Delta Air Lines Expected To Handle 6m Passengers During Thanksgiving

Photo Credit: Kyle Hayes/AviationSource

LONDON – Delta Air Lines has announced this week that it expects to handle six million passengers during the busy Thanksgiving period from November 18-29.

Big Numbers…

It is understood that this will equate to around 500,000 customers per day as the airline ramps up its operations to cater to such demand.

This estimate is around 300,000 passengers less than the same period in 2019, which shows that such a busy period of traveling is nearly at pre-pandemic levels.

Delta has said the following in a statement on how it will be able to handle this pressure:

“Over the past several months, Delta has taken meaningful and significant steps to stabilize the operation and provide its customers with the premium experience they expect.”

“These decisions include right-sizing the airline’s schedule, adding buffer time in crew scheduling, increasing boarding time, and focusing on hiring and training Delta’s workforce.”

“These measures continue to have a positive and direct impact on Delta’s operation and will ensure a reliable holiday travel experience.

“In fact, in the months leading up to Thanksgiving – September, October, and November to date – Delta has completed more than 99% of scheduled flights.”

Bastian’s Words…

Expanding on this was Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian:

“The holidays are all about connecting with loved ones, and after two years of disruption and unknowns, those connections are more important than ever”.

“Thanks to the hard work of our more than 80,000 people around the globe, Delta customers can expect the very best service and industry-leading reliability as they reconnect this holiday season. Our teams are ready to serve.”

A Strong Performing Delta Air Lines…

Last month, the carrier reported a strong overall third quarter of the year, as the airline continued to ramp up operations over the Summer 2022 and upcoming Winter 2022/23 season.

Delta has turned in a strong quarter, with a forecast of further financial gains in the coming final quarter of the year. Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive officer, echoed this in his statement, saying:

“Thanks to the incredible work of our entire team, Delta delivered a strong September quarter with record quarterly revenues and a double-digit operating margin.” 

“In this environment, we expect December quarter revenue growth to accelerate versus 2019 with an operating margin of approximately 10 percent.”

“We’re working towards full network restoration by summer of 2023, which supports a meaningful step up in profitability and cash flow next year on our path to earn over $7 of EPS and $4 billion of free cash flow in 2024,” Bastian said.

September Quarter 2022 Adjusted Financial Results:

  • Operating revenue of $12.8 billion, 3 percent higher than September quarter of 2019, including a $35 million impact from Hurricane Ian
  • Operating income of $1.5 billion with an operating margin of 11.6 percent
  • Earnings per share of $1.51, including a 3¢ impact from Hurricane Ian
  • $11.2 billion in liquidity* and adjusted net debt of $20.5 billion at quarter end


It remains clear that Delta is preparing to make the most of the upcoming busy periods, as that is going to count towards performing more of a consistent positive financial outlook.

The Thanksgiving period is a very important period for Americans, so it is important that the airline handles such operations carefully and fluidly in order to have the best return on investment.

But for now, all eyes will be on the carrier to see how they perform in the next couple of weeks.

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