ATLANTA -- Delta Air Lines apologized to its own employees this month and promised fixes after historic flight disruptions that plagued the airline during Spring Break.
On Wednesday, the company released an internal e-mail to its employees that thanked them for "pulling Delta out of the ditch" during the largest flight disruption in the companies history. 11Alive has obtained a copy of that email.
"We’re sorry for having put you in that position," the e-mail said. "Thank you for what you did to keep the operation running."
It also explained what happened and how Delta hopes to make a future disruption less likely.
It all began with a massive irregular operations policy (IROP) due to weather at the beginning of the Spring Break holiday on April 3. That issue alone led to 150 cancelations and nearly 50 diversions.
"On Wednesday, April 5, with crew duty and parings already disrupted, seven rounds of severe storms coupled with ground stops in Atlanta impacted nearly 50 percent of our operational day," the letter goes on to say. "Roughly double that of our next most impactful storm on record."
And the hits just kept coming.
"The storms impacted the airfield from 6:30 a.m. and lasted well into the night, preventing the movement of aircraft, customers, crew, bags and cargo and drove a record 90-plus diversions," the e-mail stated.
The addition of the storm hitting New York hubs led to what the company described as a "1-2-3 punch" to the airline.
"The third storm in the Northeast carried the final blow and was the tipping point that drove our prolonged recovery," the letter stated.
The perfect storm saw Delta's crew tracking and scheduling technology overwhelmed. That left the company with crew - and passengers - stuck on the ground for much longer than usual. Over the course of the week, their systems solved nearly 11,000 crew rotations that were disrupted due to the delays and cancelations.
Despite the weather's impact, Delta also admitted to its own issues that caused major problems for its staff.
"We certainly had our challenges and we know you dealt with a strained operation with long delays and close-in cancellations, limited rebooking opportunities due to high Spring Break load factors of 90 percent, record high call volumes and little information," the e-mail stated.
Those issues led to crews who weren't able to reach scheduling teams for rerouting. Another problem the company ran into was staffing since some of their own employees were on Spring Break.
"We’ve learned from that and will make sure our Spring Break staffing levels match that of other busy travel periods so we can be better prepared to recover from an event like we saw," the e-mail said.
The company also released a series of internal improvements it hopes to make in the near future - many dealing specifically with organizing and moving crew members to their destinations and allowing them to help customers.
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