It was inspiring to see so many of you booking travel for this holiday season to visit loved ones, reconnect with friends and celebrate together. And Delta’s 75,000 employees across the globe – who together have worked to make us the world’s most reliable airline – were ready and excited to deliver the service we’re known for and get you where you needed to go. Unfortunately, a series of winter weather systems throughout the U.S. coupled with the rapidly spreading omicron variant put extraordinary pressure on our operation, our employees and customers like you. It has been one of the most difficult operational environments we’ve ever faced, and it forced us to cancel hundreds of flights as a result.
We know you expect the best from Delta – and you should, and I want to apologize to everyone whose travel plans have been impacted. Canceling a flight is always Delta’s last resort. It’s not only difficult on you, but it’s also hard on our people, who truly want nothing more than to take care of you – especially over the holidays. While our teams work around the clock to restore our operation and serve you, here are some things to keep in mind for your upcoming travels:
TAKING ACTION TO SUPPORT YOU
Our teams have been hard at work to support you and alleviate the difficulties of the challenging period, working to reroute and substitute aircraft and crews to get you on your way quickly and safely. When that hasn’t been possible, our Reservation specialists work closely with our Operations and Customer Care Center to get those impacted onto the next available flight. In addition, we are notifying customers as early as possible of changes to their travel itineraries and issuing travel waivers ahead of winter weather forecasts. Delta has also focused on making travel more flexible – including removing change fees for most tickets, extending Medallion Status and key SkyMiles benefits into January 2023, and providing more ways for you to manage your trips from your own device.
UPDATED HEALTH GUIDANCE RELIEVES OPERATIONAL STRAIN
New CDC isolation and quarantine guidelines, which are based on the latest scientific research on the omicron variant, are expected to help alleviate staffing pressure in the weeks ahead and smooth out operational difficulties. Our medical advisors, led by Delta Chief Health Officer Dr. Henry Ting along with experts like Dr. Carlos del Rio, Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Emory University School of Medicine, have shared that the majority of new cases, especially among those fully vaccinated, fortunately appear to be more mild than previous variants. However, omicron is much more transmissible than previous variants, so we are grateful for your continued mask wearing on board as it proves to be an effective tool in virus mitigation and remains a federal requirement.
NEW TOOLS TO GIVE YOU MORE CONTROL
We’ve invested throughout 2021 in upgrading our digital tools to help you navigate the current environment with self-service options designed to save you time. That includes the ability to quickly change or cancel a flight, find baggage information, select your seat or request assistance with accessible travel via delta.com or the Fly Delta app. And if you’re flying internationally, we’ve worked to remove the guesswork from health requirements with Delta FlyReadySM, offering the ability to upload and verify government forms, proof of vaccination and negative COVID-19 testing for many destinations.
As the world manages through these uncertain days, please know that all of us at Delta are committed to delivering the world-class safety, service and reliability you have come to expect from us. With grit, determination and dedication, our team has overcome numerous challenges since the pandemic began, and you have my commitment that we’ll continue to take care of you as we work to deliver the seamless and enjoyable experience you expect and deserve when you travel with Delta. In the meantime, our thoughts are with everyone experiencing the virus firsthand. Please stay safe and take care.
Thank you for your business and loyalty. We look forward to seeing you on board.
E.V.P. and Chief Customer Experience Officer