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AA737-823
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Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 4:19 am

Okay, here's the dilemma.

I am going to Tampa in August.

I have followed fares for a couple of weeks, and they swing back and forth pretty violently. When this whole thing started, they were as low as $180. In recent days, AA and Delta were as high as $260.

Two days ago, United went on sale to $186, but for various reasons, I couldn't buy the tickets at that time.

So, the two choices left are DELTA and AIRTRAN.

I am coming from DFW. On Delta, I am offered the following flights:
DFW-ATL MD-11
ATL-TPA 767-400 OR MD-80
TPA-DFW nonstop 757

On Airtran, it's three 717s (my favorite) and a DC-9.

Which should I take?

Airtran is cheaper, but Delta has the MD-11 flight.
Does anyone have experience on both airlines?
Does anyone have any VALID comments about Delta's legroom? is it really that bad? Their webiste says 31-33 inches for all aircraft type in question, and that's about what I got used to with United. AA has MRTC, but I am a very dissatisfied AA customer and will likely never set foot on their aircraft again.

I could always take Delta nonstop- but that's no fun.

Thanks for your opinions and experience fellow enthusiasts.
Randy
 
2cn
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 4:33 am

I would take Delta since you'll get to fly on both the MD11 and 764. The legroom is the same as anyone else with 31" to 33" of pitch- no worse, no better... contrary to what alot of people may say.
 
RJNUT
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 4:41 am

The air fares you have quoted are low BECAUSE of Airtran..so USE or LOSE it!!
 
flynavy
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 4:47 am

I have experiences with both airlines. Obviously, if you're looking for multiple aircraft types, including widebodies, go with Delta. I've never had a problem with Delta and their legroom. I have always had positive experiences on Delta, having flown on their 772, MD88, 752, and 722 aircraft. I'd go with Delta.
 
prosa
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 5:08 am

I'm a sort of rooting-for-the-underdog type, so all else being equal I'd go with AirTran.
 
SESGDL
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 5:11 am

The 764 and MD-11 are huge, and 717s and DC-9s are boring, so take Delta!
 
Thumper
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 5:13 am

I would go with Delta,the MD-11 and 764 are great aircraft! The leg room is a bunch of crap, I have flown the MD-11 transatlantic many times, and I am 6'4 and 240 and never had any problem!
 
milemaster
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 6:23 am

I would go for the non-stop 757 with Delta.

Taking any other route for the same price would make no sense... Especially because of equipent.

Delays, delays..

Not to mention you're going to lose an hour with the time change from central to eastern.
 
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wilcharl
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 6:26 am

I would do DL, summer time with bad WX delta is way better at handeling IROPs then FL because of their size... FL is great when their system works, but throw a monkey wrench in ie: bad wx in the south and things go hay wire
 
Guest

RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 6:53 am

I've flown both... I'm partial to Delta, but you can't lose either way. The 717 is an awesome A/C, but I wouldn't turn down the opportunity to fly M11 or 764, either. Flip a coin  Smile...
 
Guest

RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 6:54 am

its totally up to u. i would take the cheaper flight, but thats just me.
 
BR715-A1-30
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 6:58 am

I would take the 3 717s with Airtran. On Airtran, you get friendly service. Take Airtran. The 717s rule. GO WITH AIRTRAN
 
kjet12
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 7:02 am

Delta because, you will be taking (probibly) two wide bodied airliners. Have a good trip!

Thanks For Flying,
Kris
 
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spinkid
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 7:15 am

I just completed two similar trips. One LGA-ATL-JAX on FL and one BDL-ATL-JAX on DL. The Delta flight was on 757, 767-300 and MD-88. The FL on DC-9's. All things considered, I would take AirTran next time. I enjoyed the ride on the smaller planes much better. I also enjoyed upgrading the $50 to business class at check in. You can't beat that. While Delta was not bad, it just seemed kind of average to me.

I say Air Tran.
 
