What We Can Learn from Delta Air Lines

August 11, 2016

By Paula Bernier - Executive Editor, TMC

A look at this week’s news serves as ample evidence of the need for businesses to invest in, and ensure the efficacy of, power backup systems and everything that is required for the smooth transition to those systems should they be required. I am, of course, referring here to the Delta Air Lines outage on Monday that resulted in 2,100 cancelled flights and a significant number of delays.

The company initially attributed its troubles to an outage at the Atlanta power company. But later Delta said it was actually due to an internal outage followed by the failure of its backup system to take over.

These failures resulted in a public relations and traveler nightmare, whose impacts are still being felt today. In a move to quell public customer frustration and media questions about the problems Delta Air Lines posted a video of CEO Ed Bastian on its website explaining the situation and saying “this isn’t who we are.” In the video, Bastian reminded viewers of what he indicated was a typically low flight cancellation rate, and he said that Delta in recent years has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades and backup systems to prevent this kind of thing from occurring. Delta did have a backup power source in place, he said, but it didn’t take over as expected.

All of this would seem to point to the fact that not only should organizations have backup power supplies in place, but they should ensure they are in good working order and that related processes and systems are in place to ensure they work as expected. This story also illustrates the reliance that both businesses and individuals now place on online systems to move people and products, serve customers and generally get work done.  So, whether we’re talking about a power system, access to data or the connectivity that ties everything together, it’s important to choose and check on system availability, reliability and security. 

Edited by Alicia Young

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