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Max Q
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Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:24 am

Despite working for one of the other big three major Airlines have to concede that Delta is running an operation that is really unprecedented in the US.


Almost every commercial carrier has had it's 'time in the sun' for various different reasons, have pleased the customer, employees and made good profits.


But Delta is really a quantum leap beyond that, their reputation is unparelleled, management is nothing less than superb and their profits, well they are so good they don't resemble the airline business.


I hope this is the future for the US airline biz, it really is better for the consumer in the long run, AA look like they may be following along these lines but UA is simply a disaster.
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EA CO AS
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:57 am

Quoting Max Q (Thread starter):



Despite working for one of the other big three major Airlines have to concede that Delta is running an operation that is really unprecedented in the US.

Is it, though? Or is DL just so massive that it simply appears that way?

I ask not as a fanboy of one carrier or basher of another, but is it just a matter of perspective due to DL's extreme size that we've never seen results like they've posted?

I mean, WN has been consistently profitable far longer, and has a better overall following. AS has been quietly turning out industry-best or near-best returns on invested capital, and it's due to their "Alaska 2010" plan conceived in 2003 that a set ROIC is even mentioned as a metric carriers strive to achieve now.

Quoting Max Q (Thread starter):
their reputation is unparelleled

Again, is it? Or is it just unparalleled in terms of no other legacy juggernaut has achieved this before?

Do not get me wrong, I think DL is a fine carrier and what they've achieved since 2008 is just incredible - but is it just that they leveraged their massive size earlier than others have?
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Independence76
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:01 am

I feel this post sounds more like a Delta advertisement than anything, but there's something worth noting in all of this. Delta, in its own way, is trying to find innovation and better its reputation for the sake of it. They have a team of people that appear to be paranoid about playing catch-up in a few years time and they, and as a result, have one of the healthiest approaches to the product within the US airline market.

In comparison to the other two carriers, I do not believe AA had a culture even during Horton's management that comprised of a team that truly cared about innovation. Their highly improved hard product is a result of an essential bankruptcy restructuring and wake-up call to their ancient and disgraceful cabin product. The rebranding was nothing more than a shift of image to mask the continued problems with their cabin service and management culture (at the time). While it appears it was marketed and developed correctly, many mistakes were made internally that would likely be branded as "dysfunctional" if they were more well-known (for example, it took two months to completely revise the graphic guidelines because what FutureBrand supplied was very limited in application (especially physical applications) and resulted in dozens of issues post-reveal). AA changed because they needed to - not because they wanted to.

The story at UA can be summed up in the word "uninspired." Their management has slowly tumbled through a merger that ignored the cultural warning signs and it resulted in an uninterested and unhappy workforce by the end of it. UA is run by a team of people who are focused on running a comfortable office environment - not a successful airline. Much like the team at AA, they knew nothing about brand equity and historic worldwide appeal. The mistakes keep coming in both experience and financial mediums. As we all know, it's time for Smisek to go.


In the midst of this, DL is an airline that shows an effort to strive for competence and setting a standard around carriers which have difficulty caring for one. What must go up must come down, so DL is only in the spotlight for a limited time (predictably), but for now, they're different and confident. That's the best outlook that you can get from a legacy carrier nowadays. Congrats to the DL team and their efforts.
 
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usdcaguy
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:48 am

Quoting Max Q (Thread starter):
Delta is running an operation that is really unprecedented in the US.


This is only true insofar as one talks about Delta's mainline operation. DL inflight, reservations, technology and reliability seem to have improved greatly in recent years. However, I will say when flying some Connection carriers, especially EV and flights operated on a CRJ-200 or 700, I have frequently experienced issues with crew availability, indifferent customer service, mechanical delays and poor communication about new departure times that I have rarely experienced on DL mainline. Although carriers like EV and OO are not considered to be "Delta" by the government, many passengers could care less, as they believe they are flying DL, and operational difficulties could reflect poorly on the DL brand. I'm not sure DL will ever have the control they need to get the Connection carriers up to speed, but doing so would be "unprecedented" in my book.
 
commavia
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:40 pm

I think Delta is, in fact, a "whole new kind of airline." Delta cracked the code on a successful U.S. network carrier business model for the post-9/11, post-bankruptcy, post-consolidation environment. With visionary leaders and motivated employees, Delta is leading the way and creating a "blueprint" for other airlines to more or less follow. Delta has done things - operational, financial, strategic - that have reshaped the market landscape. This is similar to how, arguably, AA lead the way in creating the prototype successful U.S. network carrier in the tumultuous post-deregulation period of the early-to-mid 1980s, by also introducing multiple game-changing innovations including sophisticated revenue management and AAdvantage.

