Category Archives: Delta Air Lines

Delta fast-tracks NYC growth with 8,000 more seats daily

Delta Air Lines made this announcement about New York City:

  • Adding over 100 daily flights in NYC this fall – a 25% capacity increase compared to summer 2021
  • Restoring nonstop service to NYC’s top 40 domestic markets
  • JFK and LGA’s largest carrier operating over 400 daily flights to 92 destinations

After a summer of recovery, Delta isn’t slowing down in bringing back more flights and destinations for New York’s business and leisure travelers alike.

By November, Delta will add more than 100 total daily departures from John F. Kennedy Airport and LaGuardia Airport compared to the airline’s summer 2021 schedule – translating to approximately 8,000 additional seats each day to the people and places New Yorkers love most.

With domestic consumer travel back to 2019 levels, Delta is focused on restoring capacity safely and reliably as business travel picks up with volumes not seen since the pandemic began.

“We’re adding 25% more capacity this fall to meet the significant demand for business and international travel going into next year,” said Joe Esposito, Delta’s S.V.P. – Network Planning. “We continue to provide more choice and convenience while rebuilding our global connectivity and delivering what Delta does best – putting our customers first with exceptional, reliable service and a premium travel experience.”

Not only will Delta restore nonstop service to all of New York’s 40 most popular domestic markets by next month, but multiple key business markets will also see meaningful boosts in flight options, including Boston (BOS), Washington, D.C. (DCA), Raleigh-Durham (RDU) and Charlotte (CLT). This follows Delta’s already expanded service to NYC’s biggest corporate markets earlier this fall, like Chicago (ORD), Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) and Houston (IAH) – part of Delta’s thoughtful approach to adding capacity in line with the return of demand.

Delta also recently launched new LGA service to Toronto (YYZ) and will launch a new flight to Worcester, Massachusetts (ORH) starting Nov. 1.

Delta will offer the most flights and seats of any carrier at JFK and LGA with 400 total daily departures to 92 domestic and international destinations. And every Delta flight at JFK, LGA and EWR will now offer a First Class experience, due to the removal of smaller, 50-seat aircraft from all NYC markets.

Delta has also expanded its Airbus A220 flights in New York, complementing a similar expansion at our rapidly-growing Boston hub, to Chicago (ORD), Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) and Houston (IAH). The A220 offers customers a spacious, modernized experience with the widest Main Cabin seats in our fleet, high-capacity overhead bins and extra-large windows.

U.S. borders to reopen to international travelers on November 8, Delta to add new routes to Panama

 

A Boeing 767-300 flying over Seattle, Washington.

Delta Air Lines made this announcement:

Effective Nov. 8, 2021, vaccinated international travelers who want to come to the U.S. can now do so, following the Biden Administration’s announcement that it will lift travel restrictions on foreign nationals that have been in place since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reopening of international travel will allow for the reunification of thousands of families and friends from around the world who have been separated for more than 18 months, just in time for the holidays.

International travel is vital to help reverse the devastating economic impact on America’s travel and tourism industry, which was hit hard by the pandemic. It is also an essential component in recovering global trade and commerce, particularly across the Atlantic. New York-JFK to London Heathrow is the world’s most important route for business travel.

“I applaud the administration’s decision to welcome foreign nationals back to the United States beginning Nov. 8. Thanks to the remarkable scientific efforts undertaken by the administration to protect public health through world-leading vaccination programs and health safety protocols, U.S. borders can safely be reopened,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “International air travel is essential to global economic recovery and the United States’ tourism industry. Delta people are excited to play our part in reuniting families for the holidays and reconnecting the world after more than 19 months apart.”

DELTA’S INTERNATIONAL NETWORK

While leisure travel has remained consistently high, Delta is adding more flights across the globe as demand for international and business travel returns.

In November, customers traveling to the U.S. from across the pond can easily connect to Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, New York-JFK, Minneapolis, Seattle and Salt Lake City with over 190 weekly nonstop flights from 16 markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Including partners Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic, customers have even greater choice with over 430 weekly flights to the U.S.

In other news, Delta will launch new nonstop flights to Panama City, Panama (PTY), from Los Angeles and Orlando on Dec. 18, and from New York-JFK on Dec. 20. Delta will also add a second Saturday flight from Atlanta on Dec. 18.  

In total, Delta will offer 13 weekly flights between four U.S. cities and Panama this winter, the most we’ve operated to the country since launching flights in 1998.

New L.A. and Orlando service – Delta’s only international flight at MCO – will both operate once-weekly on the 199-seat Boeing 757 aircraft and the 180-seat Boeing 737-900, respectively. New JFK service will operate on the 160-seat Boeing 737-800 three times per week, increasing to four times in March 2022.

In addition to Main Cabin, all aircraft offer a spacious First Class cabin and extra legroom in Delta Comfort+. All customers will enjoy in-seat power outlets for their devices, Wi-Fi available for purchase and free mobile messaging, and personal seat-back entertainment screens featuring a wealth of premium content, including curated playlists and podcasts from Delta’s partnership with Spotify.

