Tag Archives: Delta Air Lines

Delta introduces enhanced requirements for customers traveling with service or support animals effective March 1

Delta Air Lines issued this statement:

Delta Air Lines is taking steps to further protect its customers, employees and service and support animals by implementing advance documentation requirements for those animals. This comes as a result of a lack of regulation that has led to serious safety risks involving untrained animals in flight. The new requirements support Delta’s top priority of ensuring safety for its customers, employees and trained service and support animals, while supporting the rights of customers with legitimate needs, such as disabled veterans, to travel with trained animals.

Delta carries approximately 700 service or support animals daily — nearly 250,000 annually. Putting this into perspective, Delta carries more than 180 million passengers annually. Customers have attempted to fly with comfort turkeys, gliding possums known as sugar gliders, snakes, spiders and more. Ignoring the true intent of existing rules governing the transport of service and support animals can be a disservice to customers who have real and documented needs. Delta has seen an 84 percent increase in reported animal incidents since 2016, including urination/defecation, biting and even a widely reported attack by a 70-pound dog. In 2017, Delta employees reported increased acts of aggression (barking, growling, lunging and biting) from service and support animals, behavior not typically seen in these animals when properly trained and working.

New Procedures & Updated Requirements

In compliance with the Air Carrier Access Act, Delta provides in-cabin travel for service and support animals without charge. The guidelines, effective March 1, require that all customers traveling with a service or support animal show proof of health or vaccinations 48 hours in advance. In addition to the current requirement of a letter prepared and signed by a doctor or licensed mental health professional, those with psychiatric service animals and emotional support animals will also need to provide a signed document confirming that their animal can behave to prevent untrained, sometimes aggressive household pets from traveling without a kennel in the cabin. These measures are intended to help ensure that those customers traveling with a trained service or support animal will no longer be at risk of untrained pets attacking their working animal, as has previously been reported.

“The rise in serious incidents involving animals in flight leads us to believe that the lack of regulation in both health and training screening for these animals is creating unsafe conditions across U.S. air travel,” said John Laughter, Delta’s Senior Vice President — Corporate Safety, Security and Compliance. “As a leader in safety, we worked with our Advisory Board on Disability to find a solution that supports those customers with a legitimate need for these animals, while prioritizing a safe and consistent travel experience.”

In developing the updated requirements, Delta solicited the feedback and input of its 15-member Advisory Board on Disability, a group of disability advocates established more than a decade ago and composed of diverse Delta frequent flyers with a range of disabilities.

Air Carrier Access Act

As the Title 14 Code of Federal Aviation Regulations § 382.117 dictates, “you must permit the service animal to accompany the passenger with a disability at any seat in which the passenger sits, unless the animal obstructs an aisle or other area that must remain unobstructed to facilitate an emergency evacuation.” However, untrained animals that have been misidentified as service and support animals are regularly reported to occupy seats, stretch across the aisles and move throughout the cabin during flight, often without restriction. That same regulation also requires that airlines determine whether any factors preclude travel in the cabin by a service animal. Such factors include: “whether the animal would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others” and “whether it would cause a significant disruption of cabin service.”

“We are committed to consistently improving our policies, prioritizing the safety of all Delta customers and employees,” said Laughter. “We have received extensive customer feedback through calls, emails and social posts — many from among those within the disability community — urging Delta to take action. This new policy is our first step in better protecting those who fly with Delta with a more thoughtful screening process.”

What Customers with Service and Support Animals Need To Know

Any customer traveling with a service or support animal on/after March 1 will need to meet the new requirements as outlined below:

Traveling with a trained service animal

  • Customers traveling with a trained service animal will be required to submit a signed Veterinary Health Form and/or an immunization record (current within one year of the travel date) for their animal to Delta’s Service Animal Support Desk via Delta.com at least 48 hours in advance of travel.

Traveling with an emotional support animal or psychiatric service animal

  • Customers traveling with an emotional support animal or psychiatric service animal will be required to submit a signed Veterinary Health Form and/or an immunization record (current within one year of the travel date), an Emotional Support/Psychiatric Service Animal Request form which requires a letter prepared and signed by a doctor or licensed mental health professional, and a signed Confirmation of Animal Training form to Delta’s Service Animal Support Desk via Delta.com at least 48 hours in advance of travel.

