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That's a good use for those older and smaller planes.
You bet. Used to be they got sold to flight expanding world areas like South America. But now, thanks to the pandemic, no need for these planes for that purpose but pandemic has created big need for cargo planes for products delivered to homes through Internet buying.
The cost of a coach ticket from Rochester, NY to Amsterdam, Netherlands has more than doubled since before the pandemic. This is based on a recent booking I made. The price increase is greater than that for competing airlines, including KLM. It's easy for me to believe that with higher fares and lower levels of service, an airline like Delta is bound to recover pretty well. As for its passengers, well, that's a different matter.
Here's more detail on my flight from Rochester, NY to Amsterdam, via JFK. The portion from JFK to AMS was on Delta aircraft, jointly used by KLM and Virgin Atlantic, owing to the lower number of passengers traveling. In fact, the total number of passengers on the Boing 777-300, which has a capacity of 293, was about 30.
The so-called dinner offered to economy class passengers was the worst meal I ever had on any flight – overcooked chicken breast smothered in gravy with mashed potatoes. Delta failed to load three checked bags and didn't manage to deliver them for another two days. Delta promised to provide some funds to buy more clothes in the interim but was not forthcoming.
My only conclusion is that Delta, and probably many, if not most other airlines were cutting staff and services in an effort to reduce losses on flights that were nowhere near filled to capacity. Note that three different airlines combined in one aircraft to avoid vacant seats, but still only 30 out of nearly 300 seats were occupied!
Even as air travel demand is increasing, it will take quite a long time before the major airlines are able to record the kind of profit they were making before the pandemic. And it will take even longer to restore traveler loyalty.