The Next Battleground: Delta vs American At Austin

Delta and American are battling over passengers in the burgeoning city of Austin, Texas. Though neither carrier considers Austin a hub, the two airlines still recognize the importance of having a solid footprint in this growing city.

Delta and American Planes
Delta and American as seen in Los Angeles- another major city where the two airlines are in close competition. Photo: Eric Salard via Flickr

American’s new Austin routes take on Delta

Simple Flying reported earlier this month that American Airlines announced three new services out of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. American will start flying from Austin to San Jose, California, and Boston, Massachusetts next spring. Both routes will see Boeing 737-800 service. In addition, American will also add seasonal flights to Los Cabos, Mexico.

American 737-800
American Airlines will fly Boeing 737-800 aircraft from Austin to San Jose and Boston. Photo: BriYYZ via Flickr

This represents a challenge to Delta Air Lines. Recently, Delta has been growing out of Austin, although slowly. The airline generally flies out of Austin to hubs like Atlanta, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Los Angeles. Outside of these cities, Delta does fly a regional jet on a weekday service to Raleigh-Durham.

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Delta A320
Delta Air Lines has grown more slowly out of Austin. Photo: Airbus

Delta’s presence in Austin

While Delta does not operate as many point-to-point routes out of Austin, the airline has made sure that Austin travelers are not overlooked. Delta recently opened a new Sky Club at the airport.

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Delta Austin Sky Club
Delta Air Lines recently opened a new Sky Club at Austin Bergstrom International Airport. Photo: Delta News Hub via Flickr

And, the airline offers multiple daily flights to several key destinations like New York and Los Angeles. In addition, the airline offers multiple daily flights on aircraft like the Airbus A321 and the new, flashy Airbus A220. Meanwhile, fellow Skyteam member and joint-venture partner KLM will soon launch flights on Airbus A330 aircraft from Austin to Amsterdam.

Delta A220
Delta also flies Airbus A220 aircraft out of Austin. Photo: Delta News Hub via Flickr

American Airlines in Austin

American Airlines is also a force at the airport. In fact, per statistics from the City of Austin, American flew almost 800,000 more passengers than Delta Air Lines in Austin. This makes American the second-largest carrier at Austin after Southwest. Meanwhile, Delta placed fourth with United in between American and Delta.

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American Airlines A321
American Airlines was the second-largest carrier at Austin in 2018. Photo: Airbus

Not to be left out, American also offers an Admirals Club at Austin Bergstrom. This is part of American’s push to also capture a significant share of business passengers out of Austin.

American Recliner First
Premium passengers are part of American’s target market out of Austin. Photo: American Airlines

Fellow oneworld partner and joint-venture business partner, British Airways, also flies to Austin. In fact, British Airways will fly the new Airbus A350-1000 equipped with Club Suites to Austin from London-Heathrow.

British Airways is a flag carrier
British Airways will fly an A350 to Austin in 2020. Photo: Simple Flying

Why Austin?

Austin is a booming city for professionals. The growing tech scene is evident with companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google among a number of other companies. Part of this demand from tech industry professionals pushed American to add new flights to both Boston and San Jose. In addition to the lively music scene, even KLM highlighted the importance of industry in Austin to its new route to Amsterdam.

Austin, Texas
Multiple airlines have noted the city’s booming growth from tech companies. Photo: KLM

So, who will win this battle?

It is hard to tell whether American or Delta will “win” this competition out of Austin. However, the largest American Airlines hub is only a couple hundred miles north of Austin in Dallas. So, for American Airlines, it does not make sense to fly a significant number of routes out of Austin. Meanwhile, Delta has more room to grow. With no real nearby hubs, Delta could easily grow at Austin. It also depends on how much Delta grows at Austin. Delta has recently been a little conservative with growth.

Ultimately, Austin is still a key battleground for American and Delta. The growing tech scene is unlikely to fade anytime soon. With a solid mixture of leisure and business travelers, both American and Delta can target a number of new routes out of the Texas capitol. But, Delta has its work cut out given American’s greater passenger numbers at Austin.

Do you think American or Delta will prevail at Austin? Which airline do you prefer out of Austin? Let us know in the comments!

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Keith Brown

It’s allll about the destination. And the connections in between. I travel frequently to the Capital District of NY (Albany). Sometimes I’ll choose United because I have miles, but I’ll take the non-stop to EWR, rent a car, and drive 3 hours because their commuter contractor in Albany is a… Read more »

Freddy Garcia

I would love to see Delta grow out of Austin.
If American airlines wanted it. They have had plenty of time. Let Denta reap and grow. Well that is my opinion.