Back in August 2016, after a five-hour power outage forced Delta Airlines to cancel hundreds of flights costing the airline more than $150 million, Captain Craig Alexander came up with a brilliant idea for a text messaging app for flight crews. Alexander claims to have spent $100,000 of his own money and developed the QrewLive app which is designed to help flight crews communicate when issues surface after a disrupted flight.
Pilot develops app which he claims Delta stole to create its own version; lawsuit seeks more than $1 billion from the airline
A Delta spokesman, Morgan Durrant, said, “While we take the allegations specified in Mr. Alexander’s complaint seriously, they are not an accurate or fair description of Delta’s development of its internal crew messaging platform.” The lawsuit goes into more detail, mentioning an email that Alexander wrote to Delta Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian saying that the Captain had a solution for the issue that cost Delta all of that money. The executive responded by referring Alexander to the company’s new chief information officer Rahul Samant.
Plaintiff/Pilot says Delta’s FFC app is a “carbon copy knock-off” of his app
When it comes to the damages that Alexander is seeking, he says that the value of the purloined technology “based solely upon operational cost savings to Delta, conservatively exceeds $1 billion.” Besides seeking damages in excess of $1 billion, the pilot seeks punitive damages from Delta. According to the suit, “To add insult to theft and injury, Captain Craig Alexander must use his stolen QrewLive text messaging platform every day while he works for Delta. Each time he looks at the FFC app, he is painfully reminded that Delta stole his proprietary trade secrets, (and) used them to Delta’s enormous financial benefit.”
Delta claims that its app works well, replacing the old methods used to communicate among crew members including two-way radios, word of mouth, jetway phones, and runs down the jet bridge to spread messages between crew members.