Flight cancellations, delays « unacceptable » according to the CEO of Delta
The Delta Air Lines boss has apologized for a recent spate of flight delays and cancellations that caused chaos for air travelers ahead of the busy Fourth of July weekend.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian gave his mea culpa to irate customers in a dismal week in which the airline canceled more than 400 flights, according to data from tracking service FlightAware – with more than travel chaos expected during the holidays.
“If you have experienced any delays and cancellations recently, I apologize,” Bastian said in a letter shared on his LinkedIn page. “We have spent years making Delta Air Lines the industry leader in reliability, and while the majority of our flights continue to operate on time, this level of disruption and uncertainty is unacceptable. «
Bad weather has exacerbated difficult conditions this week for Delta and other U.S. airlines, which are scrambling to meet growing demand despite severe pilot and crew shortages and sky-high fuel costs. Thousands of flights were canceled or delayed over the past Father’s Day and June 16 holiday weekend.
Bastian said Delta was « on the path to a steady recovery » but cautioned that « things won’t change overnight. » He noted that the airline was working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration to limit disruptions for its passengers.
The Delta chief also defended the airline’s reliability, saying it has maintained « over 96% of our scheduled departures, with over 80% of our flights arriving within 14 minutes of their scheduled arrival time. « .
Earlier this week, Delta warned customers of a « potentially difficult » situation for July 4 travelers. The Atlanta-based airline has taken the unusual step of waiving rebooking fees from July 1 to July 4 as long as customers keep the same point of departure and arrival.
« The people at Delta are working around the clock to rebuild Delta’s operation while making it as resilient as possible to minimize the ripple effect of disruptions, » Delta said in a statement. « Even so, some operational challenges are expected this holiday weekend. »
Delta’s apology came as US carriers face increasing scrutiny from federal authorities over the wave of cancellations.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg recently pushed airlines to conduct ‘stress tests’ for their summer schedules and warned that carriers that fail to meet federal consumer protection standards could face penalties .
Meanwhile, GOP members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee demanded a briefing with Buttigieg, arguing his department « has no serious plan to deal with deteriorating flight schedules. »
Airlines for America, a trade group representing major US airline operators, said a shortage of FAA air traffic controllers was contributing to the disruption.