Delta and Spotify partner to curate the perfect soundtrack to your journey

Top Photo: Delta. Flight arriving over Seattle from Asia.

Delta reports third quarter pre-tax income of $216 million, adds 2 more A350-900s

Delta Air Lines today reported financial results for the third quarter 2021 and provided its outlook for the fourth quarter 2021.

“Our September quarter marked an important milestone in our recovery, with our first quarterly profit since the start of the pandemic,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive officer.  “Our revenues reached two-thirds of 2019 levels thanks to the industry-leading operational performance our people delivered through a busy summer, once again showing why they are the best in the business.”

“While demand continues to improve, the recent rise in fuel prices will pressure our ability to remain profitable for the December quarter.  As the recovery progresses, I am confident in our path to sustained profitability as we continue to provide best-in-class service to our customers, strengthen preference for our brand, while creating a simpler, more efficient airline.”

September Quarter Financial and Operating Results 

  • Adjusted pre-tax income of $216 million excludes a $1.3 billion net benefit related to the second payroll support program extension (PSP3) partially offset by debt extinguishment charges and mark-to-market adjustments on our investments
  • Adjusted operating revenue of $8.3 billion, which excludes refinery sales, was 66 percent recovered versus September quarter 2019 on capacity that was 71 percent restored.  Sequentially versus the June quarter 2021, adjusted operating revenue improved by $1.9 billion, or 30 percent, on an 11 percent increase in capacity
  • Total operating expense, which includes the remaining $1.8 billion of benefit related to PSP3, decreased $3.5 billion compared to the September quarter 2019.  Adjusted for the benefit related to PSP3 and costs from third-party refinery sales, total operating expense decreased $2.6 billion or 25 percent in the September quarter 2021 versus the comparable 2019 period
  • Remuneration from American Express in the quarter was just over $1 billion, up 1 percent compared to September quarter 2019
  • Generated $151 million of operating cash flow and invested $619 million back in the business
  • At the end of the September quarter, the company had $15.8 billion in liquidity, including cash and cash equivalents, short-term investments and undrawn revolving credit facilities
  • Led the industry on key operating metrics, including a record combined completion factor of 99.72 in August for both mainline and Delta Connection.  These operating results and other enhancements to the customer experience supported domestic net promoter scores above September quarter 2019 levels

December Quarter 2021 Outlook

4Q21 Forecast

Capacity 1

 80% restored

Total Revenue 1, 2

 Recovered to low 70s percentage

Fuel Price ($/gal) 2, 3

$2.25 – $2.40

CASM-Ex 1, 2

Up 6% – 8%

Capital Expenditures 2

~$1.2 billion

Adjusted Net Debt 2

~$22 billion

1 Compared to December quarter 2019

2 Non-GAAP measure

3 Fuel guidance based on prices as of October 11 (Brent at $83, cracks at $13, Monroe profit with RINS at $1.30)

Revenue Environment

“Generating a profit for the quarter even with a majority of our corporate and international customers still to return is a great achievement.  I am also encouraged by our relative revenue performance, as we expect a record September quarter unit revenue premium.  Our ability to deliver a sustained unit revenue premium throughout the pandemic demonstrates the success of our customer-centric and revenue diversification strategies,” said Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s president.

“Our revenue recovery has shown strong progression through the course of the year as our customers return to the skies.  With robust holiday demand and an expected improvement in corporate and international demand, we expect total December quarter revenue to recover to the low 70s percentage relative to 2019.”

Operating revenue, adjusted of $8.3 billion for the September quarter 2021 improved 30 percent, or $1.9 billion from June quarter 2021.  Compared to the same period in 2019, operating revenue, adjusted was 66 percent restored, in line with the company’s initial revenue guidance even as case counts from the COVID-19 variant impacted demand in August and early September.  Total passenger revenue was 63 percent recovered in the September quarter 2021 compared to September quarter 2019 on system capacity that was 71 percent restored compared to 2019 levels.

Compared to the June quarter 2021, system yields improved 4 percent and system load factors improved 11 points to 80 percent.  As a result, total unit revenue, adjusted improved 17 percent sequentially.