Now, all that being said, what I disagree with is the implicit suggestion - read often here on A.net and elsewhere - that somehow Delta has created a huge lead for itself and then shut the proverbial door behind it, locking in place a permanent advantage going forward. I find this highly shortsighted and unrealistic given the industry's history, and I suspect Delta's management team is far too smart to actually believe this. The reality is that, just like with AA 30 years ago, while the innovations Delta is introducing are quite novel, they're also - at least in the long-run - relatively easy for a competitor to emulate. There isn't much I see Delta doing that I don't think AA, United or, to a certain extent, Southwest couldn't or won't be doing eventually.

What those competitors will have to, though, is emulate the incredible strategic alignment and execution that Delta has exhibited - not just doing smart things, but doing them all at the right time and for the right reasons that all fit together for the right strategic objective. (A good example is Delta's masterful long-term fleet strategy that combined the 717s, large RJs and new pilot contract simultaneously.) I think this, more than anything else, is really what has set Delta apart in recent years. But again, I don't think AA and United are in any way structurally incapable of that type of strategic alignment and execution - we'll just have to see if they get there.
 
bobnwa
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:09 pm

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 1):
I mean, WN has been consistently profitable far longer, and has a better overall following

"WN has a better overall following" What do you base that statement on? I believe that DL has more frequent flyers signed up and carries more passengers than WN quite regularly. What measurement are you using?
 
bkflyguy
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:37 pm

I will say that DL seems to have a plan for its company and its operations/brand and is executing that plan quite well.

As an aside, DL stock trades at less than 3x's earnings. Its competitors are all 15x's earnings or more. Seems like quite a buying opportunity to me (even with the run the stock has had from $8)
 
EricR
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:44 pm

To sum it up, DL made a lot of smart business decisions since its BK. When DL exited BK, it said one of its main objectives was to focus more on international flying to bolster its bottom line. In addition, DL did a fantastic job of merging NW into DL and taking the strong points of both airlines, while eliminating the weak points of both airlines.

For example, DL has already eliminated two redundant hubs in MEM and CVG and funneled passengers through their other hubs. The cost savings alone should be significant and the hub closures will help further reinforce or bolster their remaining hubs.

Furthermore, launching TPAC flights from SEA was a clever move. Flights from SEA are closer to Asia than SFO or LAX. Therefore, this gives DL an edge over other U.S. based as the flights result in less fuel burn , less labor hours (the two highest costs for airlines), and the ability to serve Asia with smaller 763s.

DL also seems wiling to test ideas that other legacies shy away from such as revamping their FF program to focus more on $ paid instead of miles flown.

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 1):

Is it, though? Or is DL just so massive that it simply appears that way?

How does running a good operation (which was the OP's point) have anything to do with size? If anything, the larger the airline, the more difficult it is to run a good operation.
 
rwy04lga
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:53 pm

Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 3):
many passengers could care less

'Couldn't care less'. By saying 'could care less', you're actually saying the opposite of what you mean.

I think Delta chose the right airline, NWA, to merge with/acquire. The former NWA coworkers I work with brought a lot of knowledge and experience. A few had misgivings about becoming 'Delta', but I see NONE of that AT ALL any more...some are my best friends. I think that because the merger went as smoothly as it did, the combined airline turned out to be TOP NOTCH. I don't think that would have been possible without NWA's contribution.
Just accept that some days, you're the pigeon, and other days the statue
 
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jfklganyc
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:57 pm

Delta was always a solid airline with a solid product.

They just expanded it to a greater scale which is no easy feat.
 
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hufftheweevil
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:37 pm

Delta isn't "a whole new kind of airline"....it's just "a whole different kind of airline"....always has been. What's the difference? The Spirit, of course!

Quoting Independence76 (Reply 2):
I feel this post sounds more like a Delta advertisement than anything,

Nah, an ad would go more like this:

Nowhere is it written that an airline lives forever.
Even some of the great ones have come and gone.
We can ignore your needs and face the same fate.
Or.....we can change.

Quoting Independence76 (Reply 2):
Delta, in its own way, is trying to find innovation and better its reputation for the sake of it. They have a team of people that appear to be paranoid about playing catch-up in a few years time and they, and as a result, have one of the healthiest approaches to the product within the US airline market.

