Delta CEO Gives Up Seat

Jessie Frank was having one of those nightmare travel days.  She was heading home to Atlanta to pick up her 12-year-old daughter from diabetes summer camp. And she really wanted to be there because she wanted to be part of the end of camp experience with her daughter. The last day they roast marshmallows, sing, tell stories; it's kinda neat! But there she was stuck at the airport because of weather delays, flight cancellations and a mechanical failure landed Jessie at a Washington, D.C. airport instead.

She was put on a standby list and she figured, "Well, I'll miss it." Her name was 8th on the list of a very overbooked flight.


By 9:30 p.m.  It looked hopeless. Slowly but surely the names were called.


Somehow, flight attendants found room for the first seven people on the list and, just as Frank was about to give up, the gate agent called her name and rushed her down the jet bridge.


“A vaguely familiar face met me at the doorway, not in uniform so probably an off-duty pilot I had seen before,” Frank wrote in Facebook post. “He quickly grabbed my roll-aboard, helped clear a space in the overhead, and showed me to my seat.”

As the plane descended into Atlanta, the flight attendant announced that there was a special guest on board. He was riding in a jump seat, because he had given up his place to allow one more person on that flight. That special guest was you: Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta.

And that's when it dawned on Jessie....the “familiar face” was not an off-duty pilot. It was the CEO of Delta, vaguely familiar from the safety video. It was  Richard Anderson, who gave up his seat for  her. It was the Delta CEO, who helped her  with her bag.   It was him acting just like an ordinary Mr. Anderson, who showed me to my seat.

On Jessie Frank's Facebook page, she wrote an open letter to Richard Anderson, the CEO of Delta. She thanks all the employees of Delta and describes the amazing charity of that moment and she ended with:

You, Richard Anderson, the CEO of Delta, did all that for me, just an average, middle-aged, woman with, as far as anyone at Delta knew, no special reason to get home. But more importantly, it was all of your employees that day that did so much helping me to get home – and now I know why. Because Delta is led by you, Richard Anderson, a dedicated and inspiring leader who so clearly demonstrates, at his very core, that he leads by example, and does not set himself above all those who allow this airline to exist.

Thank you, Richard Anderson. As a result of your leadership and the actions of yourself and your employees, I had my special day with my special child. You and your employees gave us both one more day of happiness, and for that, we are both very grateful. I have always been a loyal Delta customer, but Thursday solidified that loyalty for life! To all Delta employees who helped me on Thursday: thank you again.