Revenue-related Highlights:

  • Domestic and Latin continue to lead recovery, Transatlantic improved the most: Domestic passenger revenue was 72 percent restored compared to September quarter 2019, a 17 point improvement in the rate of recovery versus the June quarter 2021. International passenger revenue recovered to 42 percent of September quarter 2019 levels, a 16 point improvement sequentially. Latin is the most restored entity with passenger revenues 84 percent recovered, followed by Transatlantic at 35 percent restored versus September quarter 2019, up 20 points quarter over quarter driven by border reopenings. Pacific passenger revenue remains the slowest to return at 20 percent recovered with traffic largely still limited to essential travel.
  • Premium cabins outperformed main cabin in the most recovered entities: Domestic and short-haul Latin premium product revenue continued to outperform with recovery outpacing main cabin by approximately 10 points. This was driven by an increase in paid premium cabin load factors relative to September quarter 2019, despite business travel being less than 50 percent recovered. This relative outperformance is expected to be reflected at a system level as premium revenue in other entities improves with the return of business and international travel at scale.
  • Corporate demand stable despite delay in return to office: Corporate volumes improved in July but paused at approximately 40 percent recovered for the September quarter 2021 compared to September quarter 2019 as corporations delayed the reopening of offices due to the COVID-19 variant. This was a 10 point improvement sequentially from the June quarter, but below expectations set at the outset of the quarter. With the decline in COVID-19 case counts, Delta saw improving domestic corporate volumes exiting September, and that improvement continues in October. Small and Medium Enterprises continue to lead the recovery in business travel.
  • American Express remuneration exceeded 2019 levels: American Express remuneration in the quarter exceeded 2019 levels on co-brand spend that was nearly 15 percent higher than 2019 and acquisitions that were approximately 95 percent restored to 2019. Strong portfolio spend more than offset travel-related remuneration. The company expects total remuneration to remain above December quarter 2019 levels in the December quarter 2021.
  • Cargo revenue continues to improve on yield strength: Cargo revenue increased to $262 million, a 39 percent improvement compared to the September quarter 2019. This represents the fourth consecutive quarter of growth compared to 2019 comparable periods. Cargo strength relative to 2019 is expected to continue in the December quarter 2021 as constraints in global air cargo capacity during the peak holiday shipping period support continued yield strength.

Cost Performance

“Leading the industry on operational performance and achieving our goal of profitability for the quarter with an adjusted pre-tax profit of $216 million are great accomplishments and a testament to the perseverance of the Delta people,” said Dan Janki, Delta’s chief financial officer.  “Our focus remains on restoring the airline to prepare for the next leg of the recovery, building upon our leadership position for the years ahead.”

Total operating expenses, adjusted of $7.8 billion in the September quarter 2021 increased 12 percent sequentially, primarily driven by non-fuel costs from the continued restoration of the airline.  Compared to September quarter 2019, total operating expenses, adjusted were down $2.6 billion or 25 percent.

Fuel expense, adjusted increased 5 percent compared to the June quarter 2021 as lower fuel prices partially offset an 11 percent increase in capacity during the September quarter 2021.  Adjusted fuel price of $1.94 per gallon was down 8 percent compared to the June quarter 2021 driven primarily by a refinery contribution versus a loss in the June quarter 2021.  Carbon offsets expensed during the quarter drove a 4¢ impact on fuel prices as Delta fulfills its commitment to be a global carbon neutral airline by pursuing high quality, verified offsets.  During the September quarter 2021, fuel efficiency, defined as gallons per 1,000 ASMs, improved 4.2 percent versus the same period in 2019 as a result of our fleet renewal efforts.

Non-fuel costs, adjusted of $6.3 billion increased 14 percent sequentially on an 11 percent increase in capacity and a 30 percent increase in adjusted revenue.  Additionally, there was an increase in maintenance, training and other people-related costs required to support the restoration of the airline in the quarter as the company positions for further demand recovery in 2022.  Compared to the September quarter of 2019, non-fuel unit costs (CASM-Ex) were 15 percent higher.

Non-operating expense for the September quarter 2021 was $673 million including mark-to-market losses on certain of our investments and losses on the extinguishment of debt.  Non-operating expense, adjusted was $219 million$6 million lower than June quarter 2021 driven by lower net interest expense, partially offset by other non-operating expenses.

Balance Sheet, Cash and Liquidity

“Balance sheet management remains a key priority for Delta as we chart our return to investment grade metrics in the coming years,” Janki said.  “Over the last 12 months, we have reduced our financial obligations by $12 billion.  During the September quarter, we used excess cash to reduce gross debt and interest expense while rebuilding unencumbered assets and managing our debt maturity profile.”

At the end of the September quarter 2021, the company had total debt and finance lease obligations of $27.8 billion with adjusted net debt of $19.3 billion.  The company’s total debt had a weighted average interest rate of 4.2 percent at September quarter-end.  In addition to maturities and normal amortization of nearly $184 million, the company completed a $1 billion debt tender offer, acquired aircraft with cash rather than financing those acquisitions and executed $276 million of open market debt repurchases in the September quarter 2021.

Since October 2020, Delta has reduced its financial obligations by $12 billion in aggregate via pension contributions and paydown of debt, including normal amortization.  These actions have driven interest savings, freed up previously secured collateral, fully funded the pension on a Pension Protection Act basis and improved the company’s debt maturity profile.

Operating cash flow during the quarter was $151 million.  Free cash flow was negative $463 million for the quarter with net capital expenditures reinvested in the business of $619 million.

