Just last week Delta told investors that their operation was so good only weather could snarl it. I suggested this was hubris along the lines of American’s Doug Parker claiming his airline would never lose money again — and I suggested that the Atlanta-based airline, known for IT meltdowns, had better hope as well that “all of their pilots stay happy” because pilots can bring down any airline.
Today Delta was scheduled to fly its last-ever Boeing 747 departure from the U.S., Detroit to Seoul. And one of the plane’s four pilots didn’t show so Delta had to cancel the flight.
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Zach Honig who was at the airport for the flight writes,
Canceled due to crew availability.
Only 3/4 pilots showed up. Extra flight scheduled for tomorrow morning so folks will still get to fly. Still… UGH. What the hell do I do in freezing Detroit all day? https://t.co/UHXj12yU18
— Zach Honig (@ZachHonig) December 17, 2017
Delta.com confirms the cancellation:
With a need for only four Boeing 747 pilots for the entire day, as this was the only 747 flight, they didn’t have anyone at Detroit on reserve.
However instead of moving all of the passengers to other flights (many of whom were flying just to be on the last 747 flight of any US airline), Zach notes that Delta decided to fly the 747 to Seoul on Monday as an extra section instead. And it looks like they’ll fly it back to the U.S. on Tuesday with a 3 hour delay.
No doubt Delta will reconcile their claim that only weather can snarl their operations with today’s 747 debacle as simply a case of their pilot being under the weather.