Delta Overtakes United As Largest US Domestic Widebody Airline

Widebodies are often an exciting prospect, and US domestic widebody flights have risen by 12% this summer. Delta has become the largest domestic operator, usurping United, while some 73 routes have 100+ widebody flights.

Delta B767-400ER
Delta is the US’ top widebody operator by flights this summer. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

Widebodies have over 38,000 of the US’ approximately 4.9 million domestic flights this summer, analyzing OAG schedules data indicates. Almost 4,200 extra widebody flights have been added versus summer 2019 (S19), increasing more than 12% – pushing up the proportion of them to 0.77%.

While still a minuscule amount, it does encompass 103 routes across Delta, United, American, and Hawaiian, including regular, intermittent, and one-off services. Some 73 routes have 100+ widebody flights this summer.

United B767-300ER
United was the top domestic widebody operator in S19, but it has slipped to second, following Delta adding 113% more flights for S21. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

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The B767-300ER is the most common type

With over 11,200 flights, the B767-300ER is the most common widebody aircraft to operate domestically this summer. This aircraft’s use has nearly doubled since S19 due to it being redeployed from international missions. And it is despite American Airlines retiring the type along with multiple others in 2020.

Delta is now overwhelmingly the leading domestic B767-300ER operator, with such flights up by a whopping 193% over S19. In comparison, United’s use has grown by 360%, but it is still some distance behind in terms of total flights. Delta has 30 routes scheduled by the type this summer, with the number-one from New York JFK to Los Angeles. It also has several irregular services. For example, Tampa to Atlanta had three flights using -300ERs. Two have already gone, with the remaining service – on May 1st – still bookable.

Hawaiian Airlines A330-200
The A330-200 plays an important role domestically, primarily with Hawaiian Airlines but also with Delta. Hawaiian uses the type on 13 domestic routes. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

But big growth with other types too

Many other widebodies have seen meaningful growth over S19, including the A330-300 (+178%), B777-300ER (+175%), B777-200 (+84%), and B787-8 (+40%). Of course, some of these have relatively few flights in absolute terms. The B777-300ER, for example, has more than 1,300 flights scheduled this summer, up from just 488 in S19. United and American use it, with Los Angeles to Miami, Newark to San Francisco, Honolulu to Los Angeles and San Francisco, and Dallas to Honolulu most important. This is up from just two routes in S19.

American Airlines B777-200
The B777 remains a crucial aircraft domestically. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

Top airports for domestic widebodies

Some 29 US airports will have 100+ domestic widebody flights this summer, up by three over S19 with Charlotte, Lihue, and Austin added. Charlotte’s entry is from widebody service to Honolulu, the same as for Austin, while Lihue gets linked with Denver using B767-300ERs.

Not surprisingly, Honolulu is the country’s top widebody airport, with nearly 12,000 flights across 21 routes with Hawaiian, United, American, and Delta, including the 5,095-mile service to Boston. Honolulu is followed by Los Angeles, JFK, Atlanta, and Detroit.

Austin, meanwhile, has the least widebody flights (135), with Hawaiian’s brand-new non-stop service from Honolulu taking off later in April. Simple Flying recently looked at Austin’s phenomenal growth.

Top US airports for widebodies
Despite not being in the top airport pair, Honolulu is the US’ leading airport for domestic widebodies. Source: OAG Schedules Analyzer.

Nine airports are up by 100%+

Nine US airports have seen widebody flights more than double this summer versus S19:

  1. Salt Lake City: +400%
  2. Minneapolis: +390%
  3. Kona: +390%
  4. Anchorage: +356%
  5. Atlanta: +295%
  6. Detroit: +256%
  7. Phoenix: +249%
  8. Orlando: +150%
  9. San Diego: +106%

The importance of Delta is clear to see, with this operator growing its widebody offering by 113%, with some 6,100 flights added. On April 14th, Delta will use widebodies on seven of its nine departures between Salt Lake City and Atlanta, as shown below, up from three on the same day in 2019.

On April 14th, seven of Delta’s nine departures from Salt Lake City to Atlanta will be by widebodies. Image: OAG.

Various airports have seen domestic widebody service fall, especially Houston Intercontinental (-63%), Philadelphia (-63%), Washington Dulles (-44%), Newark (-39%), and San Francisco (-27%). San Francisco’s reduction is from over 900 fewer widebodies on United’s hub-to-hub services to Newark, Denver, Dulles, and Houston, although the airline’s new JFK services – using the 767 – have somewhat helped to stem the fall.

Do you like flying widebodies domestically? Comment below!