By 9 a.m. this morning Delta Air Lines had cancelled over 80 flights today, on what’s expected to be the busiest travel day since March. There are even more cancellations tomorrow. So far FlightAware appears to be tracking over 420 Delta cancellations throughout the holiday weekend.
As of this writing, according to FlightAware,
- Delta has 88 cancelled flights and experienced 177 delayed flights (this compares to 13 cancels and 51 delays at United, 13 cancels and 34 delays at Southwest, and 7 cancels and 105 delays at American)
- Delta has already cancelled 192 flights for Thursday or 13% of their schedule (this compares to 5 at United, and 1 each at American and Southwest)
Almost all of the cancellations appear to be either Boeing 737s or Airbus narrowbody flights, though of course those are the bulk of what Delta is scheduled to fly currently.
Delta more than any other U.S. airline has prided itself – and sold itself – on reliability. They’ve gone over a month at a time without a mainline flight cancellation, and hit 200 days in a year without a mainline cancellation. The day before Thanksgiving would traditionally be a ‘no cancel’ day where the airline would go to tremendous lengths (including 20 hour flight ‘delays’ with different crew and aircraft) doing anything possible to avoid classifying a flight as cancelled. That didn’t work this year.
According to a Delta spokesperson,
Delta teams are working diligently to prevent flight cancellations this week. A number of factors have pressured our ability to timely staff several dozen scheduled flights on Wednesday. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our customers.
If a flight is canceled or significantly rescheduled by Delta, customers are proactively contacted with new flight details and have the options of adjusting their new booking, receiving eCredit for future travel or seeking a refund. The vast majority of customers are being rebooked for a flight during the same travel day.
Delta is committed to keeping middle seats blocked through March 30, 2021 and giving customers a multi-layered, comprehensive safe and clean experience as part of the Delta CareStandard
I understand that Delta added several flights for the Thanksgiving holiday in October, after November’s schedule had been ‘put out to bid’ by crews. These “open time” flights need to either be picked up by employees wanting more hours, or by those scheduled to work reserve. Why this created more of a problem than in normal times is something I’m trying to work through.