During Delta’s annual shareholders meeting Thursday, CEO Ed Bastian shared details about the Delta CareStandard – the global airline’s commitment to a superior level of cleanliness, more space and safer service 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 U.S. national average in May and during the first half of June 2020.
Customers can count on the following layers of protection across the Delta experience indefinitely:
Aircraft interiors sanitized before 100% of flights: Every flight. Every day. Everywhere. That’s Delta’s commitment to sanitizing aircraft interiors because customers value cleanliness, above all, is the most important factor they consider whether to return to travel. Delta uses two proven disinfecting methods:
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 an interiors like the corners of overhead bins. Electrostatic spray sanitization continues to be expanded to employee areas, gates, baggage claim, jet bridges and other common areas.
Wiping down surfaces customers care about most including tray tables, seat-back entertainment screens, seat belts, arm rests and more.
Cleaner air on board: 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.
Making it easy to keep your hands clean: One of the first things customers notice when entering any Delta airport space is that they’re never more than a few steps away from 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.
Cues for safe distance: From check-in lobby bag-drop lines to gate areas and jet bridges, Delta is providing spacing markers to make it easy to determine a safe distance from others in the area. They are 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 include those Delta will have in place for the foreseeable future, including:
Face masks are required for everyone: Delta has had a mask-wearing requirement in place since May for customers and employees because medical experts say that wearing a mask is one of the most important ways customers and employees can help prevent the spread of the virus while flying. It also provides a consistent layer of protection across all travel touchpoints. Delta takes mask requirements just as seriously as the non-negotiable requirements for customers to remain seated when taxiing or wearing a seat belt during take-off. That’s why those who don’t comply with crewmember or ambassador instruction to wear a face covering or follow other safety requirements risk future flight privileges with Delta.
Creating more space by limiting people on board: Delta has capped the number of people allowed to book seats on flights at 60% in the main cabin and 50% in First Class, while blocking the ability to select middle seats. They’re committed to this through Sept. 30, at which point it'll be re-evaluated. Delta is doing all of this because medical experts recommend having space between each other in conjunction with wearing a mask as an important step in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Similarly, customers are telling us that having more space between travelers is one of the most important factors they consider when deciding to fly.
Care Kits provide customers travel safety essentials: 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. The kit also includes an information card that outlines the Delta CareStandard layers of protection. Bill Lentsch, Chief Customer Experience Officer said of the Care Kits: “Our survey data showed a clear desire for these kits and we have a bias toward action when we see new trends emerge."
Testing employees before they go to work: 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. They view this as a critical step in protecting employees, families, coworkers and customers that can help identify ill employees even if they are not exhibiting symptoms.
The Delta CareStandard is the foundation of cleanliness and care upon which the future Delta travel experience – one that brings joy back to travel – is being built. That’s why Delta launched the Global Cleanliness organization. This unique organization led by their VP of Global Cleanliness will continue innovating and elevating cleanliness so that Delta’s transformed standards remain just as high, if not higher, as more customers return to travel. This new division will bring the same focus and rigor through data, testing and tracking to cleanliness that Delta is known for in transforming customer expectations on tracking bags and on-time reliability. In doing so, the new standard of cleanliness is fast becoming an underpinning of the Delta culture.
Delta is working to build customer confidence by making sure travelers are aware of what they can do to help reduce the spread of virus when traveling and confirming the layers of protection Delta has in place.