Delta CEO: We’re ready for Thanksgiving as travel demand grows | Tech US News

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Delta’s world-class team is ready to welcome more than 5 million customers during the Thanksgiving travel period, offering the industry-leading service and products for which our airline is loved and known, said CEO Ed Bastian.

Bastian spoke at length about Delta’s people, the economy and other areas of consumer interest during interviews Monday with NBC’s “Today,” CNN’s “This Morning” and Bloomberg TV’s “Balance of Power.” Read below for a summary of some of the key topics he covered.

DEMAND FOR TRAVEL

Air travel has been at its peak for virtually the entire year. “After two years without customers being able to get to the people, the places, the experiences they really want to be in, everyone needed to get out,” Bastian said.

THANKSGIVING TRIP

“Do you have enough pilots, enough planes, enough customer support, a plan if bad weather hits? Are you ready?” asked NBC anchor Hoda Kotb.

“Yes, yes, yes and yes,” replied Bastian. “Delta is known for its high quality of service and the best people in the industry, and we’re ready.”

In the months leading up to Thanksgiving (September, October and November to date), Delta has completed more than 99% of scheduled flights.

AIR TRAVEL PRICES

Fuel prices are up 50% from where they were in 2019. “That’s our biggest cost — it’s not even the people, it’s the fuel prices,” Bastian said.

Another pricing factor is network capacity, which is still down 15% compared to pre-pandemic levels. However, that capacity is expected to be restored by late summer 2023, which should ease price pressures, he said.

CONCERNS ABOUT THE ECONOMIC RECESSION

“We’ve had our recession the last two years,” Bastian said. “Our business was cut off at the knees.” Delta has hired 25,000 people since the start of last year and continues to hire to meet growing customer demand, driven by a desire to connect to the post-pandemic world.

SEAT SIZES

“We haven’t changed the seat size or the pitch in many, many years,” Bastian said when asked about consumer concerns about reduced seat size and legroom. In fact, he said, Delta has increased its offering of roomier seat options with the continued expansion of its Delta Comfort+, Delta Premium Select and Delta One products.

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