Following weeks of travel issues, including flights being abruptly delayed and canceled across the country, Delta Air Lines pilots are directly appealing to customers.
By late afternoon Monday on the East Coast, more than 3,000 US flights and over 4,700 internationally had been canceled, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware. Another 12,500 flights were canceled, with 5,600 in the United States.
The pilots stated that they share their clients’ complaints in an open letter posted on the Air Line Pilots Association website.
“We have been working on our days off, flying a record amount of overtime to help you get to your destination,” the pilots wrote. “At the current rate, by this fall, our pilots will have flown more overtime in 2022 than in the entirety of 2018 and 2019 combined, our busiest years to date.”
The pilots continued to say they are “disheartened” to witness the impact of disrupted travel plans, with customers waiting in long lines to rebook flights due to “scheduling issues that could have been prevented.”
“We empathize and share in your frustration over the delays, cancellations, and disrupted travel plans you’ve experienced. We agree; it is unacceptable,” the letter said.
Delta canceled more flights than any other major airline over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, citing staffing, weather, and air traffic control concerns. Captain Jason Ambrosi said the union has been warning Delta for months that while it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, it must take caution when adding back flights.
“It gives us no pleasure to tell management, ‘We told you so,'” Ambrosi said in a statement.
On Friday, Fox Weather reported that a cold front tracked through the Ohio Valley, Northeast, and mid-Atlantic on Thursday and triggered numerous severe thunderstorms out ahead of it; the National Weather Service received more than 300 reports of damaging winds or wind damage.
Travelers complained on social media about late cancellations, misplaced bags, and long wait times to reach someone in airline customer care. Some claimed they slept in airports and had no idea when they would be able to return home.
In response to the phenomenon, Delta Air Lines issued a travel waiver to let customers reschedule flights to and from Baltimore and Washington.