A Tale of Two Cities: Expanding on Last Week’s The Air Show Podcast

Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, Podcast, SEA - Seattle

Last week on The Air Show podcast, Jon Ostrower, Brian Sumers, and I dove head first into the two northern corners of the Continental US, Boston and Seattle. Delta has officially designated each city as a hub in the last decade, but the competitive situation and outcome has been dramatically different.

If you haven’t subscribed to the podcast, well, you’re missing out on our discussion. Here’s how you can do that:

But some of you who are already listening to the podcast were curious to see the numbers we talked about. I’m happy to oblige. Thanks to Cirium, I was able to pull a lot of data to look at these two markets closely.


It was June 2014 when Delta announced that Seattle would become a hub for the airline. It had always been an important gateway city in the Northwest network, linking the US to Asia, but Delta hadn’t made much of it post-merger.

Seats Departing Seattle By Airline

Data via Cirium

When Delta decided to make a run in 2014, Alaska did not hesitate to respond. It immediately announced it would increase Seattle departures by 11 percent, and it began adding new cities.

New Alaska Seattle Destination Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz.
Red was added 2014-2015, Yellow was added 2017-2019, and Green was added post-pandemic

It matched Delta’s moves, and it strengthened frequent flier partnerships with American and international carriers before joining oneworld to try to match Delta’s offering as best it could with the fleet it had.

Since the pandemic, it has returned to its torrid pace of growth while Delta has taken its foot off the gas.


Over on the other side of the country, it has been a different story. Delta declared Boston a hub five years later than Seattle, in June 2019. Delta had a long history in Boston dating back to its acquisition of Northeast, but it had let that presence atrophy over time. Other than its hubs, Delta had fallen to serving only Bermuda, Columbus, Cancún, Indianapolis, London, Orlando, Raleigh/Durham, and Toronto at its nadir. It started to climb back up in 2014, something that accelerated in 2017 and turned into a full hub in 2019.

Seats Departing Boston By Airline

Data via Cirium

When Delta did this, JetBlue did nothing. It had been steadily growing, pouring capacity into Boston, and it just continued as planned. It added no new cities before the pandemic.

During the pandemic, JetBlue focused elsewhere, and it still hasn’t built Boston back to its pre-pandemic numbers. Delta, meanwhile, has continued its elevated pace of growth in the market.

The one big thing JetBlue did during the pandemic that impacted Boston was enter into the Northeast Alliance with American, which is why I’ve included American in the above chart. That did force JetBlue to divert resources to fill those LaGuardia slots American handed over, and Boston suffered. Had this not been shot down in the courts, it would have probably been ok, but once it was forced to disband, Delta found itself in the lead with JetBlue having to decide which way to go.

The Differences

Just because these have gone differently doesn’t mean one was right and one was wrong. These are very different situations, and it’s important to take that into account.

  • Timing: Alaska had a full five more years to respond in Seattle before the pandemic upended everything. JetBlue had less than a year in Boston, though the signs were there before the actual anointment of the hub title.
  • Partnerships: I already talked about how Alaska used partnerships to its benefit in Seattle while JetBlue focused on the NEA with American which had to disband in the end. JetBlue didn’t do as much with international partners, but its entire structure from frequent flier partnership to lack of lounges made that a harder thing to do anyway.
  • Network Target: Alaska is a hub-and-spoke airline just like Delta. Both fight for business and leisure travelers alike. Alaska could respond to Delta’s move more easily than JetBlue which is a leisure-focused airline and wouldn’t have a place in many of the bread-and-butter markets for Delta.
  • Fleet: Alaska has a narrowbody and regional fleet that can go toe-to-toe with Delta. Alaska used its regionals to enter thinner mid-con markets which it could then upgauge later. JetBlue has nothing with fewer than 100 seats, and those Embraer 190s don’t financially work on longer distances. JetBlue just doesn’t have the metal to match.
  • Market Importance: Perhaps most important of all, for Alaska, Seattle is everything. If Alaska loses Seattle, it has no real reason to exist. For JetBlue, Boston is important, but it has New York too. It doesn’t have that same level of importance, though it was JetBlue’s one opportunity to be a clear number one in an important market.

