Delta Air Lines announced Friday it has updated its travel waiver policies to make it easier for customers to cancel, change or rebook flights as a result of the coronavirus.html” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>coronavirus outbreak.
To give travelers reassurance about upcoming flights and to help impacted customers, Delta is extending the ability to plan and rebook for up to two years, secure the value of the tickets and ensure they’re redeemable for a longer period.
While the airline’s tickets typically expire one year after purchase, Delta officials are providing waived change fees and greater flexibility to travel through May 31, 2022.
To be eligible, customers must have upcoming travel already booked in April or May as of April 3 or have existing eCredits or canceled travel from flights in March, April or May. New tickets bought between March 1 and May 31 can be changed without a change fee for up to a year from the date of purchase.
Delta also announced it would work with customers on a case-by-case basis to figure out the best way to address their concerns. Changes can be made through the airline’s Fly Delta app, online or through the company’s customer service department.
Earlier this week, Delta CEO Ed Bastian coronavirus.html” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>reached out to customers with an emailed letter outlining what the airline has done and what it intends to do going forward, including free flights for medical personnel and an enhanced cleaning process.
Bastian also said last week that while the early $60 billion in aid from the government’s $2 trillion stimulus package would be a huge help, he knows it is “not a cure for the unprecedented challenges we face.”
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New United CEO Scott Kirby Comes Out Firing
United Airlines’ Scott Kirby, who took over as CEO last week in the wake of Oscar Munoz’s retirement, is wasting no time establishing his authority.
Kirby cut 13 high-level executives in a cash-saving move on Friday as the coronavirus pandemic has throttled the industry financially. A day earlier, he told an online investor conference that the airline absolutely would not declare bankruptcy, and that he thought flying was safe enough to not block the middle seats on planes from being sold.
Well, he did build a reputation as an open – some might say abrasive – executive while at American Airlines.
Kirby is eliminating 13 of United’s 67 officer positions, all effective on Oct. 1. That’s the day after the restrictions on firing employees runs out per the federal government’s rules for airlines accepting billions of dollars in stimulus package grants and loans.
“While there are glimmers of good news in our July schedule — we expect to be down about 75% versus 90% right now — travel demand is still a very long way from where it was at the end of last year and the financial impact on our business remains severe,” United said in a written statement as reported by CNBC.
The cuts are in response to the loss of nearly 90 percent of business for United and all airlines, as the demand for travel has dropped dramatically compared to last year and beyond.
But Kirby defiantly said during the investor conference a day before that he has no plans for the airline to go bankrupt.
“Zero percent, no chance,” Kirby said. “It’s worse for shareholders. It’s worse for creditors. It’s worse for employees. It’s worse for every constituent that we have.”
To that end, Kirby also said he won’t sacrifice potential sales by blocking middle seats, as some airlines have done. As the blog The Points Guy noted, Kirby said the airline’s cleaning process, air circulation and a requirement for passengers and crew to wear face masks make it a safe experience.
“Airplanes don’t have social distancing — we’re not going to be six feet apart,” he said. “But an airplane environment is incredibly safe.”
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