Published on March 16th, 2012 | by Mark Chesnut
They Want You: Delta Air Lines Ups Effort to Attract Latin America Travelers
|Flying south: A Delta Air Lines Boeing 777-200LR|
BY MARK CHESNUT
With LAN Airlines about to complete its merger with TAM Airlines, and both AviancaTaca and Copa Airlines continuing to grow, the competition is heating up over the skies of Latin America. (Check out my article, “American Airlines’ Latin America Strategy, in Latin Business Chronicle, my post about the Copa Airlines debut in Las Vegas on Orbitz Worldwide and my report, “New Flights, New Airlines: The Changing Skies Over Latin America,” on LatinFlyer.com.)
Delta Air Lines, of course, wants to be sure that it gets a decent share of the competitive Latin America market, too. And the Atlanta-based company has made a number of announcements in recent weeks to indicate its investment in the region.
• In December, Delta inked a deal with GOL, the fast-growing Brazilian discount airline. The agreement includes a commercial alliance with code sharing, reciprocal lounge access and other goodies for travelers — in addition, Delta is investing $100 million in GOL and getting a seat on the South American carrier’s board of directors.
• In February, the company announced the launch of Despegando, a new Spanish-language section of SKY, its in-flight magazine. The first issue of the eight-page section debuted in March.
• Delta is increasing its daily flight frequency between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and San Juan, Puerto Rico, with three daily flights and between JFK and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, with two daily flights.
• Also in March, Delta announced a series of onboard “service enhancements, including new meals in the BusinessElite cabin inspired by South American cuisine and designed by chef Michelle Bernstein, a Miami native of Jewish and Latin descent.
Local flavor will be featured in the back of the cabin as well. Also new are Chilean Chardonnay and Syrah wines, selected by sommelier Andrea Robinson, to be featured in the International Economy cabin on flights to Latin America. If you’re flying from Brazil, you’ll be treated to the Brazilian soft drink called Kuat, while on flights from Argentina, you can indulge in desserts like dulce de leche.
Will code shares with Brazil’s biggest discount airline, a new Spanish-language in-flight section in its magazine and new cuisine help Delta gain more market share? Will it affect which airline you choose when flying in Latin America? It will be interesting to see.
MORE TRAVEL NEWS & TIPS
• American Airlines’ Latin America Strategy (Latin Business Chronicle)
• Growth Mode: Bogota’s Hotel Sector Continues to Expand (Latin Business Chronicle)
• Follow LatinFlyer on Twitter!