Prediction: Delta’s Future In South America (And Miami)

Filed Under: Delta

A few days ago Delta announced that they purchased a 20% stake in LATAM, and were planning on forming a joint venture with the airline. With this, LATAM will cut ties with American and also exit oneworld.

Suffice to say that this is a huge blow to American and oneworld, especially given American and LATAM were pursuing a joint venture.

Delta has been pursuing global dominance through a strategy of investing strategically and forming joint ventures, and in many ways Latin America was one of the last regions where they needed a partner (arguably Africa is the very last piece of this puzzle for them).

So, what should we expect from Delta’s investment in LATAM? Will Delta greatly increase service to South America? Will LATAM start flying to Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, etc.? Will Delta build up a hub in Miami, given LATAM’s presence there?

Let me share my take (again, these are all just my opinions, and others are welcome to agree or disagree in the comments section):

Delta Won’t Add Lots Of Capacity To South America

This might surprise many, but I doubt that Delta will add significant capacity to South America. The airline is currently pretty weak in South America, and I don’t see that changing significantly.

Maybe they’ll increase capacity on a couple of routes or add some seasonal service, but overall I don’t think their presence in Latin America will even nearly rival American’s network.

Why? Because there’s a precedent here. Delta has invested in several airlines, like Aeromexico, Korean Air, and Virgin Atlantic. In many cases they’ve actually decreased their own flying to those regions, rather than increasing flying.

Delta also owns a stake in Aeromexico

This has been a point of frustration and frequent complaint from Delta’s pilot union. They claim that this is essentially a violation of their scope clause, and that Delta is using foreign carriers to increase flying, taking jobs away from Delta pilots.

Delta has good reasons they do this:

  • For the most part these airlines have lower operating costs than Delta
  • Delta has joint ventures with these airlines, so they share revenue
  • Not only do they share revenue, but since Delta has an equity stake in these airlines, they’re also getting some of the profit’s on the other carrier’s side

So I would expect that trend to continue. Expect most additional flying to Latin America to be on LATAM, and not on Delta metal.

I doubt Delta will add many flights to South America

LATAM Will Maintain Its Big Miami Presence

Miami is by far LATAM’s biggest US station, and the airline flies from there to up to 10 destinations. It just so happens to be that Miami is also a oneworld hub, which used to work great for connections.

But the reality is that the reason Miami is such a big station for LATAM is because it’s a huge market for South America, and in many cases the additional feed isn’t even required.

I would expect LATAM will maintain their presence in Miami, and maybe even beef it up a little bit. Miami is the key US market for South America, and that’s not going to change.

I predict LATAM will maintain their presence in Miami

Delta Will Make Miami More Of A Focus City

I don’t think Delta will try to turn Miami into a hub (as much as I’d love that), in the way that they’ve done to Boston and Seattle. However, I do think we will see Delta grow logically in Miami to provide some connecting feed to LATAM’s network.

Currently Delta uses Miami almost exclusively for flights to their hubs (plus Havana), but I’d expect we’ll see a few more point-to-point flights.

LATAM’s schedule in general is heavily banked, with flights largely arriving in Miami early in the morning, and largely departing in the evening.

So I could see them adding maybe half a dozen to a dozen destinations with strategic connection opportunities.

I’m not expecting Miami to become a Delta hub, but I am expecting a bit more service than they currently offer.

Delta 737I could see Delta adding some domestic capacity to Miami

New York & Los Angeles Over Atlanta & Detroit

Should we expect LATAM to add a bunch of service to Atlanta, Detroit, and Minneapolis? I highly doubt it. None of these cities rank in the top 10 when it comes to their population of Argentinians, Brazilians, Chileans, or Peruvians.

While we might see LATAM operate a Sao Paulo to Atlanta flight, overall I’d expect the focus to be on service to cities that have a lot of local traffic and some connection opportunities.

I think if LATAM expands in the US, we’ll see the most expansion in Boston, Los Angeles, and New York — those are cities that have demand for travel to Latin America, and where Delta also has lots of feed.

Expect more LATAM flights to New York, Los Angeles, and more

Bottom Line

All of the above is just speculation on my part. To summarize:

  • I don’t think Delta will materially increase flying to South America; they’ve almost always left capacity increases to their joint venture partners, much to the frustration of Delta’s pilots
  • I think LATAM will maintain their presence in Miami, if not grow it
  • I think we’ll see some (but not that much) growth to South America from Atlanta, and not much from Detroit or Minneapolis, since Atlanta is the most logical gateway geographically
  • I think most growth that we’d see would be in Boston, Los Angeles, and New York, where there is both O&D demand and Delta has quite a bit of connectivity

What are your expectations of this Delta & LATAM joint venture?

