This Delta Ad is Right 12% of the Time

Advertising, Delta, Inflight Entertainment

Not sure why, but some of my readers don’t seem to like my happy, kudos-filled posts like the Delta one from last week. I guess you’re looking for more CRANKY. With that in mind, I’ll be happy to oblige this morning.

I may like what Delta has been doing online lately, but I really can’t stand their billboard campaign. For months, there’s been this one billboard on Century Blvd, just east of LAX, that has taunted me. I finally snapped a shot of it last week:

07_08_27 deltachange

Yes, I know. It looks innocent enough. But it isn’t. It’s a great example of Delta overpromising and underdelivering – exactly what an airline should NOT be doing. Let me explain.

As you can see in that picture, Delta is telling customers that flights will go by quickly because you have your own personal entertainment onboard. Yes, there is mice-type telling you that it’s not available on all flights, but nobody can see that. Even if they can see it, they aren’t reading it. All you see is a Delta plane with a cool piece of hardware in the back of it. What’s the chance you’ll get this super-duper system when you fly Delta out of LA? Not good. Take a look below to see the breakdown.

07_08_27 DLIFEbreakdown

As of the September schedule, Delta will operate 680 flights per week out of LAX – that’s just above 97 per day on average. Of those 680, a whopping 79 have live tv and games as shown in that billboard. That’s just about 11 flights per day or 12% of the total. Another 3% have personal screens that just show movies in loops and 30% have overhead screens you watch with everyone else. But, if you fly from LA, you are most likely to be on the 55% of flights that have no entertainment at all. Yup, 55% of Delta flights are on regional jets.

So how do you get lucky? Well, you only get live tv and games if you fly to a Delta hub. All 39 weekly flights to JFK have it as do 13 to Atlanta, 12 to Cincinnati, 12 to Salt Lake, and 3 to Guatemala City. (Ok, that last one’s not a hub, but whatever.) And there are an additional 23 weekly flights to Atlanta that have personal screens but not live tv.

What you’ll want to do is look for aircraft type “752” for live tv or “764” and “777” for personal screens with looping movies. I’m actually not even 100% sure on the 764, but that’s what I believe to be the case. Any other flight and you’re out of luck.

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8 comments on “This Delta Ad is Right 12% of the Time

  1. Delta definitely has a very deceiving advertising campaign. The advertisement that I saw read ” Change is Never Being Bored Onboard.” I was stuck on a 9 hour flight from Stuttgart to Atlanta where the audio did not work for my seat. Delta has known about this problem for at least 2 years and has not done anything to resolve this maintenance issue. What does it say about an airline that is willing to cut corners to save money for maintenance issues?

    …and they misplaced my bag with a 4 hour layover after clearing customs with no other connecting flight.

    My letter to customer service yielding nothing but more frustration. Delta does not take responsibility for the mistakes which they could prevent.

  2. I’ve noticed an increase frequency of 757 aircraft on Delta flights to/from Denver with the live TV option. One thing to remember is that regardless of the legacy carrier you fly, their aircraft are older and the cost to retrofit a MD-88/90 is well beyond the benefits. This is why Delta and other legacy carriers are trying to get build slots on Boeing and Airbus production lines.

    Now the regional jet issue is a whole other ball of wax. Most older regionals don’t have the electronics or power available to run any sort of entertainment system. The new CRJ-NextGen ( is aiming to correct some of the regional jets short comings, including getting all your carry-ons on the plane with you and seatback entertainment systems.

    Is Delta overpromising? Sure, but so is every car manufacturer and restaurant. It’s part of advertising.

  3. At the same time, it’s also worth waiting a little until the summer schedule ends. At that point, with demand down, a lot of the fleet (for almost all carriers) will go in for their overhauls and major maintenance. Delta will begin retrofitting and upgrading the fleet in Septemeber, including newly designed seats.

  4. Even car ads note “shown with optional equipment, or priced at 25,999 as shown”

    As always my IFE devices consist of earplugs and a couple used books which I can leave around for others and lighten my load during my trip.

  5. While this ad may be misleading, it might be worth looking at the amount of seats (and not planes) out of LAX that have IFE. With mostly the larger birds being equiped, more than 12% of passengers will find IFE at their seat.

  6. I would still argue that the number of flights is what matters here. When someone goes to book a flight, it doesn’t matter how many seats have the system. It matters how many flights have it.

    But, I’m happy to post those numbers anyway. It’s not for certain because there are two different configs on both the 763 and 764 so I don’t know which ones are which. But if we assume that they’re all the more denser domestic configs, then 18% of seats have the live TV while another 8% have personal screens.

    If we go with the international, less dense configs, then 19% have live TV and still 8% have personal screens. That’s still not a high number.

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