All of this came together to make it more challenging for JetBlue to respond than it was for Alaska. The market design really shows how this came together. Here’s my favorite chart.

% of Destinations Served by One or Both Carriers

Data via Cirium

In Seattle, Alaska has expanded to be able to serve every market that matters. Sometimes it overlaps with Delta but more often it does not. The only markets that Delta has to itself are long-haul where Alaska doesn’t yet have the fleet to match… oh, and Lewiston, Idaho. (Keep that one in your back pocket for trivia night.)

But in Boston, it’s totally different. The percent of overlap is actually about the same, but it’s a more even balance of markets that each serve alone. For JetBlue, it’s a lot of Caribbean/leisure routes. For Delta, it’s those mid-size midwestern cities that JetBlue had hoped American would be able to serve for it through the NEA. Now that it can’t, JetBlue doesn’t have a real ability to respond.

Financially, Delta’s results in the two corners look pretty different as well.

Delta Domestic Stage Length-Adjusted PRASM Q4 2023 by Hub

Data via Cirium

Seattle isn’t even in the same ballpark as the rest of the hubs when it comes to unit revenue. That doesn’t mean Delta is completely unhappy about Seattle and thinking of leaving or anything like that. It’s just that the airline has not had quite the same easy welcome as it encountered in Boston.

The beauty of Delta’s model is that it invests for the long term, and it will keep chipping away until something is positively contributing to the network. It’s not easy to win a battle against an airline like that, but Alaska has certainly done an impressive job. JetBlue — whether by choice or simply not having the right tools at its disposal — has not.

I won’t do these kinds of companion pieces every week, so make sure you subscribe to The Air Show right now. A new episode will be live in just a few days.

Get Cranky in Your Inbox!

The airline industry moves fast. Sign up and get every Cranky post in your inbox for free.

36 comments on “A Tale of Two Cities: Expanding on Last Week’s The Air Show Podcast

  1. I was fascinated by that podcast, Brett, thanks for making an interesting one. You pointed out how JetBlue actually drew down BOS to provide planes for LGA, but I’m curious about the flip side – where did Alaska’s SEA growth come from? Some was fleet growth, sure, but without data at my disposal it feels like PDX especially and perhaps GEG and BOI have been reconfigured to flow more passengers through SEA than on their own direct flights.

    So I’m wondering if AS is protecting the city at the expense of the region, and how important is that regional loyalty to keeping the central hub healthy? You said Delta is great for strategic planning but where survival isn’t at stake I take it Alaska seems more tactical, chasing profits route by route. My armchair CEO self would have thought building out BOI, GEG, and PDX would be better strategic moves, ultimately protecting SEA by limiting encroachment in the PNW. STS seems like that kind of strategic move in the Bay, where they can build regional loyalty to support the larger hub.

    1. Eric – I think this was strategic. There were no real threats to Alaska’s position in those other cities. (I still find it strange that nobody has made a move on Portland.) So for Alaska, it made more strategic sense to pour resources into Seattle. If anyone had tried to challenge in those other cities, I would imagine Alaska would have diverted resources, but it never had to make that decision.

      1. Delta once had a hub in Portland all be it a small one with the two international flights to Tokyo & Amsterdam for feed.

        1. They still have that Amsterdam flight. I think it’s important for a corp client, if I recall correctly.

        2. Even longer ago – late ’90s, Delta pre merger Northwest had a much larger hub in Portland. AT their peak in 1998/1999 or so they had nonstop flights from Portland to Tokyo, Seoul, Fukuoka, Nagoya, and Taipei. At one point the Taipei flight (I think) continued to Bangkok.

          Today, Amsterdam continues, and they just returned their rights to fly PDX-HND to the DOT, which awarded that HND frequency to AA for JFK-HND.

