By Demola Ojo
In bringing the best technology to bear in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Delta Air Lines is assuring passengers of the safest possible environment to fly in.
According to Delta CEO Ed Bastian, during Delta’s annual shareholders meeting last week, Delta’s CareStandard – the airline’s commitment to a superior level of cleanliness, more space and safer service – is designed to ensure customers can travel with confidence.
As a result of the airline’s comprehensive approach to health safety for customers and employees, the rate of positive COVID-19 cases among Delta’s global employees is nearly five times lower than the US national average in May and during the first half of June 2020.
According to Delta, customers can count on aircraft interiors sanitized before 100% of flights, using a high-grade electrostatic spray that seeks out and clings to surfaces, instantly killing viruses on contact. The spraying method allows the disinfectant to reach even the smallest nooks and crannies of interiors like the corners of overhead bins.
The electrostatic spray sanitization continues to be expanded to employee areas, gates, baggage claim, jet bridges and other common areas.
Delta also assures of wiping down surfaces customers care about most, including tray tables, seat-back entertainment screens, seat belts, arm rests and more.
According to Delta, cleaner air on board is also assured as air onboard is recirculated every two to six minutes with fresh, outside air or through HEPA filters that extract more than 99.99% of particles, including viruses.
These filters function similarly to filters used in hospital operating rooms, and Delta is committed to changing them out twice as often as recommended by the manufacturer.
The airline is also making it easy to keep hands clean with easy access to a hand sanitizing station. Delta is also providing each customer with sanitizing wipes or gel packs upon boarding and as part of snack bag service on board.
There are also be cues for safe distance, from check-in lobby bag-drop lines to gate areas and jet bridges. The airline will be providing spacing markers to make it easy to determine a safe distance from others in the area.
Delta is also boarding customers 10 at a time starting at the back of the plane to reduce the instances of people passing one another in the aisle. Additionally, customers will notice acrylic shields on all Delta counters to protect both customers and employees during ongoing interactions.
Additional layers of protection Delta will have in place for the foreseeable future, include mandatory face masks for all travellers.
The airline will also be creating more space on board, by limiting the number of people allowed to book seats on flights to 60 per cent in the main cabin and 50 per cent in First Class, while blocking the ability to select middle seats. This will be in place until Sept. 30, at which point it will be re-evaluated.
Customers arriving at a Delta check-in area without a face mask will receive a complimentary care kit to comply with mask requirements and individual hand sanitizer gel pouches.
In addition to temperature checks for all employees when they arrive at work, Delta has launched a program to test employees for COVID-19 – both the active virus and antibodies.
Delta also says it is working to build customer confidence by making sure travellers are aware of what they can do to help reduce the spread of the virus when travelling.
This includes pre-flight emails with tips for travel including reminders about its face mask requirement and links to information about Delta CareStandard so they can know what to expect before ever setting foot in the airport.
Customers are also notified through a push notification in the Fly Delta app and gate information displays when their aircraft has been sanitized and passed through inspection.