Comments
  1. Questions also around what the LATAM tie up means for DLs existing partners. VS starts GRU next year and has announced a codeshare with GOL. Will this now he scrapped in place of a Latam Deal? Will VS and Latam codeshare and expand into the UK given LATAMs exit from One World and the impact this will have on BA. Interesting times for DL and it’s partners with LATAM joining the party.

  2. Bare minimum I’d expect delta to restart dtw-gru, which they flew for many years. This flight connects auto execs and provides good feed to delta’s Asian flights. Now that the Brazilian economy is improving, and delta can get feed at gru from Latam, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this return.

    Perhaps we will see a LAX-gru route on one of them. Maybe some strategically-placed delta-operated Mia-mco/dca/tpa/bos flights to provide feed in the biggest markets for a Latam at Miami.

    All conjecture and very much tbd

  3. @chris Air France and KLM also have an interest in GOL as well 31% of Virgin, so it’s unlikely. LATAM wouldn’t provide domestic Brazilian connections

  4. I’m honestly still in shock over this whole LATAM and Delta thing lol (I’ve been flying LAN Chile/LATAM as a oneworld frequent flyer since they joined oneworld in 2000). Part of me is hoping that antitrust regulators will reject the LATAM-Delta JV and will send LATAM back into the arms of AA/oneworld. Highly wishful thinking, but you never know!

  5. “I would expect LATAM will maintain their presence in Miami, and maybe even beef it up a little bit. ”

    But what is the gate situation in Miami for LATAM – are they currently using some AA gates? Not sure the current state of MIA gate space (LT leases, Common-use, use it/lose it, etc) – but it seems like this would be the constraint on LATAM if they are using AA gates, and gives AA a much less public way to get back at LATAM by suddenly taking gates back.

  6. I have to be honest, I just don’t really get the move my Delta and LATAM. A strong O&D market paired with strong connecting feed is airline *gold*. I’m not saying one without the other is useless, but put it together and it’s a killer combo. Walking away from that feed at MIA is really questionable. LATAM is going to have to add flights to ATL, but if there was that much O&D demand, they’d be there already, no?

  7. I just want to know how many millions of SkyMiles it will cost to fly LAX-ATL-SCL-IPC-PPT-LAX in J once they are all tied in. Something about those island hops across the vast south pacific just sounds soooo cool.

  8. LATAM at MIA is all O&D. All the South Americans going to miami with empty or no suitcases and shopping at dadeland or aventura or the most popular the sawgrass mall. Feed outside of miami will not really be needed.

  9. Also, in the short term (in the next few months), do we expect Delta pax to have access to LATAM lounge (and vice versa)? For instance, SkyTeam doesn’t really have a lounge presence in Bogota right now. SkyTeam lists a contract lounge in BOG but doesn’t even indicate Delta passengers to be eligible. Do we expect that to change for Delta passenger departing from BOG in the next few months?

  10. I think Ed Bastian on the conference call said the current ratio of flights to and from the USA is 70% LATAM and 30% Delta. He inferred any growth would be split 50/50 between the two airlines. He also said LATAM would not be part of an alliance and would maintain other relationships such as with BA…so not a big deal for Skyteam or Delta partners.

    I suspect Miami will be a slow buildup and I wonder if relationships with both LATAM and AeroMexico will be enough for Delta to have a Texas strategy…would Austin ever become more than a focus city?

  11. “LATAM at MIA is all O&D.”

    Well, it’s not all O&D, since I flew MSY-MIA-SCL RT last year. Unless Delta ups its feed to MIA, I think LATAM will end up cutting some frequencies, even if they keep all their routes.

    I’m really curious what happens with AR. Do they stay in Skyteam, now that Delta has a JV relationship with their primary competitor in Argentina?

  12. How is Latam adding service if it is letting Delta get it off the hook for new planes? And where is Delta going to fly those A350’s? Let’s not forget about those parts of the agreement just because it happened a few days ago.

    Another word for “Latin America” is “Brazil.” The Argentine economy is falling apart, and Chile is an underpopulated corner of the globe where they have lots of earthquakes. (Like, today.) Meanwhile, I think aircraft can still fly over Brazil without smoke damage, but the place is becoming an international pariah and the real is still losing value. Well, OK, the Chinese are now buying Brazilian soybeans, but I doubt they get there with an Atlanta connection.

