It’s an interesting tactic. American Airlines has filed a complaint with the DOT stating that they should be able to take Delta’s Haneda slot. The crux of their argument is that given Delta’s significant reduction in flights from Seattle to Tokyo’s Haneda airport over the winter, the DOT should hand those rights to American who will operate daily service to Haneda.
You can hear commentary on Delta’s changes (as well as my thoughts on American Airlines in Argentina and United’s reductions) on this Dots, Lines and Destinations podcast I was a guest on.
Delta didn’t expect to see the volume of passengers this upcoming winter, thus the significant drop in frequency. I’m pretty sure the DOT intent here wasn’t for one frequency a week to Haneda. But, they still are flying the route and I don’t know that DOT has a strong enough reason to take away such a valuable slot.
Gotta wonder if the folks in Dallas were truly hoping for the slot or if they were just hoping DOT would force Delta to fly a bunch of empty planes.