I agree with this statement, except that I don't think it's "for the sake of it". They are constantly changing for the customer's sake and, in return, a profit.
Huff
 
RDUDDJI
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:39 pm

Perspective from a primarily DL flyer (formerly primarily AA, then WN), but I fly whomever when timing/$ work better.

I have to admit, when I first heard DL was acquiring NW, I thought it was a huge mistake. Two companies with very different cultures. I really thought DL might be better teaming with CO or UA. I was wrong. The DL/NW merger, while not perfect, has gone very well (compared to others). DL has cut the fat (sorry MEM/CVG) and focused on areas it wants to grow its business (NYC/LAX/SEA). Also, they've gotten away from connecting TPAC traffic in NRT in favor of flying it direct from DTW/SEA. There's been some mixed results, but overall I think that's been a great strategy. They've invested in their hard product. They've indicated they don't want to be a "guinea pig" for new aircraft technology, instead preferring to use "older" more tested tech. Many may not agree with that, but it's so far been a good strategy for DL.

Quoting commavia (Reply 4):
I think Delta is, in fact, a "whole new kind of airline." Delta cracked the code on a successful U.S. network carrier business model for the post-9/11, post-bankruptcy, post-consolidation environment. With visionary leaders and motivated employees, Delta is leading the way and creating a "blueprint" for other airlines to more or less follow. Delta has done things - operational, financial, strategic - that have reshaped the market landscape. This is similar to how, arguably, AA lead the way in creating the prototype successful U.S. network carrier in the tumultuous post-deregulation period of the early-to-mid 1980s, by also introducing multiple game-changing innovations including sophisticated revenue management and AAdvantage.

This. It's amazing how dominant AA was in the 80's. However, like Kodak, they are a textbook example of what happens when you stop innovating and get complacent. It's not a model for success. AA will have an uphill battle to get back, but they are fortunate that the management team at UA is so inept.  
Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 1):
I ask not as a fanboy of one carrier or basher of another

Riiiight  
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alfa164
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:43 pm

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 1):
I ask not as a fanboy of one carrier or basher of another,

Maybe you should go back and modify some of your previous Delta-is-the-devil, Alaska-is-a-gift from-god posts...   
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Mir
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:54 pm

Quoting Max Q (Thread starter):
Almost every commercial carrier has had it's 'time in the sun' for various different reasons, have pleased the customer, employees and made good profits.


But Delta is really a quantum leap beyond that, their reputation is unparelleled, management is nothing less than superb and their profits, well they are so good they don't resemble the airline business.

Not really. This is just Delta's time in the sun. Right now, they're the best airline in the country. Will that still be true ten years from now? I'd say the chances are about even that it isn't. The industry is a very fickle one.

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 9):
Delta was always a solid airline with a solid product.

Not always. They went through some pretty bad times back in the late 90s-early 2000s (which, IMO, was United's time in the sun - things have obviously changed there).

-Mir
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TW870
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:10 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 13):
Right now, they're the best airline in the country. Will that still be true ten years from now? I'd say the chances are about even that it isn't.

I think this is the smartest question. Delta has clearly beat the competition in adjusting to the post-9/11 environment, where the LCCs made inflation-adjusted airfares drop rapidly in most markets. Reading the tea leaves that upgauging would help minimize costs and maximize revenue, Delta made some particularly smart decisions - most notably the WN 717 deal.

In the last major paradigm shift - deregulation in 1978 - it was United who was the innovator. Getting way out in front of American and TWA in building a Chicago hub, and then complimenting that hub with other well-placed hubs and a lucrative transcon business made them a juggernaut in the 1980s, and allowed them to buy up pieces of failing competitors at fantastic prices. But United took a terrible journey through the 2000s, and gave away all of that innovation.

Delta has a big advantage over United right now. But they should read United's history as a cautionary tale.
 
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:05 pm

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 1):
I mean, WN has been consistently profitable far longer,

And DL was the standard for that BEFORE WN came along. Just a historic reminder. WN doesn't nearly look as good as they have in the past, now, do they?

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 1):
but is it just a matter of perspective due to DL's extreme size that we've never seen results like they've posted?

Isn't UA more massive than DL?

Quoting hufftheweevil (Reply 10):
Delta isn't "a whole new kind of airline"....it's just "a whole different kind of airline"....always has been. What's the difference? The Spirit, of course!

