ATLANTA, April 23, 2009 – Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) today announced it is giving nearly 70,000 employees worldwide a pair of free tickets for travel anywhere Delta flies. The free tickets are in recognition of how hard employees have worked during the past six months to consolidate Delta and Northwest into the world’s largest airline.

In a memo issued today to employees, CEO Richard Anderson and President Ed Bastian said: “During the six months since the closing of the Delta-Northwest merger, your hard work has been the driving force of our success in quickly delivering merger benefits to Delta customers, shareholders and employees worldwide. In short order, you have achieved hundreds of merger milestones – many ahead of schedule – and all with an eye toward running a great airline for our customers … By any measure, you are doing a remarkable job and we want you to know that your hard work has not gone unnoticed.”

Delta employees already enjoy the benefit of stand-by travel on Delta, Northwest and other airline flights; however, airline employees generally do not enjoy the opportunity for free, confirmed worldwide travel. The company’s free travel offer builds on other recent employee investments, including granting stock amounting to 15 percent of the new company to substantially all U.S.-based employees; across-the-board pay increases for frontline employees; performance-based pay increases for administrative employees; and more than $68 million in performance incentive payouts to frontline employees in the last 15 months.

Delta also announced today that it is creating one of the industry’s most generous employee pass travel programs by adopting best practices from both airline programs, effective this summer. Other major merger milestones completed since the closing of the merger on Oct. 29, 2008 have included:

  • Offering all Northwest-operated flights for sale on;
  • Completing the integration and re-branding of more than 130 stations, including Northwest’s three domestic hubs in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Detroit and Memphis;
  • Providing consistent domestic onboard products, including expanded food offerings in both First and Economy class, and offering in-flight entertainment on select long-haul Northwest-operated flights;
  • Outfitting more than 16,000 pre-merger Northwest pilots, flight attendants, Sky Club representatives, and gate and ticketing agents in Delta’s designer uniforms;
  • Initiating cross-fleeting from Delta hubs to key markets such as London, Paris and Rome;
  • Aligning Delta’s SkyMiles and Northwest’s WorldPerks programs, including linking frequent flyer accounts, consolidating mileage balances, and offering a three-tiered award structure with more choices for award travel;
  • Resolving union representation and seniority integration for pilots, aircraft maintenance technicians, other Technical Operations employee groups, dispatchers and meteorologists; and
  • Receiving recommendations for fair and equitable seniority integration methods from committees representing pre-merger Delta employees in In-Flight Service, Airport Customer Service, Cargo, Reservations and Stores.

The merged airline also remains on track to achieve a single operating certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration by the end of the year.

Delta Air Lines is the world’s largest airline. From its hubs in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-JFK, Salt Lake City, Amsterdam and Tokyo-Narita, Delta, its Northwest subsidiary and Delta Connection carriers offer service to 368 destinations in 66 countries and serve more than 170 million passengers each year. Delta’s marketing alliances allow customers to earn and redeem either SkyMiles or WorldPerks on more than 16,000 daily flights offered by SkyTeam and other partners. Delta‘s more than 70,000 employees worldwide are reshaping the aviation industry as the only U.S. airline to offer a full global network. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes, check bags and flight status at