Delta: ‘Nearly 250’ flight cancellations Tuesday

James David Dickson, and Ian Thibodeau

Delta Airlines expects “nearly 250” flight cancellations Tuesday after an outage Monday knocked out the airline’s computer systems worldwide and delayed or canceled at least half of all flights.

The company cast the move as a “reset” after about 1,000 flights were canceled Monday, one that will help Delta “get crews, aircraft and other operational elements in place to take care of customers.”

Delta officials recommended that anyone flying Tuesday check the status of their flight before heading to the airport.

The airline sought to appease frustrated customers by offering refunds and $200 travel vouchers to those whose flights were canceled or delayed more than three hours. Travelers on some routes can also make a one-time change to the ticket without paying Delta’s usual change fee of $200 for domestic flights and up to $500 for international flights.

The waiver has been extended to travelers affected on Tuesday.

Delta representatives said the airline was investigating the cause of the meltdown. They declined to describe whether the airline’s information-technology system had enough built-in redundancies to recover quickly from a hiccup like a power outage.

Brian Lassaline, spokesman for Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus, could not be reached Monday afternoon for comment on the status of Delta flights at the Detroit airport. Detroit Metro is one of roughly 13 major Delta hubs around the would.

Detroit Metro Airport has about 80 volunteers who work in its terminals. Monday, seven of the volunteers provided travelers with information on what was happening and lined people up to be checked in manually as Delta handled its computer issues.

Delta said that about 3,340 of its scheduled 6,000 flights had operated by Monday night. The airline posted a video apology by CEO Ed Bastian.

A power outage at an Atlanta facility at around 2:30 a.m. local time initiated a cascading meltdown, according to the airline, which is also based in Atlanta.

A spokesman for Georgia Power said that the company believes a failure of Delta equipment caused the airline’s power outage. He said no other customers lost power. Delta spokesman Eric O’Brien said he had no information on the report and that the airline was still investigating.

Flights that were already in the air when the outage occurred continued to their destinations, but flights on the ground remained there.

Airlines depend on huge, overlapping and complicated systems to operate flights, schedule crews and run ticketing, boarding, airport kiosks, websites and mobile phone apps. Even brief outages can snarl traffic and cause delays.

On Monday in Richmond, Virginia, Delta gate agents were writing out boarding passes by hand. Passengers like Bryan Kopsick, 20, from Richmond, were shocked that computer glitches could cause such turmoil.

“It does feel like the old days,” Kopsick said. “Maybe they will let us smoke on the plane, and give us five-star meals in-flight too!”

The Associated Press and Detroit News Staff Writer Mark Hicks contributed