Delta is creating a Service Animal Support Desk for customers traveling with service and support animals to improve their travel experience and ensure they receive excellent customer service. This desk will verify that the above documentation is received and confirm the customer’s reservation to travel with the animal, prior to arrival at the airport. If a form is not completed, a representative will communicate with the customer via e-mail to request the missing or incomplete items.

Delta does not accept exotic or unusual service or support animals. Additional information on types of accepted animals and other questions related to traveling with service and support animals is available here.


Southern snow, ice cause additional flight disruptions

Delta Air Lines issued this statement:

Delta employees at airports throughout the Southeastern U.S. and along the Gulf Coast are digging out after a winter storm brought snow and ice to several airports throughout the region. The airline has canceled an additional 200 mainline and Delta Connection regional flights as a result of accumulation and strong winds. Tuesday the airline had originally cancelled 400 flights.

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport — where Delta maintains its largest hub and where temperatures are expected to remain below freezing all day Wednesday — saw more than 1.5 inches of snow on the ground, prompting extensive aircraft deicing and the closure of some of the airport’s five runways early Wednesday morning.

Operations in Atlanta are resuming, though at a slowed pace. Delta doesn’t expect a significant number of cancellations for flights into or out of Atlanta or in other airports in the Southeast, as the airline rebounds its operation. As always, customers are encouraged to check the status of their flight via Delta.com or the Fly Delta Mobile App and a winter weather waiver is in effect for customers flying to, through or from those affected airports.

To help speed the operational recovery, Delta called in members of its Deicing Go Team — a cadre of seasoned deicers from the airline’s Minneapolis hub — who will work in Atlanta throughout the day to clear aircraft of snow and ice.

Delta’s operational leaders are setting their sights on the Northeast and New England, where snow began to fall Wednesday morning. A limited number of flights at New York’s LaGuardia and Boston Logan International have been canceled as a result, though Delta does not expect a significant disruption at those or other Northeastern airports.

Delta’s Seattle growth continues for sixth straight year with 3 new destinations

Delta Air Lines Airbus A319-114 N320NB (msn 1392) FLL (Bruce Drum). Image: 102205.

Delta Air Lines is kicking off the New Year with a 10 percent increase in peak-day seats at its Seattle/Tacoma hub for summer 2018, driven by the addition of three new destinations as well as more flights and larger aircraft operating between existing routes. The new destinations include Washington-Dulles and Kansas City, which will launch on June 8, and Indianapolis, which will launch on June 18.

New Service to Washington-Dulles, Kansas City, and Indianapolis

Delta will offer one daily round-trip each to Washington Dulles International Airport, Kansas City International Airport, and Indianapolis International Airport. Washington-Dulles service will be operated using Boeing 737-800 aircraft, Kansas City service will be operated using E-175 aircraft, and Indianapolis service will be operated using Airbus A 319 aircraft.


Departs Arrives Aircraft
SEA at 10 p.m. IAD at 6:15 a.m. Boeing 737-800
IAD at 7:05 a.m. SEA at 9:55 a.m. Boeing 737-800
Departs Arrives Aircraft
SEA at 5:15 p.m. MCI at 10:45 p.m. E-175
MCI at 7 a.m. SEA at 9 a.m. E-175
Departs Arrives Aircraft
SEA at 10:10 a.m. IND at 5:40 p.m. Airbus A319
IND at 6:15 p.m. SEA at 7:30 p.m. Airbus A319


Delta adds frequencies and larger aircraft to existing routes

Based on more demand from Seattle customers, Delta will launch additional flights to Las Vegas, New York-JFK, Orlando and Medford during spring/summer 2018 and will expand its summer seasonal service to Cincinnati to year-round. Additionally, Delta will offer seasonal weekend service to New Orleans from Feb. 10 through March 31.

The airline will also use larger aircraft to operate several existing routes, including Austin, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Nashville, Phoenix and San Diego.

