Check your Delta SkyMiles accounts, travelers: You might have just woken up to 10,000 bonus SkyMiles if your flights earlier this summer were disrupted.
With no announcement and little fanfare, Delta began depositing 10,000 SkyMiles into select travelers' accounts late Tuesday and into Wednesday morning. The airline is labeling these bonus miles a “Summer Goodwill Gesture” – a way of apologizing for some of the delays and cancellations flyers have faced after a rough start to the summer for Delta.
But not everyone is getting these bonus miles. It seems Delta is focusing on travelers whose flights earlier this summer were significantly delayed or canceled. By Wednesday afternoon, Delta began emailing affected customers with yet another apology, saying: “While we cannot recover the time lost and anxiety caused, we are automatically depositing 10K miles to your SkyMiles account as a commitment to do better for you going forward and restore the Delta Difference you know we are capable of.”
It's not immediately clear what the threshold is for which delays and cancellations merit this SkyMiles bonus. Will travelers who experienced a 30- or 45-minute delay earlier this summer get 10,000 miles? Does it have to be at least two hours? We're just not sure.
Delta just started doling out these bonuses late Tuesday and it may take some time for them to hit all accounts, so it's probably worth checking back later today and throughout the week.
And just because you already got a few thousand SkyMiles from Delta earlier for your flight troubles doesn't mean you won't receive this bonus – we've heard from several travelers who have gotten both. On the other hand, even some flyers with Delta status who have faced flight troubles this summer still haven't seen any bonus SkyMiles – though that could change.
While airlines have been flying more smoothly lately, this summer has been rough for air travel as the latest surge in travel demand has stretched carriers to the breaking point. Yet despite the mass delays and cancellations that have affected tens of millions of Americans over the last year, there's no legal requirement for airlines to compensate passengers in the U.S. Instead, it's up to airlines to decide how to do right by consumers – and they often turn to bonus miles or vouchers to apologize.
Delta is increasingly playing catch-up after a particularly rough start to the summer. There was a Memorial Day weekend meltdown, during which the airline canceled more flights than the entire summer of 2019. Again in late June, Delta canceled more than 700 flights in a single weekend – some days, scrapping more flights than every other U.S. airline combined. The airline avoided a July Fourth disaster due in part to an unprecedented move: letting travelers change their flights for free heading into the weekend.
Still, it's clear that Delta feels it needs to send a message to its loyal flyers. CEO Ed Bastian told investors last week that a series of changes to crew scheduling, boarding procedures, and route network cuts should help stabilize the airline through the rest of the summer and into the fall.
“I'd like to sincerely apologize to those who have been impacted by cancellations, delays, and long wait times,” Bastian said during last Wednesday's quarterly earnings call. “Restoring operational excellence is our top priority.”
Not every Delta flyer is benefitting – at least not yet. But Delta is saying sorry for a rough start to summer flying by handing out 10,000 bonus SkyMiles to select members.
Check your SkyMiles account – and check back later this week if you haven't received anything.