    2. I think AS still has a lot in flux, especially involving QX/OO. A lot of what AS is dealing with, at least in the Northwest, is wrapped around their getting rid of the Q400’s. I think you’ll see that AS has not replaced all the capacity in PDX with EMB175’s that it had with the turboprops, so they have been able to defend SEA at PDX’s expense.

      When AS got rid of the Q400’s, the company flat out said they wouldn’t be able to replace all the service with 175’s until the end of 2024 because of time to train the transitioning pilots.

      Assuming that turns out to be true, perhaps AS will be able to rebuild their non-SEA structure better starting in Q1 of 2025 and beyond.

  2. This is only tangentially related, but over the past ~3-7 years, the competition at BOS appears to have come at the expense of the secondary airports in the area, especially MHT (possibly PVD as well, but I’m not as familiar with the southern side of the BOS catchment area). MHT (Manchester, NH) is of a similar or better drive time vs BOS for many of those who live/work north of 128/I-95 and basically everyone in southern NH., but there aren’t many options out of MHT these days, and fares (at least for the routes that I check) are often higher out of MHT vs BOS.

    I’m not complaining, just pointing out my experiences as a local. From my perspective it appears that airlines like Spirit & others at BOS in recent years have forced airlines like AA & DL to keep their basic economy fares more reasonable to compete, and I appreciate that. Even with AA & B6 seemingly getting weaker by the day, it’s good to not live in a “captive fortress hub” market.

  3. Long comment so I’m breaking this up.

    1) Shouldn’t this post have the Jetblue and Alaska tags?

    2) What this post doesn’t take into account is management. Alaska is a well run lean and mean airline, but Jetblue is not. By all internal accounts the latter is a mess and hasn’t even bothered to tackle the low hanging fruit that can make them lots of money.

    3) If I’m a Boston based business traveller why would I be loyal to B6? Their planes are late, they don’t offer First Class, they don’t have lounges, their miles/points are useless, their schedule is incredibly poor, and (due to the lack of codeshare partners) they can’t get me beyond BOS unlike Delta/Skyteam.

    4) According to DoT data B6 flights routinely pulls in the lowest fares on most flights they operate. People are actively paying more money to **avoid** Jetblue.

    1. A220 – 1) Sure, that’s kind of an afterthought for me, but I’ve added them.

      3/4) You most likely wouldn’t now that you have Delta as an option.
      JetBlue is a leisure airline and always has been. But if it can’t run on time then it’s not going to be in the consideration set of anyone with money to spare.

    2. Your point #4 touches on something I think is core to JetBlue’s decline. Their pricing makes no sense to me. They have one of the most restrictive basic economy fares (the introduction of which alienated a lot of their original loyalists, like yours truly), and their main cabin (in my anecdotal experience) is priced so much higher that its not competitive with the big 3.

      I’m actually surprised the data shows they pull the lowest fares because even with the ultra-restrictive Blue Crap product, I typically find them just as expensive, if not more expensive, than Delta & AA in Boston (maybe because *GASP* I include a carry-on bag as a default Google Flights filter).

      B6 has just turned into such a wasted opportunity… 10 years ago I was proud to support a scrappy disruptor with great service and passenger experience. They’re definitely not that anymore.

  4. Is Delta’s goal in both markets the same though?

    Isn’t DL’s Seattle strategy focused as a connecting hub first (TPAC) and local market second? This compares to Boston where the primary focus is on the local market.

    On one hand maybe DL is maxed out there. On the other hand, maybe their objective is to only maintain a presence large enough to profitably support TPAC operations.

    I think the dynamics could change considerably if Alaska gets aircraft to support TPAC operations.

    1. Eric – I think the line gets very blurry. Delta does see SEA as a TPac hub, but it has put so much into the market from a domestic perspective that it can’t just be about that. There are business schedules with multiple frequencies from a lot more places than you might expect. So the domestic hub has to be a primary goal.

