As flights to the Caribbean and Southeastern U.S. resumed over the weekend, Delta employees worked hard to make sure customers arriving and departing the weather-stricken areas were well taken care of.
Natalie Foster, Delta’s Airport Customer Service Field Director responsible for the Caribbean region, said of all the airports in Matthew’s perilous path, Nassau was hardest hit, taking a near direct pass Thursday morning.
The airport ceased operations Wednesday, ahead of the storm, she said, giving Delta employees an opportunity to secure vital ground service and computer equipment before heading to their homes to do the same.
When flights to Nassau resumed Saturday, Delta employees took care of the airline’s customers despite numerous intermittent power outages, debris in and around the airport and a slew of other equipment issues that hampered the operation. Jetbridges used to board aircraft, for example, lost power prompting employees to quickly replace them with an air stair vehicle on the fly.
Even with the initial challenges, Delta flight 681 from Nassau to Atlanta Saturday morning left with customers on board high-fiving, cheering and thanking the Delta team for their work.
Savannah, Ga., Operations Service Manager Lisa Bell weathered the storm as a member of the airport’s “ride-out” team—something most hurricane-prone airports. From her office in the airport, she watched as the storm moved through Savannah in the overnight hours between Friday and Saturday.
“The wind and rain sounded like a leather whip hitting the windows,” the 31-year Delta employee said of the then-category 2 storm. This was Bell’s first hurricane, having moved to Savannah from Knoxville, Tenn., earlier this year. She remained on site through the weekend as the city remained on a virtual lockdown until Sunday. She reported all employees were unharmed from the storm.
Matthew has now pushed out to the Atlantic where it continues to dissipate, removing the previously-forecasted possibility that it would turn back around for a second impact as a tropical storm.