Delta continues to raise the bar on a differentiated customer experience with investments in new aircraft, improvements in airport facilities, deeper partnerships with other airlines, and the introduction of cutting-edge technology. Maintaining transparency and choice in pricing is another way we demonstrate our commitment to our customers.
We know customers rely on accurate information when they travel, and Delta’s efforts to build the nation’s most reliable airline extend to providing clear and complete information about fares and optional products.
Customer choice: By more closely aligning our offerings with customer preferences, travelers do not have to pay for services they do not want. By charging separate fees for some services rather than single comprehensive fares, Delta has been able to develop a variety of products and innovative onboard experiences that range from deeply discounted fares to premium services. This ability to better tailor our products has contributed to improved customer satisfaction scores and a better travel experience for all of our customers.
Lower average cost of air travel: The cost of air travel has declined both over the long run and over the past five years. Since deregulation, average airfare (base fare plus baggage and change fees) per passenger for a round-trip domestic flight has dropped 41 percent, from $617 in 1979 to $367 in 2016. Fares increased slightly after record lows in 2009, but 2016 fares are the lowest of the past seven years, even with average baggage and change fees included. Delta has long advocated for full transparency of the price of a ticket, including full disclosure of taxes and government fees.
Ancillary fees: Data in a recent GAO study shows that on a per-passenger basis, ancillary fees have held steady – in fact, they’ve dropped slightly since 2010. GAO reports that U.S. airlines’ revenues from checked baggage, change, and cancellation fees increased 12.7 percent between 2010 and 2016. The report also notes that total passenger enplanements increased 14.4 percent over the same time period. The growth in ancillary fee revenue is the direct result of an increase in passenger traffic, which has declined on a per-passenger basis.
Capped fares and waived fees: In recent weeks, Delta temporarily waived baggage and pet-in-cabin fees for customers traveling to and from airports impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Delta also issued travel waivers for certain periods to allow customers to change or cancel plans without incurring a fee. And the airline managed inventory and reduced pricing levels of the highest fares for travelers looking to purchase a ticket to get out of the path of the storm.
 Source: DOT Bureau of Transportation Statistics. DOT fare data is cited in 2016 dollars to adjust for inflation.