America West
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 7:36 am

I would go with Delta just to fly the MD-11 and the 767-400.
 
critter
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 9:02 am

Rjnut sums it all up in one sentence......Use it or lose it!!!!..The ONLY reason that the fares are low on all airlines are because of airlines like Airtran, Frontier, Vanguard, Jet Blue, etc. Just ask the people of Mobile Al. or Knoxville Tn. They can attest to the fares going back throughout the roof when a low cost airline leaves town. But of course the Smoke and Mirrors Department at the Giant Airlines would like you to not know those facts.

critter

Fly AAI / Buy AAI
 
Guest

RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 12:01 pm

One thing you could try if you want to support AirTran, but you also want to take widebodies at the same time, fly both. It's the widebodies to TPA on DL, then the FL planes on the way back.

It's DL's way of giving FL some more customers, by matching all of FL's fares and restrictions(or lack thereof). One of the restrictions gone is that you can book fares one-way now on routes DL competes with FL.

Note: I know DL does this on all non-stops, but I'm not entirely sure about the connecting ones.
 
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wilcharl
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 12:12 pm

Lowfare it hit the nail on the head... if you like both carriers fly both carriers with the RT purchase requiment lifted on DL buy a ticket on each carrer... i think AA is matching DL on that heck do DFW-ATL on AA... ATL-TPAon FL and TPA DFW on DL if you got the money go 4 it
 
flydeltasjets
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 12:15 pm

And the only reason that those airlines can offer such low fares is that they save on costs by paying their employees a fraction of what established airlines do. Employee wages are an airline's largest expense, and while airlines may cut costs via other methods, the lower wages is the most significant advantage a low cost airline has. Simply put, it would be accurate to call a "low-fare" airline a "low-wage" airline.

Everyone has a right to fly whomever they want, but I thought the facts should be known. I find it ironic how some people get upset when manufacturing companies try to save money by using cheap overseas labor, but very few seem to care that their airplane is being flown by a pilot or maintained by a mechanic who is making pennies on the dollar.

I say this not to start a flame war, and I make no comment on the safety of any airline. I simply think that people should give a bit more thought as to why those airlines can offer such low fares.
 
Guest

RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 12:59 pm

Take Delta! You will get various plane types. DL's legroom isn't that bad at all. All the majors are pretty much the same.
 
jessman
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 1:06 pm

I took Delta's 767-400 in coach from LAX to Honolulu, and I loved that aircraft. I think it would be worth it for that portion. The MD-11 is also quite awesome as to how big it is. I took an MD-11 from CVG(Cincinnati) to PDX(Portland, OR). I was in Business-elite for that flight, though, so I don't have quite the same perspective on it as a coach trip. The MD seemed to be quite powerful and the pilot made a real soft landing there at PDX, so that was a nice flight.
 
UAL-Fan
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 1:08 pm

If they make so little money why do they seem to be so much happier than the employees flying with the major carriers?

Last week I flew Southwest and was ID checked by the Captain of the flight before I boarded. He was so friendly, upbeat, and happy it was almost shocking. The flight attendants are always pleasant and every indication makes me believe they are really having fun. Can't say that for employees of the Major carriers who are constantly at war with management for one reason or another (usually more $$). Just my observation.

I would support Airtran any day over Delta. Delta's airfares seem to change every minute just like every other major carrier. It's ridiculous. Plus the 717's ARE awesome planes and if you're flying in the mainland USA Airtran is the only airline that has them! I would consider flying on one a 'treat'.
 
MCOtoATL
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Take Airtran - Here's Why

Thu Jun 06, 2002 1:28 pm

I have made the trip between ATL and Orlando dozens of times, and I have taken Delta specifically for the variety of aircraft. But if you have flown on a 764 or MD-11 before, then I would choose Airtran.

First, for $25 one way you can upgrade to business class.

Secondly, and maybe it's not a big deal, but the larger aircraft means that it takes longer to get everyone off the plane and takes longer to get all of the baggage off of the plane and to the baggage claim. If time is an issue, you'll save time with Airtran - smaller planes = less time to get off the plane and less time to get your bags.
 
jhooper
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 4:57 pm

What about Southwest?
 
