Is Delta losing the transcon battle?


This morning I received an email from Delta promoting its JFK-LAX/SFO premium BizElite product.  While I've received a few of these over the last few months, this one was different.  Apparently Delta wants the transcon business so bad, that it is offering double-MQMs and a dollar-amount credit.  The credit varies on the class of ticket you purchase.

This follows up on another promotion a few weeks ago where Delta was promoting a flat $1000 (before taxes) fare on these routes for BizElite. 

The fact that the offers are getting more and more lucrative is indicative that Delta isn't getting the business it wants and is desperately trying to grow market share on these routes.

You see, these routes have heavily been controlled by United and American.   Both UA and AA offer three class service on these routes with premium service similar to international services.  A few years ago Virgin America came into the mix.  While Virgin was offering a two-class service, their domestic First has a premium seat, far superior to the average domestic first class seat.   Then Delta came along offering it's signature domestic service on these routes which really didn't gain any attention, rightfully so as it was a substandard service next to it's competitors. 

In the Fall, Delta decided to realign its fleet and pull out some of the BizElite 757s off of trans-atlantic routes and repurposed them to JFK-SFO/LAX.  Additionally, Delta added the occasional international configures 767-300 into the mix.   So a few months pass by and it brings us to now.

While I've heard very good things about the BizElite transcon service, I have yet to give it a try.  Though, even given the positive reviews, it seems like Delta is losing this battle.


Unless Delta can swipe some decent corporate contracts they are never going to compete with United and American on those routes. I'm sure the product is fine but changing the behavior of the customers who have been on AA or UA for so long will take a lot more than simply introducing service and hoping the customers show up.