The company’s Air Traffic Liability was $6.4 billion at September quarter-end, $562 million lower than at the end of the June quarter due to the impact the variant had on cash sales and normal seasonality.  Travel credits at September quarter-end accounted for approximately 40 percent of the Air Traffic Liability and represented approximately 8 percent of average daily bookings during the quarter.

Delta ended the September quarter with $15.8 billion in liquidity, including $2.6 billion in undrawn revolver capacity.

Fleet

Today the company announced the incremental acquisition of two used A350 aircraft with deliveries planned for the December quarter 2021.  Year to date and including today’s announcement, the company has finalized several fleet transactions, including the exercise of 55 A321neo options scheduled to deliver between 2022 and 2027 and agreements to acquire 38 gently used aircraft in the secondary market.  These opportunistic acquisitions are consistent with the broader fleet strategy, complementing other actions taken over the last 18 months as the company accelerates fleet renewal efforts and prepares for continued recovery.  Renewal efforts progress Delta towards a simpler, more efficient and sustainable fleet while also elevating product and customer experience.

Other Highlights from the September Quarter

Culture and People

  • Increased vaccination rates to approximately 90 percent of employees, as of October 12, 2021, as Delta continues to prioritize the health and safety of our people
  • Safely transported 9,000 evacuees from harm’s way in Afghanistan on Delta aircraft, in partnership with the Department of Defense under the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) program
  • Partnered with the American Red Cross to transport 40,000 pounds of supplies, including American Red Cross blankets and comfort kits for evacuees on CRAF flights
  • Contributed $350,000 to the American Red Cross for disaster relief efforts during the quarter – this contribution is in addition to the $1 million grant to the American Red Cross as an Annual Disaster Giving Program member
  • Awarded the Travel Partner of the Year – Global Airline accolade in the U.K. for recognition of our commitment to the health and safety of our customers during the pandemic

Customer Experience and Loyalty

  • Continued to lead the industry in operational reliability across key operating metrics.  In August, achieved record completion factor performance of 99.72 for both mainline and Delta Connection
  • Achieved 116 Brand Perfect Days as of October 11, 2021, on par with pre-pandemic levels.  Brand Perfect Days are defined as those days when there are no cancellations across Delta’s mainline and regional operations
  • Hired more than 8,000 employees across the organization since the beginning of 2021 to bolster customer service, reduce customer wait times and improve reliability in the summer operation
  • For the fifth year in a row, Delta’s SkyMiles program secured the No. 1 spot against all global airlines in U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking of airline loyalty programs
  • Selected by customers as the Skytrax Best Airline in North America for 2021 and recognized for its health, hygiene and safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Announced or launched network changes in response to increasing travel demand, including:
    • Nonstop service from Boston to Tel Aviv and Athens beginning in 2022
    • New flights to Boston’s top 20 Domestic markets with launch of DFW and CLT in October and BWI, DEN and SAN in July 2022
    • Doubled flights from August to September 2021 to Canada’s biggest markets following the country’s reopening to fully vaccinated American
    • Resumed nonstop service to Johannesburg, South Africa, restoring Delta service to all pre-COVID markets in Africa
  • Implemented the following changes to enhance Delta’s customer experience:
    • Increased flexibility for our customers by extending waivers for Basic Economy fares through the end of 2021 and by eliminating same-day standby fees
    • Led the industry as the only U.S. airline to extend Medallion Status and key SkyMiles benefits to January 2023 to give our most loyal customers more flexibility as travel resumes
    • Resumed hot meal service in the premium cabin on coast-to-coast flights, partnering with Souvla, Union Square Events and chefs Jon+Vinny to serve fresh meals in Delta One
    • Announced a new Spotify partnership to provide curated playlists, podcasts and elevated audio experience to Delta Studio for a more personalized experience
    • Equipped more than 100 aircraft with fast streaming Viasat connectivity and on track for more than 300 aircraft to be equipped by year-end 2021
    • Reopened full network of Delta Sky Clubs by July 2021 and re-introduced signature hot food items in Clubs throughout the summer

Environmental, Social and Governance

  • Accelerated fleet renewal efforts by exercising options for 30 incremental A321neos in July 2021, which are expected to be 20 percent more efficient than the aircraft being replaced and begin deliveries in 2022
  • Partnered with Chevron and Google to analyze sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) emissions data and increase industry transparency
  • Signed an agreement with Aemetis for 250 million gallons of SAF to be delivered over the 10-year term of the agreement.  With this announcement, Delta anticipates more than 80 million gallons of SAF available for annual consumption beginning in 2025
  • Announced our commitment to work with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to set a net-zero 2050 target and an interim emissions intensity target for our airline operations, consistent with recently issued SBTi guidance for the aviation sector
  • Announced plans to join three key climate coalitions – the UN’s Race to Zero initiative, the LEAF Coalition and the World Economic Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow initiative – bolstering our commitment to a future of zero impact aviation
  • Continuing commitment to enhanced Inclusion Training with more than 55,000 employees completing DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) training classes in the last year
  • Issued the 2021 “Close the Gap” report, demonstrating our commitment to transparency in our journey to becoming a more diverse, equitable, anti-racist and anti-discrimination organization

Payroll Support Program / Government Grant Accounting

In the September quarter 2021, the remaining $1.8 billion of PSP3 was recognized as a contra-expense, which is reflected as “government grant recognition” on the Consolidated Statements of Operations.

