Every air traveler deserves hope.
Especially after the last few years that we have all been through. The recent summer, especially.
Thousands of flights canceled, thousands of business trips destroyed, and thousands of passengers driven mad by inferior technology, causing four-hour waits to reach customer service.
Then you’d be forgiven for thinking that flying over this vacation won’t be so easy.
After all, airlines say they have never seen such strong demand. And when there’s high demand, there’s a high likelihood of crowded planes, full schedules, and delays, always caused by weather or, uh, operational issues.
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Airlines, one would think, would be cautious in their promises for the holidays.
But then Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines, appeared on NBC’s Today Show. His face was quite happy.
“We’ve been at the height of travel for pretty much the whole year,” he reflected with a smile.
He was, however, asked about those summer memories of abject frustration and despair.
“Have you solved all these problems? NBC’s Hoda Kotb wondered. “Do you have enough pilots, enough planes, enough customer service, a bad weather plan? Are you ready?”
You might imagine that Bastian might have hedged a bet or two. You could conceive that he could have spoken in a realistic tone, like under-promise or over-deliver.
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You can also imagine that shredded canape is a great evening meal.
Because Bastian replied: “Yes, yes, yes and yes.”
“Oh no,” I hear you sniffle.
But Bastian insisted the airline had been delivering high standards of reliability and service excellence since the second week of July. He explained that Delta had hired 25,000 people since the start of 2021.
One can only hope they slipped into their new jobs with ready-made expertise attached to their psyches.
Good, so now you are reassured. You are optimistic.
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Perhaps, then, you did not hear. You see, Delta pilots recently voted to strike. Together with pilots from other major airlines, they have been trying to secure a new contract for some time. They picketed. They complained. They threatened.
Posed with that, Bastian offered, “There’s no possibility of them going on strike. Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other time.”
The airline is currently in mediation with the pilots. Bastian said the strike threat was just a tactic. Oh, and: “It would be against the law of the land if they did.”
But if there’s anything we’ve learned over the past few years, it’s schmaw laws. And if there’s something that many in Europe have learned, it’s that a strike may not be a strike, but a work-to-rule can really ruin everything.
Curiously, the pilots’ union had an observation to make.
“Let me be perfectly clear,” said the union president, Captain Jason Ambrosi. “These implications are false. It is entirely within our right to strike. A strike is not illegal, and a threat to strike is not merely a tactic.”
Are they just men waving their swords from a safe distance? Most likely. But it is still hardly conceivable that Delta pilots could go on strike for Christmas.
Just as it’s conceivable that if canceled during the holiday season, you might not get the perfect customer service that Bastian promised.
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This is the problem of promises. They’re not always guarded that often, are they?
And wait, does this Delta I see still advertise on YouTube for customer experience specialists? I believe him.
But I thought the airline was completely ready.
Maybe you’re never too ready when you’re an airline. Maybe you should also never promise too much.
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