I agree with point #1, but point #2 and #3 seem to be in conflict with one another.
I did a bit of searching and found that on the ATL
itinerary you discuss, the fares are very competitive.
On a April 26 to April 29 mid week trip the fares to ORD
range from $183 on AA
to $206 on NW
. If you go to MDW
, Airtran and DL
have fares of $108. These fare are based on a booking today, so they're 14 day advance fares.
If we assume that a business traveller just found out today that they've got a meeting in Chicago next week, the fares for a April 12 through the 15 (midweek) trip are $409 on DL
and $420 on NW
. If you go to MDW
the fares are $407 on DL
Finally a fare that leaves today and returns tomorrow is $289 to ORD
and $287 to MDW
. Where's the outrageous fare you mention?
So given that DL
and Airtran charge the same (very reasonable) fare, how should DL
with all its additional cost of maintaining a global network be able to offer superior service including hotmeals and still make a profit?
I'm assuming that DL
's marketing department has set the fares to match fares of its LCC they believe that if they set them any higher, they'd lose business.
I'm tired of people claiming that service is what matters to travellers when time and time again, the market demonstrates that low fares are what gets them on the planes.
Look at the three most profitable and highly rated carriers in terms of customer satisfaction, Southwest, JetBlue and Airtran. On none of these will you ever get a hot meal, yet there planes fly full and more importantly profitable.
Now to answer the original question - I believe DL
will eventually file bankruptcy. They have much more to gain than to lose. They'll write off a ton of debt and force the renegotiation of their labor contracts. Note that I say this as a DL
shareholder that already lost about 60% of his investment so I don't take it lightly.