Growth shows strength of Delta’s Seattle hub

Delta’s significant growth in Seattle to start 2018 speaks to the strength of its Sea-Tac hub. The airline will operate 174 peak-day departures to 54 destinations in July 2018, an increase of 11 departures compared with summer 2017 and 96 departures over summer 2014. Delta’s domestic seats will be up 112 percent over summer 2014, with 80 percent of Delta’s domestic seats served from Seattle on mainline aircraft for summer 2018.

Delta and its joint venture partners Aeromexico, Air France-KLM, Alitalia, Virgin Atlantic and WestJet serve 16 international destinations from Seattle, including Amsterdam, Beijing, Hong Kong, London-Heathrow, Paris, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai, Tokyo-Narita, and eight destinations in Canada and Mexico. Air France will also begin direct Seattle-Paris service in March to complement Delta’s existing service. In 2017, the airline added or expanded service to nine destinations, including Austin, Boston, Chicago, Eugene, Lihue, Milwaukee, Nashville, Raleigh and Redmond.  Seattle is also Delta’s primary gateway to Alaska with service to five destinations — Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka.


Copyright Photo: Delta Air Lines Airbus A319-114 N320NB (msn 1392) FLL (Bruce Drum). Image: 102205.

Delta Air Lines aircraft slide show (Airbus):

Delta to add three new domestic routes from Seattle/Tacoma

Delta Air Lines Boeing 737-832 WL N37700 (msn 29631) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 930518.

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) is planning to add three new domestic routes from its Seattle/Tacoma (SEA) hub in June. According to Airline Route, the airline will add daily Airbus A319 service from SEA to Indianapolis starting on June 18, 2018.

In addition, starting on June 8, 2018, SkyWest Airlines will add daily Delta Connection Embraer 175 flights between SEA and Kansas City.

Also on June 8, 2018, Delta will add daily mainline Boeing 737-800 service between SEA and Washington (Dulles).

Copyright Photo: Delta Air Lines Boeing 737-832 WL N37700 (msn 29631) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 930518.

Delta Air Lines aircraft slide show (Boeing):

Delta to keep the MD-88s flying until 2020 due to replacement Bombardier CS100 delays

All Delta MD-88s to be retired by 2020

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) has been forced to delay the retirement of the last McDonnell Douglas MD-88 until 2020. This was confirmed on the Delta management conference call last week to analysts to discuss Delta’s fourth quarter and 2017 financial results.

Delta currently has 108 McDonnell Douglas MD-88s in service.

The retirement target date has been pushed back due to the delays with the replacement Bombardier C Series aircraft. Delta has 75 copies of the Bombardier CS100 on order (below). Deliveries were previously expected to begin later this year. This target date is likely to slip.

Delta is also adding Airbus A321s to replace the MD-88s.

Above Image and Photo: Delta Air Lines.

Delta is negotiating with Bombardier to ensure all 75 Bombardier CS100s are assembled in Mobile, AL as insurance there will be no import traiffs imposed on Canadian-built aircraft.

Boeing has previously accused Bombardier of dumping the aircraft on to the US market after Bombardier reported a $500 million (CA) loss due mainly to three orders it negotiated probably at a loss.

Delta is now being forced to spend more money on the aging MD-88s for maintenance until the type is fully replaced.

On October 16, 2017 Airbus and Bombardier Inc. announced they are partnering on the C Series aircraft program. The agreement brings together Airbus’ global reach and scale with Bombardier’s newest, state-of-the-art jet aircraft family, positioning both partners to fully unlock the value of the C Series platform and create significant new value for customers, suppliers, employees and shareholders.

Under the agreement, Airbus will provide procurement, sales and marketing, and customer support expertise to the C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP), the entity that manufactures and sells the C Series. At closing, Airbus will acquire a 50.01% interest in CSALP. Bombardier and Investissement Québec (IQ) will own approximately 31% and 19% respectively.

Airbus has a assembly plant in Mobile, AL for its Airbus aircraft.

Negotiations continue between Delta and Bombardier.

Top Copyright Photo: Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-88 N998DL (msn 53370) MIA (Jay Selman). Image: 402860.

Delta Air Lines aircraft slide show:


Delta Air Lines announces fourth quarter and full year 2017 profit

Delta Air Lines Airbus A321-211 WL N308DN (msn 7233) DCA (Jay Selman). Image: 403528.