I think more than being "new" as such, I think DL is evolving from what it used to be. Core values are still there, just different folks running the ship. I can remember reading an article in, I believe, in Business Week, in the 90s where the airline analysts were saying that DL had to be more aggressive in the way it did things if they were to maintain their profitiability. When I hired on in '71, customer service was #1, cost cutting was #2. The legacy of C.E. Woolman was still very much in evidence even though he had died 5 years before. I think there's still some of that legacy around and I hope some of the current management can maintain that, even though many of them weren't there to experience it and had never worked under that legacy.

[Edited 2014-04-27 09:22:45]
"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
 
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mayor
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:21 pm

dupe post


XXXXXXXXXXXX

[Edited 2014-04-27 09:23:30]
"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
 
AADFWFlyer
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:47 pm

Quoting bobnwa (Reply 5):

Yes, indeed - where is this noted as WN having a 'better' loyal following? AA's, DL's and UA's fly more passengers than WN quite regularly, and to far more places, with loyalty to their particular airline as well as following.
 
UAL-Fan
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:07 pm

I think much of it has to do with minimal Union meddling in their Business. Management is able to make good decisions for the Airline without having to worry about Unions fighting with them at every turn.
 
CV880
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:09 pm

Quoting alfa164 (Reply 12):

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 9):
Delta was always a solid airline with a solid product.

Not always. They went through some pretty bad times back in the late 90s-early 2000s (which, IMO, was United's time in the sun - things have obviously changed there).

-Mir

Delta was a great airline back in the 70's when it's competition was EA, continued to be a great Carrier after deregulation in the early 80's. It acquired WA in 1987, but somehow managed to eliminate much of what was acquired except the SLC Hub. The demise of Delta beginning in the 90's was the result of the acquisition of PA's European assets. It was a total disaster and the Airline has nothing left of what it received from that combination except for a few select "trophy" African routes. None of what was acquired in Europe remains. The computer technology was in the dark ages until Mullin came on board, but overspending on salaries, facilities and equipment + 9/11/01 sent DL into inevitable BK where much of the debt was erased. Anderson & Company have done a great job of turning Delta around, but to stay on top of the "game", DL needs to remain proactive to the needs of the consumer which has always been a difficult task in the airline industry. Load factors seem to be at an all-time high in the industry and that usually coincides with customer dissatisfaction. It's refreshing to see DL being the first to change old habits rather than playing catch-up.
 
ldvaviation
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:59 pm

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 11):
A will have an uphill battle to get back, but they are fortunate that the management team at UA is so inept.

AA had a better profit margin than DL last quarter.

Quoting UAL-Fan (Reply 18):
I think much of it has to do with minimal Union meddling in their Business. Management is able to make good decisions for the Airline without having to worry about Unions fighting with them at every turn.

That's a big part of it. Docile employees.

Quoting TW870 (Reply 14):
Delta has a big advantage over United right now. But they should read United's history as a cautionary tale.

Things tend to even out over time. Just look at the European example. A few years ago, LH was the Delta of Europe and seemed to have everything figured out. Now, BA with its one big structural advantage in fortress LHR is in a better position.
 
777STL
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:09 pm

DL is doing a lot of things right, but I'd hesitate to call them the masters of the universe that this overdramatic thread seems to suggest.

From a passenger's perspective, I dislike their hubs, their product isn't any better than anyone else's, and their loyalty program(Skypesos) is leading the race to the bottom.

But yeah, they've got shiny new airplanes, smiling employees and a healthy profit margin.
PHX based
 
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mayor
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:20 pm

Quoting 777stl (Reply 21):
But yeah, they've got shiny new airplanes, smiling employees and a healthy profit margin.

Which, in the long run, are better than the three that you dislike.



Exactly what is it that you dislike about their hubs?
"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
 
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coronado
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:27 pm

Quoting 777stl (Reply 21):
shiny new airplanes,

I think 'shiny ''experienced' planes' is a more accurate description of Delta's fleet strategy.
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alfa164
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:27 pm

Quoting LDVAviation (Reply 20):
That's a big part of it. Docile employees.

Having employees and management who are willing to work together - for the betterment of everyone - hardly makes them "docile employees".

Perhaps seeing the results of the animosity between UA and its managemant and, in the past, AA and its managemant, has hit home with some of the other carriers. We can only hope...
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mayor
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:34 pm

Quoting LDVAviation (Reply 20):
That's a big part of it. Docile employees.

