DALLAS — On Saturday, March 25, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines (DL) finally resumed service between Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) and Tokyo Haneda (HND).
This resumption comes after a three-year hiatus since DL last served the route. The route from the airline’s midwest hub has been delayed multiple times during the pandemic after it was initially stopped in March 2020 because Japan kept its border closed longer than a majority of countries to prevent the spread of COVID within the country.
In October 2023, Japan finally opened its borders to tourists, which resulted in DL bringing back service to Japan from its hubs in Los Angeles (LAX), Detroit (DTW), Seattle (SEA), and Atlanta (ATL).
On Saturday, MSP joined the list of US cities with nonstop flights to Japan. Flight DL121 departs MSP at 11:05 AM and arrives at HND at 2:20 PM, with a flight time of 13 hours and 15 minutes. The return flight, DL120, departs HND at 4:20 PM and arrives at MSP at 2:00 PM with a flight time of 11 hours and 40 minutes. The route will operate daily using an Airbus A330-900neo. The aircraft can seat 281 passengers in four cabins: 29 in Delta One, 28 in Delta Premium Select, 56 in Delta Comfort +, and 168 in economy. The economy cabin features a 2-4-2 layout giving travelers wider seats.
Delta has been expanding its presence at HND since 2019 when it moved all of its flights from Tokyo Narita (NRT) to HND because of its proximity to Tokyo. In July, the airline opened a stunning 9,000-square-foot Sky Club at HND. By the end of 2023, DL will serve seven destinations from HND, including Atlanta, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Minneapolis/St. Paul, Seattle, Honolulu (begins October 29), and Portland, Oregon (starts November 1).
Comments from MSP, Delta Officials
Brian Ryks, the CEO of the Metropolitan Airport Commission, which operates MSP, commented, “Tokyo is one of MSP’s legacy international destinations, with service that goes back decades…We’re thrilled Delta is bringing back these daily flights to continue to meet the strong passenger and business demand between the upper Midwest and Japan.”
Delta’s Vice President of MSP Airport Operations, Mary Loeffelholz, commented “Delta is the only carrier to provide nonstop service to Asia from MSP and restarting service to one of Asia’s most iconic cities, Tokyo, only builds on our commitment to give Minnesotans access to the destinations they want to travel to most…With flights to 115 destinations across the globe, to places like Seoul, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Toronto, Montego Bay, and many more, Delta continues to exemplify that ‘no one better connects the world.”
According to the MSP, 17,000 passengers travel annually between MSP and Japan. The resumption of the route between HND and MSP will accompany flights to Seoul Incheon (ICN) and London Heathrow (LHR). Previously, Delta also operated a flight between Detroit (DTW) and Nagoya (NGO) in Japan, but DL cut the flight earlier in 2023.
Delta is the largest airline at MSP, operating 290 flights on peak days to 115 destinations in March. The carrier flies nonstop flights to destinations across Europe, Asia, North America, and Central America. With the resumption of the route to HND, MSP’s international routes are at 90% pre-pandemic levels.
Featured image: N419DX, Delta Air Lines Airbus A330neo. Photo: Michael Rodeback/Airways