      In Boston, the build-up over the Atlantic should not be ignored. It takes pressure off the JFK hub and makes it a whole lot better for connections that might otherwise have to go via LaGuardia and switch airports.
      Domestic may be first here, but I think the realization is coming quickly that it’s a great TAtl hub.

      1. Especially with the A321 starting to cross the skies more and more. That plane has BOS TATL hub written all over it.

        1. except that Delta is the only US3 airline without the proper A321NEO on order to do TATL. Their NEO can do Iceland but even something like BOS-EDI would be tough on a regular basis.

      2. very well noted.
        The TATL market is DL’s forte and BOS is a large market and one that DL increasingly is dominating among US carriers even when JV partners are added. DL also has the ability to set itself apart from global competitors solely because of the number of international destinations it can operate while most foreign carriers operate at best a couple routes and often just one.

        BOS doesn’t just take pressure off of JFK but provides a very strong line of 3 big TATL hubs along the east coast – ATL, BOS and JFK – but also gives DL 2 TATL hubs in the NE, something which other carriers had but DL did not. Like ATL, BOS is essentially a one airport international airport for a region (New England) or state so becoming the largest international carrier at BOS has a halo effect unlike what can be achieved in other multi-airport metro areas of the NE.

        The podcast correctly noted AS’ loyalty in SEA but the corollary is true for DL on the east coast. Remember that B6 is using gates DL once occupied before it built Terminal A so DL has a long history in the NE even if reduced in BOS after 9/11.

        The biggest contrast between AS, B6 and DL comes in total revenue and profits which hasn’t been explicitly said. AS and B6 each generated just under $10 billion in revenues in 2023; AS managed to post $235 million in net income for a 2.2% net income margin while B6 chalked up a $310 million net loss for a 3.2% margin. DL’s revenues were over $58 billion, almost 6 times larger and the largest for any airline in the world, and DL generated a net profit of $4.6 billion – 20 times AS – for a 7.9% net income margin.
        Both AS and B6 know they are dealing with a monster, both BOS and SEA represent fairly small parts of DL’s overall system, and that while DL is probably very careful that they do not sustain losses in either hub, they can afford to accept lower margins in some parts of its network in the name of a the larger whole.

        notably, 2024 is likely to continue to be much better financially for DL than for AS or B6.

  5. AS has in SEA one thing B6 doesn’t have in BOS: an established stronghold to the north, Alaska. IMHO one reason AS has never been acquired is that no other US carrier would quite know what to do with the peculiarities of AK like AS does. DL has some AK flights of course, but AS has the state pretty much sewn up with a fierce loyalty going back decades.

  6. Another great data-driven analysis on one of the more talked about issues in the industry.
    1. The biggest difference between DL’s performance at BOS and SEA is that SEA was built as a replacement transpacific hub for Narita which DL saw over 10 years ago as no longer viable. DL’s 1st intent at SEA was to build the feed necessary for its SEA TPAC flights and then compete in the top markets. Data for domestic connections vs. international flow O&Ds are seen very differently, if at all, since the DOT closely guards US international fare data. Not only does DL get a lower percentage of local traffic on the international flights it operates from SEA but the longer distances – both domestically and internationally – means fares are lower across the Pacific – even on an SLA basis – and DL gets a smaller amount of revenue for the domestic connections than it does in BOS. DL does well from SEA to the eastern US with the two get comparable average fares in the western US while AS is larger.
    2. DL has historic strength in BOS going back to its merger with NE in the 1970s and DL is stronger in the eastern US than in the west, although it is still the #2 airline in the west behind UA in total west coast revenue because of its position as the largest airline at LAX and its dual international hubs at LAX and SEA. B6’ international growth gives DL reason to grow BOS international.
    3. AS is a much more rational competitor and, while AS and DL have bumped into either, both do what is in each other’s best interests first and the two really do coexist quite well in SEA.
    4. AS connects a lot of traffic over SEA that DL does not have to because it has SLC, MSP and other eastern hubs to serve the rest of the PNW, Alaska and Hawaii. AS uses those connections to build bulk that DL doesn’t need.
    5. The Pacific has been slower to recover than the Atlantic so DL has shifted its attention to building its eastern US and LAX hubs and just said that 2024 will be the year for rebuilding its core 4 hubs which it prioritized lower for growth during covid recovery.
    6. TPE will be the first route DL will serve from SEA that will not be served from any other DL hubs which will help DL be able to flow better revenue over SEA.
    7. Ultimately, DL is the only legacy carrier that has managed to build 2 hubs in other legacy carrier hubs, still is the most profitable US carrier, and has the strongest profit growth prospects of the industry. While every airline loves to say they have the best network, DL’s 4 coastal hubs plus its core 4 hubs provide a very powerful network, lacking only in Florida to the south strength. Given that Latam has more seats than AA from MIA to some major S. America markets, DL is already participating in Latin America as it has never been able to before.

