Nothing ruins a trip faster than a delayed or canceled flight. Whether you're just heading out to start your vacation or heading back home, the last thing you want to do is sit around in the airport, or worse, get the runaround from the airline.
Delta passengers are feeling the sting of this right now. After a power outage hit its headquarters in Atlanta, the airline experienced a complete system shutdown. This shutdown impacted Delta's global computer system by grounding flights and causing headaches for tens of thousands of passengers.
The system failure began around 2:30 ET this morning, and took more than six hours to come up with a basic fix. Naturally, Delta's flight departure schedule became a complete mess, and it has even been reported that agents were forced to issue boarding passes by hand.
A limited number of flights have resumed. However, if you're flying Delta anytime over the next few days, it's highly likely you'll encounter some major delays. The full effect of this problem hasn't yet been felt, and Delta is scrambling to get back to "business as usual."
In the meantime, here's what you can do if you're stuck in this mess, or have loved ones who are.
1. Download the Delta app
One of the first things you need to do is download the app for Delta Airlines (Apple, Free; Android, Free). Right now, Delta officials are saying that the app is not 100 percent accurate with its flight details; however, you'll want this app on your phone the instant it's back up and running.
2. Use Twitter for assistance with flight plans
For immediate help with your flight plans, Delta is asking that you turn to Twitter. Send a tweet to @delta for assistance.
— Delta Assist (@DeltaAssist) April 4, 2016
3. Collect your waiver
Delta's CEO, Ed Bastian, has also released a statement that system-wide waivers will be issued. Waivers can be accessed by visiting Delta.com, or by speaking to a Delta agent.
Regarding the waiver, Delta's website says the following: "If your flight is canceled or significantly delayed, you are entitled to a refund. Even if your flight is not canceled, you may make a one-time change to your ticket without fee if you are scheduled to travel to, from, or through the following destination(s) on Delta, Delta Connection, or Delta-coded flights during the specified time period below."
The affected flights are listed as "All flights."
4. Where to check flight times
Delta has provided the following link where you can check in on the status of flights: http://www.delta.com/flightinfo/viewFlightStatusSetup
Due to the scramble, however, keep in mind that this information will be changing regularly.
5. Other forms of compensation
No matter how you slice it, rearranging your flight plans is going to be hectic over the next several days. If you're calling into Delta, expect wait times before you're able to speak with a representative. Remember, this problem is affecting tens of thousands of customers.
When you are able to speak with an agent, you can ask them for compensation via a future travel voucher. These vouchers range between $300-$500.
Delta typically issues what's called "Delta Dollars," which are eCredits that can be used to compensate customers when unexpected changes are made to their flights. Click here to learn more about Delta Dollars, and other frequently asked questions regarding suspended flights.