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Delta Culture  
User currently offlineMayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10488 posts, RR: 14
Posted (5 years 9 months 13 hours ago) and read 8171 times:

I'll probably get flamed for this, but I know some of the NW people have concerns about the way they think they'll be treated once the merger is finalized. This is from a e-mail memo sent out to all DL employees by Joe Piller, member of the Delta Board Council, in response to concerns by the DL people. I think it says rather well what MOST DL people feel. Posted with permission of Joe Piller.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------



Colleagues,



As organizational charts for the new Delta are being published Delta people are asking the Board Council questions concerning Northwest co-workers and how they will fit within the Delta culture. Some have told us, “It seems like we have more Northwest leaders than pre-merger Delta leaders in the new company. Will they carry-on the Delta culture that is legacy and heritage valued by generations of Delta people and customers?”



There is no question the Delta that we know today will most definitely change with the blending of talent from both companies as we combine the strengths of two great airlines into one. I think we can’t forget that the success of Delta is a history of mergers and acquisitions which have changed the business and the culture for the better over time. I know Delta will continue to grow on the foundation we have built over the last 79 years and will now include the best from Northwest. I also believe the new Delta will carry-on the fundamental principles that have made Delta a great airline. As Delta’s founder C.E. Woolman used to say, "This business is nuts and bolts, but it's primarily people. All airlines are alike – only people make them different”. In keeping with Mr. Woolman’s vision, the investment and focus on Delta people is a fundamental principle that will not change.



As I’ve said, Delta people are concerned by the arrival of so many new leaders and co-workers from Northwest. What we have to remember is that no one is really "born" at Delta...well, except for perhaps a few second and third generation Delta people. Most of us come to Delta from somewhere else; PanAm, Western, the military or a company outside of the industry. I think it's more important to see what kind of people these new leaders and co-workers are from Northwest what they believe in and do they have the Delta DNA that makes our culture unique. I think we also have to keep in mind recent successful leaders and colleagues who came to us from other companies. Jerry Grinstein is the perfect example of a leader who was not "born" at Delta. Look at Richard Anderson; he has made a commitment to manage by the values of the Delta culture by putting the guiding principles of the foundation of this great company in writing with “Rules of the Road”.



For Delta people who fear Delta's culture will be unrecognizable in a couple of years because of the merger I think we’ll see that some aspects of Delta's culture will certainly change like it did with previous mergers in our history. But that change will be shaped by Delta people. The new leaders and co-workers coming to Delta, or any company, do not own the culture nor do they have absolute control over what it will be. The culture of a company can certainly be guided by its leaders, but it is owned by its employees and customers. It is the responsibility of every Delta employee to keep the best parts of our culture and heritage and pass it along to the new members of the Delta family regardless of how they come to Delta.



But let’s be fair, the Delta culture is not for everyone. We have seen new leaders and co-workers come and go because they did not fit the model of what makes this company a great place to work. It is our duty to hold each other accountable for what Delta stands for. I’m sure there will be those coming to the new Delta that once they are here find this is not the culture for them.



I think our company founder Mr. Woolman in talking about change and the values of our culture as Delta grows summed it up best when he said, “Now, Delta is growing and growing fast. Yet we will never have any monopoly. We will always compete with planes of similar speed and comfort and identical fares. If we continue to grow it will be because we can expand without losing the “difference” that made Delta’s reputation…” Together with our new Northwest co-workers we will change the business for the better while preserving the best of the Delta.



Colleagues, for the past 79 years we have seen it is the people of Delta that make this a great company; no matter where you come from.



Regards,



Joe


"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
34 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineDELTA7478 From United States of America, joined Dec 2008, 173 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 years 9 months 12 hours ago) and read 8028 times:

What's up Joe, let me tell you that you are right my friend. I have worked for UA and AA and
out of those two DL is the best one of all. The worse airline you can ever work is AA they have the worse management of all airlines.


User currently offlineSkyTeamTriStar From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 394 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (5 years 9 months 12 hours ago) and read 8030 times:

Over 10 years with Delta, it has always been the people that has made the difference. A wonderful, respectful, fun, culture to work in, therefore not having a need for anybody come from the outside of the company to "tell us what to think, do or say"......

