........should DL consider contracted bus service.......
What bus service would you contract? Speaking of frequencies how many buses per day would you or could you schedule? With fuel prices climbing how long before bus routes have to be curtailed to compensate bringing you right back to where you were in the beginning of the problem. More thought I think needs to be given regarding the realities of bus service before a decision is made.
Landline is the company that is contracted by both AA and UA to offer their bus service at PHL and DEN respectively. I am not saying it would have to be them, but clearly they have the business logistics figured out. Or some other company with a similar business model could also be contracted instead.
Rising fuel prices is mostly a moot issue. Most people who fly from AZO/LAN/MBS aren’t very price sensitive, else they’d make the drive to DTW/ORD/GRR/etc where the cost is almost always lower. Pax use the AZO/LAN/MBS airports for convenience, over making the drive. My point again is when the schedule drops to 2x daily, it is no longer more convenient if that involves an inevitable 5+ hour DTW layover. A bus that operates at least 5x daily returns that convenience.
And before someone mentions the Michigan Flyer bus, the two big issues with that service are 1) lack of IRROPS protection, and 2) no perks to entice DL frequent flyers. I will also add the Michigan Flyer schedule could be improved to have a late night bus that picks up people arriving at DTW in the 9-10pm bank, and also pax on delayed arriving flights. But that is an issue they could fix without a DL “partnership”. The other less discussed issue is that Michigan Flyer and the Wayne County Airport Authority probably aren’t on the best of terms given the lawsuits between them over the years. But that is another discussion.
I know, this is an aviation site so arguing for bus service over RJs is very much against the grain. But IF Delta was willing to partner with a bus operator with 5+ daily service frequency to DTW, offer IRROPS protection, and include some FF perks by treating it as a “flight”,… it might be a win for the pax and DL. The Landline service in PHL and DEN basically charge $50/60 RT on top of what the cost would be to fly from PHL/DEN directly. That is sustainable, and in line with (if not cheaper) than what the markup is to fly a RJ from AZO/LAN/MBS to DTW.
Again, the business case is there. The unknowns are 1) is DL willing to follow AA/UA and have essentially subcontracted busses. And 2) what political pushback is there from the local airport authorities and smaller communities who essentially lose service to busses, even if the busses better serves the pax going to/from there.