Delta Helps Children at No Cost After They Were Stranded by Rival Airline
“When we see people in a bind, we don’t see customers of one airline or another—we see people.
“A group of 41 students and chaperones were traveling to Richmond, Virginia, from Oklahoma City. Their flight on another carrier was canceled early Sunday morning (June 2) and they said there was [no] option to get there for the rest of the day,” reported KOCO News 5. “When Delta Air Lines agents heard about the situation, they contacted the company’s headquarters in Atlanta, and they were able to fly a spare aircraft to Oklahoma City to fly the group directly to Richmond.”
How Delta Stepped In
“We were told by American Airlines they were just going to refund us…these 5th graders need to get to Washington, D.C.; we’ve been planning this for over a year,” one of the chaperones told reporters after the events unraveled. Evidently, Delta agents heard the story in Oklahoma City and reached out to upper management in Atlanta.
“Delayed six and a half hours, they had a flight to themselves—and a non-stop instead of a connection,” View From The Wing detailed how Delta could transport the group to their destination.
The group posted its thanks on Twitter:
@Delta THANK YOU for getting this group of 5th graders out of OKC and onto Richmond Virginia on a private flight when @AmericanAir wanted to leave us stranded! Most amazing corporation to work with at 3:00am. #flyDelta pic.twitter.com/plDwghRusI
— Shantell Barbour (@barbour_5th) June 2, 2019
While flight cancellations are an unfortunate part of travel, Delta’s going above and beyond have seen the airline receive positive reporting from the media.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) detailed flight cancellations from 2018.
Flight cancellation data come from ASPM. In FY2018, flight departure cancellations at Core 30 airports decreased 3.4 percent. As mentioned previously, cancellations may be due to weather, system delays, equipment issues, or other reasons. The graph and table below show flight cancellations at Core 30 airports for FY2017 and FY2018. The airports with the highest number of cancellations were Chicago O’Hare (ORD), LaGuardia (LGA), Newark (EWR), and Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW). Each had over 6,000 cancellations and together accounted for almost 33 percent of Core 30 airport cancellations.
In total there were 101,303 flight cancellations at Core 30 airports last year. There were also 260,325 flight delays, a -9.0% decrease from 2017.
Delta Speaks About the Incident
“When we heard about this group of students booked on another airline that [was] stuck in Oklahoma City, there wasn’t even a consideration given to not making an effort in finding a solution,” said Jeff Trainer, Deputy Director, Delta’s operation control center when speaking to the media about the situation. “When we see people in a bind, we don’t see customers of one airline or another—we see people,” he continued.
“This wasn’t something in front of [the Delta staffers]. They proactively reached out, even knowing these students weren’t booked on [Delta],” Delta spokesperson Drake Castaneda commented to PEOPLE. “We like our people to see everybody as people and not as customers of A or B, but to be able to help people. It’s more about being in the people business than the business of transportation.”