Operational Excellence at Delta

Delta’s blog features an infographic (that you need to be logged into Google to see it seems) that they call ‘the anatomy of the 99.5%’ — their operation completed 99.5% of flights and nearly an 87% on-time rating.

That’s real operational excellence across nearly 1.9 million flights transporting over 160 million passengers in 2012.

I give a tremendous amount of grief to the Delta Skymiles program — from the usability of miles, to their upgrade policies, to a general air of deception and disingenuousness.

But as an airline they run a pretty good operation, with more inflight internet than any other carrier and good seatback entertainment.

Their infographic tells the story of that operation in 2012.

(HT: TravelBloggerBuzz)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’m a Delta Diamond and Delta has always ben good to me and their operation has ALWAYS seemed efficient. I am just disappointed with their Freq. Flyer program, even before the recent changes! Still wondering what is the best course of action.

  2. How about some operational excellence with award seat availability?
    My sky pesos are collecting dust and cobwebs waiting for a few miracles to drop down from the sky

  3. So what do they credit this feat to? I wonder how much their investment in back-end (not front-end, LOL) technology–i.e., the Delta Nervous System–has to do with it.

  4. I think most frequent flyers recognize that DL provides a good product, at least by the standards of modern USA carriers.

    But the problem remains that their ff program is so poor that, when given a choice, most of us book away from them. A slightly better flying experience does not compensate for a much worse ff program.

    One might think DL management would recognize the opportunity they have here to woo the ff crowd by improving Skymiles so we don’t book away from DL. But perhaps they see the economics differently.

  5. One of the things I’ve come to learn about flying domestically is that it is a commodity, and that mileage earned from credit cards will likely eclipse miles I earn from flying. Delta runs a good operation, and so I enjoy flying them (even after moving away from ATL). Sure, I earn Skymiles, but I also make it a point not to earn RDMs unless I’m also earning MQMs.

    I flew United in F six times last year and despite having better miles earned, the in-flight experience was horrendous. The only positive side was that I was flying a 787, but those are grounded now. Meanwhile, even as a mid-tier elite on DL, I feel I get treated very well. Skypesos are a drag, but I don’t have a problem redeeming them for business class trips internationally.

  6. I had a total contrast of experiences with Delta on a recent trip. It began with one of the worst experiences of my life with Delta — but I think it was really the ground crew in one location (SBN — don’t ask). But, on the way back — delayed by over an hour SFO-SLC — they held a plane for a couple of minutes so that I could make the 8 minute connection in SLC. And get this — my checked bag also made the connection. I was astounded.

    DL has problems but whenever I contemplate an alternative — everyone else is worse.

  7. As much as their FF program deserves to be criticized, I remain loyal because they actually have a good product and I’ve always found customer service to be great as well. I can even recall back in my no status days 2 incidents where employee went above and beyond for me when the didn’t even have to.

    Occasionally i’ll fly AA/UA when it makes more sense for that particular trip (ex. miles or cheaper flights) and while I love the ease of redeeming I have generally been disappointed in the on board experience and the attitudes of the staff.

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