Guest

RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 7:53 pm

Flydeltasjets: How can DL afford to match FL's fares and still give out good wages? They must have to cut costs in other areas so they don't post as big a loss.

If I were a pilot, I'd rather go for lower pay at FL or WN than good pay(after several years of crap in the RJ), then get laid off by the major airline.

Layoffs "due to" 9/11:
FL-<2%(No typo there)
WN-0
Majors-15-20%

Jhooper: nobody could fly WN without making two itineraries on DAL-TPA b/c of the Wright Amendment.
 
deltairlines
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 10:35 pm

I would take the nonstop from DFW to TPA. As much as I like to try and fly as many different aircrafts as possible, in the morning (which my timetable says you'd be on the 730 DFW-ATL-TPA flight), I'd try and take the nonstop so I have as much time there as possible. The other good reason besides saving time on the nonstop is that there is less of a chance of losing your luggage. And also, as much as I love ATL, it can get pretty crowded there, and my experiences with the gate staff there have not been all that great. However, if you were going to change planes, I would suggest Delta unless you haven't been on an AirTran DC-9, since those are on the way out. If you haven't though, and want to experience two new planes (M11 and 764, and possibly a 738 on the return) or want a ride on a 727 for the last time (since they will only be around for another year at most, there is a 727 on the return), fly Delta.

Jeff
 
goingboeing
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 11:14 pm

Fish or cut bait. You can watch airfares forever, and it won't matter if the fare was $180 yesterday if the fare is $300 today. When you are actually ready to buy the tickets, I find this simple method to work quite well:

1. What's the lowest fare
2. What schedule is most convenient

If the answer to 1 and 2 is Airtran, then buy the ticket and use the money you saved to do something when you get to Tampa. If the answer to number 1 is Airtran and 2 is Delta, then you need go to the next step, which are these:

3. Is the difference in price enough to justify the convenience
4. Are you flexible

If the answer to 3 is yes - book Delta. If the answer to 4 is yes - book Airtran.

The final part of the test is this:

Is it worth extra $$ to sit in an airline seat with 31" of pitch for two hours because it has 9 seats abreast and 3 engines? IMHO, that isn't worth a nickle. From the inside, a plane is a plane, and paying extra to fly on a specific aircraft type is not worth the money.
 
BR715-A1-30
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 11:30 pm

AIRTRAN!!!! AIRTRAN!!!! AIRTRAN!!!!! AIRTRAN!!!!

Airtran has brand new 717s with 100% Fresh Air which means NO HEADACHES or NAUSEA SPELLS. Even though Delta has widebodies. They still have the FRESH AIR CHANGE EVERY 3 MINUTES, so you still breathe in other peoples air. On the 717s you breathe fresh oxygen ALL THE TIME. Take Airtran.
 
flydeltasjets
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Thu Jun 06, 2002 11:48 pm

LowFare,

If you would choose to work for FL over Delta, that is certainly your right. I must tell you, however, that you are most definitely in the minority.
 
Stormin
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Fri Jun 07, 2002 12:55 am

I would do what Lowfareair says.... Take the DL MD-11/764 down to TPA and take the FL 717s on the way back. You'll get to experience the widebodies and the new 717s. Plus you'll be supporting Airtran which makes $200 fares to Florida possible. Without Airtran, I would hate to see what DL and AA would charge for that market from Dallas.

Later
 
travatl
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Fri Jun 07, 2002 2:37 am

flydeltasjets -

Hi jackass. What do you mean lower wages? For flight attendants, AirTran currently starts out HIGHER than Continental, Northwest, Alaska, America West, Southwest, and yep, DELTA.

Why would someone want to work here?

Well....we'll grow by over 20% this year. How much will Delta grow?

How many YEARS will you be on reserve at Delta? You'll be on reserve at AirTran for about 3 months.

