Chief Executive Officer at Delta Air Lines
Well, thank you, Julie. Good morning everyone. We appreciate you joining us today. Before we begin, I want to acknowledge the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. We are proud to have raised the Ukrainian flag at our global headquarters in Atlanta in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. At Delta, we've provided meaningful financial and operational support to assist the people of the region in connection with our partnership through the International Red Cross. This morning we reported March quarter results marking another important step forward in our recovery.
We generated $200 million of free cash flow in the quarter and a 10% operating margin in the month of March. Our revenue recovery in the March quarter reached 79% of 2019 levels, five points ahead of the midpoint of our initial guidance. As expected, January and February generated operating losses. As Omicron receded, we saw a surge in demand, supporting an inflection to a solid profit in the month of March. Delta continues to provide best-in-class operational, customer and financial results in a dynamic environment. This results from the dedication, professionalism and hard work of Delta's more than 75,000 people worldwide.
Restoring capacity during a period of rapid demand recovery has proven challenging for all of us in the industry but Delta people continue to lead the way. I want to thank our customers for their patience and understanding as we navigate the challenges of ramping up operations into the peak travel period, and I know our teams have been working incredibly hard and I want to thank all of them for what they're doing for our customers and for each other. We rewarded our people, excuse me, with a special profit sharing payout in February based on the second half of 2021 profitability and announced a 4% pay increase that's going to be effective May 1. These actions align with Delta's longstanding values of shared success with our people.
With the rebound in demand, the month of March was the best cash sales month in Delta's history, outpacing our prior record from spring of 2019 despite offering 10% fewer seats. In March, we had our first month in two years of positive unit revenue compared to 2019 and we achieved record co-brand acquisitions, co-brand spend in cargo revenue. Domestic consumer revenues are exceeding 2019 levels and the recovery in business travel revenue has accelerated as offices reopen and business travelers rebuild face-to-face relationships. Demand for long haul international is growing as travel restrictions lift led by the Transatlantic.
To-date, we have not seen an impact to travel demand from the conflict in Ukraine, but we of course are monitoring this closely. Nearly all European countries have now removed entry testing requirements for vaccinated customers. We continue to join the rest of the U.S. travel industry in urging the U.S. government to lift pre-departure testing requirements. As we prepare for the peak summer season, we continue to be very focused on operational readiness. With 4,000 new members joining the Delta team already this year, we feel good about our staffing and our ability to meet demand as we continue to restore the airline.
Our customers are seeing the benefits of our ongoing investments to improve the travel experience. This spring, we are opening new modernized terminals in Los Angeles, LaGuardia and Seattle. These generational investments enhance Delta's already leading positions in key hubs and provide an elevated ground experience for our customers. We continue to upgrade our fleet, recently taken delivery of our first Airbus 321neo. The state-of-the-art aircraft is scheduled to begin service May 20 from Boston to San Francisco and features our new domestic first-class seat design.
With nearly one-third of the seats in premium cabins and improved fuel efficiency, these will be the best aircraft we fly for our customers and generate the highest returns for our owners. Our strategic decision to accelerate investments in our airports, our fleet and our technology during the pandemic will benefit Delta and our customers for years to come. As COVID shifts from a pandemic to a manageable seasonal virus, there are clear signs of pent-up demand for travel and experiences as consumer spending shifts from goods to services and experiences. Travel restrictions lift and business travelers continue to return to the skies.
Against this improving backdrop, we are building momentum in the June quarter with expectations for a 12% to 14% operating margin and strong free cash flow despite higher fuel prices. Our revenue recovery is expected to reach 93% to 97% of 2019 levels with double-digit unit revenue improvement. We are successfully recapturing a significant portion of the run-up in fuel. This is occurring almost in real time, given the strong demand environment as well as Delta's growing brand preference, our premium product focus and measured approach to capacity.
While we are confident in summer demand and the capacity plans that we have in place given macro uncertainty, we will remain nimble on capacity for the second half of the year and continue to prioritize sustained profitability. I'd like to pause and put that Q2 guidance into perspective. At 12% to 14% operating profit, we are only four points behind our June 2019 quarterly operating margin, and that's despite fuel prices being up 50% from that time period and our capacity only 85% restored. So we are greatly encouraged by the momentum we are seeing and we remain confident in our outlook for meaningful full-year profit for 2022.
As we take note of these achievements, I'm pleased with the progress we're making across the three core priorities we laid out at Capital Markets Day last December. First, we continue to fortify our trusted consumer brand, demonstrated by loyalty and record engagement with our customers. The strength of our brand has never been greater and has been recognized by The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Business Travel News and many, many others. And our customers are taking note that our net promoter scores consistently above 2019 coming out of the pandemic.
We intend to build on the momentum we gained over the last two years. Second, we are restoring our financial performance. As revenue improves and we regain a competitive cost structure, returning to profitability, generating strong free cash flow and making progress on debt repayment. And our third priority is building a better future for our people and our planet, including our ongoing commitment to creating a sustainable future for aviation.
We are continuing to invest in the physical, emotional and financial well-being of our people, while prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels of the company. Our mission of connecting the world has never been more important than it is today and I'm as confident as ever that we will achieve our ambition for our leading consumer brand to transcend the industry and deliver financial outcomes that create significant and resilient long-term value for all of our stakeholders. It's been an encouraging period of recovery and it's exciting to see our customers returning to the skies. Thank you again.
And with that, I'll turn it over to Glen to update the revenue environment.