Delta’s Terminal Consolidation Plans Begin to Take Shape

Airport Experience, Delta, Northwest

Details of Delta’s plans to combine facilities with Northwest are starting to leak out, and I’m very happy to see that the most difficult terminal situations are being addressed early.

First up, the LA Times is reporting Delta/Northwest Consolidate LAX Terminalsthat Delta has decided to bring Northwest over to Terminal 5 from Terminal 2. This isn’t a surprise, and it’s what I had been hearing. Delta’s Terminal 5, the old Oasis, is not only underutilized, but it’s also one of the nicer facilities at LAX. I couldn’t imagine them going elsewhere from a passenger perspective. With any luck, US Airways will be able to move over to Terminal 2 and give Southwest a few more gates in Terminal 1 for expansion. I won’t hold my breath that it happens, but that’s how it should work.

Over at Chicago/O’Hare, the opposite is Delta/Northwest Consolidate ORD Terminalshappening. Delta will move from its concourse L spot in Terminal 3 over to Northwest’s E gates in Terminal 2. Now I’ve always shuddered at the thought of catching a flight in Third World Terminal 2, because it is way overcrowded.

There is nothing worse than getting stuck in a delay and finding nothing but a little floor space to pass the time. Primitive societies form, wars break out, people hoard scraps of food. Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But that all happens on the F gates, and Northwest is on the E side so it couldn’t be as bad. Anyone think Virgin America will grab Delta’s old gates?

Lastly, it looks Delta/Northwest Consolidate BOS Terminalslike Delta will win the Boston wars by bringing Northwest over from Terminal E to their new Terminal A facility. If you’re not familiar with Boston, Terminal A is the new terminal built specifically for Delta’s Boston operation. It has plenty of room in there for more flights, but only Continental was willing to pay the price to get into the expensive space. Now they’ll be able to fill it up even more.

It’s good to see some of the most difficult situations for passengers being worked on quickly. The LA move is said to happen by June, but I don’t know about the others just yet.

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21 comments on “Delta’s Terminal Consolidation Plans Begin to Take Shape

  1. It will be nice to see NW move. I haven’t been to terminal A, but that part of terminal E wasn’t the nicest, and NW seemed kind of out of place there with all of the international carriers using that terminal.

    That being said, any travelers connecting in Boston to AMS will have a lonnnggg walk.

  2. LAX Terminal 5 is indeed nicer than Terminal 2 — but Terminal 2 has immigration and customs processing facilities. What’s going to happen to Northwest/Delta’s expanded international routes? And partners Air France/KLM? Move to Bradley? Or perhaps arrive at 2, depart from 5?

  3. Alexander – I haven’t heard anything official, but I have to assume that Northwest’s minimal presence (1x to Amsterdam, 5x to Detroit, 4x to Minneapolis) will join Delta. I do understand that Delta will be taking over some gates in Terminal 4 (the old International Arrivals Building), but they really do need to do something to fix that horrible T2/3 facility. I believe Terminal 6 is way too small.

    Ron – There is a small customs and immigration facility in Terminal 5 as well. It’s not clear how well that will handle the expanded international operation yet, but if the flight times are scattered enough, it will work. Air France/KLM will be staying at T2 – there isn’t enough room to make that work at T5 and I can’t imagine they’d want to do a split departure/arrival operation again.

  4. T5 at LAX also has customs and immigrations. The biggest problem is the way it clears the aircraft. Unlike many airports where customs entry is on another level from the jetway, customs at T5 means that the adjacent jetway(s) & gate(s) can’t be used as passengers walk through a corridor on the outer ring of the terminal. The corridor is between the waiting area and the jetway access. So inbound international passengers block jetway access to other gates as they walk to immigration. Previously, DL would park international arrivals as close to the core as possible to aviod losing gates as intl pax disembark.

  5. There is a small customs and immigration facility in Terminal 5 as well. It’s not clear how well that will handle the expanded international operation yet, but if the flight times are scattered enough, it will work.

  6. I’ve connected from DL to AZ at BOS and actually the walk between A and E isn’t bad at all thanks to the (relatively) new skybridge that runs through the parking garage. I did the walk in the dead of winter and it was well insulated, with moving walkways, etc… no exposure to the elements (or high blood pressure… :-p).

    Terminal A at Logan is a fantastic place — it will sure be nice to use it instead of E!!