Our "senior flight attendants" have only been at the carrier for 7-9 years, unlike the 35-40 years those at Delta have spent becoming MISERABLE. Poor things have to come in once a week and work a turn, and they hate every minute of it.

Low fare carriers offer low fares by offering a simple fleet and simple services. The computer systems are basic and efficient, and don't cost 20 cents every time you press enter. (I previously worked for American, I understand the complexity of CRS's similar to Sabre).

Now, I understand that the Delta uniforms are so bad, that many of the employees there are bitter (I saw the envy in their eyes when we rolled out our new navy and red unforms this year), but just because they look like they should be offering oil changes instead of air travel, don't take it out on the low-fare carriers. We're gonna be around forever.

Travis
 
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wilcharl
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Fri Jun 07, 2002 4:29 am

Delta's uniforms are paper thin... simple thing it comes down to is personal preferce, if everything is working as it should (most of the time) odds are your going to get better service on FL, when you fly FL though you are making a connection in ATL instead of nonstop on DL, which increases your oppertunity of a delay/problem... the FL system works great but low fare carries like FL do not ALWAYS have the means to accomidate irregular opperations, from personal experince ive had better luck with reaccomidations on major carriers. but bottom line its up to you
 
critter
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Fri Jun 07, 2002 4:34 am

flydeltajets,

This is the second post now that I have seen you make a complete fool of yourself. You really should start doing your homework before you start bringing your trash talk to these message boards.

One of the largest expenses for any airline is fuel. Granted Airtran is just now gaining a fleet of very fuel efficient aircraft, 24% more efficient than the Dc-9. But Airtran started out by owning all of their aircraft outright. These aircraft they got cheap because the likes of Delta bought new ones. Airtran saved millions of dollars in interest every year that Delta and the others had to pay to own their brand new aircraft. Yes Airtran now has their own new aircraft that they have to pay for, but it is no mistake that they were the launch customer for the B717. Do you have any idea how much under the market value Airtran is paying for their B717's? I don't know the exact number but somewhere in the neighbourhood of ten million less per aircraft. That is a lot of money saved.

Airtran also books about 40% of their tickets from their web site. That cost pennies as compared to the dollars that it used to cost to book through Travel Agents. That is the reason that the Majors have dropped the Travel Agents commission, because they couldn't compete with the new and innovative thinking that has driven the Airline Industry, mostly because of low fare carriers. Look at Jet Blue. They are on the cutting edge of technology and reaping the rewards in time and money for their crews. That in turn correlates to cheaper fares.

If you have lowfare carriers that fly in your area you really need to patronise them before you loose them.

critter
 
flydeltasjets
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Fri Jun 07, 2002 6:29 am

Travatl,

First of all, try to refrain from name calling. It does not become you.

Secondly, I stand by my statement that the wages at FL and other low-fare airlines are far lower than at major airlines. You may have refuted that assertion based on first-year FA's, but the average employee wage at FL is much lower than the majors. Look it up. Any way you want to cut it, the wages at low-fare airlines are lower. Wages as a percentage of total expenses, wages per employee, you pick the measurement. Low-fare airlines will come out lower than the majors. Being that employee expenses are an airlines largest cost, the lower wages give the low-fare airlines a significant advantage. You can argue all you want, and even insult me, but that will not change the facts that I have posted. And yes, they are facts.
 
BR715-A1-30
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Fri Jun 07, 2002 6:37 am

Travatl.... Good words, from a good man.
(BTW -- It was nice meeting you in GPT)
 
redngold
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Fri Jun 07, 2002 6:38 am

If you value your life, fly Delta.

redngold
 
goingboeing
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Fri Jun 07, 2002 6:39 am

So, flydeltajets, we should all pay higher fares so that the "traditional" airlines can make a buck and afford those higher wages? Everything I've read on this and other boards, it seems that the folks working for the low fare carriers who are making money are happier with their jobs and their management than the big carriers paying mucho dollars more. And here I thought money bought happiness. Silly me.
 
travatl
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Fri Jun 07, 2002 6:50 am

Those are the facts? Please reference these "factual" pay-scale tables? And 717 captain that flies domestic only, does NOT expect to make what a 777 international captain is making. And I'm basing our f/a wages on the first FIVE years, not the first year. The scale was created when the airline was only four years old....it gets revamped to extend to 12 years this September. We offer highly competitive benefits and wages, and usually a better work environment than many majors. And there are plenty of EX-Delta flight attendants I work with that vehmently agree.