September Quarter Results

September quarter results have been adjusted primarily for the government grant recognition, losses on extinguishment of debt, unrealized losses on investments, and third-party refinery sales as described in the reconciliations in Note A.

GAAP

$
Change

% Change

($ in millions except per share and unit costs)

3Q21

3Q19

Pre-tax income

1,532

1,947

(415)

(21)

%

Net income

1,212

1,495

(283)

(19)

%

Diluted earnings per share

1.89

2.31

(0.42)

(18)

%

Pre-tax margin

16.7

%

15.5

%

1.2

%

8

%

Operating revenue

9,154

12,560

(3,406)

(27)

%

Total revenue per available seat mile (TRASM) (cents)

16.93

16.58

0.35

2

%

Operating expense

6,949

10,489

(3,540)

(34)

%

Fuel expense

1,552

2,239

(687)

(31)

%

Average fuel price per gallon

1.97

1.94

0.03

2

%

Cost per available seat mile (CASM) (cents)

12.85

13.85

(1.00)

(7)

%

Non-operating expense

673

124

549

443

%

Total debt and finance lease obligations

27,819

10,119

17,700

175

%

Capital expenditures

830

945

(115)

(12)

%

Operating cash flow

151

2,245

(2,094)

(93)

%

Adjusted

$
Change

%
Change

($ in millions except per share and unit costs)

3Q21

3Q19

Pre-tax income

216

1,968

(1,752)

(89)

%

Net income

194

1,507

(1,313)

(87)

%

Diluted earnings per share

0.30

2.33

(2.02)

(87)

%

Pre-tax margin

2.6

%

15.7

%

(13.1)

%

(83)

%

Operating revenue

8,281

12,507

(4,226)

(34)

%

TRASM (cents)

15.31

16.51

(1.20)

(7)

%

Operating expense

7,846

10,460

(2,614)

(25)

%

Fuel expense

1,533

2,257

(724)

(32)

%

Average fuel price per gallon

1.94

1.96

(0.02)

(1)

%

Non-fuel cost

6,313

7,685

(1,372)

(18)

%

Consolidated unit cost (CASM-Ex) (cents)

11.67

10.15

1.53

15

%

Non-operating expense

219

79

140

177

%

Adjusted net debt

19,296

10,265

9,031

88

%

Capital expenditures, net

619

822

(204)

(25)

%

Free cash flow

(463)

1,422

(1,885)

(133)

%

 

Delta’s exclusive partnership with TSA streamlines check-in, security in Atlanta

Delta Air Lines made this announcement:

Delta’s digital identity experience is expanding to Atlanta, offering customers a more efficient way to navigate the airport – without showing a paper boarding pass or a physical government ID.

 

Traveling through Atlanta soon? If you have a TSA PreCheck® membership and a Delta SkyMiles number, you may have the option to experience an expedited airport journey.

First unveiled in Detroit security checkpoints in early 2021, Delta’s digital identity experience is an industry first in exclusive partnership with TSA PreCheck. The experience is expanding to Atlanta, offering customers a more efficient way to navigate the airport – without showing a paper boarding pass or a physical government ID. With just one look at a camera, customers who qualify and opt in can easily and efficiently check a bag, pass through the TSA PreCheck security line and board their plane.

A customer’s digital identity is made up of their passport number and TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Known Traveler Number and verified by facial recognition technology, which confirms a traveler’s identity at airport touchpoints. Facial recognition equipment will first be visible in Atlanta’s South Security Checkpoint in the coming weeks and will expand to select bag drop and boarding areas before the end of the year. Delta aims to expand to additional hubs next year to ensure a seamless, touchless travel experience across our network.

“The exclusive expansion of digital identity moves Delta one step closer to achieving our vision of creating a more personalized and fully connected travel journey,” said Byron Merritt, Delta’s Vice President of Brand Experience Design. “Our goal in turning pivotal moments like security and check-in into seamless experiences is to give time and focus back to the moments customers enjoy. Innovations like digital identity are implemented with the intention to transform the cohesive travel experience into a journey that our customers can truly look forward to.”

In both Atlanta and Detroit, domestic digital identity builds on Delta’s existing facial recognition option for international travel, which Delta began trialing more than five years ago and culminated with the launch of the first fully biometric terminal in Atlanta in 2018.

What does the travel experience of tomorrow look like? As Delta continues to invest in improving every aspect of the travel experience, customers are getting a taste…

“TSA appreciates working with industry stakeholders to design, build and test innovative technologies that enhance security and improve the passenger experience,” said TSA Requirements and Capabilities Analysis Acting Assistant Administrator Keith Goll. “We continue to work ceaselessly to leverage the latest technology and partnerships to ensure that the traveling experience of our PreCheck passengers is as seamless, convenient and secure as possible.”

