pent-up demand, the airline industry hasn’t seen a return to pre-covid numbers just yet, as Gallup found that 38% of adults traveled by air in 2021 versus 44% in 2015. 

The Gallup data indicated that a big reason for the drop off was a decline in business travel, as more people are telecommuting these days, but it’s also likely that inflation has caused some households to forestall their plans for potentially fancy vacations for the moment.