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Open Letter Chronicles Pilot Frustrations

Delta Pilots Address Customers Directly

In a move that underscores the challenges with which the Airline Industry and its pilots are faced, Delta’s pilots’ union, in an open letter, has reached out to Delta customers for purpose of letting them know the airline’s pilots share their frustration about ongoing operational issues.

“This is the first time in our history that we’ve published an open letter to customers,” said Delta ALPA Master Executive Council (MEC) chairman Capt. Jason Ambrosi. “The Delta pilots take great pride in getting our passengers to their destinations safely and on time. It’s disheartening to see customers waiting in long lines to rebook flights due to scheduling issues that could have been prevented.”

Over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Delta cancelled more flights than any other major airline, citing staffing, weather, and Air Traffic Control issues. ALPA has been cautioning Delta management for months that it must exercise restraint when adding back flights. “It gives us no pleasure to tell management, ‘We told you so,’” said Ambrosi. “Pilots are mission-oriented and want to deliver industry-leading operational performance. We’ve picked up record amounts of overtime to help Delta during the recovery.”

The Delta pilots are currently in negotiations for a comprehensive new collective bargaining agreement. The last contract was signed in 2016. “We’ll be picketing at the annual shareholders meeting to send a clear message that it’s time to put customers first and protect the Delta brand. Additionally, it’s also time for management to get serious at the bargaining table about recognizing the Delta pilots’ frontline leadership and contributions to Delta’s recovery as load factors bounce back to pre-COVID levels,” added Ambrosi.

In addition to cancellations and high workloads, air-carriers are contending with pilot attrition resultant of both vaccine mandates and disruptive, even career-ending injuries incurred by pilots vaccinated before the January 2022, Supreme Court ruling that deemed such mandates unconstitutional. Despite aggressive hiring and substantial investments in pilot training, Airlines worldwide are struggling to keep airplanes flying and routes serviced.

The sentiments of Delta’s pilots are mirrored by ALPA President Capt. Joseph G. DePete, who in an 03 June opinion piece remarked:  “Airline executives are now attempting to distract the public by blaming their failures on others. The truth is they have no one to blame but themselves … mismanagement is now affecting reliability, with a nearly 65% rise in canceled or delayed flights.” DePete concluded.

“Unless airlines get back on course, flight delays and cancellations will become more severe this summer.”

Parties wishing to view Delta pilots’ open letter may do so at



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