Written by WCPO investigative reporter Dan Monk
After a few false starts, Delta Air Lines is preparing to resume nonstop flights to Paris from CVG Airport in two months.
Direct flights to France have been absent from the CVG roster since the start of the pandemic in April, 2020. Delta previously announced plans to resume nonstop service on several dates in 2021, only to pull back on those plans due to COVID surges and weak demand from corporate travelers.
But Delta recently confirmed to airport officials that a permanent restoration of the service will start with three flights a week on Aug. 2.
“We have asked, and our fears have been allayed,” said Seth Cutter, director of communications and government affairs at CVG. “That Paris service is obviously very important to our region, particularly for some of the big companies around town that use that service either to get to Paris directly or as a one-stop connection to the world.”
Cutter said Delta will offer direct flights on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday initially. Starting this fall, he expects the schedule to expand on a seasonal basis to between four and six flights a week.
“The return of Delta’s nonstop flight from CVG to Paris is vastly important to the business community in the Cincinnati region,” said Kimm Lauterbach, REDI Cincinnati president and CEO. “We have more than 450 international businesses with a presence in the region, including Paris-based Safran, and headquarters for companies like GE Aviation and Procter & Gamble which conduct substantial business in Europe. This flight adds a direct option from Cincinnati to Europe’s second busiest airport for our businesses to utilize.”
P&G spokeswoman Christine Wever said he Paris flight is an important time saver for employees traveling to the company’s European headquarters.
“Instead of stopping two or more times on their way to Geneva, they only have one stop in Paris, which means more time at home with their families and, a more efficient trip to meet the needs of the business,” Wever said.
Delta has not responded to WCPO’s inquiries, but a check of its flight options this morning showed a one-way flight to Charles De Gaulle airport on Aug. 2, with a main-cabin price of $1,035. Premium seats for that flight are sold out. On Aug. 1, the lowest price option is a connection through New York’s JFK airport and takes 3.5 hours longer – for $1,040.
“Initially, I thought it was going to be late this year before we would see it. So, to see it back in the beginning of August, that pleases me greatly,” said Jay Ratliff, an aviation blogger for WLW-AM 700. “It made travel so much easier because we could bypass Kennedy, bypass Atlanta. And then, coming home of course right into Cincinnati and, boom, you’re here.”
Ratliff thinks the Paris flight will eventually get back to the six weekly flights that Delta offered at the peak of its Cincinnati hub.
“As a community, if we can support this service that Delta’s giving us, then we’re going to see it here for a while,” he said. “Business travel is starting to come back. More people are getting more comfortable with the idea of planning international trips.”
Ratliff said Delta’s introductory pricing is “very reasonable,” but he also gave a tip of the cap to WCPO Consumer Reporter John Matarese by explaining how to get the best value from Delta’s Paris flight. Ratliff said travelers can get a “highly discounted first-class fare” by booking well in advance and purchasing a Delta “Z-Class” ticket. It’s a non-refundable ticket that he buys insurance to guard against cancellation.
“That way you can travel to Paris in style and not be spending anywhere near what the people around you have spent to be in that same section,” Ratliff said. “It would make John proud that I’m saving money like this.”