      1. Delta doesn’t use the term “core 4” but it is their ATL, DTW, MSP and SLC hubs while its coastal 4 hubs are BOS, NYC (LGA/JFK), LAX and SEA. Th2 2 hubs that were built over the past decade in other carrier hubs are BOS and SEA, where the incumbent carrier is also lower cost than DL.
        and, while not explicitly stated here, DL has overtaken B6 as the largest carrier at BOS; did so based on local market revenues a couple years ago but now does so on capacity metrics. In SEA, it is doubtful DL will ever overtake AS and at best only got about 70% of AS’ local market revenue even w/ DL’s stronger position in the eastern US as well as its international revenues.
        Just as is true at ORD, the larger carrier almost has a revenue advantage that translates into specific market strengths. DL has tried to position its BOS and SEA hubs based DL being a global carrier – including w/ alliances and JVs – which AS and B6 are not and do not have. AS is closer to DL in having domestic first class and is part of an alliance but w/o JVs and no longhaul international flights of its own. There is a bigger opportunity for DL to distinguish itself relative to B6 than compared to AS.

        1. Delta does use the term Core hubs, many many times.


          Slide 18, for example

          Per your #2 point above. Delta does have some metrics that help it on your loose West Coast definition but Delta and Skyteam are well behind Star and OneWorld in just about every part of the West Coast in every metric, as you know. While it’s amusing that you find unique ways to measure Delta positively vs other carriers to keep the Passport Plum juice kicking, Delta has the lowest utility and loyalty vs competitors up and down the West Coast when considering JVs and partnerships which do matter since loyalty programs are the reasons all airlines are profitable, even Delta. One only need look at the annual revenues Delta attributes to Amex to know that.

          “3. AS is a much more rational competitor and, while AS and DL have bumped into either, both do what is in each other’s best interests first and the two really do coexist quite well in SEA.”
          Define coexist here? Delta having impressively lower performance vs its other network hubs? That doesn’t sound like “coexist quite well in SEA”, it sounds like Delta losing.

          1. Max,
            DL uses the term “core” but not “core 4”
            DOT O&D revenue including international revenue is the same for all carriers and that is the basis of the statement that DL is the second largest carrier by total O&D revenue on the west coast behind UA.

            Feel free to provide alliance – not just JV – revenue to back up statements about carrier and alliance size and value. JV revenue does get reported – very closely held – to the DOT but non JV revenue does not. There is no way to know specifically what a carrier like CX contributes to oneworld and they don’t have to tell anyone in the US. And, notably, AA does not share in any of that success. Same is true for every other non-JV alliance relationship.
            Delta didn’t invent the credit card partnership; why has it managed to get so much more money than every other carrier from a credit card partnership?

