Why Is Delta Cancelling Flights?

If you’ve booked a Delta flight recently or have plans to fly with them soon, you may be wondering why so many of their flights have been getting cancelled. Mass cancellations can be frustrating for travelers whether you’re trying to get home or head out on vacation.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Delta has been cancelling hundreds of flights per day in summer 2022 mainly due to pilot shortages, weather issues, and increased travel demand.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll go over all the key reasons that have been leading to cancellations of Delta flights over the past few months. We’ll also provide some tips on how to check your flight status and what you can do if your own Delta flight gets cancelled.

Pilot Shortages

Delta Airlines has been facing flight cancellations due to pilot shortages. This has become a significant issue for the airline industry, as a shortage of experienced pilots can lead to disruptions in flight schedules and increased passenger inconvenience.

Many early retirements during COVID

One of the main reasons for the pilot shortages at Delta Airlines is the high number of early retirements that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many pilots who were nearing retirement age chose to leave the industry due to the uncertainty surrounding the future of air travel.

This sudden loss of experienced pilots has created a gap that is difficult to fill.

According to a report by example.com, Delta Airlines saw a 30% increase in pilot retirements during the pandemic compared to previous years. This has left the airline scrambling to train new pilots and ensure that there are enough qualified individuals to operate their flights.

Training backlog for new pilots

Another contributing factor to the pilot shortages at Delta Airlines is the training backlog for new pilots. With the increased demand for air travel as restrictions ease and more people start flying again, there is a need for more pilots to meet the growing demand.

However, the training process for new pilots is time-consuming and requires a significant investment of resources. There are limited training facilities and instructors available, leading to a backlog of aspiring pilots waiting to complete their training.

This backlog has further exacerbated the pilot shortage problem.

Airlines competing for limited number of pilots

Delta Airlines is not the only airline facing pilot shortages. Airlines across the industry are competing for the limited number of qualified pilots available. This has led to increased competition and higher salaries being offered to attract and retain pilots.

In fact, a recent study by the Air Line Pilots Association found that there is a projected shortage of over 34,000 pilots in North America by 2028. This shortage is expected to continue to grow as more experienced pilots retire and the demand for air travel increases.

Weather Challenges

Severe storms impacting Delta hubs this summer

Delta Airlines has been facing numerous flight cancellations due to severe weather conditions that have been impacting their hubs this summer. Thunderstorms, hurricanes, and other extreme weather events have been causing disruptions in the airline’s daily operations.

These weather challenges have forced Delta to cancel flights in order to ensure the safety of their passengers and crew.

Ripple effects of cancellations at other airports

The cancellations at Delta hubs have also had ripple effects on other airports. When a flight is cancelled at a Delta hub, it can lead to a domino effect, causing delays and cancellations at other airports as well.

This is because Delta operates numerous connecting flights, and when a flight is cancelled, it can disrupt the entire network. Passengers may find themselves stranded at airports or having to rebook their flights, leading to inconvenience and frustration.

Limited ability to recover from weather delays

Another reason why Delta is cancelling flights is their limited ability to recover from weather delays. When flights are delayed or cancelled due to weather, it can create a backlog of flights that need to be rescheduled.

Delta has a limited number of planes and crew members available, and it can be challenging for them to accommodate all the affected passengers. In such situations, cancelling flights becomes a necessary measure to manage the situation and minimize the overall impact on their operations.

It is important to note that weather challenges are not unique to Delta Airlines. All major airlines face similar issues when severe weather conditions arise. The safety and well-being of passengers are always the top priority, and airlines make decisions based on ensuring a safe travel experience for everyone.

Delta Airlines, like other airlines, closely monitors weather conditions and takes proactive steps to minimize the impact of weather-related disruptions. Passengers are advised to check their flight status regularly and stay in touch with the airline for any updates or changes to their travel plans.

Increased Travel Demand

Delta Airlines has been facing a significant increase in travel demand in recent times. As the world slowly emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are eager to resume their travel plans and explore new destinations.

This surge in travel enthusiasm has led to a substantial rise in the number of people booking flights with Delta.

More people traveling in 2022 compared to past two years

In 2022, the number of people traveling has surpassed the levels seen in the past two years. With vaccination rates increasing and travel restrictions easing, individuals and families are seizing the opportunity to embark on long-awaited vacations and reunite with loved ones.

The desire to create new memories and experiences after a prolonged period of limited mobility has contributed to the soaring demand for flights.

Staffing struggles to meet surges in bookings

The sudden surge in travel demand has presented challenges for Delta Airlines in terms of staffing. The airline has to ensure that it has enough pilots, flight attendants, and ground crew to accommodate the increased number of flights and passengers.

Hiring and training new personnel takes time, and Delta is working tirelessly to recruit and train new staff members to meet the surge in bookings.

High load factors result in fuller flights

Another consequence of the increased travel demand is that Delta’s flights are operating at higher load factors. Load factor refers to the percentage of seats occupied on a flight. As more people are booking flights, the number of available seats on each flight is quickly filling up, resulting in fuller planes.

While this may be good news for the airline, as it signifies a return to pre-pandemic passenger levels, it can also lead to more limited seat availability for last-minute travelers.

Tips for Impacted Travelers

How to check your flight status before heading to the airport

When your flight gets cancelled, it can be both frustrating and inconvenient. To avoid unnecessary stress, it’s essential to stay informed about your flight status. Luckily, most airlines provide easy ways to check the status of your flight.

One of the simplest ways is to visit the airline’s website and enter your flight details. You can also use mobile apps or call the airline’s customer service hotline for updates. Additionally, signing up for flight status alerts via email or text message can keep you updated in real-time.

For accurate and up-to-date information, it’s recommended to check your flight status multiple times before heading to the airport. Weather conditions, air traffic, and other factors can change rapidly, leading to flight cancellations or delays.

By staying informed, you can make better decisions and manage your travel plans effectively.

Rebooking flights and receiving compensation

If your flight gets cancelled, the next step is to rebook your travel arrangements. Airlines typically offer options for rebooking, such as transferring to another flight or getting a refund. It’s important to contact your airline as soon as possible to explore your options.

Some airlines may also provide compensation for the inconvenience caused by flight cancellations. Compensation policies vary, so it’s advisable to check the airline’s website or contact their customer service for more information.

Keep in mind that compensation might include vouchers, meal allowances, or even accommodation if necessary.

In certain cases, such as flight cancellations due to airline negligence or overbooking, passengers may be entitled to additional compensation under the relevant regulations. If you believe you are eligible, it’s recommended to consult with a legal professional or contact the appropriate authorities for guidance.

Considering alternate airports if your flight gets cancelled

When facing a flight cancellation, it’s essential to explore all available options to reach your destination. One option is to consider alternate airports near your intended destination. Depending on the circumstances, airlines may be able to rebook you on a flight to a different airport within a reasonable distance.

Although this may involve additional travel time or transportation arrangements, it can be a viable solution to continue your journey. Before considering this option, it’s advisable to check for ground transportation options available from the alternate airport to your final destination.

Keep in mind that airlines may have specific policies regarding rebooking to alternate airports, so it’s important to communicate with them directly to explore this possibility.


Delta cancelling such a high percentage of its scheduled flights is an inconvenience for many travelers over the busy summer travel season. While the airline is working to address the pilot shortage and meet the high demand, operational challenges are likely to persist in the coming months.

If you’re booked on a Delta flight, frequently check your flight status in advance and understand your options if a cancellation occurs. With some preparation and flexibility, you can reduce some of the headaches from the recent wave of Delta cancellations.

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