Say hello a freshly-painted Delta Boeing 717! Photos: Delta Air Lines
Two months ago a number of folks broke news that the much-anticipated Delta Air Lines Boeing 717-200 had finally started showing up in reservation systems. For aviation enthusiasts, it’s an exciting time when an airline brings on a new aircraft type, especially one like the 717. The 717 holds a special place in many hearts for a number of reasons, chiefly because it’s an ultra-modern descendant of the Douglas DC-9s and MD-80s which have a cult following with pilots and AvGeeks alike.
In 2011, Southwest Airlines acquired AirTran, a 717 launch partner who also happened to fly the largest fleet of 717s in the world. Aviation enthusiasts questioned whether Southwest would go against their all-Boeing 737 business model that had served them so well over the decades. Much to the surprise of many aviation industry analysts and insiders, Southwest announced they would indeed incorporate the 717 into their fleet. However, those plans never came to fruition. In 2012, Southwest and Delta announced a sweetheart deal which would allow Delta to take possession of the former AirTran birds, allowing them to retire a number of older DC/MD variants and giving Southwest the ability to maintain fleet uniformity.
After digging around on Delta.com, I confirmed the first scheduled 717 flight was supposed to be 2343 on 9/19 from ATL to EWR. I had already booked a mini-vacation to the NYC area for that weekend, so the timing simply could not have been better. I almost canceled my outbound leg and booked this flight instead…almost. Understanding that new equipment is often subject to last minute changes, I decided a call to Delta was in order.
Continue reading Photos: Delta Begins Receiving Boeing 717s
Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 – Photo: David Parker Brown | AirlineReporter.com
The relationship between Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines has just become a bit more intense. Alaska has confirmed that they are looking for different vendors to help with airport operations at 13 stations, services that Delta currently provides. This appears to be something that Alaska was already planning, but Delta has sped up the timeline.
“We have been considering a change in vendors who provide passenger service, ground handling, cargo, and deicing at various locations for some time now,” an Alaska Airlines spokesperson told AirlineReporter.com. “This is something we routinely do to ensure our costs and services for our customers are being optimized. Delta notified us last Friday that it has elected to discontinue these service agreements with Alaska Airlines effective March 31,2014. This change will affect 13 stations, 6 cargo offices, and various deice locations, and simply speeds up the transition we’d been planning.”
This comes after Delta had announced additional service to Seattle, where Alaska Airlines is based.
This story will be updated with additional information.
Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-700 at SeaTac Airport – Photo: Don Wilson | Port of Seattle
So, everybody and their brother has been writing about the recent announcement from Delta Air Lines that they’re further expanding their domestic flight schedule out of Seattle (SEA). There have been stories from mainstream media, miles/points bloggers, and (of course) industry watchers such as ourselves. Yet, we wanted to talk amongst ourselves and digest the information before weighing in.
Why is this a story? It’s because Alaska Airlines (AS), which is based out of Seattle, is supposed to be a partner airline with Delta. All three of the recently announced Delta routes are in direct competition with Alaska; actually 8 of Delta’s 13 domestic routes out of Seattle compete with Alaska.
As a guy who grew up in Washington State, and went to college at the University of Washington, I hold a special place in my heart for Alaska. An all-Boeing 737 operator, they have a loyal following in the Northwest. I just flew Alaska to and from Denver, and enjoyed their solid customer service, low-priced First Class upgrades, and great ground experience out of Seattle. (Although, as seems to be common from Denver, I got stuck on the Disneyland plane – am I the only one freaked out by flying on this bird?!).
Continue reading Our $.02 on Delta’s Expansion at Alaska’s Home Base
The New Virgin Australia Velocity Rewards Card – Mines Gold – Photo: Virgin Australia
Recently, I received a lovely little gift in the mail, all the way from the other side of the world. In the envelope was my new Virgin Australia Velocity frequent flier card. When I looked closer at the card, though, I noticed something different. The back resembled a debit card; in fact, it was a prepaid Visa card. It made me think about what has been happening lately between airlines, their frequent flier programs, and credit cards.
Over the last 12 months, two of the largest US-based frequent flyer programs have introduced minimum spending amounts to attain or maintain elite status. In 2014, United’s MileagePlus program will require a minimum amount of Premier Qualifying Dollars (PQD) along with the usual amount of miles or segments. Your PQD has to be made up of ticket spend on United-issued tickets or by purchasing upgrades to Economy Plus. To maintain your Gold Status into 2015, a Premier Gold flyer would not only have to earn 50,000 Premier Qualifying Miles (PQM), but they would need to spend $5,000 on airfare (taxes don’t count, sadly).
United’s move was almost a carbon copy of Delta’s SkyMiles program, however they just changed the words around. Replace “Medallion” for “Premier” and hey, presto… welcome to SkyMiles! A very similar arrangement, but unlike United where all the tickets have to be issued by United, Delta allows you to earn your Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQD) with partner airlines (but what qualifies as a partner is a whole story of its own). United only allows partner earning when booked through United.
Continue reading They’re Here: Frequent Flier Cards and Programs of the Future
Delta Sky Club at JFK.
When Delta opened their new T4 at New York’s JFK Airport on the 24th of May they also opened their new flagship Sky Club. The newest and largest Sky Club in the Delta network is a revolution to both AvGeeks and the traveling public.
Located just past gate B30 in Terminal 4, this 24,000 square foot facility is the new home to those with Sky Club access. Delta has created a number of new technologies based on traveler’s wishes and turned this into one amazing lounge. The entrance to the club has the same nondescript doorway that you might find at other lounges what is found inside is quite unique.
Continue reading Delta’s new Flagship Lounge is Not in Atlanta — It’s in New York