If a customer does not want to use facial recognition, they can simply decline to opt in at check-in and proceed through the airport as they always have. Participation is completely voluntary. Delta does not save or store any biometric data, nor does it plan to.

Participating customers can look forward to an easier and less stressful airport experience. Here’s how it will work:

  • Store your passport information and TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Known Traveler Number securely in your SkyMiles profile in the Fly Delta app.
  • Opt into the program at check-in using the Fly Delta app.
  • At the airport, look into the camera at bag drop, the security checkpoint and the boarding gate to use your digital identity in place of a physical ID and boarding pass.

Once a customer reaches a camera at the airport, their image is encrypted and sent to U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) facial biometric matching service via a secure channel with no accompanying biographic data. CBP then verifies a customer’s identity against government holdings and sends back an indicator to allow the customer to proceed.

Over the years, Delta has partnered with TSA to make the entire day of travel easier, including working with TSA to launch automated screening lanes and new screening technology in Atlanta and other hub airports.

​computed tomography-automated screening lane systems
Atlanta’s domestic terminal south security checkpoint will be the first in the U.S. to be converted to upgraded, high-tech screening lanes, making the world’s busiest airport even more efficient.

Delta to expand in Boston with 5 new routes

Delta Air Lines made this announcement:

  • Introducing new service to Athens, Tel-Aviv, Baltimore, Denver and San Diego in summer 2022.
  • Welcoming new Airbus A321neos into Delta’s fleet with first flights out of Boston in spring 2022.
  • Offering more Delta flights from Boston than ever before – a +20% capacity increase from pre-pandemic height.

Five new routes and more modernized, fuel-efficient aircraft are set to debut at Logan International Airport in 2022, as Boston’s No. 1 global airline continues building up a premier hub and international gateway.

By next summer in Boston, Delta will operate up to 160 daily nonstop flights to 55 destinations, a more than 20% increase in capacity since our pre-pandemic height in October 2019. Including Delta’s partners, customers can connect to more than 150 cities across the globe.

NEW GLOBAL DESTINATIONS TO EXPLORE

Beginning Memorial Day weekend, Delta will launch new nonstop service to Tel Aviv (TLV) on May 26 and Athens (ATH) on May 27.

Both ATH and TLV will operate three times a week on the Airbus A330-300 and A330-900, respectively. Customers will have choice of four experiences: lie-flat beds in Delta One (A330-300) or Delta One Suites (A330-900); Delta Premium Select, which includes more recline and an adjustable foot and leg rest; Delta Comfort+; and Main Cabin. Each features personal seat-back entertainment screens to enjoy in flight and the J.D. Power-awarded care and professionalism of Delta people.

Delta J.D. Power Award
With an overall score of 860 out of 1,000, the airline was recognized as No. 1 in customer satisfaction among airlines in North America by J.D. Power

New Athens and Tel Aviv service will complement Delta’s existing flights to Amsterdam and Rome, and returning pre-COVID service to Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London and Paris.

While Delta will also continue operating Boston-Cancun next summer, customers can book this year’s warm winter escape with additional seasonal service to Aruba (AUA), Montego Bay (MBJ), Nassau (NAS), Punta Cana (PUJ) and St. Thomas (STT).

NEW FLIGHTS TO BOSTON’S TOP 20 MARKETS

Starting July 11, Delta will serve each of Boston’s 20 most popular markets nonstop with the addition of Baltimore (BWI) and Denver (DEN) – as well as introduce new flights to San Diego (SAN).

Baltimore flights will operate five times a day on the Embraer 175**, which offer 12 First Class, 20 Comfort+ and 44 Main Cabin seats with full-sized overhead bins, no middle seats and free Delta Studio content available for streaming on your device.

Both Denver and San Diego service will operate daily on the 180-seat Boeing 737-900 and 160-seat Boeing 737-800, respectively. Each will be equipped with Viasat-powered high-speed Wi-Fi* to deliver a reliable and streaming quality connection for everyone on board in addition to a wealth of premium seat-back entertainment options.

Delta is also launching new daily service to Charlotte and Dallas/Fort Worth on Oct. 10, delivering greater connectivity to major markets.

UEL-EFFICIENCY AND AN ELEVATED ONBOARD EXPERIENCE

As part of our fleet renewal plans, Delta will welcome the first Airbus A321neos into our fleet in spring 2022, with the first customer flights scheduled to depart out of Boston. Not only does the A321neo further elevate the customer experience, but the aircraft supports our carbon neutrality commitment as our most fuel-efficient large gauge narrowbody – achieving 12% better fuel efficiency on a per-seat basis than its counterpart, the A321ceo.

