As I fly Delta more and more these days, I keep wondering why even bother to fly any of the other legacy carriers anymore. Even though I live in a fortress hub for American Airlines, I would rather connect through a Delta hub rather than fly the misery that is American Airlines. Dallas has also become the base for Delta’s new Airbus A220s, which makes the flying experience all the more exceptional with wider economy seats, more seat pitch, and seat back monitors. I absolutely hate saying this but I have to hand it to Delta they run a swank operation. Service is across the board friendlier and on board amenities are well beyond what any of the major carriers offer.
It turns out that my experiences aren’t really just anecdotal evidence in support of Delta. According to the FAA’s latest report on airline performance, Delta has not bumped a single passenger off their aircraft involuntarily within the last 6 months and boasts an on time arrival percentage of 78.7% for the month of June. To put this into perspective during the same time period, United was at 67.4% on time arrivals and American was at 70.4% on time arrivals.
With regard to involuntarily bumping passengers, United saw it happen 31 times, while American saw it happen a whooping 5,227 times between just the months of April and June!
So why does Delta do so well?
Well part of that has to do with giving out the proper incentives for passengers to opt to take the next flight out. On a recent trip back from Oregon, if I wanted to stay back and take the next flight (2 hours later), the starting offer was $400 and a guaranteed first class seat on the next flight out. If you had the time to spare why wouldn’t you do it if it meant a better experience? [Edit: What I meant to say here is they vastly increased their voluntary rate (nearly doubled it), which is a smart move. The incentives and inconvenience to the passenger are probably comparatively far less on Delta]
The other point working in Delta’s favor is the fact that they were the only major US Airline not affected by the 737 MAX ban. Both AA and Southwest are suffering from fleet shortages to operate flights on schedule. For American it is especially terrible given that they planned on using new 737 MAX aircraft to fly certain routes while conducting mandatory maintenance on some older aircraft types.
With that being said I have no idea why United’s on time performance was worse than American for the year so far. I haven’t heard as many bad things about them as American in recent times. I guess the so called “friendly skies” haven’t been so nice for passengers as of late.
What are your favorite airlines right now? Delta has got to be up there right?