I'm not familiar with flying from Portland, Oregon, to Detroit, but I need to acquire some data for a situation I'm involved in. Based on Google Flights, I cannot find a single direct flight from Portland to Detroit in the future. I am not sure if this is due to COVID, or if this is just the normal situation.

Is there anyone who has flown this route before and can share some insight?

If there was no direct flight form Portland to Detroit, I would be a bit surprised. Detroit is a major airport. Portland is medium sized airport, and I would expect at least 1 or 2 direct flights to Detroit a day.

Is there a website where I can search if there were direct flights in the past?

  • 7
    Which Portland? Mar 7, 2021 at 4:36
  • 2
    Not sure about direct flights in past but there is a direct flight by Delta starting in May, 2021. delta.com/flight-status/1/0841/2021-05-19/PDX/DTW
    – Aak
    Mar 7, 2021 at 4:41
  • You can also search past flights on the Bureau of transportation statistic website. I did a query on January 2020 with Delta and I could see direct flights from PDX to DTW.
    – Aak
    Mar 7, 2021 at 4:51
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    Are you asking about direct or non-stop? These are (unfortunately) VERY different things for some airlines.
    – Hilmar
    Mar 7, 2021 at 14:55
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    @student010101: Unfortunately they are not.. A direct flight can include a stop. Some airlines just combine two random flights, give them the same flight number and market it as "direct". Case in point I was on a direct flight from Boston to Vegas and had tp spend the night in Denver since I missed the connection. Direct sometimes just means that two legs have the same flight number. It does NOT mean the same plane, the same crew, the same gate or non-stop.
    – Hilmar
    Mar 8, 2021 at 16:11

1 Answer 1


Alaska and Delta have both flown PDX-DTW nonstops in the recent past (5 years).

Alaska had a redeye in 2017, but as reported at FlyerTalk and confirmed in their archived January 2019 timetable, this was changed to a seasonal route and then discontinued altogether.

Delta inherited the DTW hub (and PDX-DTW) with its 2008 merger with Northwest Airlines. According to their archived November 2019 timetable, they were operating one flight per day during the off season.

My armchair analyst's suspicion is that there is not enough demand for this route to justify more service. Alaska would want to route connecting passengers through its larger hub at SEA, and as for Delta, they have been focused on building up JFK and LAX, although the route is likely to return after the COVID-19 shock fades.

As for low-cost carriers, Southwest and Spirit serve both airports, but neither seems to have been interested in the route.

  • 1
    Based on @Aak's comment above, it seems Delta will have a direct flight in May? So maybe it's currently affected by COVID? Mar 7, 2021 at 15:04
  • 1
    I stated this directly in my answer.
    – choster
    Mar 7, 2021 at 18:10
  • As of summer 2023 Delta is now operating one flight per day between PDX and DTW. The eastbound leg is a redeye flight. Jun 8 at 16:45

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