            CF accurately noted in the podcast that DL has never said what its goals for SEA were so there is no way to measure if they have achieved those goals but DL’s 2023 net income margin was over 3X what AS’ was and because of the size difference, DL’s total profit was nearly 20X larger than AS.
            It is very possible that DL’s statement that the majority of its profits come from its core hubs is true while they also might be making similar margins to AS in SEA.
            Lots of people have created their own expectations for DL but haven’t demonstrated that those are goals ATL has embraced.

            Just because of the strength and size of its core hubs, DL can afford little “projects” like SEA and still make lots of money.

            Purely because the DOT sees lots of data and DL is much larger and more profitable than its competitors, DL is undoubtedly very careful to make sure BOS and SEA make money but they do not have to make the same margins in every hub but still might make more than their competitors in those competitive hubs.

            1. To be clear, you’re suggesting the combined West Coast size, revenue, and capacity of Delta is larger than AA and Alaska combined? Even absent Joint Venture partners, this isn’t a tough one to swallow. Delta and Skyteam are the smallest on the west coast even including JVs like Qantas, JAL, BA, IB, AY, EI, etc.
              It’s just not close, Tim, and there’s no reason to create this alternate reality when Delta/SkyTeam is the smallest presence on on the West Coast of the big 3 alliances.
              Skyteam is the smallest alliance at every airport on the West Coast. I’m trying to think of one where they might even be in second but given AS’ presence up and down the coast, I can’t think of one.

              “3. AS is a much more rational competitor and, while AS and DL have bumped into either, both do what is in each other’s best interests first and the two really do coexist quite well in SEA.”

              Delta can define success however they’d like, you made the statement that Alaska and Delta coexist quite well when it seems that Delta is performing very poorly compared to their other hubs. That doesn’t seem to suggest they’re coexisting well with Alaska but that they’re not.

            2. Max,
              The statement that DL is the 2nd largest carrier on the west coast is by FLOWN O&D revenue which is on DL metal or DL coded on other airline metal. Industry revenue is based on what is flown and on what carrier.

              AA and AS do not have a joint venture. Capacity that is outside of a joint venture belongs to the carrier that flies it. AS’ capacity is ALL AS’ because they do not have JVs with anyone; no other carrier can jointly plan capacity or divide revenue or profits with AS. AA buys seats from AS just like every other AS codeshare partner; AS does the same on AA.
              In joint ventures, the capacity can be considered part of the JV and the revenue is pooled but ultimately divided and allocated to only one carrier. All JV benefits are based on proportional contribution to the JV.

              DL is part of the largest transatlantic JV with AF, KL and VS; the largest transpacific JV with KE; and the largest Latin JV with Latam, all of which are major players on the west coast in addition to DL’s own metal service.

              Further, over the next 20 months, DL is set to receive 22 new widebodies and reconfigure a chunk of the 9 ex-Latam A350s to Delta standard international configurations; it is certain that a number of those planes will end up flying routes from LAX and SEA to Asia and the Pacific.

  7. JetBlue’s fleet problems will get…well, if not worse, at least different, after the 190s are replaced by the A220s: the A220s are more efficient on longer distances, but are even larger than the E190s. JetBlue has had to step away from markets like BTV and MHT because they don’t have anything smaller to offer flights to Boston for connections. Not being able to open new smaller markets that DL offers more business connections to isn’t as big a deal, since B6’s bread and butter is the upper end of the leisure market – but it would still be nice to have the option.

    It’s going to take JetBlue a while to correct and refocus from the disastrous concentration on the NEA and the Spirit merger, but for now they can coexist in BOS with Delta just fine.

  8. A couple things on SEA–

    1) Before setting up the hub, Delta partnered with Alaska anticipating AS domestic would help feed DL intl from SEA. Cranky’s chart above shows AS did not add capacity in response to this. Thus the need in Delta’s eyes to add its own domestic capacity.

    2) Delta underestimated local loyalty to AS–loyalty DL is elsewhere used to having for itself. DL thought it could win loyalty with product and network. This proved to be difficult.

