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 FlightAware.com 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!
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