Flight Operations Return to Normal, Says Delta Air Lines

W ith the exception of approximately 25 mainline flights canceled — some of them due to inclement weather in the midwestern portion of the United States — this official statement from Delta Air Lines has declared that flight operations have returned to normal.

Flight Operations Return to Normal, Says Delta Air Lines

“The airline is back on its feet, moving past this week’s disruption and operating normally,” said Dave Holtz, who is the senior vice president of operations and customer center at Delta Air Lines. “Running a reliable operation is something we pride ourselves on and frankly, that didn’t happen this week. But our teams have worked tirelessly to bring back the dependable airline our customers have known us to be and have come to expect from us.”

Travel Waiver Extended to Fourth Consecutive Day

The travel waiver originally issued by Delta Air Lines for Monday, August 8, 2016 has been extended through today, Thursday, August 11, 2016 — meaning that if your flight was canceled or significantly delayed during the first three weekdays of this week, you are entitled to a refund; or if you change your itinerary, the change fee will be waived.

The reissue date of the travel waiver was extended as well: even if your flight was not canceled, you may make a one-time change to your ticket without fee if you are scheduled to travel to, from, or through all destinations worldwide on Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection, or flights coded as Delta Air Lines where the ticket must be reissued on or before Sunday, August 21, 2016; with rebooked travel beginning no later than that same day.

Today will most likely be the last day in which the travel waiver is extended.

What Caused the Impact on Systemwide Operations

Originally attributed to a power outage, the cause of the impact on the operations of Delta Air Lines systemwide throughout the world — which ultimately cancelled at least 2,117 flights this week and delayed thousands more — was has been amended to state that “some critical systems and network equipment didn’t switch over to Delta’s backup systems. Delta’s investigation into the causes is ongoing.”

Gil West — who is the chief operating officer of Delta Air Lines — addressed the cause of the technology failure that disrupted the operations of Delta Air Lines this past Monday; and the following text is his explanation in its entirety as to why some flight delays and cancellations were continuing.

“Monday morning a critical power control module at our Technology Command Center malfunctioned, causing a surge to the transformer and a loss of power. The universal power was stabilized and power was restored quickly. But when this happened, critical systems and network equipment didn’t switch over to backups. Other systems did. And now we’re seeing instability in these systems.

“For example we’re seeing slowness in a system that airport customer service agents use to process check-ins, conduct boarding and dispatch aircraft. Delta agents today are using the original interface we designed for this system while we continue with our resetting efforts.

“Delta is a vast people-moving machine that is tightly wound around a schedule that meets customer demand. Similar to what happens after a severe weather event, it is not unusual for a global airline to take more than 24 hours to   return to full reliability.

When Delta doesn’t fly aircraft, not only do customers not get to their destination, but flight crews don’t get to where they are scheduled to be. When this happens, unfortunately, further delays and cancellations result. And flight crews can only be on duty for a limited time before rest periods are required by law.

“Flight crews – pilots and flight attendants – carry out their responsibilities in a rotation, a schedule of flights and hotel reservations, that is usually three or four days.

“As cancellations occur, rotations become invalid. Multiplied across tens of thousands of pilots and flight attendants and thousands of scheduled flights, rebuilding rotations is a time-consuming process.

“And keeping safety top of mind is a constant in our actions, and especially while we’re running our operation in recovery mode and making sure flight crews on duty have all they need to operate a safe flight, especially consistent delivery of information.

“Delta employees worldwide are doing everything possible to return the operation to normal and get customers to their destinations and I thank Delta people for these efforts.

“We are sorry our technology failure inconvenienced so many customers and are grateful for the faith and patience so many have shown in Delta.”


Passengers will be happy to know that once again, they can rely on Delta Air Lines to get them to the locations around the world which are served by Delta Air Lines — but there needs to be some sort of definitive reassurance from the airline that the impact incurred on its systemwide operations worldwide earlier this week will never happen again.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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