Everybody knows how to do their job, no babysitting required.

[Edited 2009-01-05 10:56:23]

User currently offlineWorldTraveler From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (5 years 9 months 12 hours ago) and read 8002 times:

DL has always had a unique culture among airlines - and for far more of its history than any airline has been highly regarded by its employees.

That being said, any DL employee at mgmt level who thought they were immune from the possibility of being replaced by a NW employee is/was dilusional.

NW did a whole lot of things very right - not everything for sure - but they had/have smart people working for them. Further, many of them have a wholelot of experience, esp. in int'l markets DL needs to grow in. To think that DL would pass over the opportunity to bring some of those people onboard is foolish.

DL said from the very first day the merger was announced that there would be no frontline involuntary job losses. They also said there would be assurance that mgmt employees at both DL and NW would retain their jobs. Both of those commitments have been kept.

Mergers necessitate culture changes. DL mgmt is fully aware of the task it has to retain the important parts of its own culture that are worth keeping while incorporating other cultural aspects that are needed - regardless sof whether they come from NW or other businesses, perhaps even outside the airline industry. The greatest culture change at DL came during its bankruptcy - and that didn't include bringing in people at the lower level mgmt level from other airlines. DL's senior mgmt changes were drawn from multiple airlines.

DL culture will be changed... but to think it won't still be a winning and people affirming culture is a stretch.

[Edited 2009-01-05 11:11:50]

User currently offlineMayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10488 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (5 years 9 months 11 hours ago) and read 7825 times:



Quoting DELTA7478 (Reply 1):
What's up Joe, let me tell you that you are right my friend.

Actually, I'm not Joe.....he was the author of this e-mail to the employees.  Wink



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlineItalianFlyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 1099 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (5 years 9 months 11 hours ago) and read 7782 times:

I think this speaks to the common sense notion that organizations that can adapt will thrive, while organizations that try to a force a perceived reality to meet their own ends will not. As many folks who have been in the industry for more than five years will tell you...ALLOT has changed, just in this decade. In the longer scheme, people who have worked in the industry for ten, twenty or thirty-plus years have survived numerous evolutionary and revolutionary milestones that have redefined their responsibilities numerous times.

Having seen the new organizational chart and knowing some of the players (a few directly, most just professionally) it seems that the leadership is drawing on Deltas & NWA's strengths and acknowledging each companies shortcomings. No doubt that there will be integration issues, and allot of hyperbole and rhetoric coming from various constituents over the near-term though.


User currently offlineTVNWZ From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 2394 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (5 years 9 months 11 hours ago) and read 7685 times:

I hear a lot about THE Delta culture, people, family, etc. etc. But, as a very, very frequent flyer I am at a loss to see much of this. My worst experiences dealing with employees and situations have been on Delta. My best experiences have not.

I am not saying Delta is a bad airline. I fly it. It is an average airline with the same type of people I find at almost every other airline.

To me this culture things is a lot of hyperbole.


User currently offlineIsitsafenow From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4984 posts, RR: 23
Reply 7, posted (5 years 9 months 10 hours ago) and read 7625 times:

As a paying pax, I hope the DL tradition rules after the merger is completed. Hopefully when new employees are hired, they will be trained the DL way and not the NW way which stressed First and foremost...time and $$ management/ 2nd... how to treat the pax.
NW stressed that the airline is a business and the business exsists to make $$ and here's how..
.
I am looking forward to Delta leadership here and hopefully I am correct in my assumptions.
There are some agents at MSP and DTW that need to be....'re-trained'.
The small city agents are great...the GRR, FLL,MCI and FNT agents are the ones I interact with the most and I have high marks for all. The major hub agents are good but a couple of bad apples ruin it for all the hard workers.
The same can be said for F.A. although last year in all my NW trips, I did not cross paths with one rude or non-caring F.A. There has been vast improvement in that area the past three or four years at NW. I know some of you will re but this and its your right, but I have no complaints with NW F.A's........DL's either for that matter....they seem a little bit more personable.

Their counter and gate agents are great!!
safe



If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
User currently offlineCatIII From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 3038 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (5 years 9 months 10 hours ago) and read 7518 times:



Quoting Mayor (Thread starter):
I'll probably get flamed for this

Aviation Week ran it on their website, so you're not the only person who has shared it. Don;t worry.