I doubt if anyone would have called me "docile" when I was working. I prefer to think that we were loyal, worked together and, for the most part, supported what the company was doing.
"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
 
AA94
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:44 pm

Quoting Independence76 (Reply 2):
I feel this post sounds more like a Delta advertisement than anything, but there's something worth noting in all of this. Delta, in its own way, is trying to find innovation and better its reputation for the sake of it. They have a team of people that appear to be paranoid about playing catch-up in a few years time and they, and as a result, have one of the healthiest approaches to the product within the US airline market.

  

Quoting commavia (Reply 4):
Now, all that being said, what I disagree with is the implicit suggestion - read often here on A.net and elsewhere - that somehow Delta has created a huge lead for itself and then shut the proverbial door behind it, locking in place a permanent advantage going forward. I find this highly shortsighted and unrealistic given the industry's history, and I suspect Delta's management team is far too smart to actually believe this. The reality is that, just like with AA 30 years ago, while the innovations Delta is introducing are quite novel, they're also - at least in the long-run - relatively easy for a competitor to emulate. There isn't much I see Delta doing that I don't think AA, United or, to a certain extent, Southwest couldn't or won't be doing eventually.

  

I completely agree with the assertion that Delta is in, by far, one of the most solid all-around states in the American airline industry today. They have a solid hard and soft product, strong marketing, and the passion that moves it, not to mention a healthy financial state.

With that said, I would agree with commavia's sentiments above. I believe that Delta is perhaps better at timing than anything else. They've simply managed to put all the important together in a cohesive fashion while their primary competitors are in a time of transition (AA), and a time of introspection/inconsistency (UA). That's not to say that they aren't a quality airline, but rather that they've succeeded in being the most stable airline in a more turbulent industry environment.

There is a saying that my dad used to say whenever I was either experiencing great success or great failure: "This too shall pass." Delta's time may be now, but they've not gotten a monopoly on a good experience by any means.
 
TW870
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:02 pm

Quoting LDVAviation (Reply 20):
That's a big part of it. Docile employees.

Not necessarily. United staked its top position in the late-1970s and early-1980s all while having a heavily mobilized workforce. The machinists struck United during the summer of 1979, and the pilots and flight attendants walked out together in the spring of 1985. During that time the company was bolstering its position in core markets - and especially at ORD. Nothing about the pilots strike stopped United managers from being first in line for the PA Pacific Routes.

Yes, Delta's labor relations situation is highly unique. But it does not - in and of itself - guarantee a better overall business strategy.
 
RDUDDJI
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:17 pm

Quoting LDVAviation (Reply 20):
AA had a better profit margin than DL last quarter.

If you're talking combined (US/AA) numbers. AA also lost almost $2 billion in both 2012 and 2013. Statistics out of context sure are fun...   
Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
 
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mayor
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:20 pm

Quoting TW870 (Reply 27):
Yes, Delta's labor relations situation is highly unique. But it does not - in and of itself - guarantee a better overall business strategy.

But it IS right at the top of the list.
"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
 
jayunited
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:16 pm

Quoting UAL-Fan (Reply 18):
I think much of it has to do with minimal Union meddling in their Business. Management is able to make good decisions for the Airline without having to worry about Unions fighting with them at every turn.

Then explain AA/US success in Q1 of this year they were just as successful as DL.
It's easy to blame unions for every thing but the new AA is heavily unionized as well and yet they were very successful. Unions my be part of UA's problems but they are by no means the root cause of UA's problems. Nor is the lack of unions responsible for DL's success. There are a lot of reasons why DL continues to succeed month after month after month their nonunion workforce (I know the pilots are union) are only a piece of the puzzle that makes up DL's success. In order to be successful you need to have a plan. And from what I can see every since DL exited BK they have stuck to their plan for success and now the plan is paying off to the tune of record profits. Whereas if you look at UA there is no real plan in place, UA comes up with a plan but it changes every few months.
 
AirCalSNA
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:03 pm

But, specifically, what is Delta doing differently from the other big three? Without the specifics this seems like a fluff piece.
 
ozark1
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:17 pm

Quoting UAL-Fan (Reply 18):
I think much of it has to do with minimal Union meddling in their Business. Management is able to make good decisions for the Airline without having to worry about Unions fighting with them at every turn.