Yes, wages are among an airline's biggest expense. But when it takes A) a fourth of the employees to turn a 737 or 717 that it does to turn a 767, B) more individuals are cross-utilized (there is no "that's not MY job" at AirTran, Southwest, or jetBlue), C) there are no pilots flying "heavy" equipment, D) less ground equipment (and people to operate it) because narrow body aircraft don't need it, E) no extensive catering departments (nobody has to cook meals or board them on aircraft), F) no "Crown Room" lounge employees, etc. etc. etc. etc........that's where a huge payroll savings is realized. Not necessarily in lower wages. Simpler services mean fewer employees.

I have no beef with the major carriers whatsoever....in fact I respect all members of this industry. But those airlines that think because they are one of the four or five largest (and Delta is one of the WORST for this mentality), are somehow superior and therefore the employees are among the industry's "priveleged" make me laugh (sometimes I have to point and laugh). Tout your "facts" all you want, but as far I'm are concerned, you can blow your attitude out your APU exhaust.

Travis
 
flydeltasjets
Posts: 188
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Fri Jun 07, 2002 7:52 am

Critter,


Your points are basically irrelevant towards the cost discussion, and for the most part, incorrect. I will explain why.

First of all, my point was that an airlines largest expense is emplyee wages, and it is here that low fare airlines gain the largest advantage. You responded by pointing out some other areas which, from the tone of your post, you think are more significant than salaries. You are mistaken, and I will show you why, using comparisons between Delta and airtran. However, you can use just about any major and any low-cost airline, and get similar numbers. These numbers come from the annual reports. It is public information, and easy to obtain. You might want to read them a little before your next post.

You mentioned that airtran saves money because of a fuel-efficient fleet. While I grant you that the 717 is a cool airplane, it does not quite give you a cost advantage on fuel. In 2001, delta hedged fuel, and as a result, spent an average of 68.6 cents per gallon. Airtran, on the other hand, spent 93.85 cents per gallon. Fuel made up 11.7% of Delta's total expenses, while fuel made up 22.14% of airtran's. As you see, airtran does not have a cost advatage because of fuel. As a matter of fact, Delta does.

You also mentioned that the fact that airtran bought inexpensive airplanes gave them a financial and cost advantage over Delta. First of all, that is not necessarily true due to higher maintanence costs of older airplanes. Secondly, no matter how cheap the airplanes are, airtran leveraged themselves very heavily to get them. As a result, their debt to equity ratio is 7.91 (ouch). Delta's is 2.77 (not to good either, but a lot better than 7.91). As a result, airtran does not enjoy a cost advantage on interest payments, either, as you assert. Delta has a cost advantage here, too.

You speak of a high percentage of passengers booking through FL's website. That is correct, and you are correct that that does save money. Not as much as you think, however. They still have to pay high CRS (computer reservation fees), and Delta has significantly cut TA commissions. Also, we are selling a lot through Delta.com. Not as much as FL, but we are catching up. As a matter of fact, when you add advertising costs to distribution costs (what I believe represents to total cost of selling a ticket), you will find that both airlines spend roughly 7% of total expenses. Not much of a cost saving here.

I will grant you that there are other cost saving factors, but none are enormously significant.

So how does airtran and others enjoy such a huge cost advantage? Well, I go back to my original statement, for which I took so much heat. They pay their employees less. In 2001, employee salaries and related costs made up 39.56% of Delta's total expenses. At airtran, only 25.27% of total expenses were spent on employees. It is is a difference, and it is significant. I will say it again, salaries are an airlines largest cost (by far), and low fare airlines pay much less in salary than the majors do. It is for this reason that they have such a cost advantage, and for this reason that they are able to offer such low fares. To assume otherwise is naive.

