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Will DL Surpass UA As America's Largest Airline?  
User currently offlineazstar From United States of America, joined May 2005, 629 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 7303 times:

It seems that DL is much more innovative and forward thinking than UA. They have purchased their own refinery (unknown results at this time), purchased AirTran's 717's, purchased 60 news CR900's, closed Comair, and is rapidly reducing dependency on 50 seat Skywest(worst) RJ's. They have been operating 90-95% on time departures consistently, and have approx 1% (or less) cancellation rate.

UA, on the other hand, is still struggling with performance issues. They have a hard time maintaining 80% on time, and their cancellation rate has fluctuated between 1-8%. They still operate half their schedule on Skywest 50 or 70 seaters. They continue to have the worst on time, the worst baggage handling, and highest complaint statistics according to BTS.

So, IMO, DL is on a somewhat upward trajectory while, maybe not spiraling downward, UA is working hard at barely maintaining an unsatisfactory status quo.

Anyone else agree, or am I way off base here?

29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16907 posts, RR: 51
Reply 1, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 7289 times:

UA's order book is superior to DL's, UA has on firm order:

93 737-900ERs
100 737-9MAX
50 787s, 4 of which are now in service
25 A350s

UA has superior hubs

DEN, CLE, EWR, IAH, IAD, SFO, LAX, ORD

More LHR slots etc..

DL is performing well right now, but UA is better situated going forward.



Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineairlinewatcher1 From United States of America, joined Apr 2011, 83 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 7194 times:

I agree that DL is performing better than UA right now. Let's hope that UA can get their act together.

One thing to keep in mind is that UA is still in the process of fully integrating with CO, while DL is now fully integrated with NW.

UA has kept all of the hubs in the merger process, while DL has downsized drastically in CVG and MEM. I'm not sure how DL can be #1 by downsizing hubs, but on the other hand, they are working really hard to be #1 (or closer to it) in places like NYC (LGA & JFK), LHR, LAX, & NRT. DL also tends to have more non-hub routes than UA.


User currently offlinestrfyr51 From United States of America, joined Apr 2012, 1398 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 7193 times:
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It's all a matter of perception. While I SERIOUSLY doubt that Delta will surpass United.
What United management does to get all their DUCKS in row to keep SA)">UA on top will be the most Serious Question.
Delta's management Seems to be on the ball with their plan Flawed as it looks to me. United's management has to just get everybody pulling on the SAME end of the DAMN ROPE !! Settle the contracts, get the IT house in order, cut with these "Half ass" fixes for Bad Programs and get the ENTIRE company's computer system all up to the 21st century.
They ARE moving in that direction but the analysis should have been done and the problems solved LONG before Now. We've had 3 Years for crying out loud.!!
Heck! Even I could have figured this out by now. All they needed DO was ask the guys who DO the JOB. Instead?
They ask a bunch of Directors and managers who don't even KNOW the jobs and are STUCK in the Way We USED to do it rather than the way it SHOULD be done.


User currently offlinepeanuts From Netherlands, joined Dec 2009, 1445 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 7177 times:

Quoting STT757 (Reply 1):
UA's order book is superior to DL's
Quoting STT757 (Reply 1):
UA has superior hubs
Quoting STT757 (Reply 1):
More LHR slots etc.
Quoting STT757 (Reply 1):
but UA is better situated going forward.

So out of the three points you list only one (aircraft orders) is about "forward" thinking.
The other two are supposedly already into play according to you so how again is UA "better situated"? Better situated for what exactly? A person or company can have the best tools at its disposal in order to perform the best but if you don't know what to do with these tools than you still come in second under many different measures...



Question Conventional Wisdom. While not all commonly held beliefs are wrong…all should be questioned.
User currently offlineFreshSide3 From United States of America, joined Nov 2012, 327 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 7150 times:
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I have to agree on that. Still there are a few issues.

Prime time in New York.......like, about 430-7pm, when the international trips all go out.......seems like UA/EWR has a better handle on it than the DL/JFK situation.

Connection times not realistic. Sometimes the times at UA/IAH are really not long enough for certain connections, and shouldn't be sold that way. Some tweaking needs to be in order.

The lack of a partner in Russia. There may have been a reason why the IAD-DME service was dropped, but this also puts UA at a disavantage. AA has Sibir/S7 as a partner, and DL not only has their own service, but also a partnership with Aeroflot. Perhaps two things could be done....(1) Partnering with Transaero(providing they meet UA standards) and/or (2) start IAD-LED service in lieu of IAD-DME. Nobody flies to St. Petersburg from the USA. The market is not as big as Moscow, but it's still a big market.


