Delta's been on a roll during the past few years, and now it's pressing the advantage. The airline will compensate well-performing corporate accounts when on-time performance and completion factor are worse than both American's and United's after a full calendar year. Because Delta has been running a tight ship, it's not a very risky move. Travel managers like it and they, too, have nothing to lose. Even so, this is just a start.

Tech developers and travel management companies commonly provide service level commitments. But with airlines, they're between rare and nonexistent . . .

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