    When the US and European economies catch a cold (recession), which will happen soon, Latin America will be hit with pneumonia (depression). Delta and Latam will help each other through a market contraction.

    American can still dominate the South American west coast, from Peru north. A partnership with Gol will let them compete in Brazil, what’s left of it. Latam can redeploy some of its assets to more stable parts of the world, like Ukraine.

  13. Wow, the biggest negative for me is that they may leave the OneWorld alliance. I love using British Airways points for cheap one-way flights in South America, especially in Peru. I’ll be sorry to see that go.

  14. Still think this is a bad business decision on LATAM’s part.

    For example, right now LATAM flies two 777’s a day from GRU to Miami, with a morning and night flight so 500-600 passengers daily. 300 of those passengers will stay in Miami and the other 300 will connect on American to any of dozens of cities.

    If LATAM decides to keep both frequencies, it won’t be convenient for most of the 300 connecting pax. If it shifts a frequency to Atlanta, it won’t be convenient for the Miami pax.

    And @ross — Chile isn’t the best positioned country in the world but it is the wealthiest and best educated country in South America.

  15. Flew AA HKG-DFW recently and 5 of 8 seats in the First cabin were people originating in HKG with onward travel to GRU (flight attendant revealed this while loudly making small talk before take-off). So to expand @John’s point, I wonder how Delta will address what seems to be a large number of business travelers originating from HKG and heading to Brazil (and vice-versa). American has two options for travelers in GRU to get to HKG in one stop (DFW, LAX). Delta seems to have none. Maybe it’s time to restart a HKG flight?
    FYI, CNN+others painted a picture of an imploding Hong Kong, but Central was calm like any other city and the airport was busy but serene. No traffic at all. So no issue there.

  16. Lucky,

    So to be balanced will you do predictions for American?

    Keen to see what you have to say bearing in mind you don’t like them one bit.

  17. @ R Smith. As a regular flyer on LATAM splitting time between Brazil and the U.S. I can tell you that your speculative numbers are way off base. The majority of passengers on LATAM are Brazilian. 70% of those are simply going to Miami, many simply for the common shopping trip there that is part of the middle and upper class routine. Others will connect to Orlando as Disney is also a huge destination for Brazilians. There is minimal other onward traffic. Fly in business on LATAM and most of the passengers from GRU are couples and families on a shopping trip to Aventura Mall. Or employees using passes to grab new iPhones to sell later in Brazil for twice the price.

    Business travelers (both Brazilian and American) that are connecting onwards tend to prefer American, Delta or United. Most experienced Brazilian travelers do not use LATAM to connect in Miami (but prefer American) as the two are clear across the terminal and not seamless or easy. And really, none of them want to connect in Miami if going North or West as it’s such a completely awful airport. They know better.

    Delta, interestingly, is in the concourse next to LATAM and the security lanes serves both (they are really one). As such it makes for a better connecting experience and we might see onward passengers grow if Delta ramps up MIA as a focus city.

    The upside in all of this that Lucky did not point out is that we could well see the return of the AA daytime flight between GRU and MIA. It’s my preferred flight but LATAM took it over a year or two ago and AA returned to just the evening flights. LATAM will get their butts kicked if AA goes head to head with them on it as most all high yield passengers love this flight and prefer AA. Leaves mid morning and arrives in Miami in time for dinner.

    And do not underestimate a few surprises from Azul. They are quietly building up a nice loyal following into FLL. While now flying out of Campinas they could very well (I predict) grab some of the slots Avianca Brazil lost at GRU and begin to compete. It’s actually the best business class product to the U.S.

    Finally, the one area in this that Lucky missed is focusing solely on GRU and GIG as the the only potential battle grounds. AA could very well go after LATAM by adding in flights to Fortaleza (A boom town and HUGE for growing tourism and connectivity to the NE), Belo Horizonte, Salvador and Recife. All easily reached with even a 737-MAX or other. For years many of these airports, though two hours closer to Miami in flight time, have required a back leg connection via GRU that is a complete pain in the lower area.

    Brazil is the prize. Chile, Peru, and Argentina whatever. Beautiful places but not the market that Brazil is. The battle will be there and expect some crazy stuff to come.

  18. What´s with Orlando? Delta used to have some flights to Brazil and other Latin American countries there, at least for a while.

