**Update: 12/26/20 @ 18:40 UTC – A Delta spokesperson shared details about the cancellations; details below.**
Delta Air Lines and its passengers have been facing several difficulties surrounding cancellations this holiday season. The Atlanta-based carrier has canceled hundreds of flights amid harsh weather and the global health crisis.
Tough weather conditions across North America have had a huge part to play in the increase in cancellations. For instance, in the middle of this month, Delta canceled approximately 120 Mainline and Delta Connection flights in anticipation of severe weather. Furthermore, in response to a snowstorm in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, over 250 flights scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday this week were canceled.
This sort of occurrence is nothing new, with Delta regularly issuing waivers for travel during the harsh winter months. However, this year, the airline is also facing the massive implications of the pandemic. Holiday travel is usually the busiest time of the year for carriers, but the industry continues to face a significant downturn in passenger activity.
Many factors to consider
Moreover, the global health crisis is having an impact throughout the company in several ways. Due to staffing issues, Delta was forced to cancel approximately 100 more flights on Christmas Eve. According to the Washington Post, the carrier shared that several aspects constrained its ability to staff several dozen scheduled flights on time on Friday. Chris Riggins, a Delta pilot and communications chairman of the Delta Air Lines Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association elaborated on these factors.
Riggins said the following, as per the Washington Post.
“Due to the downsizing of the airline and trying to manage the size of the workforce … there’s been some training issues that’s been created from moving pilots from airplane to airplane and getting them retrained. It’s basically a problem of trying to get the pilots to the right place at the right time.”
Simple Flying reached out to Delta Air Lines for comment on these cancellations. A spokesperson for the airline said the following:
“A number of factors have pressured our ability to timely staff several dozen scheduled flights, and we apologize to our customers for any inconvenience this may have caused. The overwhelming majority of our customers have been rebooked on flights within several hours of their original travel.”
Passengers face the challenges of having to respond to these cancellations at critical times. For instance, over 500 Delta flights didn’t go ahead as planned on Thanksgiving week.
Altogether, those traveling in the current climate are encouraged to check flight statuses via Delta.com, the Fly Delta Mobile App, or by email with One-Time Flight Notification. Also, the company is proactively rebooking customers. However, passengers can also proactively change their travel plans without a change fee or request a refund for their canceled services, without any penalties. Airlines and travelers alike will be hoping for better conditions in 2021.
What are your thoughts about Delta Air Lines canceling hundreds of flights over the holiday season? Have you been impacted by any of these cancellations by the operator? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.