Delta cancels 317 flights Wednesday; CEO explains what went wrong

JOHN SPINK /JSPINK@AJC.COM
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JOHN SPINK /JSPINK@AJC.COM

Delta Air Lines canceled more than 300 flights Wednesday as it continued to dig out from a crippling computer outage at the start of the week.

A failure to ensure backup power for some of its computer servers led to the meltdown that forced more than 2,000 flight cancellations through Wednesday afternoon, the airline’s top executive said.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian, in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said he takes “personal responsibility” for the episode and disclosed for the first time that a fire is partly to blame for the outage.

DELTA CEO EXPLAINS OUTAGE

Atlanta-based Delta said operations were returning to normal but added the recovery could be slowed by thunderstorms in the eastern U.S. region, according to Delta.

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There were 317 cancellations as of 2:30 p.m. Delta said most flights were delayed or canceled due to crews stuck in the wrong place or exceeding federal caps on on-duty hours for airline crews.

Delta senior vice president Bill Lentsch said in a written statement Wednesday morning that the airline “is in the final hours of bouncing back from the disruption.”

“We know this has been a rough couple of days for our customers and apologize to those who have experienced our less-than-stellar operation,” Lentsch said.

Travelers should continue to check their flight status. The airline is waiving certain change fees for travelers booked to fly this week through Thursday who want to reschedule their travel to a later date through Aug. 21.

Delta said it continues to focus on moving flights through its Atlanta hub, the world’s largest single airline hub. Delta said it sent reservations workers to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport from its corporate headquarters to help process customers.

The airline said it has also used its Delta Private Jets subsidiary to get 40 customers from Atlanta to their destinations.