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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Delta Air Lines cancels more than 200 flights on Saturday

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Delta Air Lines had to cancel more than 9% of its scheduled flights on Saturday due to a surge in demand over Memorial Day weekend.

Delta had to cancel at least 243 flights on Saturday, according to flight-tracking website Flight Aware, and another 180 flights were delayed due to a variety of factors, including inclement weather in the northeast and southeast and air traffic control delays.

The Atlanta-based carrier has struggled to meet a surge in demand for air travel in recent weeks, and it stated late last week that it will be forced to temporarily withdraw to restore stability to its operations.

As Delta tries to incorporate time buffers into its schedule, some 100 flights per day are set to be canceled until at least the end of June. Domestic flights are expected to be the hardest hit, however, the airline has acknowledged that some foreign flights would be canceled as well.

Despite blaming Saturday’s travel troubles on inclement weather, according to Flight Aware, Delta appeared to be suffering the most among its industry rivals. On Saturday, United Airlines had to cancel barely 1% of its scheduled flights, while JetBlue had only trimmed 10 flights from its Saturday schedule.

As airline supply fails to keep up with travel demand, JetBlue has been forced to deliberately lower its projected timetable.

Alison Ausband, Delta’s chief customer experience officer, blamed pandemic-related illness for some of the recent problems on Friday.

“More than any time in our history, the various factors currently impacting our operation – weather and air traffic control, vendor staffing, increased COVID case rates contributing to higher-than-planned unscheduled absences in some work groups – are resulting in an operation that isn’t consistently up to the standards Delta has set for the industry in recent years,” Ausband said.

“We’ll continue to assess, adjust and improve how we fly so we can drive operational reliability for our customers and greater consistency and predictability for our teams,” she continued.

Delta is lengthening its boarding process in an effort to reduce delays, in addition to urging the FAA to enhance air traffic control processes. In order to gain support for the policy, the airline recently made news by introducing flight attendant boarding pay.

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