Much has been said on A.net in the context of DL
's Ch 11 about free markets, 'investors' losing billions, and creditors stuck with heavy losses. I would like to add the usual 2c :
1. There are no free markets - just efficient and less efficient markets. That's because public policy sets economic ground rules, which trade off economic benefit for the public good. If we really believed in totally free markets, we would be auctioning off our children etc...
2. Shareholders are not really investors - they bought shares in the secondary market in the hope that prices would rise, and assumed the risk that they may not. If Delta's market cap lost a few billion dollars, it wasn't the same shareholders who took the whole loss - shares (and risks) get traded all the time. Nobody forced them to hang on to their shares.
3. Same for creditors. They lent money to make a profit, and priced the risk in. Also, they typically sell or participate out the loans in the secondary market. Secured loans can also get 'securitized' like bonds. Since money was lent with a default probability assumed, any sympathy here is also misplaced.
The only stakeholders who get burnt are Employees. You could say it reasonable to ask for pay cuts if fuel prices go up, but it could also be argued that employee pay cuts really fund debt service. To keep their jobs, employees will agree to any terms set. While an airline is very much the sum of its people, it's not clear if they have any say once Ch 11 is filed. Hopefully, they will get rewarded as the airline comes out of Bankruptcy,
Hope this is helpful.