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Delta Air Lines Nixes More Than 200 Flights On Saturday As it Struggles to Handle Memorial Day Weekend Demand

Delta Air Lines Nixes More Than 200 Flights On Saturday As it Struggles to Handle Memorial Day Weekend Demand

A Delta Air Lines aircraft, seen from above, taxis on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport

Delta Air Lines was forced to axe more than 9 percent of its planned schedule on Saturday as the airline struggled to handle a surge in demand over the Memorial Day weekend.

According to flight-tracking service Flight Aware, Delta had been forced to cancel at least 243 flights on Saturday, while a further 180 flights were delayed due to a slew of reasons including bad weather in the northeast and southeast and air traffic control delays.

The Atlanta-based carrier has faltered in recent weeks to serve a huge pent up demand for air travel and late last week, the airline announced it was being forced to partially retreat to build back some reliability into its operation.

Around 100 flights per day are set to be nixed through at least the end of June, as Delta attempts to build time buffers into its schedule. Domestic flights are set to be the hardest hit although the airline admitted some international services would also be cancelled.

Despite citing bad weather for Saturday’s travel woes, Delta appeared to be suffering the hardest among its industry peers according to Flight Aware. United Airlines had been forced to cancel just 1 percent of its planned schedule on Saturday, while even jetBlue had only cut 10 flights for its Saturday schedule.

JetBlue has also been forced to proactively reduce its planned schedule due as airline supply fails to keep up to travel demand.

On Friday, Delta’s chief customer experience officer, Alison Ausband once again blamed pandemic-related sickness for some of the recent challenges.

“More than any time in our history, the various factors currently impacting our operation – weather and air traffic control, vendor staffing, increased COVID case rates contributing to higher-than-planned unscheduled absences in some work groups – are resulting in an operation that isn’t consistently up to the standards Delta has set for the industry in recent years,” Ausband said.

“We’ll continue to assess, adjust and improve how we fly so we can drive operational reliability for our customers and greater consistency and predictability for our teams,” she continued.

Along with pressing the FAA to improve air traffic control processes, Delta is also making its boarding process longer in an effort to reduce delays. The airline recently made headlines when it introduced flight attendant boarding pay in order to win support for the measure.

View Comments (4)
    • Don’t be so naive or brainwashed. The pilot shortage is not because of the lack of a mask mandate. It’s because airlines jumped on the Biden bandwagon and booted experienced pilots for not taking the “vax”. Combine that with pilots that quit over these dumb “vax” mandates and we are seeing the effects of it for the past year… even when the needless mask mandates were in place.

      BTW – If you think pilots are calling in sick because of Covid, I have a vaccine that I can sell you that is guaranteed you will never get Covid ever again.. Jokes aside – I’m sure you’re aware Delta mgmt/pilot relations are in terrible shape right now, and calling in sick is a way to get back at mgmt.

      • As a Delta pilot (NYC 73A) I can tell you definitively Delta lost no pilots due to the vaccine mandate. Everyone either got it or got an accommodation and didn’t have to get it. Our problems are training problems, with training demand outstripping training supply, and trying to fly a schedule that isn’t sufficiently reflective of pilot or inflight staffing levels. That’s why we cut so much capacity this week.

  • Delta isn’t doing boarding pay to “win support” for longer boarding times. They’re desperate to beat the AFA organizing effort. That’s the ONLY reason.

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