This, in my opinion, is one big reason for Delta's success. To think that they were able to combine a hugely radical and highly unionized company with one where only the pilots were represented is phenomenal. True the election was close where the flight attendants were concerned (correct me if am wrong), but I have heard no complaints since AFA failed to organize them. Something must work very well there in terms of how they deal with employee issues. I admire them, greatly, for achieving that, and I firmly believe that the lack of union animosity creates an environment where everyone strives toward a common goal--which is customer satisfaction--as opposed to constantly thinking management is out to get them. After years of practically constant fighting between union and non-union factions of my company, I have realized that the atmosphere won't change prior to my retirement. I wish DL nothing but continued success.
 
Max Q
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:28 pm

Quoting AirCalSNA (Reply 31):
But, specifically, what is Delta doing differently from the other big three? Without the specifics this seems like a fluff piece.

I can think of a few:


Integrating with NWA very successfully and making the most of the advantages this has given them.


Providing good, consistent customer service.


Thinking 'out of the box' in most aspects of their business :


Buying their own refinery.


Continuing operation of their MD80 / 90's saving billions in costs.


Purchasing used aircraft from all over the world and the 717's from Airtran / Sw that cost far less to buy and are still efficient to operate saving billions in costs rather than buying all new.


Paying down debt agressively, making for a healthy balance sheet and preparing for the inevitable 'bad times'


Good, consistent customer service.


Closing down inefficent hubs, building new ones successfully.



Did I mention customer service ?



Regular profit sharing for employees keeping them happy and in turn their customers.



Buying new Aircraft when necessary and when it makes sense economically, e.g the recent A330 purchase.



Bypassing NRT in some cases, recognizing people prefer non stop flights and modern aircraft have the performance to do this.



Most of all, happy employees keep their customers happy, no big mystery here but it's a lesson UA 'Management' doesn't seem to get.


So people keep coming back and this is one of the many reasons Dal is pulling in these spectacular and unprecedented profits.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
cmb320
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:30 pm

Quoting ozark1 (Reply 32):
This, in my opinion, is one big reason for Delta's success. To think that they were able to combine a hugely radical and highly unionized company with one where only the pilots were represented is phenomenal. True the election was close where the flight attendants were concerned (correct me if am wrong), but I have heard no complaints since AFA failed to organize them. Something must work very well there in terms of how they deal with employee issues. I admire them, greatly, for achieving that, and I firmly believe that the lack of union animosity creates an environment where everyone strives toward a common goal--which is customer satisfaction--as opposed to constantly thinking management is out to get them. After years of practically constant fighting between union and non-union factions of my company, I have realized that the atmosphere won't change prior to my retirement. I wish DL nothing but continued success.

There is quite a bit of animosity between the flight attendants at Delta and there is currently a union drive happening to gain representation by the IAM.
 
Max Q
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:35 pm

Quoting UAL-Fan (Reply 18):
I think much of it has to do with minimal Union meddling in their Business. Management is able to make good decisions for the Airline without having to worry about Unions fighting with them at every turn.

Completely disagree.


Unions keep management honest and are a major, major safety benefit in the Airline business.


Just one example, having a union allows Pilots to refuse being pressured to take unsafe actions for commercial reasons. They can do this knowing they have a legally binding contract that will stand up in court and management knows this.


What Delta is doing is working co-operatively with the unions, there's a big difference from what you describe.


I know it's popular to bash unions and blame them for all airline problems on A.Net but most of the time it's nonsense.


You should be grateful for the presence of unions in the airline business.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
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mayor
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:42 pm

Quoting cmb320 (Reply 34):
There is quite a bit of animosity between the flight attendants at Delta and there is currently a union drive happening to gain representation by the IAM.

I don't believe they'll be any more successful than the AFA was last time.
"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
 
cmb320
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:53 pm

Quoting mayor (Reply 36):
I don't believe they'll be any more successful than the AFA was last time.

Possibly. But I believe this coming summer will be the deciding factor. If it's anything like last year, Delta flight attendants WILL be unionized.
 
TW870
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:13 pm

Quoting mayor (Reply 29):
But it IS right at the top of the list.

No. In the 1970s, UA (union), AA (union), DL (non) all did a fantastic job of reading the global economic tea leaves and re-tooled their operations to build big, efficient hubs in core business markets. If AA wouldn't have bumped TW out of ORD and bumped BN out of DFW, for instance, they would not be the player they are today. The did all that with robust union contracts and work rules.