User currently offlineDeltaMD90 From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 7978 posts, RR: 51
Reply 6, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 7150 times:

I know this isn't what many people on here like to think but:

1: Bigger is not always better
2: Being #2 (or 3, 4, 5, etc) isn't the end of the world
3: "#1" can change with a blink of an eye (or at least in a few years, look at DL in 2005, yikes!)



Ironically I have never flown a Delta MD-90 :)
User currently onlinePSU.DTW.SCE From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 7763 posts, RR: 27
Reply 7, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 7039 times:

DL will not become America's "Largest" airline.

DL is not growing, if anything becoming slightly smaller. DL is very aggressive with capacity disipline is not going to be doing any meaniful or overall growth in the next 3-5 years. If anything DL will become smaller on the measure of ASMs.
DL has many plans in the works to realign the regional & narrowbody fleet, which is all meant to be capacity-neutral.

Some are quick to say that "UA has all these problems." From my perspective it is all merger-related challenges that will likely disappear in the short-term. Remember that DL & NW had their share of merger challenges. I can't say whether UA is worse, nor can anyone really measure that statement. Fundamentally United is very solid. One must also remember that DL is several years ahead of United and out of the tactical merger-related phase and initiatives. United is not yet at the point where they can fully leverage the potential of the merger since they are still tactically integrating operations, systems, processes, and people.

DL doesn't really want to be the largest, in fact I would guess that UA doesn't care about being the largest either.

[Edited 2012-12-06 08:01:36]

User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23294 posts, RR: 20
Reply 8, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 6991 times:

Quoting PSU.DTW.SCE (Reply 7):
DL doesn't really want to be the largest, in fact I would guess that UA doesn't care about being the largest either.

  

But it would not shock me to see either carrier advertise the fact whenever it is true for them.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineLHCVG From United States of America, joined May 2009, 1642 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 6940 times:

Quoting peanuts (Reply 4):
So out of the three points you list only one (aircraft orders) is about "forward" thinking.
The other two are supposedly already into play according to you so how again is UA "better situated"? Better situated for what exactly? A person or company can have the best tools at its disposal in order to perform the best but if you don't know what to do with these tools than you still come in second under many different measures...

1. Hubs can be important for long-term stability/revenue/growth. DL probably has the advantage is terms of fortress hubs that print money in DTW and MSP, but I would say that if I were choosing hub locations between what DL has and what UA has, I'd be picking more UA hubs than DL ones. So it's a choice between fortress hubs and more competitive ones in larger/stronger markets -- let's call that a wash if it's a major sticking point.

2. UA has a few more things like LHR slots, and I believe they are still better to NRT and/or China. Not game-changers in isolation, but nice feathers in their cap that DL doesn't have and things UA can bank on when competing for contracts and high-yielding biz pax.

3. Management of course is a big differentiator on how each makes use of what it has. But when you take order book, unique/limited access route authorities, and hub positioning, UA would appear (given current market conditions) to be better suited going forward.


User currently offlineFreshSide3 From United States of America, joined Nov 2012, 327 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 6923 times:
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Quoting peanuts (Reply 4):
The other two are supposedly already into play according to you so how again is UA "better situated"? Better situated for what exactly?

I can't say, in comparison to DL....but certainly in comparison to the "old" United. Keep in mind, that before the merger, that UA was at a bit of a disadvantage in the winter months, compared to DL/AA/CO/US...........in the past, there was no "warm weather" hub to reroute passengers to---and not pay offline carriers to transport those passengers---during irregular ops.

IAH does give an option, that previously didn't exist. DEN/ORD/IAD have snow and ice issues.......the competition has their snow/ice hubs, too.......but AA always had the option of rerouting online via DFW, US had CLT, and DL always had ATL.......UA, pre-merger, didn't have too many choices........


User currently offlinegreenwichsud From United States of America, joined May 2008, 62 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 6854 times:

Quoting STT757 (Reply 1):
93 737-900ERs
100 737-9MAX
50 787s, 4 of which are now in service
25 A350s

How much of this is for growth?

Quoting STT757 (Reply 1):
DEN, CLE, EWR, IAH, IAD, SFO, LAX, ORD

Many of these have intense competition, either directly or through neighboring airports. Many/most of DL's hubs, while not as "sexy" and coastal, are uncontested fortress hubs.

