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Delta Reorganization

Sun Jul 11, 2004 6:36 am

I was on a flight from MCO to CVG this week and was sitting next to a person who works for Delta. We got into a discussion about what is happening within Delta due to its condition and she mentioned the following:

1) Rumor within Delta is that Song will be shutdown and all 757s will go back to mainline.

2) Delta is just finishing up "leveling" at ATL. Leveling was explained to me that Delta is eliminating the banks or pushes into ATL and will be spreading out flights throughout the day. The person didn't know if Delta is planning on doing it with the other hubs.

3) Moral is at an all time low with the employees and there is concern about the impact of this moral on passengers.

4) The employees recognize that the interiors of their airplanes are starting to get a little ratty, and say that instead of investing in new high fashion uniforms, the money should be spent on other things, like the airplane interiors.

5) The employees, non-pilots, like the direction of the new CEO, and his direction to return Delta to its core position in the market, known for customer excellence. The person said they were hoping that the company returns to the same spirit it had when all of the employees chipped in and bought their first 767, the Spirit of Delta.

6) The person said that in addition to Pilot cuts in pay, everyone was tightening their belts and were expecting the have to help the company.

I thought it was very interesting to hear an employees perspective of the internal happenings at Delta. I would be curious if anyone else has an internal Delta perspective?
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RE: Delta Reorganization

Sun Jul 11, 2004 6:58 am

"1) Rumor within Delta is that Song will be shutdown and all 757s will go back to mainline."

I hope that this is true. It's been well established that an airline-within-an-airline doesn't work, yet carriers like UA and DL keep on trying it. I'd love for DL to repaint the Song aircraft to mainline again and open up their NE to Florida routes as mainline like they used to. DL is definitely losing ground to the low-cost carriers as are the other network carriers, and they need to realize that their whole business plan needs to be changed. Hopefully a pilot wage cut will be accepted, that would DL could cost its costs by at least 50%, which would put them in line with the other large carriers in terms of costs. I hope for the best for DL, they truly used to be something special, but are far from it now.

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RE: Delta Reorganization

Sun Jul 11, 2004 7:29 am

Skibum9, Thanks for the interest in Delta.

1.)Haven't heard that one any more than I've heard the opposite. Suffice it to say that except for the top levels of management, no one knows the fate of Song.
2.)Don't know first hand about that one. I have heard they are in the process of leveling all hubs to an extent.
3.)Moral is at an all time low. With the exodus of upper management that took with them their bankruptcy proof pensions that were meant to keep them here it's hard to have faith in management. I'm not even going to get into the less visible changes that have a more direct effect on employees. The continued pilot negotiations are frustrating. I can see the pilots point of view but I think if they don't get on board soon with what the company is asking from them none of us at Delta will have jobs.
4.)I started a thread on this very subject just today.
5.)While I do like what Grinstein has done in the past and is doing now I'm worried that he won't have time to effect the changes needed at Delta. He is 72 and while I think he would stay at the helm for a few years, Delta may take a decade or more to completely recover from the malaise it currently finds itself in. Additionally many of my coworkers have expressed concern that his "top to bottom review of the company" is taking too long with few changes recommended to date.
6.)Everyone at Delta(except pilots) has had to do more with less, accept benefits and pay cuts, and many have been furloughed(including pilots who, are going to be, if not already being recalled). All employee groups are expecting to have to make more sacrifices in order to save the company.

Long live Delta!
757 Most beautiful airliner in the sky!
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RE: Delta Reorganization

Sun Jul 11, 2004 7:42 am

1) I thought we were trying to save money. Unless those 757's stay in all coach it is just decreasing the revenue of the aircraft. Much less the cost to repaint, refit and restaff.

2) True, DL will be going to a rolling hub to help minimize delays and incop passengers. Most passengers now going North-south or east-west will probably have about 120 mins in ATL.

3) It isn't like there is a machine that measures this. Most of the employees with low morale are the same ones that once started on the ramp or in cabin service in the 70's. They just want to be like it was.