Likewise, DL had no contracts except for the pilots in the 2000s. But to survive the pressure from the LCCs, DL still had to carwash in bankruptcy. If non-union status allowed them unprecedented flexibility, they would not have needed to carwash.

Focusing on unions often creates a diversion from analysis of how managers actually manage.

Remember, in the summer of 1979, the United machinists were on strike and their 60 DC-10s were grounded. But United managers kept re-shaping the airline to make it the best positioned carrier after deregulation. People still have to be able to manage when things constrain the airline's agenda.
 
DXBDFWHGA
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:26 pm

IMO DL has the worst J product of the Big 3 US carriers.
 
questions
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:52 pm

Quoting DXBDFWHGA (Reply 39):
IMO DL has the worst J product of the Big 3 US carriers.

Please say more.
 
cmb320
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:53 pm

Quoting DXBDFWHGA (Reply 39):
IMO DL has the worst J product of the Big 3 US carriers.

LOL
 
questions
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:55 pm

Quoting cmb320 (Reply 37):
I believe this coming summer will be the deciding factor. If it's anything like last year, Delta flight attendants WILL be unionized.

Why? What happened last summer?
 
Thomaas
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:12 pm

Quoting Max Q (Reply 33):
I can think of a few:

Thinking 'out of the box' in most aspects of their business :


Purchasing used aircraft from all over the world and the 717's from Airtran / Sw that cost far less to buy and are still efficient to operate saving billions in costs rather than buying all new.


Good, consistent customer service.


Closing down inefficent hubs, building new ones successfully.


Bypassing NRT in some cases, recognizing people prefer non stop flights and modern aircraft have the performance to do this.


So people keep coming back and this is one of the many reasons Dal is pulling in these spectacular and unprecedented profits.

A few correction to be made here.

1) The strategy of buying used aircraft and so-called "proven" models is still not a proven one. We'll see if Delta remains as profitable if the price of oil increases significantly. There's a reason why companies want to acquire the newest frames as soon as they are announced, it usually puts them at a competitive advantage over a competitor that operates less efficient frames. It is known that the biggest costs airlines face is staffing and fuel, therefore it remains to be seen whether lower ownership costs end up making up for that difference.

2) Delta is nowhere near being first in terms of customer service in the US airline industry. Depending on what rankings you look at, Alaska, Jetblue and Southwest almost always rank higher.

3) It is too early to say whether Delta's "new" hubs are successful or not. It's New York operation is still loss making, Los Angeles seems to gain and lose service continually and most of the Seattle flying hasn't even started and it is already known that international is money losing. In any case, it is too early to say whether any of these are to be considered successful.

4) Bypassing Tokyo for more nonstop flights was always a no-brainer but I fail to see how this is to be considered "game-changing". United has been flying from multiple hubs to many destinations in Asia for ages, Delta was just late for the party.

All in all Delta is doing a great job but this thread is laughable at best. By the sounds of it they must have invented sliced bread or something.
*edited for typing mistakes*

[Edited 2014-04-27 16:14:42]
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:18 pm

Quoting Independence76 (Reply 2):

I feel this post sounds more like a Delta advertisement than anything, but there's something worth noting in all of this. Delta, in its own way, is trying to find innovation and better its reputation for the sake of it. They have a team of people that appear to be paranoid about playing catch-up in a few years time and they, and as a result, have one of the healthiest approaches to the product within the US airline market.

To me, one thing I notice about airlines is that certain management teams seem to take the idea that if they have this plan with a date on it, by that date the airline will be "complete" and will need no more major changes "for a while" or "until something comes up."

DL seems to have a culture of constant innovation and improvement. They are constantly working to see what the other guy is offering and offer something better. They are constantly addressing issues and implementing new products and processes. They don't have a vision of the airline as "we need to get this list of things done and then we're done." They're constantly adapting and changing.

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 11):
They've indicated they don't want to be a "guinea pig" for new aircraft technology, instead preferring to use "older" more tested tech. Many may not agree with that, but it's so far been a good strategy for DL.

But they're responding to that well by doing system-wide interior upgrades. That's something they got from NW, really. NW flew their planes until they practically could fly no more, but they looked brand-new on the inside. For example, if you stood in a NW DC-9 cabin, you had to be an expert to be able to tell if you were in a DC-9 or 717 (there were differences, but they were subtle). They'll be upgrading their fleet yet again. And they are looking to replace some aging types.

