Saturday’s Delta flight from Seattle to Kona, Hawaii – Delta 565 – was delayed over 9 hours and then – as the flight boarded – the airline realized that one of the pilots was not qualified to operate the flight, as relayed to passengers by the gate agent. It took an overnight – another 8 hours – before passengers were able to fly.
@tiarebowman @delta #delta #deltaairlines #seattle #seatac #seatacairport #airporttiktok ♬ Jiggle Jiggle – Duke & Jones & Louis Theroux
At this point the 1:59 p.m. Boeing 757 departure had been delayed until after 11 p.m. Delta, which prefers to keep its cancellation numbers down, did not actually cancel the flight. Instead they delayed it until the next morning.
It ultimately took off on Sunday morning at 7:16 a.m., a total of 17 hours and 17 minutes late – this time with fully qualified crew.
A Delta Air Lines spokesperson offers,
Delta Flight 565 on May 21 from Seattle to Kona experienced a delay due to a required crew change. We sincerely apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and delay to their travels.
TikTok users offered, “When applying for jobs on Indeed goes a little too far” and the old standby that Delta stands for “Doesn’t Ever Leave The Airport” (I always preferred ‘Diverts Errant Luggage To Atlanta’ myself).
The event was certainly caused by Delta and not by the pilot. My understanding is that the pilot was qualified for the aircraft, but not for ETOPS extended overwater flying. The assignment of an unqualified pilot occurred on a day that the airline cancelled 10% of its flights, and delayed more still.
It’s just a single anecdote but it supports the conventional wisdom (summarized by @xJonNYC) that when the airline shed 30% of its employees during the pandemic – despite receiving billions in federal subsidies so that they would not do this – they lost a lot of their expertise at running an airline.
Coincidentally, earlier this month a Virgin Atlantic flight turned back around to London forty minutes into its flight to New York JFK after it was discovered that the first officer wasn’t qualified to fly the aircraft. The pilot hadn’t completed the airline’s ‘final assessment’ flight, though fully licensed by government authorities and a 5 year veteran of the airline. Virgin Atlantic is 49% owned by Delta.