To most this route announcement probably isn’t very exciting — no, Delta isn’t announcing a Seattle to Singapore flight, or anything cool like that. Rather Delta has just added a route to the schedule that I find intriguing given that I grew up in Tampa and lived in Seattle for a couple of years as well.
Delta Launching Seattle To Tampa Route
As of March 11, 2020, Delta will be launching daily nonstop flights between Seattle and Tampa. The route will operate with the following schedule using a Boeing 737-800:
DL3113 Seattle to Tampa departing 7:40AM arriving 4:00PM
DL3113 Tampa to Seattle departing 4:45PM arriving 8:15PM
Delta Air Lines 737
The ~2,500 mile flight is blocked at 5hr20min eastbound and 6hr30min westbound. Clearly this route is primarily about serving the local market rather than connections, since the flight isn’t timed very well for connections in either direction. It misses most Asia flights in both directions, and even most regional connections don’t work with this schedule.
Why Do I Find This Route Interesting?
Like I said, I don’t expect this route announcement will have wide appeal. The reason I find this interesting is twofold.
First of all, growing up in Tampa I always kept a close eye on the airport, and it has been cool to see how it has grown. We’ve seen some decent expansion, both with transcons and transatlantic flights (though also quite a few failures), so anytime one of those routes launches I take interest in it.
Icelandair has both launched and canceled flights to Tampa
The bigger reason, though, is that there will now be 3x daily flights between Seattle and Tampa.
Alaska Airlines started flying between Seattle and Tampa in 2014, and since then they’ve doubled their frequencies, so they operate twice daily flights. I’m happy the route has performed well with them.
Alaska Airlines 737
With the addition of Delta’s service, we’re looking at three daily flights between Seattle and Tampa. Wow…
As a point of comparison, year-round Tampa only has one daily flight to Los Angeles on Delta, and then seasonally there’s a second flight (also on Delta). However, no other airline has been able to make the route work — over the past few years we’ve seen American, Frontier, and Southwest all try the route, and they all ended up canceling the flighs after some amount of time.
With Delta’s new Seattle to Tampa route launching in March 2020, we’ll have three daily flights between the two markets. I’ll be curious to see if that can be sustained, or if this is part of Delta’s continued effort to steal market share from Alaska.
Growing up in Tampa and living in Seattle, there's probably one significant reason why this route is essential, which is to appease their corporate customers. You can thank Microsoft, Amazon, and Boeing for expanding their offices into Tampa and making a push to make this route a reality. Also, there is a lot of military personnel that travel between Seattle and Tampa.
"737 turnaround. I believe Southwest has just 15 scheduled minutes " - Do those really still happen? ;)
AS currently schedules the current 770/523 TPA turn at 65 minutes - that being said, I doubt DL would do a 45 min same plane turn on these flights, especially considering the fact weather often varies the inbound arrival time from SEA by 15-30mins.
Nice to see the added flight, but that afternoon return to Seattle is brutal even in F - just a super long day.
Well, anyone who has friends, family, or work that has them flying this route once or twice a year will find it interesting. And @CAROLYNNE LOREK my hair doesn't hurt for long when I'm on the beach with my sis and a margarita. :)
Apologies for the unrelated question, but any idea what Delta is up to with its Vegas flights? I looked at their online route map, and they are now offering more flights - with their partners - to/from Vegas than in Cincinnati. And Google Flights now offers me intra-West Coast connections in Vegas, even though Delta does not sell these flights on its website.
Wish Delta would fly Seattle to Raleigh. Not so happy that Alaska has a monopoly on this (nonstop).
@jez: 45 minutes is generous time for a 737 turnaround. I believe Southwest has just 15 scheduled minutes and Ryanair just 25. Most other airlines in Europe are at 30 or so minutes. And all of them also make long(er) flights with their 737s.
People taking cruises from Seattle will use it. That flight is so long, just thinking about it makes my hair hurt...
All the people saying this route isn’t interesting clearly took the time to click the post and comment.
Besides this is Lucky’s blog after all and it’s of interest to him.
@Sam - pretty sure with that schedule, Delta will use a separate 737 on the way back to Seattle.
seems a pretty tired old plane for 6 hours of (dis)comfort. wouldnt mind seeing a modern, more efficient jet for the haul.
I wonder how much padding is in this schedule, since they only give 45 minutes to turn around the plane. Delta usually puts the boarding time at 40 minutes before departure, which will be impossible unless the flight arrives very early.
This schedules matches up perfectly with flights connecting to/from ANC... often our connections are brutally long in SEA
@Lucky small typo (sorry to be that guy ;) “seasonally there’s a second flight (also on Tampa).“ I think you mean also on *Delta*
Since you might actually see my comment, just wanna say i’ve been reading OMAAT for years and i really appreciate what’s you’re doing! Thanks
I also thought it was just for you, Lucky
Interestingly Delta used to operate 1x flights once or twice weekly between FLL-SEA and MIA-LAX. They have not been able to sustain these routes for whatever reason. Delta has been in south Florida before Jetblue, Spirit, and Southwest. Yet all those airlines took over the lion share of international and domestic transcon away from Delta. Their strategy for Florida has been confusing to say the least.
I didn't read the post, but this seems like a pretty boring route. Can someone explain to me why this is interesting?
@ Mitch Cumstein -- So you *didn't read the post*, but you want someone to explain to you why the route is interesting? Even though the post has a whole section with the title "Why Do I Find This Route Interesting?"
They did it just for you Lucky! Because you've been praising them so much :D