Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Airlines aren’t always good at the simple things.
You know, the basic, feel-good, marginally obvious things.
Yet I’ve just bumped into an announcement from Delta Air Lines that made my eyebrows twitch in a vaguely upward direction.
No, the airline isn’t merging with American. Neither is it going to offer passengers First Class tickets for $200.
Still, this news is, in its own way, quite remarkable.
You see, the airline says it has already managed to experience 243 days in a single year without a single cancellation.
This, for the airline, is a record.
A peculiar record, too. Delta flies some of the oldest planes among the major airlines.
You’d imagine that they’d break down more than, say, American’s planes.
How can it be, then, that Delta still manages to maintain so many cancellation-free days?
How can it be that Delta boasts a 99.62 per cent flight completion factor rate — the number of flights flown versus scheduled?
And how is it that the airline has already managed 313 days this year without a cancellation due to a mechanical issue?
Its COO Gil West offered reliable corporate speak:
Continuing to take operational reliability to new heights, together with our service-from-the-heart focus, is what makes the Delta Difference.
Some might translate this as:
You know, we’re just a better-run airline.
What’s a touch embarrassing for United and American is how often they attempt to mimic Delta’s moves.
But creating reliability takes years of work from an enormous number of people who actually want to do the work. Somehow, Delta’s labor relations seem a little more stable currently than do either United’s or American’s.
Oh, Delta’s had its enormous ego-deflating downfalls in the not-too-distant past. Surely you remember its spectacular computer failures that seemed to strand half of America in unfavorable climes.
But if you’re going to boast about something, better that it’s an essence that might please passengers, rather than some spectacular financial achievement.
Not canceling flights is one little way you can gain a little loyalty.