  19. I think that greatest benefit for Delta flyers out of GRU is that they will probably move to Terminal 3 and will be able to use the Latam lounge.

  20. @Stuart is correct. Brazil is more important than the rest of South America combined.

    I’m sure American is getting ready to ramp up its Brazil flights, especially from MIA and DFW and (gasp!) perhaps even to Charlotte or Philadelphia, not as destinations but as connections to other US cities. The daytime flights would be wonderful.

  21. Delta has a hole in India, KL, Singapore . Entirely uncompetitive except for VirginAtlantic from NY…which only gets me to Delhi. The AF/KLM options are never competitive and I have lost enough luggage on the tight connections in Amsterdam.
    Looking forward to a solution there too.

  22. I’m with others on this. MIA is a strong O&D market for South America not just because of the number of individuals from those countries living in South Florida, but also the sheer number of businesses that have Miami as their American base. The bet Delta is making is effectively that a whole entire well developed network of businesses and expats are going to be okay with reduced nonstops and and/or connections in ATL. That seems a foolish strategy.

  23. @Stuart – being from Miami and one who travels on American a lot in J and F to LAX and HKG, I find that I hear a ton of Portuguese Brazilians all around me. I hear Portuguese much more on those flights than I do with hearing Spanish. I am not sure if they are connecting or ending up in Miami.
    And, those LATAM flights seem to leave out of that Delta J-Concourse (aka South Terminal) in Miami which is on the far opposite side to the American D-Terminal (aka North Terminal).
    Not sure what any of that means, but it a very interesting story to read especially in light of Delta being one step ahead of its competitors in most endeavors.

  24. Highly unlikely to beef up mia for dl. Not enough gates as united and others continue to fold into HJ as they prepare to level G. Plus DL is much stronger in fll comparatively

  25. My thoughts are exactly what @Dan said. Something doesn’t strike the right note. They had MIA and MAD to themselves + feed. And no one had even the slightest chance to match them . Of course DL has a lot to gain, but all that LATAM did is just risk a lot of its business.

    Is this just about the money? Or did something happen that really soured the relationship between AA or LA? Or somebody at LA just lost their mind? Or is it that even if they had a JV without Chile, was American going to have a lion’s share of the profits that LA felt was useless?

  26. @ R Smith – Yes, Chile is the wealthiest country in Latin America, with a per capita income of 40% of what we have in the U.S. But the wealth is concentrated in the top 1%, and that’s not very many people out of 18 million (which is about 4% of total Latin America). Uruguay is not far behind in per capita income, but notice how no one is mentioning its 3 million people? Even with legal cannabis.

  27. @Rob. Yes, most higher fare passengers, business travelers from Brazil, will use AA and why you are seeing that. My point was more that those same business travelers with ongoing connections do not tend to fly LATAM to Miami and connect to AA. They will fly AA metal all the way as it’s a better business class and the logistics of connecting between LATAM and AA in Miami is not optimal.

  28. To be fair, I agree that Detroit could see some increased Latin American connectivity, but will not likely become a major focus for the new service. As others have pointed out, Delta operated DTW-GRU for many years and when I flew it, it was quite full, especially in business. Lots of mutual industry between Metropolitan Detroit (which let’s not forget has a population of around 5 million) and Brazil.

    More recently, Delta and Aeromexico have added a number of nonstop flights to Mexico from Detroit, including to Monterrey (both AM and DL), Queretaro (AM), and Leon (AM). This is in addition to longstanding service to Mexico City (DL, and AM before the MAX grounding), plus all the leisure destinations.

    So, I wouldn’t rule it out. Connections are much easier to make in Detroit than in Atlanta and especially than in JFK and this is largely due to the fact that it is the largest major air terminal to open since 2001. Everything on Delta and company is in what is essentially one main terminal plus the easy-to-reach B/C concourse.

  29. Surprising, or shocking to some, as Delta’s plan to buy 20% of LATAM is, I actually think holding stakes in a number of airlines like this exposes Delta to a much greater extent to market volatility in a continent ripe with boom and bust economic cycles. I’d agree with your analysis that Delta is not likely to add a lot more service to Latin America beyond what it already has, which is a distant third behind AA and UA. Delta’s hubs do not align well with Latin America’s markets the way AA’s does. I see Delta giving LATAM feed at JFK and LAX, yes, and potentially BOS, but we’re not likely to see LATAM 787s in DTW, MSP, SLC, or even in ATL. MIA remains the primary gateway to Latin America not just for passengers but for cargo and AA has scale there. Delta can and will likely add some frequencies but I don’t see them building out a focus operation on the scale of RDU, BOS, or SEA at MIA. More frequencies to Delta hubs and a few more focus cities not paired with MIA, sure, but not in a way that will meaningfully take a bite out of what AA has there.