User currently offlineLAXdude1023 From India, joined Sep 2006, 7644 posts, RR: 25
Reply 9, posted (5 years 9 months 10 hours ago) and read 7438 times:

I think one of the things that DL has going for it is their culture. Everyone I know who works for DL (quite a few people actually) love the airline with all their heart. Personally I think DL has the best culture of all the airlines. Good on them for it!  Smile

I wish AA had a culture like that.



Stewed...Lewd...Crude...Irreverent...Belligerent
User currently offlineAcey559 From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1535 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (5 years 9 months 10 hours ago) and read 7432 times:

Having worked at OH for the past few summers I have truly grown to love DL. It seems to me that everyone I come across at OH and DL enjoy their job and truly believe that DL is the greatest airline. I had a great experience on DL when I was 16, and then I started working for them when I was 18 and my opinion of them has only gotten better. DL is the only airline I fly in the US, and it is truly, in my opinion, a GREAT airline.

User currently offlineSQ25J From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 308 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (5 years 9 months 9 hours ago) and read 7379 times:

Can anyone with Delta advise if the video, "Remember Me" is still shown in Customer Service Training?

User currently offlineMayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10488 posts, RR: 14
Reply 12, posted (5 years 9 months 8 hours ago) and read 7154 times:



Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 6):
To me this culture things is a lot of hyperbole.

No, it's not. Now, I'll admit that things haven't been the same the past few years but I believe the Delta Culture is making a turnaround. Just because you haven't experienced it doesn't mean it never existed, which you seem to imply.



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlineSurprise From United States of America, joined Jun 2008, 133 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (5 years 9 months 6 hours ago) and read 7002 times:



Quoting Isitsafenow (Reply 7):

To me this culture things is a lot of hyperbole.

Speaking as a Delta employee I'm not surprised you don't recognize the Delta Culture. It's an internal thing. It's about Delta being a great place to work where people are valued for their contributions and a place where management and frontilne can sit down openly and talk about issues and concerns affecting the company. I like to believe that this environment, the Delta Culture, translates into superior customer service but I realize we still have work to do in that area to truly be a world class airline. We will always have work to do in that area but it's nice to know we are all in it together and are going in the same direction.


User currently offlineOkie From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 3065 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (5 years 9 months 4 hours ago) and read 6537 times:



Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 6):
I hear a lot about THE Delta culture, people, family, etc. etc. But, as a very, very frequent flyer I am at a loss to see much of this. My worst experiences dealing with employees and situations have been on Delta. My best experiences have not.

I am not saying Delta is a bad airline. I fly it. It is an average airline with the same type of people I find at almost every other airline.

To me this culture things is a lot of hyperbole.

 checkmark 

I will have to agree completely. It would be nice to say something other than my best experience was average on DL.
Previous experiences on NW were not good.

I have just avoided NW for years and fly DL hesitantly on occasion.

I am a firm believer that water seeks its own level, from that viewpoint if you are a NW fan then things will be looking up and if you are a DL customer things may not be looking so good.

Okie


User currently offlineBreaker1011 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 938 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (5 years 9 months 4 hours ago) and read 6360 times:

The fantastic Delta culture exists still, you can bet on it.

I remember as a kid when one day, my Mom brought home a poster for me. It was a photo of a new B-767-200 named "Spirit of Delta" in a hangar ceremony, with a piece of a red velvet ribbon attached to the poster - the same that was once wrapped around the ship in the photo.

She told me "I helped buy that airplane for Delta!" I remember quite vividly how truly excited she was about that, describing how nice a place Delta is to work, and explaining how she and other employees bought the plane as a "present" for their company.

From that moment on, I've been a fanboy and a loyal customer for this airline, and went nuts for anything Delta Air Lines. Now granted the culture might be a bit different today and maybe see some morphing going forward, but all it takes me is one flight to see that it does exist in the spirit and attitudes of their employees.