  7. Dan, I would imagine that passengers connecting from a domestic flight to the BOS-AMS flight wouldn’t have a long walk at all. Since it is an international departure, the flight can leave from alongside the domestic gates in Terminal A, much the way AA’s BOS-LHR and BOS-CDG flights (and jetBlue’s flights to Mexico) depart from their regular terminal areas. On the return trip, yes, the flight would still need to arrive into Terminal E, since the only FIS facilities in Boston are in that terminal, but passengers would have to exit the airside area and reclear security anyway, so a shuttle bus ride or a long walk via the skybridge back to Terminal A wouldn’t be that much of an additional hassle.

  8. Any word at what’s going to happen at DCA? As a NW frequent flier, I sure would love to get out of Terminal A, but I’m not sure there’re a lot of spare gates in Terminal 2.

  9. “With any luck, US Airways will be able to move over to Terminal 2 and give Southwest a few more gates in Terminal 1 for expansion.”

    Now why exactly would US Airways want to give Southwest room to grow? I imagine that pretty much every major carrier is quite happy with the current situation of US Airways’ current presence in T1 keeping Southwest from growing LAX.

  10. MKE:
    It is rumored that at MKE, DL will move out of the New Concourse C (with tons of food and a nice coffee shop to be Alterra, to the stark and bare (and old) Concourse E. This is an old round structure that has only one food vendor that is frequently out of food! The reason is that there is a Northwest Club that will become a Crown Room. NW has more flights at MKE than does DL.

    PS: Because of this same Crown Room issue I anticipate that somehow at DCA, NW will move to DL. There is really no other option unless they “bus” people between the two, like they do between the two US/UA concourses. Of course this bus is a nightmare and isn’t reliable, but that is another issue.

  11. You hit ORD right on the money — the E / F gates are a nightmare! I work for one of the United Express carriers and flee that terminal whenever possible.

    I’m suprised DL didn’t stay put and drag NW over to them instead.

  12. David – I haven’t heard anything about DCA yet, but I assume they’d like to move NW flights over to the new terminal if they can. Of course, there might not be gates available. That’s one place where it might not matter a ton, because the terminals are at least connected indoors (even if they aren’t next to each other) and there isn’t likely to be many connecting passengers.

    David M – At this point, I don’t think US Airways cares if it helps Southwest. If they can get lower rent or a nicer facility for the same amount, I have to think they’d go for it. Also, the behind security connections to Star Alliance partners Air NZ, Air China, and Air Canada would be a big bonus. I think the catalyst here will be LAWA. They should want this to happen, and they can make it happen if they’re willing to put money where their mouths are.

  13. The ORD move is expected to be a direct swap of space with Continental, so at least the overcrowding won’t get any worse with this change. And ORD has the advantage of the WorldClub right there and no gates too far away. Out in the terminal it is a bit “rough” but it isn’t all chaos and mayhem.

    The BOS move is particularly interesting. Continental moved to A thanks to a sweetheart deal provided by the airport, maybe to free up space for JetBlue (but don’t quote me on that). I think that there is enough spare space in the terminal that Continental will keep their gates, though if they need to provide connections they could always move. Or run a bus.

    I am certainly impressed by the way Delta is actually getting things done as part of this “merger.” It will take some time to determine if they are moving in the correct direction, but they are definitely making good time.

  14. Aramean – I thought all the rumors were that Continental would be moving into Terminal 1 at O’Hare with United. Have you confirmed that they’ll move over into Terminal 3 instead?

    I have no doubt there will be room for Continental to stay in Terminal A in Boston. That thing was way overbuilt for the current operation.

  15. I love Terminal A in Boston and seeing Northwest move over is even better. However, Continental took over the main terminal Crown Room to make it theirs when they moved in from Terminal C. I think they should push Continental out since they will join Star Alliance soon and make room for “the future”. With two terminals loaded with Delta/Northwest flights Delta could use both Crown Rooms again.

  16. Does anybody know if the AMS-BOS Delta flight still arrives to Terminal E in Boston? Delta website and tickets list terminal A as the arrival, but I don’t think terminal A has customs/immigration. Not sure where to wait for arriving friends. :(

    1. You are right. The plane lands at Terminal E, but Delta does show it as being at Terminal A. I wonder if they’re now busing people over to A after customs/immigration? Not sure about that. I would actually send a tweet over to @BostonLogan on twitter and ask them.

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