Delta’s Seattle Strategy: New Flights, Enhanced Services
Airline Launches Non-Stop Service from Seattle to Seoul, Hong Kong as Part of Major Push in Region
In the latest of a spate of new routes from the U.S. to Asia launched by U.S. airlines, Delta Air Lines is launching a non-stop flight from Seattle, Washington to Hong Kong Monday. The flight marks the airline’s fifth non-stop international route added from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in a year and brings the number of international daily non-stop flights out of the city to ten.
Earlier this month, Delta inaugurated Seattle-Seoul, Korea service and other destinations served from Seattle include London-Heathrow, Shanghai-Pudong, and Tokyo-Haneda. Delta also currently operates non-stop flights from Seattle to Amsterdam, Beijing, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, and Tokyo-Narita.
The airline’s dramatic growth in the Pacific Northwest is part of its plan to bulk up Seattle as its west coast international gateway. Delta serves over 25 destinations from Seattle with 76 peak-day departures, a number that will grow to 86 this summer. Delta has also invested over $15 million in its facilities there covering airport lounges, expanded check-in counters, and better amenities for passengers including recharging stations at the gates.
Delta is not only adding flights but upping its level of service. All long-haul flights from Seattle are on aircraft with the airline’s new BusinessElite business-class cabin that features fully lie-flat beds. In addition, the airline recently introduced satellite-based in-flight Internet service on its Boeing 747-400 fleet, and its entire international fleet will have Internet service by the end of 2015.
The Atlanta-based airline’s expansion will make it the market leader in Seattle for international service within the coming months. It will soon offer more international flights from that city than all other carriers combined. This will make it a major tenant of the planned international arrivals terminal at Sea-Tac, the first part of which is slated to open in 2018. The airlines that use it will be footing the bill for building it and that means the lion’s share of the costs will be borne by Delta. The airline already has 2,800 employees at the hub and is expected to hit 3,000 soon, including many new pilots and flight attendants.
Despite all of Delta’s new service, the airline is far from the dominant player in Seattle. For the first four months of 2014, Alaska Airlines carried just roughly 50% of all passengers out of Sea-Tac, while Delta captured roughly 13%.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)