Quoting STT757 (Reply 1):
More LHR slots etc..

This can all change overnight if the VS trade materializes.

My interpretation of the most recent quarterly releases for both carriers is that DL is gaining quite a bit of premium business traffic at the expense of UA.


User currently offlineLHCVG From United States of America, joined May 2009, 1642 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 6854 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 8):
it would not shock me to see either carrier advertise the fact whenever it is true for them.

Exactly....I say "largest" you say "quantity over quality", I say "we have more E+" you say "we have the most domestic F seats", I say "we have Global First" you say "but nobody actually buys that, yours sucks, and our J is better". No matter what carriers will spin everything to their own advantage. Funny how what a given carrier used to say disappear overnight as if they never cared.

Should also add that "largest" itself has multiple connotations that each carrier might claim simultaneously: most pax carried, most revenue pax miles available (I can't recall the term), more flights, etc. I seem to remember hearing a while back that WN is now the largest U.S. airline by domestic pax carried, for instance.

[Edited 2012-12-06 08:16:39]

User currently offlineProst From United States of America, joined Oct 2012, 1220 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 6470 times:

Delta had slightly higher 3rd quarter revenue than United, but it was very slight. United is getting their house in order, but Delta might be posting higher margins than United for the near term (2 years). That last sentence is obviously just my opinion, and others can probably easily come to a different conclusion than me and it wouldn't bunch my panties.

User currently offlineAADC10 From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2103 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 6353 times:

I this day and age, size as measured by capacity is not necessarily a good thing. Supply and demand are close to a balance point where substantial additional capacity will send profitability off a cliff. DL is aggressively seeking new markets while UA is more conservative, cutting capacity in some saturated markets. UA will probably stay more conservative until most of the merger problems are resolved and new aircraft are delivered.

Quoting azstar (Thread starter):
It seems that DL is much more innovative and forward thinking than UA.

Perhaps but DL is at a disadvantage to UA in some respects. DL has more fortress hubs, but they are in smaller cities. UA is spread out more evenly, has hubs in the largest markets (albeit facing intense competition), and has more LHR slots. DL need to move to prevent UA from sopping up the corporate contracts that slipping away from AA during Ch. 11.


User currently offlinebobloblaw From United States of America, joined Jan 2012, 1725 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 6310 times:

None of the reasons you give are reason why DL would surpass UA in RPMs, ASMs. Revenue Fleet size or Pax carried.

User currently onlinePSU.DTW.SCE From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 7763 posts, RR: 27
Reply 16, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 6251 times:

Exactly......largest for the sake of being largest is nothing more than something to say
Quoting AADC10 (Reply 14):
DL is aggressively seeking new markets while UA is more conservative, cutting capacity in some saturated markets. UA will probably stay more conservative until most of the merger problems are resolved and new aircraft are delivered.

I actually would argue that both are doing so.

DL is seeking new markets, but at the same time being very conservative in other places. DL has scaled way back in Trans-Atlantic flights and capacity particularly during the off-season. DL keeping domestic capacity flat. Mostly DL is reallocating resources not growing.


User currently offline24fan From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 17 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 5438 times:

Does anyone know how much "bigger" UA is than DL currently?

User currently offlineXFSUgimpLB41X From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4229 posts, RR: 37
Reply 18, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 5370 times:

Quoting 24fan (Reply 17):

Does anyone know how much "bigger" UA is than DL currently?

It depends on where you define the base is and if you're counting girth.



Chicks dig winglets.
User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8758 posts, RR: 3
Reply 19, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 5232 times:

You have to give DL a 3 year advantage. DL has executed its merger well. This is how that looks.

In 2 to 3 years, UA's corporate judgment day will come. Either they will be declared geniuses or dunces. Right now it is too early to tell.


User currently offlineDeltal1011man From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 9700 posts, RR: 14
Reply 20, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 5181 times:

Quoting STT757 (Reply 1):

i'm sorry, how about try to, just once, post with out the huge bias. Go ahead and explain how any of that makes UA better.....(or superior)

Oh and most of the order book is for replacement not growth.
Quoting PSU.DTW.SCE (Reply 7):
DL is not growing, if anything becoming slightly smaller. DL is very aggressive with capacity disipline is not going to be doing any meaniful or overall growth in the next 3-5 years. If anything DL will become smaller on the measure of ASMs.

