Delta Update

Red Leg

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We got my group rebooked on Qatar. DFW-DOH-JNB then Airlink to PLZ.
Glad to have an agent and get this done quickly. The agent said he had 100 people to rebook this week!
I am excited as we are flying the Q Suite Business Class! I’ll make a trip report when we get back.
Philip
A really nice ride. The plane is a better overnight than the bag drag to and from a guest house or hotel in Johannesburg.
 

Philip Glass

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A really nice ride. The plane is a better overnight than the bag drag to and from a guest house or hotel in Johannesburg.
That’s what I am thinking. I’ll report when I get back.
 

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Delta drops plan to serve Cape Town; will now fly directly to Johannesburg​

Zach Griff
7h ago
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with additional information.

Plans for Delta’s hotly anticipated new triangle route to Johannesburg (JNB) and Cape Town (CPT) have changed yet again. While this service has been delayed for the sixth time to Aug. 1, 2021, (per Cirium schedules and confirmed on Delta’s website), this time, the carrier has now decided to drop plans to fly to Cape Town altogether.
When Delta first announced its two-city South Africa service, the carrier planned to start flights on Oct. 24, 2020. It was then delayed to Jan. 8, 2021, then March 27, 2021, then June 5, 2021, and then to July 2, 2021. While Delta’s flight to South Africa is still projected to fly on Aug. 1, the service will now only run directly from Atlanta (ATL) to Johannesburg.
Johannesburg sunrise South Africa Skyline
The Johannesburg skyline. (Photo by THEGIFT777 / Getty Images)
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Delta is also tweaking the operating frequency. From Aug. 1 through Sept. 8, the carrier plans to run three weekly flights on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the eastbound direction and on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays in the westbound direction.
From Sept. 8 on, Delta will increase the flight to daily service.
The month-long delay comes as South Africa has just logged its first confirmed cases of the Delta coronavirus variant, while still dealing with its own virus variant that appears to be more infectious. The U.S. government on Jan. 26, 2021, banned travel from South Africa, with the exceptions of U.S. citizens and legal U.S. residents, due to the more contagious South Africa variant.
Before the pandemic, Delta operated daily non-stop flights from Atlanta (ATL) to Johannesburg (JNB) on a Boeing 777-200LR. However, the airline’s 777 fleet was retired late last year.

Delta uses enhanced Airbus A350-900​

Flying an A350 from JNB to ATL initially presented Delta with a problem. Due to the city’s high elevation, the A350 couldn’t reach Atlanta at maximum payload. That’s why the carrier originally added the tag flight to Cape Town (CPT), allowing the plane to refuel at sea level before beginning the 8,130-mile trek back to the U.S.
20191127_Delta-One_ESteinberg-10.jpg
A Delta One suite. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)
The route will now be flown by the carrier’s flagship Airbus A350, outfitted with 32 fully enclosed Delta One business class suites, 48 Premium Select premium economy seats and 226 economy seats. The flight time will run about 16 hours — Delta’s longest flight, and will no longer need a stop in CPT anymore and will just fly directly from ATL to JNB.
Paid fares on the inaugural flight start at a whopping $2,500 round trip in coach and $3,700 in Premium Select. Delta One Suites are sold out as of press time. One-way award redemptions start at 140,000, 250,000 and 465,000 SkyMiles, respectively.

Big three launches other ultra-long-haul flights​

Despite the pandemic, the “Big 3” U.S. airlines are all slated to launch a slew of new ultra-long-haul flights this year.
United Airlines launched its flagship Johannesburg route on June 3, 2021. Following the successful late 2019 launch of a Newark (EWR) to CPT nonstop, the Chicago-based carrier is planning to launch a second South Africa flight to JNB using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
 

Hogpatrol

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The genius who decided that passengers from Joberg to Atlanta sit at the ramp for an hour to two hours in Capetown must have been promoted.
 

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One-way award redemptions start at 140,000, 250,000 and 465,000 SkyMiles, respectively
That's highway robbery. Over 900k miles for a round trip ticket... we got our Emirate business class round trip tickets for a little over 200k points.
 

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There is no explanation of how the A350-900 can now make the trip from JNB-ATL nonstop! This article leaves a lot to be desired. Are they going to stop on an island and refuel like flights did years ago? Load less cargo? Use a different plane? There is an A350-1000. Can that plane make it?
More questions than answers here.
Regards
Philip
 

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Well this is an odd one. I'm scheduled ATL-JNB on Monday 8/30 and back on 9/10. So looks like they can fly me back but not there with their alternating schedule for August. I'm anticipating an update from TWG with options tomorrow. Glad I have Qatar booked as a backup both ways.
 

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Wow, if thats's their cost structure plan for seats moving forward, they might as well just go ahead and cancel the route all together. With United tickets costing half to less than half, and Qatar and Emirates as very viable and much lower cost options as well, Delta may have trouble filling half the plane.
 

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By the way, the A350, the Cattle class seat are 1/2" narrower. Want that extra 1/2"? You are going to have to buy premium select. And premium select will be a 1/2" narrower too.
Really that's why it's Qatar what a first class operation all the way .Delta can't even hold a candle to them.And it's way worth the extra couple of hours difference .
 