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) on January 11, 2018 reported financial results for the fourth quarter 2017.  Highlights of those results, including both GAAP and adjusted metrics, are below and incorporated here.

Adjusted pre-tax income for the fourth quarter 2017 was $1.0 billion, despite a $60 million impact from the combination of December’s power outage at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and Winter Storm Benji.  For the full year, adjusted pre-tax income was $5.5 billion, a $621 million decrease relative to 2016.

“Delta people rose to the challenges of 2017 to produce solid financial results, industry leading operational reliability and strong improvements in customer satisfaction, and it’s an honor to recognize their achievements with $1.1 billion in profit sharing,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive officer.   “Looking ahead to 2018, we expect to drive solid earnings growth by growing our top line 4 to 6 percent, improving our cost trajectory and integrating our international partner network.  As a result, we are able to increase our previous full-year guidance to $6.35 to $6.70 per share due to additional benefits from tax reform.”

Revenue Environment

Delta’s operating revenue of $10.2 billion for the December quarter was up 8.3 percent, or $787 million versus prior year.  Total unit revenues excluding refinery sales increased 4.4 percent for the December quarter.

Passenger revenue increased $527 million, including $200 million from Delta’s Branded Fares initiatives.  Passenger unit revenues increased 4.2 percent, including 0.5 points from one-time revenue adjustments, on 2.3 percent higher capacity.

Cargo revenue increased 14.4 percent, driven by higher volumes and yields.  Other revenue improved 17.9 percent primarily due to higher loyalty revenue and a $150 million increase in third-party refinery sales.

For the full year, Delta’s operating revenue of $41.2 billion was up 4.0 percent, or $1.6 billion versus prior year.  Total unit revenues excluding refinery sales increased 2.4 percent on 1.0 percent higher capacity.

“We enter 2018 with significant momentum and every entity delivering positive passenger unit revenue for the first time in five years, driven by a robust demand environment and improving business fares,” said Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s president.  “We expect to deliver total unit revenue growth of 2.5 to 4.5 percent in the March quarter and leverage our unrivaled domestic network, international partnerships, and solid pipeline of commercial initiatives to deliver similar performance each quarter throughout 2018.”

Chart 1.2

2018 First Quarter Guidance

For the first quarter, Delta is expecting improving revenues and the benefit from tax reform to partially offset fuel cost increases and the period of highest non-fuel expense growth for the year.

Chart 2.2

2017 Cost Performance

Adjusted fuel expense2 increased $349 million compared to the same period in 2016 as market fuel prices increased throughout the quarter.  Delta’s adjusted fuel price per gallon for the December quarter was $1.93, which includes $0.03 of benefit from the refinery.

CASM-Ex3 including profit sharing decreased 0.4 percent for the December 2017 quarter compared to the prior year period driven by the impact of Delta’s pilot agreement ratified in the December 2016 quarter. The pilot agreement resulted in $475 million of expense in the prior year period and included a $380 million retroactive payment for the first three quarters of 2016.

Normalized CASM-Ex4 including profit sharing increased 5.6 percent versus the prior year period, driven by continued investments in Delta’s people, product and operation, as well as pressure from accelerated depreciation due to aircraft retirements.

For the full year, CASM-Ex including profit sharing increased 4.3 percent compared to 2016. Excluding profit sharing, 2017 CASM-Ex increased 4.7 percent driven by targeted investments in Delta’s employees, fleet, and product.

Non-operating expense increased $36 million for the December quarter due to higher interest expense from Delta’s unsecured debt financing primarily used to fund its pension plan, as well as foreign exchange pressures.

“Our focus for 2018 is to bring our unit cost trajectory back in line with our long-term 0 to 2 percent target,” said Paul Jacobson, Delta’s chief financial officer.  “We have a line of sight to achieving our cost goal, and expect our March quarter to be the peak of our non-fuel expense growth as we lap investments in our business and higher levels of depreciation, and the savings from our fleet and efficiency initiatives begin ramping up as we move through the year.”

