< PrevNext > Bob Somers, Delta Air Lines SVP of global sales The Gauntlet Thrower By Michael B. Baker / December 20, 2016 / Contact Reporter Share In 2015 when Delta Air Lines introduced its Operational Performance Commitment—a guarantee to corporate customers that its on-time and cancellation performance would remain above at least one of its two major competitors, backed up by the promise of compensation—it was not much of a gamble. After all, the carrier had just come off a year in which it had nearly 10 times the number of perfect completion days as both United Airlines and American Airlines combined. This year, however, the Delta sales team, led by Somers, has worked hard to show the guarantee is more than a gimmick. "Customers were the ones telling us we were not taking enough credit for operational excellence," Somers said. "We created this to be the first in the industry with a service-level agreement to stand by our performance and make sure it was more visible to customers and the industry." Bells and whistles and discounts mean nothing if they can't trust that you're going to be reliable and on time." This year, United Airlines followed Delta and launched its own operations guarantee to corporate clients, with a similar promise but different metrics. For example, United measured performance across its full network, while Delta measured only mainline domestic flights. Not to be outdone, Delta tweaked its own guarantee this summer, expanding it to include international and regional flight performance and including uncontrollable delays and cancellations and mishandled baggage complaints. Additionally, Delta developed a calculator for corporate customers to quantify the operational performance-based savings of using Delta.It remains to be seen whether American Airlines will jump into the competition that Delta started, but Delta certainly plans to continue adapting its offering, Somers said. "We are already crafting the next step, being generated by customer feedback."