  9. I generally hate Venn Diagrams but I think that would be a very useful graphic here comparing the AS/DL and B6/DL overlap in each city and really highlights the difference in the network strength AS enjoys in Seattle. Curious if you’d consider updating the article with a Venn Diagram graphic @Cranky

    1. Sorry, but I’m not going to do any updates on the post. But the overlap markets are probably as you’d expect to see.

  10. Continuing last week’s theme – LOL at American. They were Boston’s largest airline as recently as 2012, they were a dominant #1 as recently as 2010. Their drop from top dog to #3 took only 5 years, occurring in 2017, and by 2022 they were such a distant third as to be essentially irrelevant in the market.

    American – turning dominance into irrelevance in just a smidge over a decade (at the nation’s 17th busiest airport in the 10th largest metropolitan statistical area and 7th largest combined statistical area in the country). Nice plan.

    At the risk of sounding like you know who, Delta just bludgeons them head to head (BOS, LAX, SEA, AUS) and now United is even getting in on the act.

    1. Legacy (pre-merger) American didn’t even bother to make Boston one of the cornerstone hubs.

      AA did have the chance to take what was left of the AA/US focus cities and turn it into a hub after the merger, but they already had DCA/PHL/LGA/JFK and didn’t do anything.

      AA still has some P2P flights here and wanted to increase departures by a fair amount prior to the NEA (as court cases have shown).

      1. The malinvestment by AA in the northeast after the tie up with US is remarkable. Business school case study remarkable.

  11. I thought I heard something on the podcast something to the effect that if AS loses SEA, they are pretty much toast. That seems to make a lot of sense. B6 at least has it’s larger JFK operation (where I think they are still #2 to DL).

    When I spent a year in Seattle, I was still loyal to Delta. But, I was a Plat before I moved and the upgrades are easier on Delta than Alaska. If I was starting out there, I would assume I would be loyal to Alaska if I was looking at primarily flying domestic flights that AS serves non-stop, but Delta if I was flying either international or to smaller cities that neither DL or AS serve non-stop out of SEA. Having the many other hub – SEA options on DL would be a big benefit.

    It was fun to see DL and AS try to outdo each other in Seattle before the pandemic with amenities like food on SEA – Bay Are flights and improved lounges.

    BTW, I find the podcast entertaining even though my only experience with the airline industry is as a customer. An opinionated customer, but still just a customer.

  12. This is just more reasons why UA will fulfill its destiny and by JetBlue. They are an asterisk in BOS. Can’t get back into JFK. LGA is slot controlled. EWR is good, but EWR and NYC are two different markets…sort of.

    UA buying B6 will give those markets 3 vigorous competitors (plus WN), rather than 2 vigorous competitors and a cripple.

    1. If one defines the Northeast as CT/VT/NH/RI/MA/ME (excluding the NYC metro area in the CT Gold Coast), I would go so far as to say that UA is mostly an afterthought for fliers in the Northeast and even most of FL, especially those who aren’t business travelers. If you are a passenger in the FL or Northeast and aren’t going to/from/very near a UA hub, UA isn’t really even an airline that you consider or search for prices on, unless they just happen to show up on whatever flight search engine you use.

      The fact that UA’s basic economy fares do not include a “free” carryon bag (unlike the basic economy fares at DL and AA) only compounds things.

      1. I also don’t see any merger between the big 4 and any other airline. The Feds just blocked B6- NK, they aren’t going to allow UA – B6.

  13. Cranky: you’ve often described LAX as a competitive bloodbath, yet your chart indicates DL has kept their PRASM up just fine there – even better than hubs they dominate like MSP and SLC. And they’ve moved up to #1 in market share there as well, although by a modest amount, all with only SLC as an awkward nearby supporting hub to cover destinations without nonstops (vs. DEN+SFO+IAH for UA and PHX+DFW for AA). Any thoughts on that? Given the competitive situation you’d think it would perform more like SEA…

    1. Tory – Yep, Delta has established itself as a premium brand, and LA is a premium kind of market. The airline has done quite well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Cranky Flier