Continental vs Delta: Route Network

 

So, how does Delta's route network stack up to Continental?   The short answer, it lags behind.   Though, to Delta's credit, it does cover some areas that Continental doesn't even come close, most notably Africa.

Domestically, Delta has fewer flights on most routes.  Counting mainline flights only, here are some samples:

City CO from EWR DL from JFK/LGA
LAX
6
7
SFO
6
5
SEA
3
3
SAN
3
2
SNA
3
0
PHX
5
1
LAS
6
4
DEN
3
1
FLL
8
3/6
PBI
6
0/5
DFW
5
1


Aditionally, Delta's domestic airport is split across JFK and LGA complicating the customer experience even further.


Internationally, Delta also lags.   In an analysis for international routes to Africa, Asia, Europe and South America, Delta serves 22 markets from JFK while Continental serves 37 from Newark.

The breakdown:

Region CO from EWR DL from JFK
Africa
0
4
Asia
6
1
Europe
26
16
Middle East
1
1
South America
4
1


Internationally, Delta's strength is in Africa where they see no competition from Continental.  In Asia, Delta's only nonstop route is Tokyo while Continental serves Beijing, Delhi, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Shanghai and Tokyo nonstop from Newark.   Delta's South American presence can be likened to their Asia presence.  They serve a single route from JFK, Sao Paolo.  Delta announced nonstop service to Buenos Aires a number of years ago, but the flight never started. 

In the last few years, Delta has had service to Mumbai.  At first Delta moved the flight to Atlanta and then announced it was moving it back to New York.  Shortly before it was to move back to New York, Delta discontinued it altogether.

Europe is where Delta competes most with Continental.   Delta and Continental compete on 11 routes to Europe.  Delta has exclusivity on five routes while Continental has exclusivity on 15 routes. 

From a route perspective, there is no doubt that Delta is in a far second place.  But, as with any carrier, it all depends on where you are going.  For someone who travels to Africa or some destinations in Europe, Delta is a better option.  But, from an all-around perspective, Continental has a better route network for people in the New York metro area.     Once you start to factor in partner carriers, Continental's lead increases substantially. 

As a corollary, American also has a decent operation from JFK.  American has four daily flights to London Heathrow with three class service, something neither Continental or Delta can match.  Additionally, American serves Barcelona, Buenos Airies, Milan, Paris, Rome, Sao Paolo, Tokyo, and Zurich.    Plus, American has the best SWUs for all those international upgrades.

 

Comments

#1
Gio April 26, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Your math skills are lacking. Delta serves 42 international destinations from JFK. 2010

#2
Fozz April 26, 2010 at 12:34 pm

I apologize for not being clear, in my analysis i was looking at long haul destinations. Central America, Canada and the Caribbean were excluded. The numbers were extracted out of Delta's published timetable a few weeks ago as of service on that date.

#3
Kyle May 16, 2010 at 02:51 am

American now also features non-stop to Manchester, though this may be seasonal it competes with both Delta and Continental on the NY market.

#4
kd5mdk May 30, 2010 at 08:15 pm

Given that most airlines have their most important hub not in NYC (IAH, ATL, DFW, ORD or SFO), it seems a little wrong to me that we get down to the next to last paragraph before noting this analysis is for NYC based fliers only. I'd think adding an "in New York City" to be first sentence would have helped a great deal here.