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Delta nightmare week just keeps going. 100+ cancellations today & more on the way!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

canceled delta flights sunday
Screenshot from 9APRIL17

I will freely admit it – there is no defending Delta this past week and into this weekend. While I am a Delta “fan boy” as some call me, I have always enjoyed, no matter how shameful SkyMiles becomes, to be able to hold my head up high and say how great the Delta operations are and that they always recover quickly and take great care of me and I have never EVER had the need for something like travel insurance. After this week, well, I am not so sure and if anyone at Delta even breathes the “weather” word over this again they should be fired on the spot. Weather may have started this but is not the real problem.

First off, as I talked about yesterday, the end of this event is far from over. If we look at for today the 9th we see that as of this publish date/time we already have 100+ flights canceled and about 200 delayed. Expect this number to grow and for an airline that absolutely prides itself on completing EVERY flight this is just not OK. I think we will continue to see cancellations, in low numbers, for most of the week to come. Again, just not OK for the “gold standard” that is Delta Air Lines.

Next, and again I have to cover this since NONE of the main stream press is, the beyond words disgracefulness and unmitigated gall of the airline to take the slimy step of AGAIN devaluing SkyMiles at the HEIGHT of this crisis tells you where the minds are of those in charge of SkyMiles and how much THEY value you as a paying customer. Next time they tell you that those who pay the most are the most rewarded – think about this week!

widi from flyertalk about deltameltdown
Wiki from

Then there is a thread to follow on FlyerTalk about the latest and “greatest” about the #DeltaMeltDown and specially the Wiki at the top of the thread (a box almost anyone can edit). I jumped in and added a number of links and it is becoming a very reliable source to get info since the Delta mothership is providing little real useful info on what is going on and just how bad the situation is. How bad is it you ask? Notice what reader “Bob” sent me as just one example of how bad:

“René, I was scheduled Friday to fly SAT/BOS via ATL. With no advance notice my first flight was canceled at the gate with an aircraft parked at the jet way with no crew. There were two FO’s [first officers] and a Captain present at the gate house and several flight attendants all looking to DH [dead head] to ATL. They could not get through to crew scheduling in an effort to get reassigned and protect the flight. Instead operations canceled the flight. A woman who had been canceled the prior day broke down crying when she learned of the cancellation. As a diamond I repeatedly called the diamond desk to find the line not working or being advised there was a two to three hour wait time. This morning the call time was still more than 1 hr 30 wait. I have yet to be rescheduled time 7:55 PM 4/8/17. On Friday gate agents were advising no alternate flights were available until the next day and referenced United as unavailable. I called United, booked a flight out of SAT at 12:39 via IAH to BOS and got myself home. Total melt down, the CEO and senior staff should all resign or be fired.” – Bob

Thanks Bob. Yes, it seems very early on there was another total IT failure with Delta and this time it had to do with crews and then it snowballed from there to other bits inside Delta. Once again we are talking Delta IT and it seems like something they can not reliably fix. I, as well as others, have warned about this for years and now we see it live and in color!

I have been a huge fan of Ed Bastian since he took over from Richard Anderson. As a loyalty enthusiast he has been responsive and most of the changes under his leadership have been positive and, unlike his predecessor, when there is good it is not followed by something bad. However, he seems to have zero control over SkyMiles as they keep sliding down into a pit of darkness year after year. Now, it seems, he is losing grip on the operations side as well. Not good!

Long term I think Delta will be fine. Yes, this will cost them. I could see Delta stock price $DAL sink dramatically over this and the cost to the company (note I hold no $DAL shares ever). Without question there will be those so negatively affected that they will never fly Delta again but most who either like Delta or live in Delta hubs will return to Delta next time they fly. This will leave a lasting memory though, and this had better be the last one of these major disasters – period! – René


Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. This whole situation is just unacceptable on many levels. First how can an airline blame weather delays on Sunday for a thunderstorm that occurred on Wednesday? The ticket permits them to call whatever they want weather. Delta has your money and you have no transportation and there is not a single damn thing you can do about it. There needs to be some standard for weather related delays. For example they have 24 hours to get back into position and start flying again once the weather event is over otherwise you are entitled to some form of compensation.
    Second, if you were entitled to a refund, where is my money? I was canceled on AmericanAirlines on March 13. Still waiting for my money. Again the airlines have no incentive to provide any customer service at all. And third, I keep hearing how Delta is so good operationally. There simply is very little evidence to back that up. For example if 84% of doctors flights are on time and 80% of United’s are on time that’s only one in 20 where you’re going to have a better experience on Delta from an operations perspective. That’s mostly imperceptible to customers. On top of it, Delta charges a very significant premium for their tickets and as we all know sky pesos are essentially worthless .

