The demand for travel has been on the rise, driven by people eager to reconnect with the world around them. Rebuilding Delta’s full-scale operation to serve the increasing number of customers who want to fly with us has been a huge feat – and not without challenges.
In recent months, we’ve made a number of adjustments to minimize disruptions and bounce back faster when challenges occur. And that’s why we’ll be taking additional steps in the coming days and weeks to strategically decrease our flight schedule this summer. From July 1-Aug. 7, we’ll reduce service by approximately 100 daily departures, preeminent in markets in the US and Latin America that Delta frequently serves. This will build additional resilience in our system and improve operational reliability for our customers and employees; we’ll continue to proactively adjust select flights in the coming weeks.
“More than any time in our history, the various factors currently impacting our operation – weather and air traffic control, vendor staffing, increased COVID case rates contributing to higher-than-planned unscheduled absences in some work groups – are resulting in an operation that isn’t consistently up to the standards Delta has set for the industry in recent years,” said Chief Customer Experience Officer Allison Ausband. “We deeply appreciate the energy and efforts of our people and the confidence of our customers as we adapt and pivot to ensure we provide the airline-of-choice experience we’re so proud to be known for.”
Delta teams strive to notify customers of itinerary changes as far in advance as possible. If your upcoming flight is engaged during by a schedule change or delay, we’ll send updates directly to a mobile device or by email if contact information is included booking or added later via My Trips online.
We also issue waivers in the event of inclement weather, offering whose travel includes affected cities the option to consider moving their travel to before or after the weather event, which can also help avoid unnecessary customers waiting at airports. Due to forecast weather in the Southeast and Northeast regions of the US, Delta has issued a travel waiver – effective May 26-28 – for those who may be affected in the days ahead.
If upcoming bookings for later this summer happen to change, our teams will provide customers with the next-best itinerary that gets them where they need to go with the shortest delay possible.
As summer travel officially gets underway, Delta expects to welcome approximately 2.5 million customers this Memorial Day weekend – a 25% increase from 2021 passenger levels. These latest adjustments build on other actions Delta has taken recently, including:
- Continued engagement with the FAA on improving processes for air traffic management.
- Adding several hundred new pilots and flight attendants to the operation every month as we hire and train to support our growth.
- Launching initiatives to improve boarding time and departure performance.
Here are a few more things customers should know before they set off for summer journeys:
1. USE THE FLY DELTA APP TO CHECK IN, CHANGE FLIGHTS, MANAGE TRIP INTERRUPTIONS AND MORE.
Fly Delta is home to all the tools customers may need during their trip, including checking in, tracking bags and managing flight interruptions. While our teams are always standing by to support you, a lot is available at your fingertips that will help you save time if you need to change your plans. You can nearly always skip a phone call to our Reservations team by adjusting your flight directly in the Fly Delta app or on delta.com or by using our Messaging feature for more assistance. When trips are interrupted and wait times on the phone are longer than usual, Fly Delta is the fastest option to get on the next available flight.
Make sure to keep an eye out for any emails or text messages you receive from Delta with essential updates on your flight status, travel documents and what to know before you go to the airport. (This information is also available in My Trips.) Turned off notifications by mistake? Find the notifications selection in your device’s Settings app and ensure Fly Delta app notifications are turned on. Manage your device’s sleep mode settings accordingly, too, to avoid notifications being silenced.
2. GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO NAVIGATE THE AIRPORT.
Plan to arrive at the airport two hours ahead of domestic flights and three hours ahead of international flights. Especially on popular travel days, allow some extra time to check your bags and go through security – and remember to pack any valuables or essential items in your carry-on bags. If you’re traveling with spare lithium batteries, make sure they’re in your carry-on bag, too – lithium batteries are not allowed in checked bags.
Double-check your carry-on for prohibited items like full water bottles and liquids larger than 3.4 ounces (be sure to save those for your checked luggage). And remember to have your government-issued ID out and ready when you arrive at the security checkpoint.
Thanks to Delta’s partnership with TSA, qualifying customers in Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles and – coming soon – New York-LGA can opt in to use new facial recognition technology to check bags, pass through security and board their flight completely hands-free through use of their digital identity (SkyMiles Member number, passport number and Known Traveler Number). Remember to keep your ID nearby in your carry-on even when you opt to use facial recognition.
3. CONSIDER CLEAR OR TSA PRECHECK TO HELP SPEED THROUGH SECURITY LINES.
For an even quicker in-airport experience, customers can enroll in CLEAR — now available in more than 35 airports where we fly — and speed through security lines with just the touch of a finger or blink of an eye. US-based SkyMiles® Members get preferred pricing on CLEAR memberships, including complimentary memberships for US-based Diamond Medallion Members.
Customers can also consider applying for TSA PreCheck, now available at 200+ quality qualities. Frequent travelers thinking about investing in expedited security programs should compare the benefits of CLEAR, TSA PreCheck, Sky Priority and Global Entry on delta.com to see what program is right for them.
4. DELTA PEOPLE ARE WORKING AROUND THE CLOCK TO HELP SUPPORT YOU.
Whether at airports, onboard or behind the scenes at our reservations and operations centers, we’re here to help our customers get where they need to be as safely and quickly as possible. When travel interruptions happen, our customers can rest assured that we are working around the clock to move and position equipment and crews, adjusting schedules and taking other proactive measures to ensure our customers get where they need to go.
When cancellations become necessary as a last resort, Delta works to make changes that impact the fewest customers with the shortest delays. And, whenever possible, Delta teams strive to cancel flights far enough in advance to notify customers before arriving at the airport.
If, for any reason, a flight is delayed while you’re at the airport, Delta people are ready to support you. We’re increasing our airport staffing and introducing new ways to take care of you while you wait for your flight, like expanding our reticketing options for our customer service agents to help customers on day of travel. If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to find one of our famous Red Coats – Delta’s elite airport customer service experts, identify by their bright red coats – who are armed with a chat feature and will do their best to resolve any questions. For longer delays, teams are ready to help take care of customers in gate with light refreshments as well areas as providing digital vouchers for meals and hotel stays for overnight delays in some instances.
5. BE MINDFUL OF CHANGING COVID-RELATED PROTOCOLS.
Masks are now optional for customers, airport employees and crew members inside US airports, on board aircraft chartered and on most international flights. The Transportation Security Administration is no longer enforcing the federal mandate as of April 18.
Delta people and customers may still choose to wear a mask. Experts agree that wearing a well-fitting mask – such as a KN95 – protects the wearer, even if others around them are not wearing masks. As Delta people and customers adapt to this change, please extend some extra patience to your crew and in-flight neighbors.
Delta remains committed to layers of protection like hospital-grade HEPA filters, regular cleaning and sanitization of high-touch surfaces on the planes and in the airport, a dedicated cleanliness team dedicated to teaching high standards are maintained, and the industry’s first Chief Health Officer , Dr. Henry Ting, who is an influential voice for Delta as we work to protect the health and safety of Delta people and customers.
“Delta’s global team of 75,000 strong is working hard to ensure we deliver the industry-leading experience that our customers have come to expect and deserve,” said Ausband. “We’ll continue to assess, adjust and improve how we fly so we can drive operational reliability for our customers and greater consistency and predictability for our teams.”