In recent months, we've made several adjustments to minimize schedule disruptions and bounce back faster when challenges occur.

Editor's note: This article, originally published on May 26, was updated on June 16 to include new operational information. For everything you need to know about managing your trip, visit our customer guide to traveling with Delta. You can also learn more about Delta's systemwide fare difference travel waiver for July 1-4.

Delta’s commitment to driving better performance is showing progress the first half of June following actions to improve our operation for customers. For June weekends month-to-date, Delta's network system weekend cancellations are down 35% from May.1 Our domestic mainline on-time arrival rate remains in first place among our competitors2 for the fifth consecutive month through June 15.3

Travel demand has been on the rise, driven by people eager to reconnect with the world around them. Rebuilding Delta's operation to serve the increasing number of customers who want to fly with us has been an enormous feat – and not without challenges.

"This phase of our recovery has been the most difficult. We've never had to bring the airline back at this speed before," said E.V.P. and Chief of Operations John Laughter. "Through this challenge, we continue to make decisions that allow us to run a good, safe operation while restoring our network, and to take care of our people and customers."

Weekends impacted by irregular operations were a key driver of cancellations in May. In recent months, we've made several adjustments to minimize disruptions and bounce back faster when challenges occur. These latest adjustments build on other actions Delta has taken recently, including:

  • We're working to strategically schedule our crews and people in a way that enables us to absorb and adjust when factors like summer thunderstorms disrupt the operation.
  • We're starting the boarding process earlier. This, combined with the empowerment of our people to "leave when ready," is driving up the share of flights departing five minutes early to get our planes and customers on their way.4
  • We're continuing to engage with the FAA on improving processes for air traffic management.
  • We're adding several hundred new pilots and flight attendants to the operation monthly as we hire and train to support our growth.

On May 26, we announced that we'd be strategically decreasing our flight schedule this summer. This is meant to build additional resilience in our system and improve operational reliability for our customers and employees; we'll continue proactively adjusting select flights in the coming weeks.

Delta teams strive to notify customers of itinerary changes as far in advance as possible. If a schedule change or delay impacts an upcoming flight, we'll send updates directly to a mobile device or by email if contact information is included during booking or added later via My Trips online.

We also issue waivers in the event of inclement weather, offering customers whose travel includes affected cities the option to consider moving their travel to before or after the weather event, which can also help avoid unnecessary waiting at airports.

If upcoming bookings for later this summer happen to change, our teams will provide customers with the next-best itinerary that gets them where they need to go with the shortest delay possible.

1. Based on internal data for Delta network systemwide flights scheduled for the first three weekends in May 2022 compared to the first two weekends in June 2022. Weekend is defined as Friday-Sunday; holiday weekends such as Memorial Day are excluded.

2. Based on DOT data for Delta mainline domestic flights through March 2022 and based on Preliminary FlightStats from April 2022 through June 15, 2022, compared to Major U.S. carriers. Major U.S. carriers include Delta, American, United, Southwest, JetBlue, and Alaska.

3. Date range is February 1, 2022, through June 15, 2022.

4. Based on internal data through June 14, 2022.

Here are a few more things customers should know before they set off for summer journeys:

1. USE THE FLY DELTA APP TO CHECK IN, CHANGE FLIGHTS, MANAGE TRIP INTERRUPTIONS AND MORE.

Fly Delta is home to all the tools customers may need during their trip, including checking in, tracking bags and managing flight interruptions. While our teams are always standing by to support you, a lot is available at your fingertips that will help you save time if you need to change your plans. You can nearly always skip a phone call to our Reservations team by adjusting your flight directly in the Fly Delta app or on delta.com or by using our Messaging feature for more assistance. When trips are interrupted and wait times on the phone are longer than usual, Fly Delta is the quickest option to get on the next available flight.

Make sure to keep an eye out for any emails or text messages you receive from Delta with essential updates on your flight status, travel documents and what to know before you go to the airport. (This information is also available in My Trips.) Turned off notifications by mistake? Find the notifications selection in your device's Settings app and ensure Fly Delta app notifications are turned on. Manage your device's sleep mode settings accordingly, too, to avoid notifications being silenced.

2. GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO NAVIGATE THE AIRPORT.

Plan to arrive at the airport two hours ahead of domestic flights and three hours ahead of international flights. Especially on popular travel days, allow some extra time to check your bags and go through security – and remember to pack any valuables or essential items in your carry-on bags. If you're traveling with spare lithium batteries, make sure they're in your carry-on bag, too – lithium batteries are not allowed in checked bags. Travelers departing from Atlanta should note that parking availability at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is limited due to ongoing parking deck construction. Customers are encouraged to arrive via taxi or rideshare or budget extra time for parking in a nearby lot and shuttling to the terminal.

Double-check your carry-on for prohibited items like full water bottles and liquids larger than 3.4 ounces (be sure to save those for your checked luggage). And remember to have your government-issued ID out and ready when you arrive at the security checkpoint.

Thanks to Delta's partnership with TSA, qualifying customers in Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles and – coming soon – New York-LGA can opt in to use new facial recognition technology to check bags, pass through security and board their flight completely hands-free through use of their digital identity (SkyMiles Member number, passport number and Known Traveler Number). Remember to keep your ID nearby in your carry-on even when you opt to use facial recognition.

3. CONSIDER CLEAR OR TSA PRECHECK TO HELP SPEED THROUGH SECURITY LINES.

For an even quicker in-airport experience, customers can enroll in CLEAR — now available in more than 35 airports where we fly — and speed through security lines with just the touch of a finger or blink of an eye. U.S.-based SkyMiles® Members get preferred pricing on CLEAR memberships, including complimentary memberships for U.S.-based Diamond Medallion Members.

Customers can also consider applying for TSA PreCheck, now available at 200+ airports nationwide. Frequent travelers thinking about investing in expedited security programs should compare the benefits of CLEAR, TSA PreCheck, Sky Priority and Global Entry on delta.com to see what program is right for them.

4. DELTA PEOPLE ARE WORKING AROUND THE CLOCK TO HELP SUPPORT YOU.

Whether at airports, onboard or behind the scenes at our reservations and operations centers, we're here to help our customers get where they need to be as safely and quickly as possible. When travel interruptions happen, our customers can rest assured that we are working around the clock to move and position equipment and crews, adjusting schedules and taking other proactive measures to ensure our customers get where they need to go.

When cancellations become necessary as a last resort, Delta works to make changes that impact the fewest customers with the shortest delays. And, whenever possible, Delta teams strive to cancel flights far enough in advance to notify customers before arriving at the airport.

If, for any reason, a flight is delayed while you're at the airport, Delta people are ready to support you. We're increasing our airport staffing and introducing new ways to take care of you while you wait for your flight, like expanding our reticketing options for our customer service agents to help customers on day of travel. If you need assistance, don't hesitate to find one of our famous Red Coats – Delta's elite airport customer service experts, identifiable by their bright red coats – who are armed with a chat feature and will do their best to resolve any questions. For longer delays, teams are ready to help take care of customers in gate areas with light refreshments as well as providing digital vouchers for meals and hotel stays for overnight delays in some instances.

5. BE MINDFUL OF CHANGING COVID-RELATED PROTOCOLS.

Covid protocols continue to evolve. Masks are now optional for customers, airport employees and crew members inside U.S. airports, on board aircraft domestically and on most international flights. International travelers are also no longer required to show a negative COVID-19 test for entry to the U.S. starting with U.S.-bound flights. (U.S. citizens and permanent residents will be able to return from abroad without a test, regardless of vaccination status.)

Delta people and customers may still choose to wear a mask. Customers should also continue to use Delta FlyReady for uploading proof of vaccination and government forms for entry to the U.S. and other countries as required.

Delta remains committed to layers of protection like hospital-grade HEPA filters, regular cleaning and sanitization of high-touch surfaces on the planes and in the airport, a dedicated cleanliness team dedicated to ensuring high standards are maintained, and the industry's first Chief Health Officer, Dr. Henry Ting, who is an influential voice for Delta as we work to protect the health and safety of Delta people and customers.

Share