ATLANTA, May 16, 2008 – From business travelers to beach-seekers, Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) this summer is ready to carry approximately 25 million customers across the globe with 16 new international destinations, as well as changes to flight scheduling and processes aimed at offering a smooth travel experience. The airline continues its focus on operations in the Northeast and at New York’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport.
“Delta was ahead of the curve last year in adjusting our schedule at JFK to take pressure off of peak flying times and implemented a schedule that is within FAA-published capacity targets. We look forward to working with the Department of Transportation and FAA on practical solutions to manage the airspace more efficiently,” said Steve Gorman, Delta’s executive vice president – Operations. “Experimenting with costly and untested schemes like slot auctions fails to recognize substantial investments by U.S. carriers in service for New York and the entire country. DOT lacks the legal authority to impose these auctions, and confiscating slots from U.S. carriers to award them to the highest bidder is likely to result in handing over significant service to financially stronger foreign flag carriers.”
Delta endorses short-term actions jointly identified by the airlines, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the FAA to alleviate congestion in the New York/New Jersey airspace.
The airline has outlined comprehensive plans systemwide covering equipment and staffing needs; contingencies for severe summer weather; and close coordination with government agencies, airport authorities and vendors to ensure a smooth traveling experience throughout the entire season.
“Delta’s decades of operational experience pay off when we reach the summer travel season because we’re fully prepared for our busiest time of the year,” said Gorman. “Delta has continued to make adjustments to our flight schedules, invest in new technology and equipment at our largest hubs, and fine tune operational processes to ensure the summer travel experience is as smooth as possible for our customers.”
Systemwide Operational Readiness and Customer Convenience
Delta has undergone a comprehensive review of staffing, operational coordination, contingency planning and equipment availability in preparation for offering exceptional service this summer.
• As always, Delta’s aircraft are in top operational condition and a full complement of maintenance technicians 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.
• Delta’s comprehensive Customer Service Commitment and Contract of Carriage have been updated to support recommendations made in September 2007 by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Inspector General. Updates clearly define extended onboard delays, as well as processes for providing customers access to clean toilets, fresh air, food, water and when possible, the ability to deplane.
• Coordination with airports and federal agencies – particularly the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection – enables all parties to plan staffing according to expected customer volumes.
• Customers who purchase their tickets at delta.com have the benefit of Delta Messenger flight notifications offering accurate, timely updates about what to expect during their travel experience, including schedule changes and contingency planning driven by weather and air traffic system delays.
• Online and kiosk check-in make airport arrival quick and convenient, with the added convenience of self-service “Baggage Drop” areas in Delta’s airports worldwide; and multilingual kiosk service is available in Atlanta, Salt Lake City and New York-JFK.
New York John F. Kennedy International Airport
Delta’s focus on improving the customer experience at its New York trans-Atlantic gateway continues. In preparation for increased demand at JFK this summer, Delta has:
• Realigned its schedule to offer more flight choices, but with fewer departing during the congested hours. Delta last fall was the first airline to announce voluntary changes to its JFK schedule, including more evenly metering flights throughout the day to reduce constraints on airport runways and air traffic control resources.
• Increased the average size of Delta and Delta Connection jets operating at JFK by eliminating all Delta Connection turboprop service and adding more two-class, 76-seat regional jets in place of smaller 50-seat regional jets.
• Added more check-in options for customers with 34 curbside and 89 kiosk check-in positions. Kiosks throughout Terminal 3 allow customers to find the most convenient, shortest check-in option whether flying international or domestic. Terminal 2 continues to offer fast and convenient check-in for our Premium and Business Elite customers.
• Increased staffing by approximately 10 percent including more of Delta’s famed Red Coats who are prepared to assist customers with any travel issues.
• Expanded gate options, including off terminal positions for boarding and deplaning, provide greater flexibility during ground delay programs.
• Added an enhanced passenger service support center that stands ready to assist customers in the event of an irregular operation, prioritizing departing flights, identifying customers in danger of missing their connection and rebooking them on other flights, and arranging hotel and alternate transportation when necessary.
Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
Delta’s summer schedule at its largest hub in Atlanta is industry leading with nearly 1,000 daily flights serving approximately 100,000 customers daily on flights to 233 worldwide destinations. Throughout the Atlanta hub, customers will find:
• More jetways for boarding Delta Connection flights, replacing outdoor, ground access. Approximately 30 percent of Delta Connection gates on Concourse C now have jetway access, with 100 percent scheduled for completion by spring 2009; and
• More reliable baggage delivery thanks to an ongoing $100 million upgrade of Delta’s Atlanta baggage delivery system. Immediately, customers will notice the addition of 10 new baggage claim carousels in Terminal South that are quieter and provide a 10 percent increase in claim capacity – the equivalent of an additional baggage carousel.
Customers this summer also will enjoy improved in-flight entertainment and meal service on most Delta flights. Delta’s personal, in-seat entertainment on demand is available on 190 aircraft or 45 percent of its fleet and now offers customers in both economy and premium cabins access each day to more than 70,000 seats daily featuring movies, live TV, music and games.
Delta also has expanded its popular food for purchase program, EATS, to all flights within the United States of 750 miles or more (approximately one and a half hours or more), as well as on select flights between the U.S. and beach destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America of 1,550 miles of more (approximately three and a half hours or more).
In the international BusinessElite cabin, customers will continue to enjoy:
• Delta on Demand at every seat on every flight;
• Improved meal service featuring new appetizers and entrees from celebrity chef Michelle Bernstein offered with distinctive wine selections from sommelier Andrea Robinson; and
• Enhanced amenities, including a full-sized pillow and quilted duvet for a more comfortable sleep experience, as well as a new, stylish reusable amenity bag featuring eyeshade, earplugs, socks, pen, tissues, Scope mouthwash, Crest toothpaste, toothbrush and Lather’s natural hand lotion and lip balm.
By the early summer, Delta customers can also expect a more consistent experience on every mainline flight with the completion of the airline’s fleet-wide cabin upgrades to feature all-leather seating, updated lavatories, brighter lighting and improved personal reading lights at each seat.
Delta Air Lines operates service to more worldwide destinations than any airline with Delta and Delta Connection flights to 305 destinations in 58 countries. Delta has added more international capacity than any major U.S. airline during the last two years and is the leader across the Atlantic with flights to 38 trans-Atlantic markets. To Latin America and the Caribbean, Delta offers more than 478 weekly flights to 58 destinations. Delta's marketing alliances also allow customers to earn and redeem SkyMiles on nearly 16,409 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 474 worldwide destinations in 104 countries. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes and check flight status at delta.com.