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.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.