That is why I started posting on this topic in the first place. While the consumers love the low fares, I thought more people should know just how these airlines can afford to offer them. Most won't care. Some will.

That being said, Critter, I would advise you to tone down your responses a bit. I have yet to start the "trash talk" ( I can and will if I have to), I don't think that I am "making a fool of myself," and I certainly think that I have done my homework. The airline industry is very interesting to me, it is how I make my living, and I have done a lot of reading on the subject. I still have a lot to learn, but I do consider myself somewhat knowledgeable regarding the airlines and their finances.

I would suggest that it is you who need to do some homework.



 
BR715-A1-30
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Fri Jun 07, 2002 8:35 am

TRAVATL: I could have said the same, but you said it alot better than I did. I would have gotten it all wrong.

AIRTRAN RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
txagkuwait
Posts: 1388
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Fri Jun 07, 2002 8:43 am

I have to take exception with FlyDeltasJets (which i refuse to do, incidentally).

He or she said, and i quote:>>I will say it again, salaries are an airlines largest cost (by far), and low fare airlines pay much less in salary than the majors do. It is for this reason that they have such a cost advantage, and for this reason that they are able to offer such low fares. To assume otherwise is naive.<<

He used Delta as an example, stating that 39 some odd percent of their costs were attributable to employees. I don't quibble with that.

Not all low fare carriers are created equal.

Southwest Airlines Co., last time I checked, was a low fare carrier.

During the 1st Quarter of 2002, 36.15% of their costs went for employee salaries and benefits.

That isn't radically different than Delta's 39%.

In fact......my suggestion to the original poster as to who to fly from Dallas to Tampa....is to actually fly from DALLAS (rather than the godforsaken prairie out by Ft Worth) to Tampa.

Internet specials. Double credit. Go DAL-MSY/MSY-TPA/TPA-MSY/MSY-DAL.

You can do it for $204.

Not only do you get 4 flights out of the deal, booking on the internet with that itinerary gets you exactly halfway towards earning a free RT anyplace WN goes. (ie...more than just Midland/Odessa)

And just think of the equipment variety on Southwest.....you can go on 737s, 737s, 737s, or maybe even 737s.





 
baec777
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RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Fri Jun 07, 2002 8:52 am

Delta Nonstop
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © AirNikon


DFW-TPA
Flight DL 816 - Delta Air Lines
Aircraft 757
Depart Dallas/Fort Worth, Dallas/Fort Worth Intl Apt
Dep. Time 01:20pm Jun 06
Arrive Tampa/St. Petersburg, Tampa International Apt
Arr. Time 04:51pm Jun 06
Travel Time 2 hours 31 mins Total Stops None

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Delta Nonstop
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Photo © Rob Simmons


TPA-DFW
Flight DL 1235 - Delta Air Lines
Aircraft 757
Depart Tampa/St. Petersburg, Tampa International Apt
Dep. Time 06:35pm Jun 06
Arrive Dallas/Fort Worth, Dallas/Fort Worth Intl Apt
Arr. Time 08:06pm Jun 06
Travel Time 2 hours 31 mins Total Stops None

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baec
 
flydeltasjets
Posts: 188
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2001 4:14 am

RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Fri Jun 07, 2002 8:56 am

Travel,

I do not have access to your pay scales, so I cannot do an accurate comparison. I would guess, however, that our people are paid more in virtually every position at the airline. Do I have the scales to back this up? No. Neither do you (I don't think). If you do, I would be interested in seeing the comparison.

My facts come from annual reports, and they are posted in my earlier post. All of your points explaining why your employee costs are lower neglect the fact that while bigger airplanes use more people, they actually cost less on a CASM basis. There are more seats to spread the costs over. If your point were correct, your employee costs as a percentage of ASM's would be as high or higher than ours, as you have fewer seat miles. Unfortunately, employee costs only make up 26.05% of your CASM. As a matter of fact, Delta flew 1,847,962 seat miles per employee in 2001, airtran flew 1,485,853 seat miles per employee. That refutes your notion that it is because of your small and efficient workforce that your employee costs are a smaller percantage than ours. We get more seat miles out of each employee. We also get more revenue per employee, $173,487/person for Delta in 2001, $151,173/person for airtran.

