in summer 2003, Delta's ATL-MCO schedule was 3 777s, 6 763s, and 2 764s. I suspect they have moved away from that for a variety of reasons, including that they were all-around a smaller carrier internationally back then so didn't have as many competing uses for the widebodies, they realized that frequency is important in offering good connections at a big hub, and there has been ever-more direct service into Florida
It was partly what you mention, and partly slack in the fleet between long haul legs to/from ATL; if you're going to have a widebody on the ground for six to ten hours otherwise, you might as well send it on a short hop which can be easily filled. Plus there was the added benefit of keeping pilots current on the number of take-offs and landings required in-type.
You wanna save the A380? You wanna see A380s in service with US airlines? Switch JFK and EWR to a congestion pricing model. Done.
Well, no, that wouldn't lead to more demand for the A380 at U.S. carriers at all. It would simply lead to reduced use of regional jets and small narrowbodies at those airports and increased use of larger narrowbodies and perhaps small widebodies. It'd be a boon for the A321, 737-MAX10, and NMA, if launched.
US airlines are all about hard cash flow and quick profits right now and the easiest way to do it is by establishing a monopoly and lowering the expectations . If they had A380 , they would be competing with others and would raise expectations which would be bad for their business plan. They are just financial institutions masquerading as airlines.
The U.S. market and its airports are among the most competitive in the world! Want to fly into ATL, ORD, LAX, SFO, JFK, EWR, DFW, IAH? No problem (apart from perhaps having to negotiate for gates). Want to fly into LHR, LGW, FRA, TXL, or ORY? Line up or pay through the nose for slots (and you still have to find a suitable gate). The current state of the product on the U.S. carriers reflects what customers value; most domestic flights lack a complimentary meal because most domestic economy passengers don't find enough value in that meal to pay a significant premium. In the transatlantic market, I've found DL to offer a better product than most of its competitors.
The A380 in and of itself does not enable a better-quality product. An airline can put suites on an A350, 777, 787, A330, A321, etc. -- if they're willing to use the floor space. To be honest, I found my ride on AF's A380 in Y to be uncomfortable and disappointing: the window seat on the main deck is so far from the sidewall that it's nearly impossible to lean against the wall when trying to sleep and the IFE system was so sluggish in UI response that it was virtually unusable. I had a better experience on my prior trip on AF in a 10-across 777.
Besides, 2 major US airlines parked their 4 engine jets within the last 6 months. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see a 747 or an A380 wearing a United livery at O'hare.
And the fit for the 747 at those two airlines was largely tied to restrictive bilateral agreements which have been significantly loosened along with far less competitive transpacific markets. When you've only got 14 weekly frequencies to the entire PRC then you make the most of them with 747s. When you've got three times as many, along with competition at potent connecting hubs like ICN and HKG, then you probably want to focus on non-stop or single-connection passengers with smaller aircraft.
If there will be an A380-9NEO and there will be strictly enforced carbon tax and the A380 will have at least a CSAM which is lower then 30% then its competition, than there might be a change.....
I won't hold my breath....
Actually, the hypothetical A380-900neo would probably suffer in the event of a high carbon tax, even if it were more efficient than the competition. Higher fares (due to the tax) would lead to less travel, and the tax might make it difficult to compete with connections at large hubs over more direct routings. For example, a non-stop JFK-LYS on A321neoLR might be more cost-effective than JFK-CDG-LYS.