Cash Flow, Shareholder Returns, and Adjusted Net Debt

Delta generated $1.7 billion of adjusted operating cash flow and $435 million of free cash flow during the quarter. The company invested $850 million into the business for aircraft purchases and improvements, facilities upgrades and technology. The company also spent $450 million to purchase its 10 percent stake in Air France-KLM.

Delta generated $6.8 billion of adjusted operating cash flow and $2.0 billion of free cash flow for the full year, and invested $3.6 billion into the business and $1.2 billion in equity stakes in partner airlines.

During the December quarter, Delta announced an order for 100 state-of-the-art Airbus A321neo aircraft with deliveries beginning in 2020 and a long-term commitment with Pratt & Whitney for Delta TechOps to be a major maintenance, repair and overhaul provider for the PW1100G and PW1500G engines, powering Delta’s A321neo and C Series aircraft.

Adjusted net debt at the end of the quarter was $8.8 billion, up $2.6 billion versus the prior year largely as a result of a $2.5 billion increase in unsecured debt, primarily issued to accelerate pension funding.  The company’s unfunded pension liability declined by $3.6 billion from the end of 2016 to $7.0 billion at the end of 2017.

For the December quarter, Delta returned $541 million to shareholders, comprised of $325 million of share repurchases and $216 million in dividends. For the full year, Delta returned $2.4 billion to shareholders, comprised of $1.7 billion of share repurchases and $731 million in dividends.

Tax Reform

As a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Delta recognized a one-time charge of $150 million in the December quarter from the estimated impact of the inclusion of foreign earnings and revaluation of deferred tax assets and liabilities. This one-time charge is being excluded from Delta’s results as a special item. For 2018, Delta expects the reduction in the corporate tax rate will result in an all-in book tax rate for the company of 22-24 percent.

Fourth Quarter Results

Special items for the quarter consist primarily of the impact from tax reform noted above and mark-to-market adjustments on fuel hedges.

Chart 3.2




Top Copyright Photo: Delta Air Lines Airbus A321-211 WL N308DN (msn 7233) DCA (Jay Selman). Image: 403528.
Delta Airbus aircraft slide show (current livery):

Delta named 2017’s “Most On-Time Global Airline”

Delta Air Lines has issued this statement:

Delta Air Lines was named the World’s Most On-Time Airline among mainline carriers by the aviation data and analytics company FlightGlobal, incorporating FlightStats, and is the first U.S. airline to earn the industry-leading distinction in the nine years FlightGlobal’s FlightStats has presented its OPS Awards, according to a release by the company Tuesday.

In 2017, Delta’s mainline operation saw 85.94 percent of flights arrive within 14 minutes of the scheduled arrival time, the industry’s widely used definition of on-time, according to FlightStats.1

“We are extremely proud of what Delta employees have been able to accomplish in service to our customers to drive a safe and reliable global operation,” said Gil West, Delta’s Executive Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “The results reported by FlightStats are humbling and yet another proof point that Delta employees worldwide are redefining operational excellence. Hats off to all Delta employees who come to work every day looking for ways to make meaningful improvements to the airline and continue to differentiate ourselves from our competitors.”

Delta was also recognized as North America’s most on-time major carrier—a title that takes into account the Delta Connection regional operation. FlightStats reports that Delta, together with its regional partners, saw 84.06 percent of flights arrive on time in 2017, based on FlightStats’ analysis of flight status and arrival data pulled from over 600 global sources and data feeds.2

Delta flies more than 180 million customers annually on approximately 5,000 daily mainline and Delta Connection flights. The airline achieved its strong operational performance in 2017 despite a string of hurricanes in the U.S. and Caribbean, and a snow storm at Delta’s largest hub in Atlanta in December. Still Delta recorded several company bests, including a record 242 days in 2017 without a mainline flight cancellation and 90 days in which mainline and Delta Connection were cancel-free.3

[1] Based on Flightstats 2017 arrival time data for all Delta mainline flights flown system-wide.

[2] Based on Flightstats 2017 arrival time data for all Delta mainline and Delta Connection flights flown system-wide.

[3] Based on Delta’s internal statistical reporting of all Delta and Delta Connection flights scheduled between Jan. 1, 2017, and Jan. 1, 2018.