Delta Air Lines Bankruptcy Emergence, Part 13: Jerry Grinstein and Me
Note: Nine years ago yesterday, Delta Air Lines formally emerged from bankruptcy protection; and this article is the thirteenth of a series of articles which I first wrote nine years ago today.
I had not expected a formal meeting with Jerry Grinstein and me aboard Delta Air Lines flight 9998 en route to Salt Lake City. I figured I would simply meet him for a few seconds. Had I known this was going to happen, I would have asked for some questions to ask Jerry that FlyerTalk members who participate in the Delta forum might have had. Still, I tried to rely from memory questions and topics that I have seen posted on FlyerTalk that were regularly discussed in the Delta forum on FlyerTalk.
One question I had pertained to service to Australia and the South Pacific, a topic that for years has repeatedly been asked. Jerry replied that Delta Air Lines is indeed looking into serving that market and sees the opportunity for growth for Delta Air Lines. Thinking I had a scoop here, I did not realize at the time I asked this question that this has basically become public knowledge.
I also asked about increased service on the West Coast of the United States, a territory with which Jerry is familiar since he was with Western Airlines. He acknowledged that there is growth potential for Delta Air Lines on the West Coast, but that it was not the most important priority at the moment. The main priorities are continuing the international expansion of the route network of Delta Air Lines, as that is the most profitable route (pun intended on my part) to take, as well as addressing the issues of the Delta Air Lines terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
At one point, I felt like I might have asked some silly questions during the “interview”. However, when the “formal” part of our meeting had concluded, I expected Jerry to leave, as he needed to prepare for his presentation in Salt Lake City when we arrived. Instead, we switched seats as instructed by photographer Judy Ondrey so that she may take some photographs, such as the one shown above. Once Judy was done, Jerry actually stayed for at least 15 more minutes. We had a very nice informal conversation. My only regret is that because I did not get a chance to get to know him better, I did not have the opportunity to share my sense of humor with him. Judging from my earlier observations of him, I believe we really would have “clicked” had we used more humor in our conversation.
Then again, my sense of humor might also have the adverse effect of possibly causing him to wonder what type of nut I might be…
Not Included in the Original Article
There were other questions and answers in which Jerry and I engaged which — for some reason — was not included in the original article; and I have my notes from that session somewhere. I apologize for not having them included in this article; but upon finding those notes, I can include them in a future article.
Jerry Grinstein — who has since basically retired to the Seattle metropolitan area and is currently 83 years old — was popular with both employees and customers alike. Intelligent yet mischievous, Jerry was always quite approachable in my subsequent meetings with him. Many people credit him and Jim Whitehurst with turning Delta Air Lines back around financially and setting the foundation for the success the carrier was about to enjoy.
I hope you have been enjoying your well-deserved retirement, Jerry.
All photographs courtesy of Judy Ondrey and Delta Air Lines.