Delta CEO Showcases Company’s Positive Impact on the World at SXSW with Stories of Resilience and Culture


Delta CEO Showcases Company’s Positive Impact on the World at SXSW with Stories of Resilience and Culture

In a memorable mainstage session at the SXSW festival in Austin, Delta CEO Ed Bastian discussed the importance of putting people, including employees, customers, and communities, at the center of business. Speaking with Fortune Editor-in-Chief Alyson Shontell, Bastian emphasized the significance of culture in shaping a company’s values and success. He explained that Delta invests in its people and empowers them to provide excellent customer service, a practice that has defined the airline for almost a hundred years.

Bastian also reflected on some of the company’s most challenging moments, such as bankruptcy and the COVID-19 pandemic. He highlighted how Delta’s decisions to prioritize the well-being of its employees and customers, like implementing profit-sharing for employees and blocking the sale of middle seats during the pandemic, ultimately helped build trust and strengthen the brand. According to Bastian, doing the right thing ultimately proves to be the smart thing.

Following the discussion between Bastian and Shontell, the stage hosted a live episode of Gaining Altitude, a series by Delta, featuring Chef José Andrés. As a renowned restaurateur, humanitarian, and CEO, Andrés shares Delta’s commitment to taking care of guests and employees through his various ventures. Both Bastian and Andrés discussed the importance of leading purpose-driven companies, embracing complexity, and creating meaningful experiences for customers.

Chef Andrés emphasized that opening a restaurant is more than just about the food; it’s about the people behind the scenes who make it all possible. He and Bastian found common ground in their shared belief in creating opportunities for customers to enjoy unique experiences, whether through food or travel. The conversation between Bastian and Andrés will be available to watch on Gaining Altitude in the coming month.

Lastly, as the official airline partner of SXSW, Delta is offering exclusive benefits to its SkyMiles Members, including expedited access to popular events and access to a members’ lounge at the heart of the festival. Delta’s commitment to its customers and dedication to creating exceptional experiences aligns with the spirit of the festival and showcases the airline’s ongoing efforts to prioritize people in every aspect of its business.

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