Landing on time

By | Category: Travel rumblings

delta-airwaysThe American airline, Delta, has announced that it will compensate corporate customers if punctuality falls behind that of main rivals American and United Airlines. Why not leisure passengers as well?

“We’ve been focused on relentless operational success, because any carrier could replicate anything we do, whether it be seats or food or Sky Clubs, but they can’t replicate our performance,” said Bob Somers, vice present of global sales. If Delta is so successful and so far ahead of its rivals then why should non-corporate flyers be discriminated?

But if you read the small print, I am not so sure that the airline will have to deliver on its intention. It does not cover international or regional flights and it will only pay out if both American and United beat Delta’s arrival times for a full 12-month period. It also doesn’t cover any of the flights that are on affiliated airlines which tend to provide flights from and into smaller destinations like SkyWest and ExpressJet.

Is this, then anything more than a gimmick? Is it that important that flights land on time? As many readers will now, on time arrival is flexible in the airline industry as landing within fifteen minutes of the scheduled time is counted as being on-time. And what will be the reaction from other airlines? Will they try and compete or leave Delta alone? Given that we won’t know for another year whether any compensation will be due could it be that this is just a Delta attempt to raise some headlines now knowing that it is unlikely that they will ever have to pay out.

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