4) False, the money has already been spent on the design of the new uniforms. Not much of a cost difference between manufacturing the old from the new.

5) Hopefully he isn't all talk, but has no accolades yet as we are still losing money.

6) We have and continue to do so.
It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now.
Topic Author
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RE: Delta Reorganization

Sun Jul 11, 2004 7:47 am

Thanks Dl757md!

To reinforce your point on number 4, employee moral. The person who I was speaking to also said the same thing you mention about the ridiculous amounts of money that the departing senior management took from the company and leaving it in such bad financial shape. I mentioned to her that this is not uncommon in corporate America, unfortunately. The company that I work for laid off about 1500 people in the past year and a half, and those of us who stayed had our base pays frozen and our bonus plans taken away (effectively a pay cut). But that was all fine and dandy because our CEO got a $20 million bonus the same year. Meanwhile I have many friends that were laid off that still cannot find jobs or find jobs that offer a similar pay. So my point to her was that it is not only the airline industry, and Delta, that is suffering from these types of moral impacting activities, but the corporate greed of senior management in many industries is killing moral everywhere.
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RE: Delta Reorganization

Sun Jul 11, 2004 8:17 am

Skibum9 -- I agree with your last point. Greed among upper management is rampant in every sector of the economy. I think we've seen and read so much about it in the airlines in recent months because of the major carriers' prominence in the media, and the fact that the deployment of these golden parachutes happened to coincide with a financial crisis. In that sense, Mullin, et al didn't behave remarkably.

To the Delta employees here -- my first flight was on DL, and despite the declining morale and aircraft interiors, I continue to fly Delta every time I can. Like it or not, unlike new-entrant LCCs, Delta is an institution, a company with roots that go back 75 years. It has been a party to -- and a participant in -- the very making of aviation in the United States. Come what may, as a guy who grew up in ATL, it's tough not to have some allegiance to Delta. Please know you have my support and fervent wishes for the company's prompt rejuvenation.
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RE: Delta Reorganization

Sun Jul 11, 2004 8:30 am

So my point to her was that it is not only the airline industry, and Delta, that is suffering from these types of moral impacting activities, but the corporate greed of senior management in many industries is killing moral everywhere.

Amen Skibum9

I have always thought that the biggest cause of the current economic downturn was not Bush, Clinton, Congress, Democrats, Republicans, or even 9/11. It was Enron, Worldcom, Arthur Anderson, Tyco, and all the rest of the corporations who cooked the books. I realize that rich getting richer at the expense of the middle class is all over corporate America. As bad as it is at Delta right now I know things could have been worse.

When Leo first started he brought in a new CFO, I think from GE, named Warren Jensen. The guy was a complete A-hole. The first week he toured the TOC and remarked in front of several employees how the TOC was just overhead and should be outsourced ASAP. He was excellent at making friends and influencing people. Since then tech ops at Delta has been the most successful Delta division at meeting budgets and insourcing. As for Jensen about 6 months into his tenure at Delta he forced a gate agent to remove revenue pax from FC on a flight to accommodate his non-rev children and their companion(s). The resulting controversy resulted in his resignation. (probably with some kind of buyout or golden chute)
Good riddance though, I hate to imagine where Delta would be right now if he'd stayed.

Please know you have my support and fervent wishes for the company's prompt rejuvenation.

Thanks Gnomon. It's the support of loyal customers such as yourself that keeps us going.