  30. @Richard John Vogel – Delta has KLIA and Singapore covered through Skyteam partners Air France and KLM. Not as good as a JV but it covers the gap until Delta can get around to that part of the world.

    I’d expect to see a little more flying between one or two Delta hubs in the US and LATAM – with the transfer of the A350 orders to Delta I think a little more of it will be on DL than one might think (which will also mollify the unions).

  31. The Delta lovers here are all excited. In the meantime check out Delta’s award availability to GRU over the next two months. You are all going to pay 700K miles r/t to GRU in business? Because they give nothing to Brazil now and the won’t in the future. And LATAM is the stingiest partner in existence. Good luck!

  32. I travel at least 4 times to Fortaleza per year, taking Direct from MIAto FOR….what is chance they might increase the flights to more than 1/week?

  33. @stuart … I understand your focus on Brazil. I agree that AA has the advantage there. It certainly has the advantage in Argentina over LAN as well.

    But … if 70 percent of LATAM’s traffic from GRU is MIA O&D, that means 30 percent is connecting which creates the potential for AA to win that 30 percent over from LA since it has the better connection options. And I don’t mind connecting in MIA. With global entry coming in from BA or SLC, I’m out of customs in 5 minutes and in the Flagship Lounge 20 minutes after getting to the gate. I agree the connection between AA and LA in Miami is a pain, although mine has mainly been going from AA to LA.

    For LA to give up that connectivity is pretty stupid.

    Jon had some interesting data on his twitter feed. AA has a lot of connections it feeds to LA in GIG, GRU, and LIM, but not much elsewhere. Not sure which cities they feed to but AA could potentially pick up those cities with direct flights out of MIA or by bringing in GOL to pick up the GIG/GRU connections.

    Of course, the practical issue is that the business travelers are largely flying to cities that AA serves directly and the premium pax are even more likely to focus on those cities.

    I like LA and I hate to see them leave. I’ll probably use them a couple of times a year to get between EZE, SCL, and LIM. But … their internal South American flights aren’t any different than EasyJet. I’ll just miss the lounge at SCL and the 787 between MEX and SCL. Have been thinking about the flight from GRU to CPT too … but will probably go Qatar instead!

    PS — Chile has a strong middle class and the wealth is not as concentrated as other countries in South America. It’s also the only economy that isn’t a basket case and rife with corruption. But yes … its not as populous as Brazil or Argentina or in as good a location.

  34. I wander what impact this has on Qantas? Qantas originally started flying to Santiago due to the partnership with LATAM.
    Qantas has also mentioned their interest in launching direct flights to Brazil soon so could this mean Qantas flies to Brazil sooner than originally planned?

  35. Everyone keeps calling for a future merger between Alaska and JetBlue, but what makes most sense is a merger between Delta and Jetblue. Lots of synergy there. Biggest gain now is FLL as a hub. Plus thr duplicity of JFK, BOS, and LAX.

  36. Hi Ben:
    Your prediction of more LATAM flights to New York and LA is already a reality. LATAM announced Friday on a press release that the SCL-LAX flight is going from 5 weekly to daily and SCL-JFK is going from daily to 10x week, starting in 2020. The new LAX frequencies are already on sale.

    Press release is in Spanish but you can use Google Translate:
    https://www.latam.com/es_cl/prensa/comunicados/LATAM-aumenta-vuelos-entre-Chile-y-Estados-Unidos-para-2020/

  37. The wealthiest 1% of Chileans own 40% of the wealth. The wealthiest 10% own two thirds of the wealth. Last time someone tried to change that, the CIA booked a lot of tickets to SCL.

  38. Hey if DL can make MSP-HND, MSP-ICN work I’m sure MSP or DTW is going to have LATAM flights.

    Huge number of Asian there.

    Like few have raised, The more interesting question here is how many miles will it take to redeem flights.

  39. Lucky,

    Missing from your coverage of the DL/LN deal is why did DL acquired 4 of LN’s A350 (plus assuming a further 10 on Airbus’ order book). What do you think DL plans to do with 14 extra A350s? Are they going to refurbish the interior of those 4 already in LAN’s fleet to install DeltaOne seats? Why did LATAM decide to unload their A350s? Are they preparing to focus on being just a regional Latin American carrier and cede most future potential growth to destinations in North America/Europe/Asia to partners/investors DL/AF/KL/VS/KE?

