Delta offering travel waiver for “potentially challenging” holiday weekend

SALT LAKE CITY — Delta Airlines has told loyalty program members that this weekend will be “the busiest holiday period we have seen since the pandemic.”

The global company is offering a “systemwide fare difference travel waiver” for July 1-4, which allows customers to rebook their trip as long as they travel between the same origin and destination. Rebooked travel has to take place by July 8 for the waiver to apply.

Earlier in June, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg hinted at possible enforcement actions against airlines because of widespread flight cancelations.

“That is happening to a lot of people, and that is exactly why we are paying close attention here to what can be done and how to make sure that the airlines are delivering,” he told AP.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders called on Buttigieg Wednesday to fine airlines $55,000 per passenger for every flight cancellation they know can’t be fully staffed.

“Taxpayers bailed out the airline industry during their time of need. Now, it is the responsibility of the airline industry and the Department of Transportation to ensure, to the maximum extent possible, that the flying public and crew members are able to get to their destination on time and without delay,” Sen. Sanders said in a statement.

Federal lawmakers granted the airline industry more than $50 billion in pandemic relief.

A spokesman for the American Airlines pilots’ union, which represents 15,000 pilots, called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last week to monitor companies that are scheduling flights they can’t follow through on due to a lack of staff.

As of Wednesday afternoon, things aren’t looking particularly great nationwide. Per FlightAware, there have been 2,095 delays and 563 cancelations across the country Wednesday. Things are faring somewhat better locally however — Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) reported seven total cancellations (all Delta flights) and zero delays on Wednesday afternoon.

SLC spokeswoman Nancy Vollmer said passengers should arrive two hours prior for domestic flights, and three hours for international flights. You can reserve a parking spot at the airport online.

In a protest against overwork, Delta pilots are planning to picket at SLC on Thursday. The pilot union has said it will not disrupt passenger service, as it is an attempt to spark contract negotiations with management. Work rules and pay rates haven’t changed since 2016. The same union protested at SLC in April.

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