This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
During a recent trip to Delta’s headquarters in Atlanta, I was privileged to spend time with its in-house meteorology team – a 25-person group of experts that fully grok the ins and outs of how weather can impact air travel. That bunch, working in concert with Delta’s Digital Transformation and Information Technology groups, will soon launch its latest forecasting innovation just in time for winter.
While the airline has already stated that a dedicated Go Team of de-icers will go to extreme lengths – even sleeping on Delta One lie-flat seats overnight as storms bear down – to keep operations flowing, the meteorology team will be working stay as far ahead of impending weather as possible.
The new, interactive forecasting system will be used to help “track advancing weather data in one centralized location and better inform operations teams of how the airline is managing and monitoring irregular operations (IROPs).” Following a soft launch in mid-November for testing, the tool is scheduled to be put in place across the Delta system early next year.
With the staggering amount of data coming in each hour, the new tool ensures operations leaders have the latest information, even when sudden changes in forecast data occur. It also consolidates information from four different weather models into one unified platform specific to each airport and pushes out alerts if any inconsistencies are detected from new model updates.
The tool’s five-day forecast page also offers a daily weather synopsis of domestic and international regions, existing tropical systems and airports impacted by IROPs. Operational teams who receive the report will also be able view up to 72 hours of detailed hourly intervals of forecasted weather for hubs and major airports in the network.
So, how will all of this impact you, the traveler? We’re glad you asked.
In the future, the meteorology team plans to incorporate real-time weather monitoring and airport-specific information for all airports within the Delta network into the new tool. While a timeline hasn’t been confirmed, Delta does intend to “include integration into alerts for customers as well as direct use by customer service agents and other frontline employees to keep them updated on weather changes.”
Currently, the process of trying to forecast whether or not a weather system will impact one’s travel is stressful and fraught with uncertainty. In my experience, it involves peering at a radar on a weather app, extrapolating how fast the system is moving, staring at an expected departure time and then checking the status of the inbound aircraft.
I’d much prefer a world where I knew Delta’s in-house team was monitoring all of that for me, far more accurately than I ever could, sending me useful alerts when weather patterns change and may impact my travel one way or the other. I’d love it even more if it would automatically serve up alternative routes, earlier flights or options for flying to a nearby airport paired with a Lyft to get me to my ultimate destination. That part, of course, is just wishful thinking for now, but if Delta’s savviness on the innovation side continues to trend in its current direction it may not be farfetched.
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards