Good Morning Friends and Colleagues,

My subject is planning for the inevitable flight plan closure. Writing pilot obituaries puts me in contact with the survivors of deceased NWA/Delta pilots. If you are planning to close out your final flight plan in the near future you might find what follows to be helpful. I do not mean to demean any of you, nor even to suggest I am one up on you regarding finances. Please just take this as an observation and an attempt to be helpful.

Those survivors of NWA/Delta pilots who have died in 2020 are encountering delays in receiving their bequeathed survivor benefits. This is not due to any malfeasance on the part of Delta. To the contrary, the Delta HR people are simply swamped by the massive increase in the numbers of retirees due to the Covid-19 early retirements and buyouts. In the past I have advised survivors to anticipate a six week delay for their payouts after they have been assigned a case number. Right now it might be advisable to double that time.

Important - your survivors will need your Delta employee number, the NWA employee number is not enough. Do you visit the Delta Employee website, if not there is plenty of information available to prepare your family for that final moment. If you do not have a password for the Delta Employee website (, you can obtain one by calling the number that follows. The contact number for the Delta Airline Employee Service Center (ESC) is 1-800-693-3582 (1-800-MY-DELTA).   

Remember the Survivors’ information checklist? Surviving family members tell me this has been especially helpful at the time death.

This morning a recent widow recommended that you keep at least three months of living expense funds readily available for your surviving spouse.

Now there is good news. The group life insurance policy through Metropolitan Life Insurance Company pays up the group benefit rather quickly.  

Forgive me for pontificating, but some recent contacts with survivors motivated this message.

Warm Regards to All,

Bill Day