Last updated: 05:05 PM ET, Tue August 09 2016

Delta Heeds The Call For Better Compensation As It Sorts Through Outage Issues

Airlines & Airports | Delta Air Lines | Rich Thomaselli | August 09, 2016

Delta Heeds The Call For Better Compensation As It Sorts Through Outage Issues

While it continues to sort through issues stemming from Monday’s systemwide outage that forced the cancellation and delay of hundreds of flights – including who is at fault – Delta Air Lines has heeded the call of industry leaders and those affected by the delays asking for better compensation.

Delta will provide $200 in travel vouchers to all customers who experienced a delay of greater than three hours or a canceled flight as a result of Monday’s glitch. The vouchers are available for travel on all Delta and Delta Connection-operated flights.

Customers who have not yet been contacted by the carrier can complete a Customer Care form on to receive their voucher. All travel must be booked by Aug. 8, 2017.

Initially, Delta waived its normal change fees for affected flights but new tickets had to be reissued on or before Friday, Aug. 12, and that rebooked travel must also begin no later than Friday, Aug. 12.

That upset some customers as well as the lobby group Travelers United (formerly Consumer Travel Alliance), which urged Delta “to allow passengers up (to) a year from the date of cancellation to use their airline ticket funds. Forcing passengers to change their dates of travel and upend their lives because of a Delta mishap is unreasonable. This is a problem completely of Delta’s making, not the fault of passengers. Remedies should recognize Delta’s culpability and not restrict consumer rights or force them pay additional airfare or fees.”

Late Monday, Delta responded with the $200 voucher.

“We know that travelers value our commitment to excellent operational performance, and today we did not deliver on that commitment,” Gil West, Delta’s senior executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. “We want our customers to know we are thoroughly investigating the matter and that we are truly sorry.”     

READ MORE: Computer Outage Forces Delta To Ground Flights Worldwide

In a preliminary investigation, Delta said the computer malfunction was due to a power outage near its Atlanta headquarters, but the company that supplies power to Delta said it was a system failure on Delta’s part.

“Our crews responded to the site this morning and we continue to work with the team at Delta,” Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft said in a statement on Monday. “Other Georgia Power customers were not affected by the issue with Delta's equipment.”

Robert Johnson, EVP at Vision Solutions, agreed with that.

"Companies like Delta in such industries as transportation, financial services, insurance, healthcare, telco and others that depend on consistent availability of critical systems are often among the most likely to be struggling with legacy technology,” Johnson said. “This is especially true when decades of acquisitions and technical changes present mixed environments, and not all organizations effectively manage to ensure ongoing availability. Often, an 'anything to anything' approach is required to effectively back up and make redundant all critical systems to ensure availability and avoid massive losses like the one facing Delta."

Dr. Andrew O. Coggins, Jr., clinical professor of management at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business in New York, said it was the “perfect storm” for Delta.

"Monday morning is the jumping off point for many road warriors, so there are not a lot of spare seats on the competition,” said Coggins, whose research areas include all aspects of travel and tourism management. “Delta will be lucky if they get caught up by Friday. If they can do it sooner, it'll be a feather in their cap.”

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