The carrier pointed to an overnight power outage in its hometown of Atlanta, saying that has “impacted Delta computer systems and operations worldwide, resulting in flight delays.”
The glitch appeared to knock Delta’s automated check-in kiosks offline, forcing agents at ticket counters to manually check-in some passengers. Reports from KARE 11 TV of Minneapolis and from CBS’ London bureau indicated that some of Delta’s systems have come back online. Even with that being the case, fliers should brace for a tough day on the carrier.
Large-scale cancellations are expected today,” Delta says in statement from 7:30 a.m. ET. “All flights enroute are operating normally. We are aware that flight status systems, including airport screens, are incorrectly showing flights on time. We apologize to customers who are affected by this issue, and our teams are working to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.”
Fliers took to social media with images of growing lines at a number of locations served by Delta.
“The timing of this problem is particularly bad because Monday morning is one of the busiest times for both airlines and travelers as business travelers begin their work week,” Daniel Baker, CEO of flight-tracking service FlightAware, said Monday.
In response to the disruptions, Delta is waiving change fees for customers ticketed to travel this week. The airline says customers booked on a flight from Monday through Friday can make one change to their itinerary without paying the standard fee, which ranges from $200 domestically to as much as $500 on some international itineraries. Delta says rebooked travel must be for flights no later than Friday.
Delta stopped worldwide departures about 3 a.m. Eastern, according to FlightAware. From 3 a.m. ET to 6:20 a.m. ET, the airline would have typically had 192 departures, many from Europe, the eastern United States and Asia, according to FlightAware.
By 7:40 a.m. ET, Delta had 25 flights airborne. For the same time a week earlier, Delta had 290 flights in the air.
The outage will hurt Delta’s reputation for punctuality and lack of cancellations.
Delta had the fewest cancellations in May at 39, which counted as a statistical zero, according to the most recent flight statistics from the Transportation Department. For comparison, the least reliable airlines cancel more than 1% of their flights.
While discussing second-quarter earnings, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said the mainline airline had 77 days during April, May and June without any cancellations, in what he called the industry’s best operation. The airline had 23 days without any cancellations in the system of nearly 6,000 daily flights, he said.
The issue comes less than three weeks after Southwest Airlines blamed a router failure for starting a cascading technology glitch that knocked reservations systems offline and took several days to fully resolve. It wasn’t until July 25 that Southwest said it was back to a near-normal operation, something that came after more than 2,300 cancellations — about 12% of its schedule over the period. Flight-tracking service estimated nearly 8,000 flights arrived late.
Delta said it serves nearly 180 million customers annually, employs more than 80,000 people around the world and operates more than 800 aircraft.