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Airlines in the United States have a bad habit of copying each other, but when Southwest cancelled a bajillion flights because of IT issues late last month, competitors weren’t supposed to follow suit. Sadly, Delta Air Lines fell to its own IT shenanigans this week and the fallout was even greater than Southwest ever could have feared.
Cancellations and delays are still cascading and the disruption so far has been far more widespread and prolonged than at Southwest.
The cancellations and delays started on Monday after what’s now being called a “small fire” in the airline’s hub in Atlanta, Georgia, and continued late into the week. Nearly 2,000 flights were cancelled, while even more were delayed.
Delta’s operations and public-facing teams, meanwhile, have been working overtime trying to put passengers in transit. On Tuesday, CEO ED Bastian personally apologized in a video message for canceled flights. The next day, he posted another message saying that “this is not who we are.”
While indeed, Delta has among the best on-time performances in the industry and arguably one of the better products, one wonders how the new CEO, who adopted the role only three months ago, will whether the storm.
SOCIAL QUOTE OF THE DAY
Dearest DL, I hope your on time stats go into the toilet for this, I really do
Air Berlin Struggles With Fleet Change And Currency Movement: Air Berlin Plc, the German airline that’s 29 percent-owned by Etihad Airways PJSC, said its second-quarter loss widened as costs increased as the carrier switched to an all-leased fleet and the euro declined against the dollar. Read more at Skift
Inconvenienced Delta and Southwest Flyers Will Return Because of Industry Structure: It’s been a messy summer for U.S. airlines and their passengers, with half the Big Four carriers suffering technology meltdowns over the past month. July and August are peak season for airlines in terms of passenger loads, making the type of systemwide glitches that befell Delta Air Lines Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. all the tougher to navigate since almost every flight is full. Read more at Skift
A Weakened Virgin America’s Profits Decline as Alaska Prepares to Close Merger: Virgin America is going out with a whimper. The nine-year-old carrier quietly reported second quarter earnings on August 5, and while it is still making money, there are several signs business is not as strong as it once was. Read more at Skift
London Mayor Talks Up Gatwick Airport Expansion in Wake of Brexit: London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged Prime Minister Theresa May to back the expansion of Gatwick Airport to show the world that the U.K. capital is “open for business” after Britain voted to leave the European Union. Read more at Skift
Police probe Heathrow possible airside security pass scam: Security fears have been sparked at Heathrow Airport after a police investigation was launched into a possible airside pass scam following the arrest of two women. Read more at The Telegraph
Largest U.S. Airport Spa Chain Gets Acquired as Retailing is Forecast to Soar: The largest U.S. chain of airport spas, XpresSpa, sees jet-side massage and manicures as a growth market with a captive, harried consumer base. But it may not be so easy to monetize. The New York company, in the midst of a reorganization, said Monday it had agreed to be acquired by Form Holdings Corp., a publicly traded investment company, in an all-stock deal valued at $40 million, roughly equal to XpresSpa’s annual sales. Read more at Skift
Eurostar Strike to Bring More Misery For European Travelers: U.K. labor union RMT plans strikes on Eurostar International Ltd. services this weekend and again in late August to protest what it says is the rail operator’s failure to live up to a scheduling program for train managers. Read more at Skift
Distribution Execs See Business Travel Slowdown Extending Beyond Energy Sector: Corporate travel weakness, along with macroeconomic concerns, are a real concern for airline and hotel executives this year. Read more at Skift
This is Why Airline IT Systems Break Down So Often: Twice in less than a month, a major airline was paralyzed by a computer outage that prevented passengers from checking in and flights from taking off. Read more at Skift
Companies Look Beyond Hotels to the Sharing Economy For Cool Meeting Venues: When was the last time you got excited about meeting in a hotel boardroom or breakout space? Read more at Skift
Is Morgans Hotel Group’s Merger Deal in Jeopardy? Morgans Hotel Group reported its second quarter results, and they’re not pretty. Read more at Skift
New Micro Brand Arlo Hotels To Battle Macro Trends and Established NYC Competitors: Developers Oleg Pavlov and Seth Schumer just finished construction on two buildings in Manhattan. Now comes the hard part, as they try to get a new hotel brand off the ground. Read more at Skift
Is China Holding the Marriott-Starwood Deal Hostage? Just when it appeared as though the Marriott-Starwood deal was well on its way to finally being completed, another roadblock has emerged. Read more at Skift
The Points Guy is hiring a nights and weekends editor. More on the job is over at mediabistro.
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Can be sent to gm[at]skift[dot]com or to @grantkmartin