  40. South American countries are struggling. Economy is bad, currency has tanked and customers are not spending as they were before. Thus, you can see less flights available to places like Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. Delta used to fly DTW-GRU daily and that was reduced to couple times per week if not entirely cancelled. Same for Orlando where Delta used to fly everyday and now has been cancelled. Not a good time to add more flights there.

  41. @Santastico I dont know what planet you live on but at least for Brazil, the opposite is true. Wealthy Brazilians are spending more than ever before, it sounds insane but even with the USD at 4BRL per dollar, shopping trips to Miami and vacations in Aspen and Hawaii are still going full force with the rich brazil crowd. I think Delta will add frequencies (as they should) to Brazil, if they’re smart.

  42. @R Smith saying Chile is the wealthiest country in South America and more important than places like Brazil is like trying to say Canada is more important than the USA regarding North America. It ain’t happenin’. Brazil is the economic powerhouse in South America, and the country is growing economically and getting richer. I hope and can totally see Delta adding LAX-GRU flights to compete with AA, who is the only one on that route, and partnering with LATAM doing a 50/50 per week. Only time will tell.

  43. Ben, I think the missing part of your equation is AA. They are in a state of shock right now (like many of us), but it really depends what their reaction will be. They are still quite strong out of MIA (less so DFW) to Latin Amercia, at least to the key A cities.

    What AA lost now in Latin America is connections to smaller B and C destinations. I think they might start some B cities on their own, out of MIA. And for the rest, there are several options. GOL is actually better within Brazil than Latam, in my view. Perhaps, AA can make an arrangement with them. Sky is also not that bad in Chile. Avianca is freely offering interlining and even codesharing with Iberia, so why not with AA? Ar least as long as UA is not able to take them over for legal reasons.

  44. @Andy I agree that GOL is better than LATAM in Brazil. Savvy travelers stay away from LATAM
    and fly only GOL or Azul, which is like jetBlue and is fantastic.

  45. While I believe Delta will add more flights to and from Miami, Atlanta will gain a larger presence of flights to and from South America. Delta’s lockdown on competition at the Atlanta airport ensures the carrier is guaranteed the business of those coming and leaving the country through LATAM.

  46. I’m not as optimistic as most of you regarding this Delta – LATAM marriage.

    I agree with Ben and I don’t see Delta increasing flights/capacity to South America and especially Brazil. They will rely on LATAM for that and increase their occupancy on the existing flights. Maybe change a plane or two for increased capacity.

    Regarding Stuart comment who says:
    “AA could very well go after LATAM by adding in flights to Fortaleza (A boom town and HUGE for growing tourism and connectivity to the NE), Belo Horizonte, Salvador and Recife. All easily reached with even a 737-MAX or other. For years many of these airports, though two hours closer to Miami in flight time, have required a back leg connection via GRU that is a complete pain in the lower area.”
    Actually there was a non-stop AA flight from MIA to CNF (Belo Horizonte) which they dropped unceremoniously last year in August. I’m still not sure why – of course a business decision that may have to do with them flying ancient 767s – as that flight was always full but then since no one else wants to take the route, they don’t care, they know most of their customers will make the extra stop in GRU (Sao Paulo) or GIG (Rio) and continue flying AA.
    I fly from the West Coast (SFO), and since there is no non-stop from the US to CNF, my last flight to GRU was actually with Delta but I had to purchase separate tickets from GRU to CNF for about $100 return with Azul and GOL. The fares to CNF were outrageous, basically Delta was charging an extra $500+ for the GRU-CNF return leg! Maybe the agreement will make the connection with LATAM easier and cheaper in the future. But again, I don’t expect new flights there…

    The one route that puzzles me as being underserved is LAX – GRU (and to a lesser degree LAX – GIG). There are many Brazilians in and going to SFO and LAX (Disneyland!), and I’m not sure why there are no more options there – except AA – especially since Korean Airlines terminated their non-stop flight in 2016. Delta’s lack of a hub in the major market of California is a major hit to them as it leaves them with fewer – and longer – options for passengers. Too bad United is not even trying to South America from LAX. That means American will stay the leader there in a monopolistic situation so I’m unfortunately not expecting changes from the Delta-LATAM agreement.

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