If a flight was on your agenda this holiday weekend, be advised cancellations could affect your plans. Yesterday (June 30), thousands of Delta Airlines pilots across the United States picketed unfair conditions. In part, the move was to protest for higher wages and vacation time. As a result, passengers have recently been met with thousands of delays and hundreds of cancellations.
According to FlightAware.com, Delta Airlines reported 307 delays and 89 cancellations yesterday. Delta pilot David Adler spoke outside JFK Airport in New York about how COVID-19 has impacted flights. He stated,“We basically shut the airline industry down for a couple years. When I was out here flying, there were not a whole lot of passengers out here flying. Now all of a sudden we’re basically tooling back up again, so it takes a little bit of time to go ahead and do that.” Adler continued, “Due to our lack of staffing, pilots are flying more and more, more than they’re used to flying. It affects flight delays and cancellations because when pilots get rerouted and there’s not extra pilots, it’s more difficult to get the airline back on time.” Employees have reportedly been working overtime to make up for the lack of staff.
The picketing is happening in major airports like Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta, where Delta headquarters are located. Other cities include Detroit, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Seattle and Los Angeles. According to a statement from the Air Line Pilots Association, the employees are requesting more time off, extra personnel to outweigh increased travel demands, higher pay and better health care.
Delta pilot Reed Donoghue told NPR, “Our message today was for Delta management that it was time to come to the table for an industry-leading contract.” He continued, “And you know, [for] passengers out there flying this weekend, know that there’s a good chance that at least one crew member on their flight, being a flight attendant or a pilot, is likely, you know, working overtime on their day off to help the operation out.” According to the New York Post, on Tuesday (June 28), Delta attempted to make up for the holiday cancellations by allowing customers to rebook their trip for any day at no cost, as long as the rebooking happens before July 8.