The 194-seat aircraft features thoughtful touches like a new First Class seat design to offer more privacy and a sturdier tray table, spacious overhead bins and state-of-the-art HEPA cabin air filtration systems, as well as access to Wi-Fi and power ports. All customers will enjoy the wireless in-flight entertainment system created by wholly-owned subsidiary, Delta Flight Products, with personalized entertainment experiences at every seat.

The 194-seat aircraft features thoughtful touches like a new First Class seat design to offer more privacy and a sturdier tray table, spacious overhead bins and state-of-the-art HEPA cabin air filtration systems, as well as access to Wi-Fi and power ports. All customers will enjoy the wireless in-flight entertainment system created by wholly-owned subsidiary, Delta Flight Products, with personalized entertainment experiences at every seat.

*Delta plans to equip nearly all its domestic mainline fleet with enhanced connectivity by the end of 2022.

**Baltimore service will be operated by Delta Connection carrier Republic Airways.

NYT: Delta urges airlines to create a national ‘no fly’ list of problematic passengers

Delta Air Lines according to the New York Times is urging other U.S. airlines to respond to the extraordinary surge in unruly behavior by passengers by creating a national “no fly” list of barred unruly passengers.

Read the full article:

How Delta people awakened over 550 hibernating planes

From Delta Air Lines:

In 2020, the pandemic impacted air travel across the world. Take a look into the work behind parking, storing and reactivating a fleet during a global crisis:

 

When Supplier Ops Program Manager Rusty Foster reflects on the massive cross-functional undertaking to store over 550 Delta planes grounded because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he thinks of the motto his Navy Reserve construction team lived by.

“The difficult, we do right away. The impossible takes a little longer.”

When Rusty was first called to action, it was March 2020 and the pandemic was in full force. Customer demand was dropping, and there was an uneasiness settling in as flights took off with fewer and fewer passengers.

Rusty had the day off and was getting ready to head back to Jacksonville, Florida, where he was performing heavy maintenance checks on aircraft. One of his leaders gave him a call and asked if he could go to Blytheville, Arkansas, to start parking part of Delta’s fleet.

The pandemic was already rearing its head: a long drive to Memphis International Airport, a canceled flight and another eight-hour car trip later, Rusty was finally in Blytheville.

PARKING THE FLEET 

“That day they started flying in MD-88s. It was like watching the skyline in Atlanta in the evening when you can see the pattern planes are flying in, just one after another,” Rusty said.

That first day they parked 14 planes. The next day, another 14.

Throughout 2020, Rusty worked in Blytheville; Kansas City; Marana, Arizona; and Birmingham, Alabama. At the peak of the pandemic, we parked 571 mainline aircraft across the country. Each location came with its own challenges— whether it was the humidity in Birmingham or the desert critters and extreme heat in Marana.

 

An undertaking that massive would require a seasoned touch. That’s where Bob Warde came in. He’d worked for 10 years storing MD-88s and MD-90s in Blytheville, some for parts, some for an eventual return to service.

His old boss called and asked: “Are you willing to go to Birmingham to help park the fleet?”

“And I was like — what?” said Bob, Lead Preflight Inspector CVG. “He said, ‘Yeah, we’re going to park up to 600 airplanes as fast as we can.’”

Right away, Bob took on leadership of the program in Birmingham. As planes sailed in nearly every hour, obstacles began to arise. First, they ran out of the chocks placed by the wheels to keep the aircraft in place. The team rushed out and bought 6-by-6 skids of wood to hand-make replacements.

“Some of the biggest obstacles were just finding facilities that could take the aircraft,” said Ted Lamoureux, Supplier Ops General Manager.

 

In San Bernardino, California, a designated parking area wasn’t viable after a 757 began sinking into the pavement. Closed runways in Kansas City and Victorville, California, were only temporary; eventually, the planes would have to move again.

Elsewhere, the challenge was understanding how much space was truly available. If someone said a facility could hold 100 aircraft, did they mean 100 regional jets?

“We were strategic about where we parked planes — basing it on what’s going to be a quick activation, what’s an easier airport for crews, what’s going to be parked long term?” Ted said.

The team was also thinking about the work it would take to carefully preserve the engines. They had to make sure there was enough room to move, cycle and rotate different parts of the aircraft as part of the storage program.

STORING THE FLEET 

“Parking a plane isn’t like parking a car. You can’t just take the keys and walk away,” said Tom Schuhardt, Supplier Ops Program Manager.

Tom was just one employee from across all areas of TechOps who joined the operation, regardless of what their current assignment may be. He was an instructor, but when our airline needed support in parking planes, many employees stepped into different roles.

“Our normal job was to teach and run classes — but we’re all technicians, we’re all experts on our fleet,” Tom said. “We know how systems work; we have such a laser-focus on our fleet, it’s something we know how to fix.”

As soon as each plane touched down, a countdown began on a meticulous maintenance schedule. Seven days; 14 days; 30; 60; 100; 180.

“When you’ve got 90 airplanes parked on the ground, the maintenance is astronomical when you add it all up,” Bob said. “So we had to plan. We tried to spread the workload out over time and get the planes into a rotation of review.”

