To help them out, Delta is offering "Our Airline, Our Business," a business-literacy class that's so popular among employees that they must wait four weeks for an opening, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The J-C reports that one six-hour class began with instructor Tanya Frankshaw explaining the income statement, which measures revenue, which Delta takes in from carrying passengers and cargo, and expenses. Airlines have enormous fixed costs, primarily for employee salaries, fuel and planes.
Employees sitting at round tables in groups of five shared a game board using red and white chips to account for the money flowing in and out of Delta. They came from all over the airline - flight attendants, mechanics, reservations agents, and others.
As the day progressed, the employees went through a mock fiscal year, rolling dice to determine revenue and costs. The year included unplanned conundrums, including the chain of events and financial ramifications of a plane being damaged at the gate; a canceled flight; mechanical delays; passengers being put up for the night; and declining employee morale because of extra work.
"People's eyes really light up when they understand" all the elements affecting the bottom line, Frankshaw said. "With everything the industry is going through, it helps to put it in perspective."
Delta President Fred Reid came up with the idea, according to the Journal-Constitution.
ta Airlines, like most major carriers, is reporting record operating losses, so knowing the economics of the airline industry has become a major preoccupation among employees of the Atlanta-based company.