Delta Air Lines cancels, delays flights following system outage

by: Wendy Corona, Nicole Carr, Liz Artz Updated:

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ATLANTA - Delta is hoping to get back on track after a loss of power Monday morning that affected operations system-wide. 

Thousands of flights have been canceled and delayed since Monday.

Delta announced they would be delaying at least 90 flights Wednesday. 

The airline said it canceled about 1,000 flights Monday. Customers traveling Tuesday were advised to check the status of their flights on Delta's website or the Fly Delta app.  Customers can rebook their flights via the website.

"We were able to bring our systems back on line and resume flights within a few hours (Monday), but we are still operating in recovery mode," said Dave Holtz, senior vice president of operations and customer center.

Check your flight status.

Delta's travel waiver has been extended to customers traveling on Tuesday. Also, unaccompanied minors who have not yet begun to travel will not be accepted until Wednesday. Those customers will be able to book without a fee at a later date.

Check to see if you qualify for a travel voucher.

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

Delta is also offering compensation to customers who were significantly affected by delays or cancelations.
In addition, where available, customers are being provided with hotel rooms and other accommodations if a cancelation requires an overnight stay.

Consumer advocate Charles Leocha of Travels United said Delta needs to do more to compensate travelers.
“Two-hundred dollars is going to come up as nothing. That is really, it’s almost a joke. At least it’s a good gesture, but Delta needs to do more,” he said.

Federal law does not require Delta to give any compensation. The law only targets “unfair practices” such as tarmac delays and bag fees on lost luggage, not customer service.

“It’s not a safety issue, so Congress doesn’t need to act there. It’s mostly a business issue and people will vote with their wallets if this keeps happening to an airline continuously. 


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What went wrong?

We're working to learn what caused Delta's computer system outage.

Channel 2 senior engineer Gary Pearcey took us into the basement at WSB-TV to show us critical electrical systems like the one that malfunctioned at Delta.

Georgia Power confirmed that it was a "switch-gear" problem.

The “switch-gear" manages multiple electric sources to keep equipment safe from power surges.
“Delta probably had some kind of catastrophic failure that took everything, even their backup systems, offline, which left them dead,” Pearcy said.

Delays continue Tuesday 

The lines grew shorter into Tuesday afternoon but delays continued.

There were volunteers on hand who normally work in other parts of the airport helping to move things along.
Channel 2’s Nicole Carr spoke to a family that was flying home to New York from a vacation in Hawaii when they got stuck in Atlanta’s airport.

They were given a voucher for Monday night but their flight was delayed again on Tuesday.

They were hopeful the problems would be fixed soon.

"Please Delta, let's make this right. Let my family go home today,” Dennis Villanueva said.

Channel 2’s Wendy Corona spoke with a man who was afraid he may miss the birth of his child if he didn’t make it to New York soon.

“If it happens now, I don’t think I’ll make it. I’m just hoping it’s not going to happen now,” Fred Zar said.
Corona spoke with another family whose canceled flight to Miami caused them to miss their cruise. They said the cruise line told them they would not get their $2,000 back.

“Vouchers aren’t going to do us any good. We don’t want vouchers. We want compensation for the money we spent and the money we lost,” Mike Dunaway said.  

What to do if you’re traveling soon

Consumer adviser Clark Howard shared three things you should know following the computer meltdown.

  1. There is likely to be an airfare sale in two weeks.
  2. This is a rare occurrence.
  3. Always check the status of your flight before you leave for the airport.