I'm currently a bit of a DL fanboy...but because they're earning it, in my eyes. If (and, as with all things, it is only a matter of time, fortune, and attrition) they start to slide, I'll cease to be a fanboy.

But for now, DL is my preferred airline when available, even though I live in a UA hub.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
rwy04lga
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:44 pm

Quoting UAL-Fan (Reply 18):
I think much of it has to do with minimal Union meddling in their Business. Management is able to make good decisions for the Airline without having to worry about Unions fighting with them at every turn.

Exactly!

Quoting LDVAviation (Reply 20):
AA had a better profit margin than DL last quarter.

The phrase is 'Show me the money', NOT 'show me the profit margin'.

Quoting LDVAviation (Reply 20):
That's a big part of it. Docile employees.

Says you. I'm FAR from docile.

Quoting Thomaas (Reply 43):

3 posts does not an expert make. NEXT!!!
Just accept that some days, you're the pigeon, and other days the statue
 
tigerotor77w
Posts: 198
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:46 am

Forgive my lack of familiarity, but what specifically is Delta doing that is astonishing?

I'm not particularly impressed with their flight attendants, their equipment isn't always superb (relative to which airlines is it?), and most important, their network isn't as convenient to me as Star's.

With the US-AA merger, I now have the opportunity to switch out of Star (my local airport is CHS, which is predominately Skyteam or OneWorld now), but from what I've experienced, there's nothing particularly compelling about Delta's route network or alliance that makes it outweigh the benefits of staying with Star.

This isn't an attack on Delta. I'm just curious what all the swooning is about. I'm not here to argue airline preferences; I am curious, however, what I'm missing!
 
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EA CO AS
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:50 am

Quoting bobnwa (Reply 5):
"WN has a better overall following" What do you base that statement on?

IIRC, WN has earned far more JD Power awards than DL, and DL doesn't routinely have cities actively campaigning for new service from them.

And this is coming from someone who much prefers DL to WN.

Quoting EricR (Reply 7):
How does running a good operation (which was the OP's point) have anything to do with size?

A large part of that overall "good operation" has to do with enjoying record profits, and those only came after the integration with and economies of scale that occurred with NW.

Quoting alfa164 (Reply 12):
Maybe you should go back and modify some of your previous Delta-is-the-devil, Alaska-is-a-gift from-god posts...

Oh grow up, I've never once said DL is a bad airline - far from it, I actually like DL. I just don't like the fact that they've chosen to turn their back on a mutually-beneficial arrangement in favor of openly targeting AS and potentially threatening the livelihoods of 13,000 Alaska Air Group employees.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
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RyanairGuru
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Mon Apr 28, 2014 1:19 am

Quoting tigerotor77w (Reply 46):
but what specifically is Delta doing that is astonishing?

Innovation, in a word.

What Anderson is doing at Delta reminds me of Bethune at Continental in the mid 1990s. Constantly focussing on doing just that little bit better at each thing until you are a lot better over all. Obviously Anderson didn't start at rock bottom like Bethune did, but DL was recently out of BK and had just merged with NW. Look at UA/CO and WN/FL to see that mergers often aren't much fun in this industry, so Anderson and his team did an incredible job there.

You are right that DL isn't redefining the aviation industry as we know it, not even in the USA and certainly not globally, but they are undoubtedly the most well run legacy right now.

My concern for DL will be 10 years from now. Like AA after Crandall left and CO after Bethune, after Anderson moves on they could hit a plateau where they're comfortable with how much they've achieved and stop innovating. It's why CO was a shadow of themselves in 2008 compared to 1998, and why AA went from being a lean, aggressive carrier that (literally) redefined the industry in the 1980s to an also ran by 2010.

The other challenge to DL on the short term is that they will no longer stand out as much. If AA can get through the next 12-18 months relatively smoothly I genuinely believe that they will close the gap with DL in terms of financial performance and innovation in customer experience. That won't make DL any 'less good', but will make them not standout as much.
Worked Hard, Flew Right
 
Max Q
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RE: Delta, A Whole New Kind Of Airline?

Mon Apr 28, 2014 1:49 am

Quoting Thomaas (Reply 43):
2) Delta is nowhere near being first in terms of customer service in the US airline industry. Depending on what rankings you look at, Alaska, Jetblue and Southwest almost always rank higher.

I was discussing the Big three legacy carriers.


No question those other Airlines do a good job they are just in a different league.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg

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