Life's tough. It's even tougher if you're stupid. J. Wayne
User currently offlineB707forever From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 459 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (5 years 9 months 3 hours ago) and read 6170 times:

I've noticied a deterioration in Delta's culture over the last 5-8 years even to the point I switched allegiences to Continental, which is a bit of hassle since I live on the East Side of Manhattan. I find JFK a run down hub with borderline rude check-in agents whereas Continental feels fresh and people appear like what I perceive airline folk should . I know this is all very subjective but DL's culture seems worn to me. I hope it gets revitalized through the NW merger.

I flew DL this weekend JFK-CLT-JFK (Freedom Airlines) and it was just so so. I prefer the Continental Express service even though it's exactly the same aircraft. DL's JFK boarding from gates 23 and 25 is really icky. And returning to climb the stairs is really bad. Continental's Terminal A at Newark is much much better for commuters.


User currently offlineDfwagt From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 82 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (5 years 9 months 3 hours ago) and read 6154 times:



Quoting DELTA7478 (Reply 1):
AA they have the worse management of all airlines.

Amen to that. The funny thing about them is they think they know it all.


User currently offlineM404 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2227 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (5 years 9 months 3 hours ago) and read 6140 times:
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As much publicity as this has gotten I'd say Delta meant for it to be public. It certainly hasn't hurt their image and could sooth many NW newcomers. However just today I had occasion to contact a department that is not invited the party and wil be totally disbanded by year end.

An earlier email supposedly from another department complaining of the same thing as the one posted here but with a much whinier tone was distriuted online and I got the feeling this may have been a way to smooth that one out a bit.

I don't doubt that the Delta "culture" is more alive in employees who participate in the open doors available to them. It's very much up to the individual. Coming from NW I too often saw that someone who tried to access what very few doors were open would get slammed as a "kiss a--" or turncoat spy rather than one who wanted management to have a perspective from ground level rather than just their desk. We usually found that any local manager who tried to be friends was quickly moved on or out or left of his own accord not wanting the friction than would cause.

NW for many was simply a lot of distrust. Some have used that for personal reasons or an excuse for a work ethic and DL has their work cut out for them. I sincerely hope the new members don't destroy that storied culture before we can share it.



Less sarcasm and more thought equal better understanding
User currently offlineMayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10488 posts, RR: 14
Reply 19, posted (5 years 9 months 3 hours ago) and read 5932 times:



Quoting M404 (Reply 18):
As much publicity as this has gotten I'd say Delta meant for it to be public.



Quoting CatIII (Reply 8):
Aviation Week ran it on their website, so you're not the only person who has shared it. Don;t worry.

The thing is, the Aviation Week headline and the start of the article made it sound like doom & gloom and only published about half of the actual e-mail. Once you read the entire e-mail you understand that the Aviation Week article starts out very misleading.



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlineNwarooster From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 1095 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (5 years 9 months 2 hours ago) and read 5678 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Northwest was a good solid airline until Al Chechi and his buddies got involved. They were the beginning of the end. They bleed Northwest dry. AI used to say "debt is your friend." If it was not for Al, Northwest would have been successful and maybe bought Delta.
No criticism of Delta, but Northwest was run with an iron fist and always made money until the Beverly Hill Billy Boys ruined Northwest and filled their pockets.   

[Edited 2009-01-05 21:00:05]

User currently offlineDLRESAGNT From Canada, joined Aug 2008, 27 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 5128 times:

As a DL employee, I have to say I work with a great bunch of people and is perhaps the biggest reason I am still around. Of course, there are some bad days, but in general a great place to be compared to some of the other places I have worked.

User currently offlineMPDPilot From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 993 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4983 times:



Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 6):
I hear a lot about THE Delta culture, people, family, etc. etc. But, as a very, very frequent flyer I am at a loss to see much of this. My worst experiences dealing with employees and situations have been on Delta. My best experiences have not.



Quoting Okie (Reply 14):
I will have to agree completely. It would be nice to say something other than my best experience was average on DL.
Previous experiences on NW were not good.

Now I don't work for Delta. But I do work at a job that I feel is one of the best places to work, simply because of the culture. Now that is something that I feel as an employee and I try to pass that on to our customers when I can. Unfortunately it doesn't always work. Now I don't want to sound rude to you but it has been my experience that just cause the place I work is great for me doesn't mean that we offer the best service around. I know there are customers that leave our building unhappy and as hard as we try that will always be the case. Whether it be a bad day or simply a misunderstanding it just doesn't always work. I wouldn't however say the culture isn't there simply cause you have had bad experiences with that airline.



