Is Delta a good airline?

  • Jul 09, 2024
Is Delta a good airline?

About Delta: Is Delta a Good Airline?

Delta Air Lines offers a comprehensive route network, satisfactory customer relations, and reasonable ticket prices, which puts it among the leading American legacy carriers. But how good is it really when compared to existing budget airlines or even other full-service airlines? Here is a SWOT analysis that goes deeper into the stronger areas that Delta and the areas that it needs to improve.

Routes and Hubs

Delta Airlines operates in several domestic and international airports and offers its passengers access to over 300 destinations across more than 50 countries. This global influence is attributed to Delta’s international gateway hubs comprising of Atlanta, Detroit, and Minneapolis/St. Paul and approximately six connecting hubs, including New York-JFK, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and its strategic partner hubs in Amsterdam, Paris, and Tokyo. From these hubs, Delta can conveniently arrange its passengers and get them to their desired destinations in different parts of the world. When it comes to cross-country flights or international ones, there is a good chance that Delta will have a favorable connection.

Aeromexico, Air France-KLM, China Eastern, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic, and many other international airlines have a codeshare agreement with the carrier to increase choices for international travel. These partnerships enable members who participate in the Delta flyer program to accrue and redeem flight miles on partner airlines and access other hubs that Delta does not directly serve.

Aircraft and Seats

A few years ago, Delta started a major program to upgrade the interiors of its fleet of domestic and wide-body airplanes. Currently, most planes are equipped with power outlets, individual entertainment displays with free movies, and improved seating in Economy class. Modern Airbus models, such as the A220 and A330neo, are among those offering some of the largest economy-class seats in today's fleets.

While the Delta One product configuration refers to business class seats on long-haul flights, it is now suited to close doors on specific aircraft types. They can also fairly be said to match top-level business classes of major airlines worldwide including United’s Polaris business or American’s Flagship business. Many Delta Airlines Boeing 767 planes are also being upgraded for flagship Delta One suites with privacy doors that slide.

Nonetheless, this means Delta has not yet embraced premium economy seating, as well as American and United, have done. It is currently, only available on limited aircraft including some of its A350 and a few of its 777 aircraft that have been modified. So for those passengers who wish to get a little better than standard economy and do not wish to pay for business class, the available options remain rather limited on Delta Airlines.

Customer Service

Delta consistently performs well in satisfaction studies carried out by the ACSI and J. D. Power, ranking it as one of the best major US airlines, although slightly less favored than budget carrier JetBlue, but more so than American or United. Flight attendants are described as being especially friendly and courteous, as well as knowledgeable and efficient. Delta also has good customer satisfaction indicators such as punctuality, which is depicted by the on-time arrivals, baggage losses, and flexibility in rescheduling in case of a cancellation or delay in flight.

The non-availability of an award chart for the redemption of the SkyMiles is also positively received by Delta’s frequent flyer program members. Awards prices change in the same manner that general fare changes, depending on the demand. Instead, the relationship between awards and cash prices is more dynamic: when cash prices are closest to regular fares, the prices of award flights are also lower than usual rather than static at certain levels. Delta also offers other privileges like upgrade priority, better amenities in the lounge, and other elite facilities that are helpful to loyal customers.

Fares and Fees

Delta does not claim to be the cheapest airline most of the time but it does fairly well in matching the fares given by other major U. S. airlines. For the encouragement of bookings, it has a facility for seasonal sales around the year for domestic as well as international flights. Free of charge for any type of domestic flight, which is another advantage of Delta, even for basic economy. This makes it easier for the passengers to change their plans or schedules as they may wish to do. The carrier has also permanently waived flying change fees for international flights originating from North America.

However, like its counterparts from the major airlines, Delta does not charge a service charge but it offers various fees. Other examples of other charges include ticket change fees that apply to international economy tickets, phone booking charges, as well as charges for seat selection. Indeed, Delta recently raised the rates for oversized and heavy checked baggage, which upset some customers.

Catering on board includes free snacks and soft beverages on all domestic flights of 500 plus miles in length. Other alcoholic drinks are rare and are only offered lime in full-service network international main cabin flights. This logic is especially seen in short North American flights where there is usually only water served with an option of pre-packaged pretzels or Biscoff cookies.

Other Amenities

Delta also offers a Porsche transfer service for luxury seekers in some cities, as a part of their operations. It also has associate memberships with qualifying premium hotel chains such as Marriott for bonus points and redemptions. It is also a requirement that the airline has been providing free WiFi across its fleet by the year 2023. At the moment, well over 70% of its mainline aircraft offer internet onboard; however, these are on the most basic plans and with limited data, slower.

There is an option called Fly Delta which our Delta app uses to deliver maps, arrival times, gate changes, and any other information right to a user's mobile device. The app also supports booking, check-in, seat selection, and purchasing Delta Sky Club lounge access. There is a seamless integration with the Lyft ride-sharing app, and passengers can earn miles when requesting Lyft rides to and from the airport during certain time windows. For Apple and Android Delta app users, there are free downloads of mobile entertainment for viewing while en route.

Delta also has the Delta Sky Club airport lounges which can be gained through membership or by paying for it; however, elites and travelers in delta’s premium cabins are offered free access to the lounges. There are also one-time entry pass vouchers that are cheaper for those who want to go to the lounges occasionally without a monthly cost. However, there have been several concerns raised by passengers in the last couple of years over overcrowding in its Sky Clubs. Unhelpful they’ve maintained a policy that lets qualified travelers bring up to two guests in for free, locations remain overcrowded during busy hours.

In conclusion, what do you think: Is Delta a Good Airline Overall?

All together, taken across all these measures, it would probably be satisfactory for most flyers to regard Delta as a good airline as compared to others. If it is not always the lowest cost provider on every route, Delta more than makes up for it with quality aircraft, added perks, an award-winning team, and generous and expansive loyalty programs and route networks.

Before booking Delta, it is important to check the fares and the available options with American, United, JetBlue, Southwest, and other low-cost and ultra-low-cost airline like Spirit or Frontier. However, there are times when Delta is simply just good enough, and perhaps even a bit overpriced compared to the minimalistic basic economy options that consumers could potentially face on other airlines. Ultimately, to have an optimal flying experience on Delta, it is recommended to try and reserve a main cabin or invest in an upgraded ticket in Delta Comfort+, First Class, or Delta One. That is the best way to fully capture all the benefits that Delta has to offer its regular flyers today.

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