Delta Air Lines hiring 5K-plus to meet increasing travel demand, CEO says

ATLANTA — Citing “unforeseen challenges” in ramping up to handle a surge in recent bookings, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian confirmed Tuesday that the Atlanta-based carrier is hiring more than 5,000 people to meet increasing travel demand.

“In total, we’re hiring more than 5,000 people across the business, including more than 3,000 in Airport Customer Service and other operational areas, to supplement key service areas like catering, wheelchair staffing and our continued commitment to cleanliness,” Bastian wrote in a company blog post announcing the hirings and a host of other operational tweaks.

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“As you take a much-deserved vacation or travel to reunite with loved ones, friends and business colleagues, the last thing you want is to experience long hold times when you call reservations or receive a notification that your flight schedule has changed,” he added, citing “significant actions” being taken “to alleviate those pain points.

According to the Johnson City Press, the Transportation Security Administration reported seeing its highest checkpoint volume during the pandemic at the end of June, with more than 2.1 million people screened through airport security checkpoints nationwide on June 27 alone. That figure increased by nearly 10,000 people Sunday, compared with the barely 751,000 passengers screened on the same day one year ago.

Bastian said Delta agents have experienced an “unprecedented level of questions” regarding travel policies and schedule changes, resulting in substantial wait times and prompting the hiring spree.

In addition to welcoming back hundreds of employees laid off during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bastian said Delta’s Reservations and Care team will also hire an additional 1,300 specialists, expected to be fully trained by September. The company will also add a new telephone platform that “automatically equips our agents with even more details about your travel, so they can address your questions efficiently and get you on your way,” he added.

Delta also plans to increase flights to Amsterdam, Venice, Barcelona, Madrid and Johannesburg, and for the first time since 2011, will offer nonstop flights every day to Athens, Greece, the Johnson City Press reported.

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