Listen, this is not worth it. I am not attempting to insult you, I was simply pointing out an economic reality. Delta averaged $76,550 per employee in salary and benefits in 2001. Airtran averaged $36,150. That is from the annual reports of both carriers (total employee costs divided by total employees). You can try to pretend that your cost advantage comes from other avenues, but you are fooling yourself if you don't believe that the bulk of it comes from lower employee salaries.

I am not judging your airline or your employees. I am not arguing that money buys happiness. I don't have any opinion at all about whose employees are happier. I also don't have a comment about the which airline pilots would rather work for. I have my ideas, but I will leave that for each reader to make his own conclusion. I will say that we had a few airtran pilots in my new-hire class at Delta. I have yet to hear of a Delta guy leaving for airtran. Perhaps some do. I don't have that information.

All I did was to point out from where the cost savings come, and let a few people know why some airlines are able to offer such low fares. I thought it was interesting.

To answer goingboeing's question, you can fly whatever airline you want. That is completely up to you. I am not trying to change anyone's travel choices, and I am not trying to insult anyone. If you like airtran, than enjoy them. I personally think that our pay allows us to attract some very talented people (I slipped through the cracks somehow!), and I think that is worth a couple of extra dollars on the fare. I know many will disagree with me.

I am not really in the mood for a flame war, and I am not trying to start one. If I have insulted anyone, I apologize. That was not my intent. I was simply attempting to discuss airline financial issues. I find that very few people I meet realize why low fare carriers are able to offer such low fares. I thought some might be interested. I guess I was wrong.

 
flydeltasjets
Posts: 188
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2001 4:14 am

RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Fri Jun 07, 2002 9:21 am

TxAg,

Southwest is much more generous than most low fare airlines, but to be fair, we need to compare apples to apples. I was using full-year figures. I don't have the first quarter numbers at hand, so I would prefer to continue using full year. In 2001, DAL employee salaries made up 39.56% of total expenses. At SWA, only 33.42% of costs were salaries. Over 6% is a pretty significant difference, and quite a cost advantage.

On average, SWA spent $54,000 in wages and benefits for each employee in 2001. Delta spent $76,000 per employee.

I stand by my point that the largest (not the only, just the largest) advantage that low fare carriers have is that they pay their employees less than a traditional major.

Maybe they should. I am not trying to get into THAT argument. I was only pointing out an important difference between the two business models. A difference that makes me nervous for the future of my profession.

Thanks for the discussion, and I hope someday you change your mind about Delta.
 
AA737-823
Topic Author
Posts: 5559
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2000 11:10 am

Txagkuwait

Fri Jun 07, 2002 11:04 am

Hey Tex-

I cannot find a way to fly WN for the fare you listed. How have you got that? I tried them already a few weeks ago, but gave up when the friend fly free thing went out.....

The best price I can find is a bit higher- their best prices are only available on flights that won't allow me time to connect thru MSY

Randy

By the way, thank everyone for your help... and the interesting ethic battle. I have not yet made the decision.
 
txagkuwait
Posts: 1388
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 1999 7:39 am

RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Fri Jun 07, 2002 11:34 am

I don;t recall you saying the exact date, but here is the itinerary I priced:


Sat Aug 03 WN 2388 LV DAL 0810 AR MSY 0925
Sat Aug 03 WN 2372 LV MSY 1110 AR TPA 1340

Tues Aug 13 WN 63 LV TPA 1845 AR MSY 1925
Tues Aug 13 WN 2432 LV MSY 2115 AR DAL 2235

Base fare on the DAL-MSY legs $61 each way ($122 RT)
Base fare on the MSY-TPA legs $41 each way ($82 RT)
Total base fare $204
Total security and segment tax $35.50
Total charges $239.50

Booked on the internet you would get (4x2=8) flight credits towards a Rapid Rewards ticket.....flight credits accumulate over a one year period, 16 are required to earn a free trip someplace.

