Inside Delta’s Atlanta operations center. (Video included.)

Inside Delta's operations center in Atlanta.

Inside Delta’s operations center in Atlanta.

Deep inside Delta’s mammoth Atlanta headquarters is the operations center, where employees track and plan the carrier’s roughly 2,500 daily flights on more than 720 mainline aircraft.

The 700 employees inside the facility are in charge of things like flight planning, monitoring weather (there are 24 meteorologists on staff), coordinating with pilots about in-flight maintenance issues and when, necessary, canceling flights. There’s also a corporate security officials on duty, and officials monitor political unrest in places like Thailand. In all, there are 27 different departments in room.

On the day I visited — Dec. 30 — Ray Redlich, a director of operations management, shared this amazing statistic with me. In 2013, Delta did not cancel a single flight on 70 different days. Not one flight. (That does not include Delta Connection flights, which are branded “Delta” but actually operated by regional airlines.) In 2012, Redlich told me, there were only 14 such days.

Delta 4

Redlich has been with Delta for 39 years, and he said many of his colleagues are also long-timers. That’s Delta’s competitive advantage, he said. “There’s not a bunch of kids in here making decisions,” he said.

Redlich is an avuncular fellow and a great interview. Watch him describe what he does in a 45-second Tout video. (And he did it one take, which is impressive.

Want more? Over the summer, I visited United’s network operations center. Here’s my post.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Linkedin Reddit Tumblr Email