Those fares to Europe are so cheap because traffic on the major US and European carriers is down quite significantly. November operational reports released earlier this week by the major carriers show a -7.2% decline for United, a -7.9% fall for Delta, and a -8.8% drop for American. The carriers say the threat of terrorism in Europe, Pound and Euro devaluations (raising prices for Europeans wanting to visit the US), and according to Delta “Middle Eastern carriers violating the law” are causing the drops.
“We are facing Middle Eastern carriers that are violating the law,” Bastian said in the webcast, referring to “Open Skies” agreements with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
On the bright side, all 3 carriers are experiencing a post-election bump in domestic travel and have increased improvements from prior guidance for 4Q16.