Do you have any data to support this? You're the first person I've ever heard say that DTW has a fare premium over MSP.
I specifically said long haul premium travel and yes it does. Domestically the fares are higher to MSP. DTW-Asia is MUCH bigger than MSP-Asia in O&D. DTW-Europe is also larger in O&D.
Why do you think DL made DTW its Asia hub despite the fact that MSP has a better geographic location? How does DTW support service to NGO when no other airport in North America does? Why do DL and LH compete on DTW-FRA/MUC when they dont fly to MSP from either?
I guess you missed the post where I said MSP was able to hold its own strictly on domestic connections. International travel will be very light for the next 2-5 years. That's not good news for DTW. Passengers will either pay for a premium for the few nonstops from JFK or they will connect in LAX or SFO. DTW and ORD will both suffer. No one is going to pay extra for connection from the Midwest. There will be the high end and low end. No middle ground.
DL and NK have grown their local market share at DTW in recent years, while virtually every other airline has shrunk, despite the ho hum economy. Whereas NK's growth has been predominately organic (their low fares have manufactured traffic, or taken it from other modes of travel), DL's has likely been a mix of pilfering passengers from other legacies. The end result is that DL's premium has grown at DTW; it's rare that DL even bothers to lower its fares to compete with LCC, in contrast to places like ORD, DFW and even ATL. Take a look -- as of last night, I can get a one-way flight from LAX to SEA in April for as low as $14, $36 to ATL or MSP ... and $146 to DTW. This isn't the late 2000s -- DTW is not the center of the recession, and MSP is not without LCC competition (and in fact has far surpassed DTW and even ATL in that regard).
Secondly, no, MSP could not absorb all of DTW's connectivity. The bread & butter of DTW's current service is smaller communities in the Lower Midwest/Northeast, which would require an additional 500 minute flight distance to MSP. There's simply no way that DL could economically operate these flights on flights approaching 3+ hours. The same is true of MSP and its connectivity within the Upper Midwest (it couldn't be economically replicated at DTW). And while the DTW vs. MSP argument is played out frequently here, the reality is that while there's system-wide competition for traffic flows, DTW, ATL, NYC and BOS overlap far more than DTW & MSP, and MSP overlaps with SLC, SEA and LAX far more than DTW. Some users really need to work on their geography skills ... flying from the Lower Midwest/Northeast through MSP makes sense only if you're headed West.
Thirdly... man, do you hate on DTW. I get that you're upset DL dehubbed CVG, but as I've explained before, you have to understand that CVG's weakness is part of the package that promoted DL to seek out an acquisition to solidify its network in the first place. CVG had about a third the local traffic, had already been cut to about a third of its peak size, and likely would've vanished anyway (in favor of an expeanded codeshare/marketing agreement with NW) in an alternate universe where no merger took place. What bothers me so much, is that the fairy tales some a.net members invented -- CVG was DL's most profitable hub for decades, CLE was printing money for UA and evil Jeff Seismik closed it out of a jealous rage, etc. -- are suddenly accepted by younger members as facts.