ATLANTA, Nov. 12, 2007 – Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) is prepared to carry approximately 1.8 million anticipated customers to visit friends and family throughout the United States during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday travel period, Nov. 16 - 25. The airline has completed a comprehensive review of equipment and staffing needs; developed contingency plans for severe winter weather; and is in close coordination with airport authorities and vendors to ensure a smooth traveling experience throughout the entire winter season.
“Despite the challenges of airspace congestion in the Northeast, as with any heavy travel period Delta has plans in place to meet the demands of high passenger loads expected during the upcoming holiday season. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Delta people, our customers can count on award-winning customer service and facility improvements to deliver a stress-free travel experience," said Joe Kolshak, Delta’s executive vice president of Operations. “We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the FAA to implement real solutions to Northeast airspace congestion that bring short-term improvements without artificially limiting capacity or treating U.S. carriers unfairly and look toward long-term solutions that allow us to meet growing demand for air travel.”
Systemwide Operational Readiness
Delta has undergone a comprehensive review of staffing, operational coordination, contingency planning and equipment availability and is taking steps to ensure the airline is prepared to offer exceptional service through the holiday season. Assurances include:
- Delta’s aircraft are in top operational condition and a full complement of maintenance technicians will ensure equipment, including spare aircraft, is in place and ready to meet expected passenger volumes and allow flexibility for responding to irregular operations and cancellations.
- New staff scheduling procedures, as well as incentive and overtime pay for key dates, will provide greater staffing reliability and flexibility throughout the holidays. Positions in Delta’s airport customer service and flight attendant teams are fully staffed, and the airline has hired more than 350 pilots this year. A greater number of flight attendants and pilots on reserve availability provide added flexibility to meet last minute staffing needs.
- Daily operational readiness conference calls with each Delta airport and the airline’s Operations Control Center will enable the airline to proactively adjust for changing operational and staffing needs and ensure that it runs efficiently and can quickly recover from any cancellations or delays driven by weather, air traffic control system slow-downs or other external factors impacting the airline’s operation.
- Coordination with airports and federal agencies will continue as Delta shares information about its expected customer volumes, allowing agencies – particularly the transportation Security Administration (TSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection – to plan staffing accordingly.
- Proactive communications will ensure customers have accurate information about what to expect during their travel experience, including schedule changes and contingency planning in the face of changes driven by winter weather and air traffic system delays.
New York John F. Kennedy International Airport
Delta’s focus on its international hub at New York’s JFK continues throughout the holiday period with additional staff, contingency planning and close coordination with airport vendors, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and local Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials. Specifically:
- Contingency procedures for addressing winter weather issues such as icing and runway, taxi-way and tarmac snow-clearance will be practiced prior to Thanksgiving week.
- Delta participated in an airport-wide meeting Nov. 8 to plan close coordination among all airport operators in the event of a significant winter weather event.
- Plows installed on Delta trucks and two-pad commander trucks stand ready for any deicing needs. Twelve deice trucks are filled and ready for use and glycol on site is at full capacity.
- Delta will host a holiday readiness meeting with its JFK vendors Nov. 16 to ensure they are fully stocked and ready to serve an expected high volume of customers.
- Delta’s ongoing coordination with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey continues to ensure the airport and airline are prepared to handle any irregular operations. Delta’s JFK management team is engaged with teams from LaGuardia airport about how to best use resources to support passengers during irregular operations.
Delta has continued to invest heavily in airport facilities to offer faster check-in, more robust information sharing and improved airport amenities wherever customers fly:
- Delta’s newly re-designed lobby at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport welcomes 25,000 customers daily.
- Online and kiosk check-in make airport arrival quick and convenient, with the added convenience of “Baggage Drop” areas in Atlanta, Salt Lake City, LaGuardia, JFK and Cincinnati.
- Customers can sign up for Delta Messenger to receive real-time updates on flight changes, delays and cancellations via mobile device, phone or e-mail.
- Dynamic, multi-lingual signage throughout the lobby provides at-a-glance information in English and Spanish in Atlanta and Salt Lake City.
- Self-service kiosks offer both domestic and international check-in in English, Spanish and French in Atlanta, Salt Lake City and JFK.
- In New York, renovations at JFK include dedicated BusinessElite and SkyMiles medallion member check-in at Terminal 2, refreshed BusinessElite lounge and Crown Room Clubs and new international check-in kiosks throughout Terminals 2 and 3.
- In more than 100 cities served by Delta Connection, approximately 275 kiosks are available to ensure a convenient check-in and boarding experience.
- And, on flights of more than 2,000 miles (approximately four hours), customers in coach class can order from a new food-for-purchase menu including offerings from renowned chef Todd English.
Delta Air Lines operates service to more worldwide destinations than any airline with Delta and Delta Connection flights to 317 destinations in 55 countries. Since 2005, Delta has added more international capacity than any other major U.S. airline is the leader across the Atlantic with flights to 35 trans-Atlantic markets. To Latin America and the Caribbean, Delta offers nearly 500 weekly flights to 58 destinations. Delta's marketing alliances also allow customers to earn and redeem SkyMiles on nearly 15,000 flights offered by SkyTeam and other partners. Delta is a founding member of SkyTeam, a global airline alliance that provides customers with extensive worldwide destinations, flights and services. Including its SkyTeam and worldwide codeshare partners, Delta offers flights to 479 worldwide destinations in 104 countries. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes and check flight status at delta.com.