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A Delta Crewmember on What It’s Really Like to Fly During a Pandemic

A Delta Crewmember on What It’s Really Like to Fly During a Pandemic
Marcy Knaves
For those of us who are new to this community, you should know that FlyerTalk isn’t just a place where you can find out how to get a refund for your flight cancellation, or what it’s like to be a passenger who still has to fly. It’s also a place where community members who love flying, for work and for pleasure, come together to share their experiences.
One of those community members is a Delta Air Lines crew member who wanted members of the Delta forum to know what it’s like to fly on the front lines of a global pandemic.
Some of you may have seen my posts on here. I occasionally pop in and out to provide a cabin crew perspective or clarification. I love reading what you write to envision your expectations when you board one of my flights and have learned a lot.

Hopefully, I have also helped some of you understand why we do things that seem weird from your seat. I feel that I have a bit more empathy when I encounter a frequent flyer who is upset and even when I cross paths with a DYKWIA. Some times I shake my head at your anecdotes because, with 25,000 colleagues, there’s bound to be a weird one now and again.

While we are all adjusting to this crazy situation, I’m asking that y’all be a bit more empathetic to the crew who is working.

Some of us haven’t flown a pattern as scheduled in weeks. Ending up in weird places and hotels.

Some have kids or elderly relatives they live with who are still out flying because they can’t afford to take a leave but are stressed about every return from trips.

Some of our senior mamas are flying domestic for the first time in ages, and let me tell ya – many are fantastic even though they can’t tell up from down in a narrow body galley.

Our procedures are changing by the day. I’m sure many of you are experiencing similar things in your own workplaces and communities.

This isn’t asking you to ignore or disregard rude/condescending/unacceptable behavior from a crew member – that’s never okay. But a tad bit more patience and if the crew did a great job, a genuine thank you at the end of the flight.

I was rerouted more times than I could count on my latest trip. You would have thought I was flying in and out of JFK during peak traffic in a severe snowstorm. But one thing that lifted me was during deplaning, I had so many more genuine thank you’d than I have experienced ever in my career.

For those of you who still have to fly, for whatever reason, I appreciate you! For those of you suspending because of a host of other reasons – I look forward to seeing you again soon.

View Comments (7)


  1. Marathon Man

    March 27, 2020 at 4:54 am

    I applaud those still working on planes.

    All I can say is that the airline business MUST always clean planes thoroughly between all flights! Seems they used to a lot more than they do now and this should NOT be the job of flight attendants and crew.

    It has to be a priority and has to be worked into daily business schedules so these things are avoided in the future

  2. DHG(Th)


    March 27, 2020 at 5:21 am

    Thank you for your excellent service, especially during this “pandemic” time. One of my rituals is to take some snacks (chocolates) to give to the crew on every one of my segments. I miss doing that, especially since all business travel has been shutdown by my company. I enjoy seeing the smile on crew faces when they look down in the gift bag. It’s like I can’t believe this. And a lot of times on International flights, I get a handwritten thanks from that crew. Stay safe during this tough time.

  3. vassoo

    March 27, 2020 at 7:48 am

    Thank You for your service. I hope to be flying again soon.

  4. lalismom

    March 27, 2020 at 10:28 am

    I’ve noticed less planes flying over and I miss them. I always look up and think of you all working and say a prayer. Hoping we all get through this and thank you for all you do…

  5. Morgacj2004

    March 27, 2020 at 11:26 am

    I recently brought chocolates for the FA on my flight in F to Tokyo on JAL. They really appreciated the gesture. I did the same for the hotel staff when I checked into my Cebu City hotel for a 14 day stay. One silver lining to the current COVID19 outbreak is that perhaps the airlines will continue to institute the new cleaning/ sanitizing procedures even once this outbreak is over. It really is something that should have been done all of the time not just during a crisis.

  6. Jackie_414

    March 27, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    While we applaud and thank the cabin crews and flight deck crews, we retain disdain for the executives who have gutted frequent flyer programs. That, plus holding people in planes for hours, literally beating passengers, killing pets, denying compensation for flight cancellations has resulted in airlines not having support in the public and in Congress.

  7. cscasi

    March 28, 2020 at 8:14 pm

    To Jackie_414.
    There always has to be someone who gets off topic and complains about something not having t do with this pandemic. Save it for later, PLEASE!
    I really applaud the flight crews for what they continue to do in this trying time. ALL THE BEST TO YOU ALL! STAY SAFE!

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