Does Delta's First Class Shuttle Cabin Signal The End of Shuttle Flights?
Back in March I reported on the fact that it seems that shuttle flights between cities on the East Coast like New York, Boston, and Washington haven't been faring too well in recent years. Joe Brancatelli who writes the Seat 2B column for Portfolio says that the recent news that Delta will add first-class cabins to its shuttle flights between New York, Boston, and Washington isn't a positive sign; it proves that the shuttles may well be on their way out. The shuttles have become less profitable and the shuttle aircraft which are equipped with standard first- and coach-class cabins can now be used on any flight path. In the 1980s large shuttles used to run every hour and promised no reservations needed. Now the remaining shuttles use smaller aircraft and fly less frequently especially on weekends and non-peak times.
Is this the last gasp of the shuttle flight? It certainly seems like it, the rise of technology, the high-speed Acela train, private jet charter services and even luxury bus lines have made shuttle flying less and less attractive. Like Joe Brancatelli, I'm a little nostalgic for the shuttles of my youth but in these days when it seems that hardly any flights go smoothly and airlines are struggling to stay afloat it seems like the shuttle is an idea whose time is long gone.