I have one question for Delta executive VP of network planning and revenue management Glen Hauenstein. What’s your definition of sexy? In a new promotional video about Delta’s 2008 “flight plan”, Hauenstein says: “We are all addicts in the airline business because it is sexy and it is fast-moving and it does change a lot and we want Delta to be on the forefront of that change.”
Sorry Glen, but are you referring to the same Delta that posted a second quarter net loss of $1 billion; the same Delta that is slashing capacity and removing the equivalent of 100 regional aircraft from the system by year-end, and the same Delta that is in the middle of a widespread voluntary leave programme?
I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here to say the business is rather un-sexy these days, Delta included.
Among a laundry list of other boasts in this video, Delta champions its plan to merge by year-end with Northwest Airlines, which lost $377 million in the second quarter.
Egads! That one big, fat combined loss of nearly a billion and a half sexy dollars (about the same number of people who will eventually view Delta’s sexy new in-flight safety video).
Despite all the comparisons that one could make about Delta and its US rivals (checked bag fees, capacity reductions, etc, etc), the carrier insists it is setting itself apart from the pack.
“If you think about we were a carrier that pre-Chapter 11 we weren’t sure where we were going to go or how we were going to make it happen and such a short time later we have set ourselves so far apart from the others, it is a very exciting time,” says senior VP of global sales and distribution Pam Ellege.
Adds senior VP airport customer service Gil West: “We’re battling the competitor. A lot of airlines today are battling themselves.”
Why don’t we wait and see how the battle plays out post-merger? Then we’ll have a clearer idea about Delta’s appeal, sexual and otherwise.