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A Delta Air Lines Airbus A319. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Delta Announces Summer Expansion

Delta Air Lines has announced an ambitious expansion to its summer flying schedule. The airline is expanding service at popular outdoor destinations to help match leisure travel demand. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has to lead most tourists to flock to destinations that allow for wide, open outdoor spaces. Over the winter, airlines focused expansion on ski destinations such as Montrose/Telluride and beach destinations like Miami, but for the summer expansions are focusing on forest areas and the northeast coast. 

Mountain Trips on the West Coast

In the west, the airline will be expanding existing service in the following mountain destinations; Bozeman, MT. Glacier Park, MT. Missoula, MT. Jackson Hole, WY. Fresno, CA. Rapid City, SD. and Reno, NV. The new routes will provide better connections to Delta’s hubs on the east coast and the west coast. The destinations were targeted due to their proximity to nearby mountains and national parks, providing open spaces travelers have been favoring. 

From Bozeman, daily flights to Los Angeles and Seattle will begin May 5 and May 28 respectively. Thrice weekly service to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport will begin May 7 before becoming daily on May 28. Saturday-only service from Detroit begins the following day on May 29. The new flights are in addition to the existing service to Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Salt Lake City. 

Glacier Park will add daily flights to Los Angeles on May 28. The following day, weekend service will commence to Atlanta and Seattle. Missoula will see weekend-only service from Los Angeles beginning May 8 and from Atlanta beginning May 29. Both cities already have daily service to Salt Lake City and Minneapolis. 

Jackson Hole will see service to five new cities in the expansion. Beginning May 29, daily flights to Atlanta will begin, becoming twice daily on Saturdays only. The day prior daily flights will begin to Minneapolis and Los Angeles. Rounding out the expansion in Jackson Hole, Saturday-only flights to Detroit will start May 29, and weekend service to Seattle will start the same day. Currently, Delta only serves Jackson Hole from its Salt Lake City hub. 

Rounding out the west coast, Fresno will add a Saturday-only flight to Seattle beginning May 29. Rapid City will gain weekend service to Atlanta on May 8, becoming daily on May 29. The same-day, weekend service to Detriot will also start. And finally beginning May 8, Reno will gain weekend service to Seattle. 

Quiet Beach Spots on the East Coast

On the east coast, Delta is focusing on expanding weekend service to water destinations and leisure stops. The following destination will see new service from, primarily, Delta’s northeast hubs; Hilton Head, Traverse City, Myrtle Beach, Wilmington, NC. Norfolk, Savannah, and Asheville, NC. Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, and Savannah will see Saturday only service to Boston beginning May 8. In addition, Norfolk will also gain Saturday service to Boston on May 8, becoming daily on May 28.

Wilmington and Asheville will both gain daily service to New York’s LaGuardia Airport starting May 5. Traverse City will gain the biggest haul of new destinations of the east coast additions. Beginning May 5, daily flights to New York’s LaGuardia and Minneapolis will start. Flights to LaGuardia will be seasonal, while Minneapolis becoming thrice daily starting Memorial Day weekend. In addition, the northern Michigan city will gain daily service to Atlanta starting May 29. 

Northeast Growth

In the northeast, Delta is targeting both the beaches and the mountains. Starting May 5, Bangor, ME will see daily flights to Boston, followed by Saturday-only flights to Atlanta starting May 8. Additional Saturday service to Detriot will also begin on May 8. Burlington, VT will get daily service to Atlanta also starting May 5. 

Delta will also be expanding service to the islands off of Cape Cod. Beginning May 28, flights from Nantucket to New York’s JFK International Airport will be operated twice daily, instead of daily. In addition, Saturday and Sunday service to LaGuardia will start May 29. Martha’s Vineyard will also gain double daily flights to New York’s JFK International Airport. 

Resuming International Service

As well as adding domestic service, Delta is restarting several international routes to the Caribbean. Starting June 5 the following routes will restart; Grand Cayman, St. Kitts, Roatan, and Bonaire. Grand Cayman will resume daily flights to Atlanta and Saturday only flights to New York’s JFK International Airport. St. Kitts will regain Saturday-only flights to Atlanta and New York’s JFK. Both Roatan and Bonaire will restart thrice-weekly service to Atlanta. 

The expansion by Delta matches other airlines’ ambitious plans for the upcoming summer season. Travelers are still favoring leisure, outdoor destinations for trips and business travel has still not recovered and will likely be slow to return. Early in the year, the airline already announced expansion plans to Alaska for the upcoming summer. This latest announcement matches those plans to the lower 48 of the United States. 

Delta’s expansion is focusing on improving connectivity through the airline’s hubs. Many destinations will now have connecting options on both coasts offering more options for travelers. The airline is hoping that by providing more options, travelers will be more likely to choose them for their leisure travel. Other airlines are making similar moves across their networks, but for now, Delta appears to be the most aggressive in its expansion plans. 

Daniel Morley
Daniel Morley
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