A seven-hour flight delay is exhausting, but it’s better than getting stranded at the airport after your flight is canceled.
That was my experience Thursday, when I was scheduled to leave New York’s LaGuardia Airport at 3:05 p.m. EDT on a Delta Air Lines flight and arrive in the Twin Cities at 5:15 p.m. CDT.
Our flight ultimately arrived in the Twin Cities around midnight local time, and I was extremely grateful that my flight actually was operated.
Just a few weeks ago, New York’s Gov. Kathy Hochul joined Delta CEO Ed Bastian to celebrate the opening of a gleaming new terminal at LaGuardia, a massive project that had been in the works for several years.
But there wasn’t anything bright and impressive on Thursday at my Gate 84 and adjoining gates in an old part of the airport, where passengers wait for their flights in one big seating area. Delta was struggling with operational issues, and flight delays and cancellations were mounting.
The Atlanta-based carrier had been plagued by flight disruptions over the Memorial Day weekend. In the past several days, another rash of cancellations and delays surfaced.
On the day that I was attempting to return from New York after a 48-hour leisure trip, Delta pilots were in New York City to picket outside of Delta’s annual shareholders meeting.
On June 15, the eve of the shareholders meeting, the Delta unit of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) sent a letter to Delta’s board of directors.
“We have lost confidence in Delta Flight Operations, Crew Resources, and Flight Training and Standards; and we are concerned for the long-term health of Delta Air Lines,” said the letter from the executive council of the Delta pilots union.
“Our management’s poor decisions have led to inadequate staffing, fatiguing schedules, and an unreliable operation,” the union letter said. “We implore you, the Delta Board of Directors, to demand a higher level of accountability from our management teams.”