One mile of highway gets you one mile, one mile of runway gets you anywhere.
User currently offlineNWAESC From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 3391 posts, RR: 9
Reply 23, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4914 times:



Quoting DLRESAGNT (Reply 21):
As a DL employee, I have to say I work with a great bunch of people and is perhaps the biggest reason I am still around.

Interesting... As a NW crew chief, I was going to say the same thing.

Those of you at the Widget: Don't discount the deep history/culture that NW brings to the plate.

Also, try not to shove the DL culture down people's throats; people already have a shoulder dropped, and having a condescending attitude or air of superiority (NOT directed to anyone in this thread yet) will do nothing but make the transition bumpier.


With that said, I was reading a thread about this same e-mail on another board. Here is a cut and paste from over there. Definitely a counterpoint to the tone taken so far here...Thoughts?

"You mean Joe Piller of the Delta Board Council, that represents 10% of the non-contract employees, that watched as the DL pilots received an industry leading contract in 2000(for not striking), as the group he represents received a step-increase pay freeze? The same Joe Piller of the Delta Board Council, that represents 10% of the non-contract employees, that watched as the DL mechanics received an 18% pay increase in 2002 (for remaining nonunion), while the 10% of the non-contract employees he represents remained on the step-increase pay freeze? The same Joe Piller of the Delta Board Council, that represents 10% of the non-contract employees, watched as their market based pay minimum salary requirement be reduced by 19% in 2005?
The 10% of the non-contract employees he represents didn't receive a salary step-increase from July 2001 to July 2007....and HE'S WORRIED?
Joe Piller represents no one and 99% of the employees he represents don't even know him. I don't blame DL for not responding to his letter. He is nobody. Let him write."



"Nothing ever happens here, " I said. "I just wait."
User currently offlineGSPSPOT From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3051 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 4086 times:



Quoting SQ25J (Reply 11):
Can anyone with Delta advise if the video, "Remember Me" is still shown in Customer Service Training?

OMG!! We used to use that video (looked like it was made in the late '70's) at Days Inn Reservations Center in Atlanta back in the mid-'80's. I used to have a copy of it....

Back to the culture topic, my take on this is that, back in '07, when both NW and DL were still in BK, it was DL that was trying new things, adding new features, etc, while NW kept the status quo. After having flown NW almost exclusively for a few years, it was honestly refreshing to fly on DL a few segments. The employees were consistently friendly to a person, there was some form of IFE on most flights, even shorter ones, and by God, you could still get free snacks with beverage service in Coach!

While I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the Red Tail, I think DL has a superior "culture" and product, at least from a customer's perspective.



Finally made it to an airline mecca!
25 RSBJ : FWIW, I left Delta 5 years ago for WN just because of culture (and ALPA greed).
26 Mayor : No criticism of NW but DL ALWAYS made money, period until Ron Allen came along and then Leo. What was there for DL to respond to? This person also re
27 Post contains links Shanxz : This is key in a merger - taking the best out of both the cultures, rather than imposing one on top of the other. It's actually very heartening to re
28 CatIII : Which management employees would those be? Didn't they let go of a number of VP's, directors and such after the merger?
29 Atlanta : I remember back in 1972, when NE and DL merged, NE was just a little airline yet DL did retain some (small) amount of our culture. Oh yes it does! If
30 NWAESC : I believe many lower level managers at NW (not sure about DL) have been told to hit the bricks. I don't claim to know what this poster's motivation(s
31 Bobnwa : Mayor, for those of us from the NWA side, please explain what the DBC is, what the makeup is. How do you get appointed to the board and what are thei
32 Binmonster : [quote=NWAESC,reply=23]while the 10% of the non-contract employees he represents remained on the step-increase pay freeze? ASC non-contract employees
33 NWAESC : Interesting info, but I'd still like to know some of the same questions I asked earlier.... Also, like Bob, I'm wondering; are these people appointed
34 Atlanta : I have 2 of those, plus four glasses and a pair of seats off "The Spirit." Other than that, that 767 was a lemon. The Spirit of Hangar! I miss those
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