Delta has been growing their Seattle hub operation over the last couple of years, trying to cultivate a west coast hub that can serve Asia as well as some domestic U.S. destinations and parts of Europe. They released a new commercial recently, that you can watch below, that is directly targeting their Seattle market.
In September 2014, then-CEO Richard Anderson told a group in Minnesota that Delta hoped to explore a new nonstop route from MSP to China “in the next three to five years.”
Bastian, who has served as president since 2007, succeeded Anderson, who formally retired Monday. Bastian said he also believes an MSP-to-China route “would be an ideal opportunity” once Delta receives its new Airbus 350 planes — which will replace the retiring Boeing 747 aircraft — next year, and if U.S. carriers are granted more traffic rights in China. Foreign governments negotiate how many flights from each country it will allow to operate within its borders.
So why is Delta focused on building their Minneapolis hub’s reach in China when they have a rather large presence in Seattle, where they can use aircraft that don’t require ultra-long ranges? I am not sure. It seems like the complete opposite of what they were originally trying to do when they opened the hub in Seattle. United has started flying to non-top tier airports in China out of San Francisco, capturing a part of the market that Delta will quickly lose unless they make a move soon. By spreading their transpacific flights over multiple hubs I am a little worried that they are diluting themselves and not really building up the Seattle base. There has already been a slight withdrawal with the reduction of Seattle-Hong Kong and threats to stop flying to Tokyo from a number of U.S. airports if they are not granted certain slots at Tokyo-Haneda. One has to wonder how much more Delta’s presence at Seattle will retract all while they release commercials touting its awesomeness as a hub.
In a blog post, they give details on why they are refreshing the brand and a few insights into why they went the direction they did.
“We’ve added 90 new markets in the past five years. As we continue to grow, we are updating the outward expression of our brand so it shows up bolder wherever we fly.”
Essentially, we now fly Boston to San Diego non-stop and want to make our logo simpler for that market. I get it, it is not like they were going to change the name of the airline or anything. The first thing that stands out to me though is how close the new tail livery looks to some of the low cost carriers and how the entire livery looks a little Southwest-ish. The second thing is what I pointed out to Seth yesterday, the multicolored cheat lines look like the engines are spewing out the Northern Lights.
I am no branding or livery expert but I just find the new look to be less Alaska and more Spirit/Southwest/Frontier. Maybe that is what they were going for. There is even a hint of Eurowings in there. There is a pretty great breakdown of the entire brand, livery, and other customer facing materials at Under Consideration. Their impression? Underwhelmed.
Overall, it’s not a highly inspiring redesign and rather than double-down on the quirkiness and ruggedness of the brand equity established they have moved away to safer territory.
Maybe Alaska should have gone to an all retro livery… (to be fair, some of the colors do match up)
— Updated at 12:30pm PST
I should add, if employees like the new look and it motivates them to better serve customers, then I am all for it. From the video of the unveiling of the new brand it does seem like the employees are excited about it and that’s a good thing.
A lot of people think I’m nuts. Maybe I am. Or maybe I’m crazy like a fox. My weekend was spent flying between Spokane, Washington and Seattle, Washington. Doesn’t sound crazy right? What’s crazy is that what should have been an hour flight on a lawnmower with wings was really a bunch of flights taking me from Spokane to Denver to San Francisco and finally to Seattle. Yeah, I guess I am crazy. That is, until I tell you it cost me $44 before taxes. See, crazy like a fox. The route looked something like below.
All told, I flew around 7,000 miles and rounded out my mileage balance on Continental Airlines. Why? A good friend and I stumbled across the fare a while back and decided it was too good of a deal to pass up. At first I bought a few of them, but ended up only keeping one, figuring I didn’t really have the time or energy to do a bunch of these back to back. The only hiccup in the whole trip was on our positioning flight to Spokane from San Francisco. The plane had a maintenance issue and was delayed, getting us into Spokane a little later than we had originally planned.
What did I do on the flights? Watched some television shows I had stored on my iPhone, caught up on a bunch of reading, wrote a little, and talked to other passengers. Flying is relaxing to me, so I actually got a little bit of rest as well. It was a fun trip that transited a lot of airports and got me the miles I wanted at a price point that is very, very reasonable. I guess I am better at “mileage running” than the guy in this video.