[Edited 2004-07-11 01:34:20]
757 Most beautiful airliner in the sky!
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RE: Delta Reorganization

Sun Jul 11, 2004 8:55 am

4. My thoughts exactly after flying Delta over the pond.

The 767's look like they are equipped with the latest in interiors from the mid-70s. Their trans-atlantic product really needs to be improved. It was a big step below some other airlines' widebodies that I have flown on in the last few years. I booked my ticket on Priceline for about 250 below what I could have gotten (direct flight) on After coming back, I wondered if maybe I should have spent more money to avoid Delta...
Firings, if well done, are good for employee morale.
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RE: Delta Reorganization

Sun Jul 11, 2004 9:03 am

i disagree that moral is affecting those who started in the 70's and want things the way they used to be.

everyone except those too young to appreciate lifetime employment are feeling insecure.

delta used to take care of us. we took care of the customers. the customers became repeat customers so delta made more money. and delta took care of us. and so it went, round and round. customers were happy. employees were happy. the company made money. it was all good. who wouldn't wish for a return of those times?

reality dictates we compete in the marketplace. i just don't want to go broke personally doing a job i enjoy.

Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
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RE: Delta Reorganization

Sun Jul 11, 2004 9:36 am

I don't think the DL folks really know how extreme the new business plan will be... employees already took a hit on health insurance... plus their 401 retirements are tied to DL stock.... which as we all know is worth just a fraction of what it used to be.. you have to think that many at DL are very concerned about their future... and the very distinct possibility that retirement there will be much less than they were told... plus DL upper management is starting to make noises about further cuts that the DL employees will have to make... not just paycuts for the pilots..

With these issues looming in DL employees future you have to wonder how they have been able to keep up the good work that has brought DL to where it is today... Must very very grim to be a DL employee right about now...

My thoughts and prayers go out to the DL folks....

I think DL will make it however ... the DL employees have a good history of making DL prosper even in the face of adversity... and Grinstein has history of turning the impossible around... and DL employees will follow him into the future.... even if the company as they know it today will go away... for a new model that can compete into the future...
Wally Bird Ruled the Skys!
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RE: Delta Reorganization

Sun Jul 11, 2004 10:28 am

***The 767's look like they are equipped with the latest in interiors from the mid-70s. **

Oh Come now!!

The 767 interiors weren't that bad. I flew on a couple 200 series between DTW and MCO back in 2002. I'd at least say late 1980s. At least they had tvs on them. My relatively brand new NW 757-300 didn't have that on my MCO-DTW flight last Christmas.

If all of the Song 757s are going back to Mainline Delta and the Song operation is shutting down, then what will happen to the current Song flights like JFK-MCO, or LAX-MCO? Will they be with 757s mainline or will they be with other aircraft?

Why was Delta Express shut down in the first place? What was wrong with the 737-200s being flown under Express?
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RE: Delta Reorganization

Sun Jul 11, 2004 10:57 am

I, too, remember when DL was perceived as an Upper Crust carrier. Remember Medallion Service? Growing up in the South, Delta was truly an institution. So were Southern and Eastern, but oh, well. I hope DL makes it!
Great Lakes, great life.
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RE: Delta Reorganization

Sun Jul 11, 2004 2:33 pm

As family of a DL employees...

both have high regards for the company and think that Delta Exec's are making DL look far worse off then it really is. They think DL mannagement is just ploying to get the pilots to take pay cuts because they can.

both feel very secure with their jobs right now...more then they have in the past 4 years...they feel DL is on a rebound whether DL management admits it or not...
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RE: Delta Reorganization

Mon Jul 12, 2004 4:11 am

My father retired from DL with a month shy of 31 yrs under his belt. Doing everything from ramp, cabin service, ticket counter and baggage service. I see him worry on what is happening to DL. He is concerned about having a pension and medical benefits from month to month. Of possibly having to go back to work FT to pay the bills. He paid into Ship #102 Spirit of Delta and proudly displays the plaque that those that contributed received. He hates seeing what is taking place at an airline that gave him and his family so much. I have heard him comment about the 50-100 VP's the company has. This I am sure is an exaggeration but why so many and I would bet very high paying VP's. Being a former DL dependent, I try as much as I can to fly DL but the service is slim to nonexistent. When I flew to LGW on DL, the FA's on the ATL-LGW leg were awful. I could have gotten a RT ticket for much less, but wanted to fly the airline that gave me quiet a bit growing up. The loyalty that my father and many like him had to DL also no longer exists. Yes, management is looking out for themselves, but contact I have with DL frontline employee's when I do fly DL is, IMO, a me or nothing attitude. Something as GOT to change and hopefully it won't be bankruptcy. I think my father's heart would finally go.
I miss those DL L-1011's
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RE: Delta Reorganization