This is where Delta’s engineers entered the equation, developing flexible “job cards” that ensured the aircraft got the maintenance they needed, specially tailored to the climate conditions where they were parked, while preserving supplies and manpower.

What made the storage program even more complicated was that the teams parking and storing the planes were doing so during a pandemic. Most of the TechOps teams commuted out to different storage facilities anywhere from a long weekend to a month — and restaurants were closed across the country.

Bob acted not only as only a lead mechanic, but as the chef of the group. He’d get permission from the hotel where the TechOps team was staying to use their kitchen that was closed due to COVID-19, and he’d plan meals for the team after work.

Bob would make the meals, but everyone worked together to clean up after.

The teams were also managing under constantly changing safety and cleanliness protocols. Doy Pope, AMT Instructor Developer, did a 22-day stint in Victorville during the pandemic and recalls adapting to the COVID-19 protocol.

“We were wearing masks out in the rain, doing it for each other at work, but also not wanting to bring anything back to our families,” Doy said.

REACTIVATING THE FLEET 

The TechOps team’s sacrifices and dedication during the parking operation helped Delta conserve cash as passengers stayed home and revenues declined. Then, as vaccination rates increased and customers began to reclaim the joy of travel, it was time to bring the planes back into service.

“I felt elation when I heard we were reactivating the fleet,” said Doy Pope, AMT Instructor Developer. “Delta wouldn’t be bringing these planes back unless we were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Just as it wasn’t easy to park and store the aircraft, reactivating the fleet brought its own challenges.

“As soon as we started parking planes, we started to think about when we would unpark them,” Chris Price, Program Manager of Supplier Ops said. “Whether it was going to be a month or six months, we were looking at what it’s going to take to reactivate them.”

Many of the stored planes shared their parts to help repair those still in service. One plane, for example, needed to get new parts before it could return to service, said Chris. Once it has those parts back, its systems will need to be activated and reviewed, in addition to undergoing a test flight before heading to an MRO facility for a maintenance overhaul.

Once the maintenance is complete, a pilot team arrives to take the plane from the storage facility that has been its home for up to a year and a half.

“When we first started parking planes, the storage facilities kept filling up with more and more aircraft,” said Capt. Wolfgang Schuster, Chief Line Check Pilot. “Now, we’re doing reactivation flights, and it’s rewarding to see the storage facilities begin to clear out. Every plane that returns to service is helping us achieve our mission of connecting the world — and we’re getting there.”

Ted was impressed by how quickly the team adapted to the changing circumstances of the pandemic. To date, there has been a total of 493 aircraft reactivated, 382 in 2020 and 111 in 2021. But the work continues— the team expects to be reactivating aircraft into 2022.

“Everyone pivoted so quickly and the collaboration between all the departments at any one site at one time was incredible to see,” Ted said. “You could be working on a team that was made up of line maintenance, training, base maintenance, the local facility maintenance — you have conglomerate teams that were put together and everyone worked together to get through the hard times.”

Delta employee vaccination rate reaches 82%

Delta has increased its employee vaccination rate to 82% in the three weeks since announcing a $200 monthly health insurance surcharge for unvaccinated workers, Chief Health Officer Dr. Henry Ting said in an interview with CNN.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Delta has strived to put its employees and customers first by making vaccinations readily available. That, in combination with financial incentives such as an additional day of paid time off and $100 in health rewards, allowed Delta to vaccinate nearly 70% of its employees by June 2021. Through an employee lottery that gave over $1 million to vaccinated employees, Delta quickly increased its employee vaccination rate to 74%.

During the interview Wednesday, CNN host John Berman asked a question that many may wonder: “Why not require it?”

“We know how to keep our employees and our customers safe,” Dr. Ting explained.

Dr. Ting noted layers of protection already in place on board aircraft, such as mandatory masking and hospital-grade air filtration. In addition, a real-world study recently conducted by Delta in conjunction with the Mayo Clinic and the Georgia Department of Health indicates that the risk of exposure to COVID-19 while traveling after all passengers test negative 72 hours in advance of your flight is less than 0.1%.

When coupled with existing layers of protection, the risk of transmission is less than 1 in 1 million between the United States and the United Kingdom, for example. As vaccination rates continue to increase, these numbers will only improve.

Delta has made tremendous progress already without a mandate and recognizes there is more work to be done. These additional steps are intended to drive the airline’s vaccine rates even higher and ensure the continued safety and wellbeing of its employees and customers, without asking existing employees – many of whom have been with the airline long before the COVID-19 pandemic – to choose whether to be vaccinated or keep their livelihood.

Delta has consistently followed the science to keep its customers and employees safe, all while keeping their values at the forefront of every decision. In a recent media briefing with the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Dr. Ting said Delta believes in the importance of vaccinations to save lives – and the airline continues to educate, advocate and communicate with unvaccinated employees to accelerate their timeline and get them vaccinated.