Trying to reach Delta Air Lines for travel help but can't get through because of long hold times?
Don't expect much relief this summer.
CEO Ed Bastian said Wednesday that the airline expects to return to normal wait times by September.
Delta is hiring more than 5,000 people to help with record call volumes and other services.
"It's not a question of providing the staffing. We're doing everything we can," he said on the airline's quarterly earnings conference call.
As travel roars back from pandemic lows, the airline and its competitors have seen an unprecedented spike in calls, which take longer to handle because passengers sometimes have complicated questions over pandemic travel credits and ever-changing restrictions around the globe.
Please hold: Airline customer service hold times skyrocket
Travelers report waits of as long as nine hours on Delta, missed callbacks and no ability to directly message the airline on Twitter without tweeting first. (The airline says it suspended the message option in the fall; other airlines still offer it, and it's often the quickest way to get help.)
Bastian said hours-long wait times are not the norm, and the average wait is about an hour.
"Which is, by the way, way too long," he added. "By September, we expect to get that back down to normal levels."
The normal wait time before the pandemic was a few minutes, according to Delta spokesperson Morgan Durrant.
Bastian said the airline, which prides itself on its strong brand reputation is "incredibly sensitive" to the issue.
"We've been providing great service, but the service levels that customers should expect and deserve, you'll be getting that from Delta in the next couple months," Bastian said.
When asked by USA TODAY how passengers can best reach the airline during this challenging time, Bastian offered an unusual option.
"People email me every day, every hour, and that's a good way,” he said. "If somebody needs help, just send me a note. I'll take care of you."
He didn't offer his email, but here it is: email@example.com. (USA TODAY verified the email and Bastian said, "Be kind.")
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Delta Air Lines customer service: CEO says hold times will improve