Wed Jul 14, 2004 12:03 pm


1. No one knows. Song has done very well in the loads area and the only area that could use some work is the West Coast flights. Song has been curbing competition and keeping Delta customers, which is its only purpose. No one knows if Song is making money or not, although I believe she is. If she were not, it wouldn't matter, because her main purpose it to maintain market share on those routes, even if it was a loss.

2. True. Delta is moving towards the rolling hub change, which at one time I thought was a joke, until I saw how well it worked for AA. And seeing airplanes lined up in ATL on the tarmac got me thinking, "Maybe it wouldn't be all bad." Fortunately, passengers will see little difference throughout the day, so the experience will not seem very changed.

3. I would say morale is no longer at an all time low. Don't get me wrong, it is low, but the worst was probably after the executive compensation debacle. Since Mullen retired and Grinstein has replaced just about the entire executive team, most employees have been able to hold their heads a little higher and look ahead, since his leadership skills are well noted. As far as his age is concerned, he has stated that he does not intend to stay more than 5 or 6 years, but he does plan to see that Delta stays on a track to success. Afterwards, he will probably go back to sitting on the BOD.

4. The interiors of the airplanes are starting to show their age, but Delta has already been testing a new interior with customers and getting feedback on it. It is made of brighter colors which are supposed to have a soothing effect and make the cabin seem like there is more light. It is only on one 738, and customers are requested to turn in comment cards, I believe. I have not seen the interior in person, only in photos. I always thought we should follow USAirways interior colors of blue and gray(lighter), since you can't go wrong with that combination. As far as uniforms, that is the one thing employees have been complaining about since the new ones(which I am personally pleased with, compared to the old ones) were introduced. They have made little changes here and there, and when folks still weren't happy, Delta said that a new uniform would be rolled out in a couple of years that is more fashionable, which is the one thing everyone complained about. Now that they are getting their new fashion, everyone is screaming that money is being thrown away. I guess you can't please everyone.

5. Don't we all wish that it could return to that. I remember working in JAX and all the "old" Delta folks were the ones I looked up to. They were the ones who always smiled and made customers feel welcome. You could tell the difference between the oldtimers and the newer employees. I remember that one girl, right before she retired, told me that it never hurts to try to smile and it only takes a second to thank the customer. Those words made perfect sense, and as soon as I began following that lead, I realized that it was not any more work to show the customer your appreciation for choosing us. Unfortunately, in this time and age, customers are usually more focused on price than service loyalty, unless you're a Medallion customer. In an effort to save ten bucks, they will go with another airline. It seems that no one really cares about flying one airline, they just want the cheapest, most direct flight and to get their safely. Otherwise, they could care less. Doesn't really give you much of a reason to want to provide "service and hospitality from the heart."(C.E. Woolman) But I still strive to do that, since I believe I am working for the best airline around, an airline tht still TRIES to care for its employees like it used to.

6. Most of us are willing to do what it takes to keep Delta in the air and we will. However, most frontline employees have "already given the lion's share of the cuts."(Gerald Grinstein) We are working more with less, had health benefits sliced and diced, and faced massive layoffs while pilots were getting raises. We all know that the pilots are not the only obstacle on the road to recovery, but they are the biggest hurdle to overcome. The rest of the problems can be fixed a lot easier.

My question is just exactly what does this employee do for Delta? Many employees have many different feelings towards the company right now because some think they are getting screwed more than others. And that can reflect on your personal feelings towards the company, and what you think SHOULD happen, instead of what WILL happen.

Gnomon, thanks for the kind words. I second what Dl757md said, its folks like you who keep us going, and "on behalf of Delta employees worldwide, thank you for flying with us."
I don't have a microwave, but I do have a clock that occasionally cooks shit.

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