Delta extending SkyMiles benefits as coronavirus forces drastic reduction in flights

As part of its customer service changes related to the coronavirus pandemic, Delta Air Lines is automatically extending some of its SkyMiles benefits for six months to a year, the company said Sunday.

FILE- In this Jan. 8, 2018, file photo, a Delta Air Lines Connection regional jet operated by GoJet Airlines takes off from Logan International Airport in Boston. Delta Air Lines reports earns on Thursday, July 12. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

FILE- In this Jan. 8, 2018, file photo, a Delta Air Lines Connection regional jet operated by GoJet Airlines takes off from Logan International Airport in Boston. Delta Air Lines reports earns on Thursday, July 12. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

SkyMiles Medallion Members will keep their current status through 2021. All qualifying Medallion membership miles from 2020 will be rolled over to next year, Delta said.

Delta Sky Club international and executive memberships with an expiration date of March 1, 2020, or later will receive a six-month extension. Delta is also extending benefits for certain SkyMiles American Express card members.

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Sandeep Dube, Delta’s senior vice president for customer engagement and loyalty, said the benefits will be extended “so you can enjoy them when you are ready to travel again.”

“While our focus is on keeping customers and employees safe and healthy today and always, you are a part of the Delta family and we know how important these benefits are to you,” Dube said. “We are continuously monitoring how coronavirus impacts travel and will make additional adjustments to support our customers’ needs as the pandemic evolves.”

Delta said last month that it planned to park at least 600 planes, more than half of its fleet. 

In a memo to employees, CEO Ed Bastian described the airline’s cuts as a partial shutdown. Delta plans to cut 70% of its flights as the airline’s revenue takes a $2 billion hit from a plunge in bookings.

Bastian said approximately 10,000 Delta employees have offered to take voluntary leave.

Contributing: Dawn Gilbertson, USA TODAY

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Delta to park up to 300 planes coronavirus

Delta will implement the largest capacity cut in its history
as cancellations are exceeding new bookings for travel over the next four

A 40% capacity cut will last for the “next few months,” CEO
Ed Bastian said in a letter to employees Friday. Up to 300 aircraft will be

A sizeable portion of the cuts will come from Europe.
Bastian said Delta will eliminate flying to continental Europe for 30 days as
the U.S. ban on travel from the continent is ongoing. Service to London, which
isn’t subject to the ban, will continue. 

“The speed of the demand fall-off is unlike anything we’ve
seen — and we’ve seen a lot in our business,” Bastian wrote. 

To counter the collapse, Delta will defer new aircraft
deliveries, reduce capital expenditures by at least $2 billion for the year and
substantially reduce the use of contractors and consultants. The carrier has
also frozen hiring and is offering unpaid leave to employees. 

“We’ll be making more critical decisions in the days to
come,” Bastian said. “The situation is fluid and likely to be getting even

He added that Delta is better positioned to weather a
massive downturn than it has ever been. 

“We will get through this, and taking strong, decisive
action now will ensure that we are properly positioned to recover our business
when customers start to travel again,” he wrote.

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Delta is having technical issues rebooking flights as travelers deal with the coronavirus outbreak and the US ban on some travel from Europe

Some travelers looking to change their flights on Delta Air Lines on Thursday were asked to call back later if their travel was not urgent, as the airline deals with technical problems ticketing and rebooking flights.

a large passenger jet sitting on top of a runway

Delta’s technical problems come as travelers around the world are scrambling to manage the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, and the chaos caused by President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from some European countries, which was later clarified by the White House to exempt US citizens and permanent residents.

Customers calling Delta on Thursday afternoon received this message:

“Thank you for calling Delta Air Lines. We are currently experiencing intermittent technical difficulties and extremely high volume. Our current wait times exceed six hours. For those customers who do not have an urgent need to travel within the next 48 hours, please visit or call back later.”

A Delta spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on this specific issue, but said the company is doing everything it can to help travelers dealing with the pandemic.

An earlier message on Thursday told customers: 

“Thank you for calling Delta Air Lines, we are currently experiencing intermittent technical difficulties in processing ticket changes and new bookings. Our current wait times exceed four hours. For those customers wishing to book or change a flight, please call back later or visit For other questions, you can stay on the line or attempt your call later.”

Other airlines were also dealing with a high volume of calls as travelers rushed to book or rebook flights. Customers calling American Airlines were asked to call back later if they’re not traveling within the next few days.

WATCH: Coronavirus causes travel industry to pivot, airlines to cancel flights (provided by USA Today)

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