Visiting Delta

Late last week I was sitting at home taking care of three dogs, helping concierge clients, and realizing that my wife wouldn’t be back home for a week. I looked at my calendar to see what this week held, and sure enough, it was pretty light. I decided to come visit Delta in Atlanta.

See, Delta and I had been trying to coordinate a visit for about 6 months, but it never worked for one reason or another. This time, I knew it was last minute, but Delta’s corp comm team went above and beyond to pull the thing together. It was an absolutely fantastic visit, but I’m exhausted. I probably have enough material to fill two weeks worth of posts, but I just don’t have time to get started with details today. Want to know the highlight? Here it is:

Delta Ship 41

Yep, that’s Delta’s Ship 41, the first DC-3 that carried Delta passengers. It was painstakingly restored and now sits in the Delta Museum, which is located in the airline’s original Atlanta hangars. It is only open for employee visits once a month, but Curator Tiffany Meng kindly opened it for me to take a look. I also had the pleasure of finally meeting Archives Manager Marie Force. I could have spent a week in the archives easily.

It’s actually not fair to say this was the highlight, because there were just so many other excellent meetings. I had the chance to tour TechOps (maintenance) and speak with the head of the organization. I did the same with cargo, and I was able to interview the people running eCommerce and SkyMiles. (Yes, I asked about the award calendar and SkyMiles redemption, don’t worry.)

I met with the head of reservations about the new @DeltaAssist effort, and I ended the day with Glen Hauenstein, CMO and EVP Network Planning, Revenue Management and Marketing. I shouldn’t say the day ended there, because we had some good ole’ Southern food afterwards. My arteries are not happy.

They even flew me out in the front of the bus, which was certainly unnecessary. I ended up on the 777 on the way out with the herringbone seats, and I’m riding a 757 home. As you can tell, there’s a lot to share with you after this visit.

Overall, I found the trip to be a good (if very basic) look inside the Delta culture. Seeing a corporate communications group that’s so willing to open up and talk with a blogger individually is rare, but it’s especially surprising when it comes from a legacy carrier.

While I don’t agree with everything Delta has done, I found a very driven group of people that had really already considered every question I asked. They aren’t just sitting still. Sometimes they didn’t know the answer, but other times they just hadn’t been able to implement things yet because they’re trying to do so much.

Sorry I don’t have more to report today, but there’s a lot of digesting left to do. I’ll start writing and posting on this tomorrow. It may take me awhile to get through it all, so please be patient.

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