 
Guest

RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Fri Jun 07, 2002 11:44 am

A couple flaws in your argument, flydeltasjets:

1) AirTran(and its predecessor) has been around 9 years. That means that the highest seniority people there(and it won't be that many, since J7 was a small airline at first) SHOULD make less than the highest seniority people at DL(35-40 years). So DL has tons of people with more seniority than the people at FL.

2) Average employee costs don't mean diddly when comparing these two airlines on a systemwide basis. In addition to what I said in point one, those average costs include all those widebody captains who make well over what a captain for a 120 passenger jet would make(at both Delta and AirTran).

3) The systemwide ASM/RPMs/employee argument has a large flaw in it. That doesn't take into account the widebody flying that is done with just as many pilots as the 717. If there is a DL 777 on ATL-MCO(est. 400 miles), along with an AirTran 717, the 777 will fly more ASMs/employee than AirTran's 717. On a similar note, the same can be said for international flying. A DL flight flying 4000 miles to go ATL-LGW will let the crew stay on for as long as it takes an AirTran DC9 pilot to fly multiple hops and end up with a total of 2000 miles in that same day as the 777 crew flying ATL-LGW.
 
Jonathan L
Posts: 146
Joined: Mon May 07, 2001 4:35 am

RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Fri Jun 07, 2002 12:00 pm

I flew the 764 between Atlanta and Tampa last March, and I thought the legroom was fine. It was noticeably better than the MD-88 I was on the leg before.
 
flydeltasjets
Posts: 188
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2001 4:14 am

RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Fri Jun 07, 2002 12:24 pm

Low fare,

All of your points are correct. I posted the ASM comparison in response to a post telling me that our employee costs were higher simply because we needed more employees. I understand that our ASM's are higher because we fly bigger airplanes farther. That does not change the fact that FL's employee wages expressed as a percentage of CASM is still far lower than ours. If anything, the fact that we are able to spread the costs over many ASM's should serve to lower our CASM, and therefore raise our employee costs as a percentage of CASM.

Your point about seniority neglects the fact that our contract reaches max pay at 12 years of seniority. In other words, a 12 year 737 captain makes the same as a 35 year 737 captain. Therefore, the higher seniority of our guys is not as much of a factor as one might think.

I agree that our 777 guys affect the average. If you like, I would love to compare the rates for similar airplanes, similar jobs, and similar seniority between the two airlines. I would be willing to bet that in virtually every case, the Delta payrate is substantially higher. In the pilot's case, I don't have to bet. I have seen the rates, and ours are far higher. This has a very significant affect on a company's costs, which was my point in the first place.

I guess this is getting silly.

I hope that the AA737-832 enjoys his flight on whichever airline he chooses.
 
peterd
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2001 8:22 pm

RE: Which Airline Should I Take- Delta Or AirTran?

Fri Jun 07, 2002 12:51 pm

Must be mad to contribute !! Anyhow, Yes I have flown both. The answer you want depends on what you want ? If it is to get from a to b then go DL nonstop, if you haven't been on a 717 then take Air Tran. Air Tran's cabin crew are also much more amusing than Delta's. Neither offer any sort of service, so little to choose from. DL are infinitessimally less likely to kill you (better mtce & training can be expected from a major carrier) but my experience of Air Tran is they have great pilots too (ex service mostly, and probably 10-15 years younger than their DL counterparts). If you assume everything else is equal and that the trip is a jolly then go via the airports that will be most interesting for you. Of course you could go DL one way and come back air Tran or vica versa then you get the best of both worlds !! I also have to agree with the guy who said support Air Tran because if they weren't on the route it would be several 00 $$ more (ATL/BUF springs to mind). In short, what is your buying criteria ??

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