  2. And while I’m ranting, here’s a great example of Delta’s wonderful customer service. Delta canceled my flight at the last second to Tulsa a few months back. The cancellation resulted from a miscommunication among the Delta employees working the flight. The plane was broken and wasn’t going to go anywhere but no one told operations. Consequently I had to absorb the cost for my hotel room, the presentation books I had prepared for a client meeting the next day, and a hotel conference room. All in, I’m out $1,000. Delta’s response? They gave me 20,000 sky pesos. I tried to use the 20,000 sky pesos for a flight to New York and turns out I could either buy a JetBlue ticket for $45 or or use my 20,000 Sky pesos to fly on a crappy regional jet. The fiasco, which was 100% Delta’s fault, cost me way more Delta. And Delta didn’t [care].

  3. Ps: at the time I was Delta platinum traveling on a $1,200 paid F ticket.

  4. Rough week for sure. Glad Ed let someone else take the hit this time.

  5. I really don’t see how Ed survives this one. RA was a terrible CEO, but he didn’t preside over three IT meltdowns within the span of nine months.

    I think there’s a reason we haven’t heard from Ed yet. He knows he’s finished, and intends to resign quietly soon. Any other CEO would be out there making statements and showing some life right now.

    • @William – I don’t think Ed will go over this. Maybe the COO. But think about this, if Ed goes who becomes CEO? Glen? OMGosh kill me now. Nothing could be worse than that!

  6. SelenePhoenix Reply

    Advocate ! On the other hand , my daughter had a flt SFO JFK on Friday. She called me b/c she had boarded and after an hour de planed due to weather delay saying the flight was up to 5hrs delayed. I could NOT get through to diamond number- circuits all busy-
    Used twitter and connected to a great agent who was responsive.
    As per info shared on all sides, I advised my daughter to wait for her flight since plane and crew were all there. Her flight was a 767 going on from JFK abroad.
    She re boarded and landed Friday making up delay in flight time and all was well

  7. I may be wrong, but I think we’ll ultimately suss out what happened to Delta’s crew scheduling computer. It’s likely to come up on this week’s earnings call. Maybe the system melted down from too much “stress” (a problem in and of itself) from all the changes that started with Tuesday’s smaller weather that rolled into Wednesday’s very, very bad weather in ATL that lasted all day. The same system rolled across DC and NY the next day, if I’m not mistaken. While I’ve seen it mentioned, one should also not forget that last week was spring break across a lot of America, and specifically in Atlanta. If I were a betting man, I’d guess they were running average load factors in the 98 to 100% (or slightly more….yes, it’s possible for the average booked load factor to be over 100%) range across the week.

    Bottom line, a confluence of events met in Atlanta this week with predictable results that spread across the country. While the root cause was likely weather, Delta’s inability to recover most likely resides in the apparent failure of its scheduling system along with being too full to re-accommodate everyone (anyone??) that was displaced. It’s not like they could send all of them to AA. (zing) 🙂 And even if they could, it’s spring break where AA flies too. Speaking from actual experience, United was relatively full this week as well.

    The bottom line for anyone impacted by this – rather than venting your spleen on the interweb, I would suggest a concise 1-page letter summarizing the impact to you along with any realistic expenses incurred (receipts included) and send that to Delta. See what they say. There are limits to how much they can hang their hat on “weather” in the totality of this “operational fluster cluck.”

  8. In my 25+ years of traveling have never experienced the failure as I have seen this week with Delta. It all started on Thursday morning when we got the first message that our 12pm flight would be delayed. We spent about 6 hours at the airport, before we decided to call it a day. They booked us for a Saturday flight which after 4 hours at the airport we realized we would only make it to Atlanta. How bad is their IT and customer service, well yesterday (Saturday) they would not let me print a boarding pass in Miami because they knew I would not make my connection in Atlanta (even when my flight to Atlanta was on schedule), they had booked my on a flight out of Atlanta for Monday evening so flying Miami to Atlanta on Saturday then Atlanta I to Louisville on Monday!!!!! I have called their Diamond desk several times during past 4 days, on each occasion I have been told that I would have to wait at least 1 hour or have them call me back. In 1 occasion I never got a call back. Well last night I finally decided that I would give up trying to fly home with Delta and tonight I am booked on American Airlines. It will take plenty of money in compensation from Delta to get me to spend my money on them. Sorry Delta you failed. Delta I hope I get a very good message or I will fly American Airlines with my money Oneida Mendia let’s hope we make it to Louisville tonight

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  10. My direct DL flight from FLL to LGA was delayed on Friday do to lack of FAs. My brother’s dirext DL flight from MCO to LA was cancelled yesterday mornong and they cancelled it at 10pm friday night. I think he is diamond and they told him they couldbt get him out til Monday. He told them that he foubd a seat on AA for $600 and DL said they didnt have a ticketing arrangement with AA. So he had to buy the ticket, as he had to get to his client. DL set it up so the return ticket wouldnt cancel.

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