No but its kind of a race to the bottom. One also has to think that a ALPA scope cave(I mean...it is ALPA) will end up with UA getting even smaller....

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 8):

But it would not shock me to see either carrier advertise the fact whenever it is true for them.

of course

Quoting LHCVG (Reply 9):
and I believe they are still better to NRT and/or China. Not game-changers in isolation, but nice feathers in their cap that DL doesn't have and things UA can bank on when competing for contracts and high-yielding biz pax.

Delta is much larger to Japan, UA is much larger to China.

Biggest thing Delta has to do, IMO, is build a much better network to Asia, more P2P and less flow over Japan. (but unlike UA I do expect Delta to stay large in Japan. The beach flying is good for Delta.)



yep.
User currently offlineNWAdeicer From United States of America, joined Aug 2008, 185 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 5129 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 8):
But it would not shock me to see either carrier advertise the fact whenever it is true for them.

You mean like the approximately 6 foot long banners we saw in ATL last week while there for training. The banners that were in some of the break rooms stating "The biggest airline, the largest hub, the best employees".



I miss the Red Tail
User currently offlineburnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7564 posts, RR: 8
Reply 22, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 4887 times:

Quoting PSU.DTW.SCE (Reply 7):
DL will not become America's "Largest" airline.

Actually, last I heard DL has once again surpassed UA as the worlds largest airline given that UA has cut down more than DL.



"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlineFL787 From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 1551 posts, RR: 12
Reply 23, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 4416 times:

Quoting burnsie28 (Reply 22):
Actually, last I heard DL has once again surpassed UA as the worlds largest airline given that UA has cut down more than DL.

Not yet, though I could see them ending up around the same size in a couple years. ASMs for the first 10 months of this year are:

UA: 210,538,538
DL: 195,003,327
AA: 138,836,174
WN: 107,471,535
US: 65,275,651

Until I just pulled these numbers I didn't realize that a combined AA-US would still be smaller than UA.

[Edited 2012-12-06 22:20:05]


717,72S,732/3/4/5/G/8/9,744,752/3,763/4,772/3,D9S/5,M8/90,D10,319/20/21,332/3,388,CR2/7/9,EM2,ER4,E70/75/90,SF3,AR8
User currently offlineCALPSAFltSkeds From United States of America, joined exactly 8 years ago today! , 2723 posts, RR: 9
Reply 24, posted (2 years 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 4264 times:

You have several comparisons between UA and DL.

DL's has a lot more old aircraft to get rid of at some point. Their fleet averages 16.7 years vs. UA's 13.4 years. DL has 117 MD88s and are still shown as flying 18 D95s. Who knows if the MD90 is a long term solution. Also, DL has a aircraft obtained from different airlines vs. UA possibly meaning more maintenance costs. UA has only 9 735s flying and 5 762s are out the door within a couple of months. Both have large aging fleets of 752 aircraft. UA has more 744s 24 vs. 16 and a massive difference of 772s 74 vs. 18. DL has more than double UA's 763 fleet 74 vs. 35, but 15 are non-ER units. UA has the 787 while DL has pushed their 787s to 2020-2022. DL does have some fairly new 332 and 333 aircraft.

UA flies almost exclusively flights out of hub airports while DL has more point to point flights. DL seems to be having more difficulty aligning its hubs than UA, who appear to be keeping all hubs (CLE?) while DL has lots of smaller hubs which are being downsized. UAs hubs are in the largest cities vs. DL's being in generally smaller cities.

UA is highly unionized while DL has fewer unions.


25 comairguycvg : Yeah I was gonna say, can this question even be asked yet? Delta has been through the merger for a few years now and it's only been a year or so for
26 Post contains images Deltal1011man : anyone who really knows what the MD90 is. Sadly, for some reason, people can't get it that the M90 has the same engine as the UA A32s fleet and has ~
27 azncsa4qf744er : Any number to proof this please? I personally think UA operates the most seats and flights from the US to Japan. Until March of 2013 all UA hubs serv
28 Deltal1011man : sure. Here is a quick run down for monday(just a quick note, All of Delta's hubs have flights to NRT minus MEM/CVG, on top of LAX/SFO/PDX/SEA. Also D
29 Pu : I tend to agree that if you look at hubs and their related nearby regions UA looks better. UA is a leader in America's top 3 markets (NY, LA and Chic
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