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I just got back last night from flying with Qatar airways. While the flight is longer the service, seats and food were better I would not hesitate to fly with them again. Also they were very helpful with gun paperwork and making sure everything was going to the correct final destination with the least hassle to us. (They can check things through in some cases where American could not)
 

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There is no explanation of how the A350-900 can now make the trip from JNB-ATL nonstop! This article leaves a lot to be desired. Are they going to stop on an island and refuel like flights did years ago? Load less cargo? Use a different plane? There is an A350-1000. Can that plane make it?
More questions than answers here.
Regards
Philip I looked at the Airbus website found this:
"Airbus launched the Ultra Long Range version of its A350-900 as part of the company’s philosophy of continuous innovation. Designated the A350-900ULR, this jetliner can fly further than any other aircraft in commercial service – up to 9,700 nautical miles.

Benefitting from the A350-900’s unique flexibility, the extended range capability does not involve installation of additional fuel tanks, but rather an adaptation of the fuel system within the existing fuel tank. In addition, the A350-900ULR can be reconfigured to the standard long-haul specifications of the A350-900 if required by the operator.

With a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 280 tonnes, the A350-900ULR is capable of flying over 20 hours non-stop, combining the highest levels of passenger and crew comfort with unbeatable economics for such distances."

I guess the safety is MIA is on the way back if the plane can't make it back to ATL before refueling.
 

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I guess the safety is MIA is on the way back if the plane can't make it back to ATL before refueling.
or San Juan, Puerto Rico.

When I was living in Lagos, Nigeria, one of my daughters was flying back to Atlanta on Delta and the flight diverted into San Juan. Actually it took off from Lagos, got a little ways over the Atlantic and had an incident and turned back and landed in Dakar, Senegal. The sky marshals escorted a trouble maker off in handcuffs. The pilots were going to time out and couldn't fly all the way to Atlanta, so San Juan became the best option. Everyone got off the plane and cleared US customs and got back on the same plane and then went to Atlanta with a new crew.

1624239410327.png
 

Philip Glass

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Wow, if thats's their cost structure plan for seats moving forward, they might as well just go ahead and cancel the route all together. With United tickets costing half to less than half, and Qatar and Emirates as very viable and much lower cost options as well, Delta may have trouble filling half the plane.
This is what I am wondering. How can they charge these prices? Premium Economy about the same as Qatar Business!
 

Philip Glass

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Philip I looked at the Airbus website found this:
"Airbus launched the Ultra Long Range version of its A350-900 as part of the company’s philosophy of continuous innovation. Designated the A350-900ULR, this jetliner can fly further than any other aircraft in commercial service – up to 9,700 nautical miles.

Benefitting from the A350-900’s unique flexibility, the extended range capability does not involve installation of additional fuel tanks, but rather an adaptation of the fuel system within the existing fuel tank. In addition, the A350-900ULR can be reconfigured to the standard long-haul specifications of the A350-900 if required by the operator.

With a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 280 tonnes, the A350-900ULR is capable of flying over 20 hours non-stop, combining the highest levels of passenger and crew comfort with unbeatable economics for such distances."

I guess the safety is MIA is on the way back if the plane can't make it back to ATL before refueling.
So Delta bought a new plane? All the press releases said the A350 could not make it back. If they bought a new plane wouldn’t it be news? Still confused but many thanks for the info.
 

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This is what I am wondering. How can they charge these prices? Premium Economy about the same as Qatar Business!
Time constrained business travelers and those with millions of Skymiles. That and those whose comfort zone precludes them from flying on a foreign flag carrier.
 

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There is no explanation of how the A350-900 can now make the trip from JNB-ATL nonstop! This article leaves a lot to be desired. Are they going to stop on an island and refuel like flights did years ago? Load less cargo? Use a different plane? There is an A350-1000. Can that plane make it?
More questions than answers here.
Regards
Philip
Simple fix, More fuel, less cargo & passengers, same MTOW. The ULR has an enhanced aerodynamic package. The fuel tanks are the same size. The previous JNB-CPT-ATL flights were such that the passenger and cargo load plus the required fuel to go nonstop exceeded MTOW. Now they're tankering more fuel to make it nonstop. Here's what it boils down to, it's expensive because passengers are paying more to cover the loss of cargo revenue and the cost of the extra fuel. It's the Delta bean counters at work. Time will tell whether their beans are more or less.
 
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I can not imagine running a profitable airline route while depending on the above noted type of passenger of business, sky miles and non US carrier aversion when the last five times I flew out of ATL on DL200 it was packed to the gills with us commonfolk. Cattle Car transport. Uber of the sky. After flying Delta and then Qatar to JNB, I can tell you there is absolutely, without a doubt like comparing a Yugo to a Mercedes. Flight attendants, service, attention to detail and overall quality of travel. Qatar at half the cost is worth 10 times the value of Delta to JNB
 

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@Areaonereal Having done both, agree on the comparison. One notable difference now is South African citizens are banned entry from the U.S. With cold weather and a third wave surge in South Africa and other African countries, it'll be interesting to see if the U.S. business and tourist load and individual country bans will justify United, Delta, Ethiopian and Qatar maintaining service. From this chair, I wouldn't schedule on any but Qatar. They flew during the entire pandemic.
 

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