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Delta CEO Apologizes for ‘Unfortunate Week’

(Photo: Delayed Flights via Shutterstock)

Things are getting back to normal for Delta, but the damage, as they say, is done. The airline is reeling from a crippling systems outage that affected flights across the globe and led to thousands of cancellations and delays. Now begins the process of fixing what went wrong and, just as importantly, making good with customers.

“Clearly, we have disappointed customers,” CEO Ed Bastian told the Associated Press in a wide-ranging interview. “I’m sure there are customers that decided in the short-term to book away from us. I don’t know the numbers. But we are determined to win those customers back.”

But, he says, “While this has been an unfortunate week—and it’s been a week we’ve been very sorry about—I see no continuing effect in terms of the quality and reliability of the product we’ll be putting forth”

Bastian said his airline had already pledged to spend more than $150 million to upgrade its technology systems, which made the outage all the more disappointing. “We made a significant investment in our technology infrastructure over the last several years. In addition to the disruption this has caused to our people and our customers, that is the thing I am most disappointed about,” he said. “We have to analyze how this could happen given the size of the investment we’re making.”

How angry are customers? “[We’ve received] are certain emails I could not talk about given the nature of the language used.”

Delta’s operations are returning to normal, but delays have persisted. On Monday, all flights were grounded for six hours when the outage struck. Almost 3,000 flights were cancelled or delayed on Tuesday, followed by more than 1,800 delays and cancellations on Wednesday. By Thursday, those numbers were down into (only) the hundreds.

Ironically, the airline had recently celebrated a streak of 100 days without a cancelled flight.

Readers, were you caught in the wave of cancellations? Would this sort of disruption dissuade you from booking with Delta in the near future?

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