In March of this year, Delta Airlines announced new routes and enhancements to the Los Angeles market, with a big focus of new routes out of LAX and enhancement to transcontinental flying. Four months later, Delta is announcing even more growth at LAX along with a major remodel that is already underway to improve everyone’s flying experience.
Today Delta announced the following routes & enhancements:
- Pacific Northwest service with four new daily flights to Portland, Ore.*, as well as two additional daily flights to Seattle* (Sept. 3)
- Expanded Bay Area service with three additional daily flights to San Francisco*, two additional daily flights to Oakland, Calif.*, and one additional daily flight to San Jose, Calif.*, (Sept. 3)
- One additional daily flight to New Orleans (Sept. 3)
- One additional daily flight to Kansas City, Mo.* (Sept. 3)
- Additional flights to both Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio resulting in daily service (Sept. 3)
- Retimed daily service to Tampa, Fla., and Raleigh, N.C. (Sept. 3)
- New limited daily service to Missoula, Mont.*, and Kalispell, Mont.* (Dec. 21 – Jan. 5)
- New limited daily (Dec. 21 – Jan. 5) and Saturday only (Jan. 11 – March 29) service to Jackson Hole, Wyo.*
- Seasonal limited daily (Dec. 21 – Jan. 5) and Saturday only (Jan. 11 – March 29) service to Bozeman, Mont.* (Dec. 21 – March 29)
*A portion of travel for some itineraries may be on the Delta Connection® carriers: Compass Airlines and SkyWest.
The new and enhanced services are interesting because in a few markets, Delta is challenging longtime partner Alaska Airline’s more than ever before, at a time when Alaska’s partnership is critical to keep Delta’s international expansion in Seattle on track. With the recent upgrades in Seattle, including upgrading from an A330 to a B747 on the Seattle – Tokyo Narita route, the new Seattle –Tokyo Haneda, and even the new Seattle – London route announced this week, along with the 5 other transpacific and transatlantic destinations. Delta is going to need Alaska to continue to feed its flights in Seattle to maintain an international dominance there.
Yet, with the recent addition of the Seattle – Los Angeles and San Jose – Los Angeles, service by Delta, Delta has been stepping on their strategic partner, Alaska Airline, toes—trying to play in Alaska dominated west coast territory. And now, Delta is further pushing their luck by increasing their 3x daily Seattle service to 5x daily this fall (Seattle is already serviced by United 3x/daily, Virgin America 4x/daily, Alaska 11x/daily), and adding an additional LAX-SJC flight, which Alaska’s sister carrier Horizon serves 20x/wk. Furthermore, Portland, another Alaska hub and dominated city, is now being invaded by Delta, this fall. Alaska has already fended off recently introduced Virgin America nonstop service to LAX, and now Alaska will have to compete head-to-head with their partner Delta.
The market is HOT in Los Angeles with more and more airlines expanding domestic service. With LAX being an extremely fragmented market with no one carrier truly holding a majority market share, every airline is trying their hardest to increase passenger volume. Not only is Delta expanding their flights, they are also remodeling their dated terminal. In doing so, Delta will double the size of the current ticketing lobby and security screening checkpoints, open an exclusive sky priority check in lobby and check point, renovate my least favorite sky club, and make improvements to the baggage carousels.
Will these new flights hurt the Delta & Alaska partnership or will they allow Alaska to decrease the number of daily flights between the cities pairs and focus on new destinations? Will Delta improve their market share at LAX and becoming the market’s preferred airline in the two largest cities in America (NYC & Los Angeles)? Time will only tell, but for now, I am going to kick back and enjoy the enhancement and new routes and look for cheap flights up and down the west coast because there is one thing for sure, the competition is heating up!