Delta has now expanded the waiver to all of it’s “hub” airports through tomorrow the 9th. It did not start out this way as when we look at the Internet Way Back Machine we see that to begin with they only offered you free changes if you were connecting via Atlanta that does handle up to 60% of all the daily fights that the airline runs.
So why has this turned out to be a MUCH worse week than all the other IT meltdown events that have happened again and again over the past year or so? This event was worse than having all the Delta people just stuck where they were and waiting to restart. Notice what one FlyerTalker commented, who claims to be a Delta flight attendant, on a long and interesting thread about this week’s meltdown:
“Ok, this is what’s happening. FAs can be reached at any time by the company/scheduling by using the sky pro icrew. Because of the melt down, the FAs have been ordered to stop calling in and only go by what their schedules say on the skypro. No one is updating the skypros. When they do get updated, it’s late or outdated. Flight crews showing up for canceled flts, scheduling looking for crews in the wrong cities i.e. LAX when the crew is in ATL.
Flight crews are being over worked. On duty for 30+ hours -no sleep. No place for the crews to sleep when they are on the ground. The company has given up on trying to find hotels for FAs. The crews are told, once in the air, to find their own accommodations when they get to their destination. The company will reimburse them later. The trouble is, many of the crew are junior and don’t have the money for a room even if they can find them. Lack of sleep and no showers.
Because of what it happening, working crews illegally, the FAA is now starting an investigation. That is a fact.
While flight crews are easy targets, they aren’t being treated any better than the customers.
Fly Safe!” – NWA FA on FlyerTalk.com
Those are some shocking, and scary, public accusations against the airline. Again, I cannot confirm this anonymous Flyer Talker really is who they say they are but to me this passes the “smell test” of being an accurate statement from someone who works for Delta Air Lines.
To me the above statement really sums up this weeks total service failure. Yes, there was a horrible storm, but Delta made the mistake of not realizing just how bad it would be and starting with a waiver for ALL of it’s hubs to begin with. This would have prevented folks sleeping in airports for days when no crews or airplanes could be found to fly them where they wanted to go.
Next issue is how full Delta jets are. We know they want to reach 20×2020 that is only 20% of 1st class seats open on any jet by 2020 and all of coach full. This is great for making money but the issue is by pushing what is called capacity control or cutting flights so every flight can be full it leaves little extra capacity in the system when things go wrong like they did this week. Some of the issue this week has been made worse by Delta’s choices of how to run the airline. Now I get that we are in the middle of “Spring Break” week as well but that does not excuse the standard practice of selling and overselling everything to make matters worse (and BTW, doesn’t Spring Break happen every year?).
Next up we have the 500 pound elephant in the room and that is interlining. Few understand what Delta has done and again it is a choice and View From the Wing had a great post for you to read about it. In past years you could ask, when things went wrong, to have your ticket “moved” over to another airline. I have had Delta do this for me and fly me on an other airline to get me from A-B because Delta canceled a flight. Delta used to do this with many more airlines, including American Airlines, than they do now because they feel the other airlines were disproportionately sending customers to them when the other airlines had issues. Well this week it has been the other way and look what has happened.
Lastly, and I am just dumbfounded by this, that in the middle of what is looking like the worst ever service failure week for Delta EVER, the airline is taking the time to secretly further decimate the value of SkyMiles while many loyal Delta travelers are stranded for days and days often with the most meager of supplies running out as you can see from my fellow BA blogger BaldThoughts.com who is traveling with his family this week on Delta! Nice to see you have our backs when things are at their worst?
Will Delta learn from this one like the other epic fails? Maybe. I hear they are building a brand new IT hub north of ATL to stop more IT disasters in the future. I think next time they may have the wherewithal to start with a much larger (and longer) waiver so folks can choose to not get stuck in the middle of another mess. As to the shameful practice of destroying loyalty rewards in the middle of a crisis? Nah, these highly trained professionals have YEARS of practice of gutting real value with those most loyal to Delta Air Lines! – René