Delta Air Lines Bankruptcy Emergence, Part 17: The Conclusion: My Thoughts, Observations and Ideas

Note: Nine years ago yesterday, Delta Air Lines formally emerged from bankruptcy protection; and this article is the seventeenth of a series of articles which I first wrote nine years ago today.

y observation of Delta Air Lines from the inside has left me feeling like the employees of Delta Air Lines once again feels like a tight-knit family. In fact, many times I felt like I was a part of the Delta Air Lines family. I hope that I am not being presumptuous or pretentious when I say that I feel as though I have made new acquaintances and friends at all levels at Delta Air Lines that I hope to continue, and not just as a customer or from a business standpoint.

Additionally, Delta Air Lines is doing many of the right things from a business point of view that helped it to successfully emerge from bankruptcy.

Regardless, to be realistic, while it appears to be apparent that Delta Air Lines will be a strong airline for years to come, it still faces a long road ahead. For example, fuel prices are at or near an all-time high, which can affect the profit margins of an airline. Additionally, competition is fierce. Another factor is winning back those formal loyal customers that have yet to experience the revitalized Delta Air Lines, as well as win over new customers.

However, even though Delta Air Lines faces some tough challenges in the post-bankruptcy future and that there is still a lot of work to be done, it stands an excellent chance of survival, primarily because of the positive attitude, dedication and determination of the employees of Delta Air Lines at all levels. They seem to be happy once again, and that is critical to the success of any business. I predict that because of the “family”-style atmosphere and team attitude of its employees, Delta Air Lines will be number one in customer service, which should make it a distinctive choice of airline ceteris paribus, or all other things being equal, amongst its competition.

If I had not been fortunate enough to experience it first-hand, I would have never believed it.

Throughout my experiences, I kept thinking the same thought:

Delta Air Lines is the best of the New Delta while it is still the best of the Old Delta.

In other words, Delta Air Lines has embarked on being a fresh, new and innovative company, while retaining the characteristics that made it legendary as a great airline in the past.

Anyone who says that Delta Air Lines is just another airline is incorrect, in my opinion. In fact, many people at Delta Air Lines do not know this, but Delta Air Lines has changed my life.

I was livid when Delta Air Lines announced changes to its SkyMiles program in December 2002 to be implemented in January 2003 — certainly not nearly enough notice to do anything. This forced me to do something I had never done before nor did I believe in doing: becoming a member of an Internet bulletin board web site. I officially joined FlyerTalk, thinking that I would post a few times just to vent my frustration at Delta Air Lines and then disappear in obscure anonymity.

Was I ever wrong!

Instead, I eventually became one of the moderators on FlyerTalk. Now, many FlyerTalk members, as well as many Delta Air Lines employees, know who I am. So much for anonymity…

Anyway, amongst the many ways that my life has changed is that I am currently earning my MBA degree. What does this have to do with Delta Air Lines? Well, the idea was suggested to me by a Delta Air Lines Lifetime Platinum Medallion SkyMiles member, whom I would not have met had it not been for FlyerTalk, which I would not have become a registered member had it not been for Delta Air Lines.

Of course, I also would not be currently writing this weblog had the circumstances been different.

It is quite strange how life works sometimes…

Not Included in the Original Article

I do have one regret: I was invited to continue onward to New York after being in Los Angeles to be there when representatives of Delta Air Lines rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange — but I was forced to decline because I already had other plans scheduled. I believe I would have enjoyed that as well; and I sure would have liked to have been there.

If I do find my notes from the events and notice that I left out any information in which you might be interested, I intend to post it in a future article.

I personally appreciate you reading what turned out to be a series of 17 articles. More were written after the two whirlwind days were over for me; but they were not directly related to the events associates with the emergence of Delta Air Lines from bankruptcy protection.

With few exceptions, the articles were presented exactly as they were originally written. I did that because I thought it would be interesting for you to see in which ways Delta Air Lines as a company changed — and in which ways it remained the same. One obvious example of what has changed significantly is the SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program; while another is that the airline will officially have a new chief executive officer under the leadership of Edward Bastian starting tomorrow, Monday, May 2, 2016 — and with its record profitability in recent quarters, bankruptcy is little more than a distant memory at Delta Air Lines, where many of the employees who currently work there did not even realize that nine years have elapsed since the end of that dark era in the history of the airline.

Thankfully, there are still some really nice people working at Delta Air Lines who will go out of their way for you, as I have been reminded within the past week — and as long as they are still the heart of the airline, Delta Air Lines should continue to have a bright future.

One more thing I want to say: I may not agree with everything you do — but I do appreciate the many memorable moments I have already experienced with you over the years, Delta Air Lines.

As a lifetime Medallion elite member, a long-time customer and — in some cases — a friend through thick and thin: thank you.

Photograph ©2007 by Brian Cohen.

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