Delta faces a challenging weekend, allows its customers to change plans without any fees

Delta Air Lines’ CEO Ed Bastian apologized to its customers for its recent cancellations as its pilots picket and complain about the overwhelming amount of overtime flying.

Booming demand and staff shortages, especially pilots, is causing a lot of the cancellations. Weather also plays a major role.

Bastian has called this period the most challenging period in the airline’s history.

Delta is providing more flexibility to customers for changing their travel plans ahead of the busy July Fourth holiday travel weekend.

The global airline has issued a systemwide fare difference travel waiver for July 1-4, which allows customers to rebook their trip around potentially challenging weekend travel days – with no fare difference or change fees, as long as customers travel between the same origin and destination. Customers can adjust their travel plans via My Trips or the Fly Delta app. Rebooked travel needs to take place by July 8, 2022.

Delta sent this message to its SkyMiles members:

The summer travel season is well underway, and I share the excitement of so many of you who are returning to the skies as restrictions lift and entire regions of the world reopen. At the same time, I know many of you may have experienced disruptions, sometimes significant, in your travels as we build our operation back from the depths of 2020 while accommodating a record level of demand.

If you’ve encountered delays and cancellations recently, I apologize. We’ve spent years establishing Delta as the industry leader in reliability, and though the majority of our flights continue to operate on time, this level of disruption and uncertainty is unacceptable. You choose to invest your time, resources and loyalty with Delta and you’ve rightly come to expect a world-class experience on every flight, and that includes the best reliability in the business.

Despite the historic challenges facing our industry, Delta’s team of 75,000+ professionals around the globe remain focused on providing the very best care for you and your loved ones. I want to thank them for their continued professionalism, resilience and the truly outstanding service they continue to deliver on a daily basis. Thanks to their efforts, so far in June we’ve flown over 96% of our scheduled departures, with more than 80% of our flights arriving within 14 minutes of their scheduled arrival time. I’m proud of the work of our team in the face of the many obstacles we’re up against as air travel re-emerges and even prouder of our determination to reduce cancellations and further minimize delays.

RESTORING RELIABILITY

Things won’t change overnight, but we’re on a path towards a steady recovery. Steps we’ve taken include offering more flexibility for your travel plans and adjusting our summer schedule so that when challenges do occur, we can bounce back faster. Crews are being scheduled with more buffer room to help us absorb and adjust when factors like summer thunderstorms disrupt the operation. And as always, we’re issuing travel waivers ahead of inclement weather, enabling you to easily rebook travel if needed without worry.

At the same time, airport procedures are being updated, including earlier boarding to help ensure on-time departures and schedule changes at our largest connecting hub in Atlanta to help manage the volume of customers at the airport. And we’ve activated our Peach Corps, a program that brings in hundreds of employees from our corporate offices to the airports in Atlanta and New York to assist with check-in, baggage drop-off, airport wayfinding, using kiosks, serving you at our Delta Sky Clubs and other helpful tasks.

We’ve accelerated our hiring as well, bringing on around 15,000 new employees since the start of 2021. That includes a record number of Reservations and Care specialists, pilots, flight attendants, aircraft maintenance technicians and more – overall we’re hiring several hundred new Delta team members every week to assist you and help ensure a reliable, comfortable experience on Delta when you fly.

And we’re continuing to engage with the Federal Aviation Administration on improving processes for air traffic management, which will help minimize delays and cancellations due to inclement weather.

The environment we’re navigating today is unlike anything we’ve ever faced, but Delta is no stranger to challenging times, and our commitment to you is as strong as ever. We won’t stop until we’ve made things right, and we’ll never stop improving for you.

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We’re excited to see you returning to the skies, and every flight is an opportunity to earn your loyalty and trust anew. On behalf of our global team, I want to thank you for your patience and understanding as we work throughout the summer and beyond to get you to your destination safely and restore the world-class reliability that you deserve and have come to expect from Delta.

Delta aircraft photo gallery (Boeing):