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Delta Extends Face Coverings Through 2020 Holiday Season

Delta Extends Face Coverings Through 2020 Holiday Season
Joe Cortez

Already thinking of holiday travelers, Delta Air Lines is committing to social distancing through the rest of the year. The airline says they will continue to block middle seats through Jan. 6, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of slowing down. They will also extend partnerships with cleaning brands to help keep planes clean and flyers safe.

Delta Air Lines says they will continue to block middle seats through the holiday season, as they work to engage flyers to fly with them throughout the pandemic. The airline announced they will continue to block middle seats for travelers not flying together through Jan. 6, 2021.

Social Distancing and Face Masks Required Through End of Year

Because the holidays tend to be a busy time for airlines, Delta is already thinking ahead for the influx of travelers they hope to serve at the end of the year. For that reason, the Atlanta-based airline is creating a plan to keep flyers safe throughout their travels.

To ensure social distancing is maintained, the airline will block middle seats for itineraries of up to two passengers, and allow middle seats for itineraries carrying three or more flyers. If a flight begins to fill, the airline says they will scale up to a larger aircraft if necessary, to ensure they can maintain social distancing.

In addition, the airline will continue to maintain face covering rules through the holidays. The airline says flyers should “expect to continue wearing masks or face coverings throughout the airport, in Delta Sky Clubs, and on-board aircraft through the winter holiday travel season and beyond.” The airline will keep their “Clearance-to-Fly” process for those who claim to have an underlying condition which prevents them from wearing a face covering.

“From the healthcare perspective at Emory, we see how the use of masks protects those around us every day,” the airline stated in a letter signed by CEO Ed Bastian. “Study after study shows that wearing masks helps prevent transmission; one study indicated that COVID-19 would drop to approximately one-twelfth the number of infections if 80 percent of Americans wore masks.”

Although Delta is limiting the number of passengers aboard aircraft, the Delta One premium cabin may feel a little more full than usual. While the main cabin will be socially distanced, the business-class product will be offered at full capacity starting Oct. 1, because the seating area “is designed with more space and privacy built in.”

Delta Extends Partnerships to Keep Flyers Healthy

In addition to committing to social distancing and face coverings, Delta will also leverage their existing partnerships in an attempt to keep flyers healthy. The airline is working with both Emory University and the Mayo Clinic to regularly test employees, while working with the makers of Lysol to keep cabins clean. The Delta Global Cleanliness division was created in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure cabins met high standards of cleanliness to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus.

Although they will be selling less seats, it may not cost Delta revenue in the long run. A recent study of Delta’s practices and finances shows they are potentially making more per seat-mile than competitors who are booking cabins to capacity.

Feature image courtesy: Delta Air Lines

View Comments (2)

2 Comments

  1. Hawkeyefan

    August 20, 2020 at 9:25 pm

    News: 80% of people ARE wearing masks right now, and look where were at?

  2. KRSW

    August 24, 2020 at 8:26 am

    As much as I liked Delta and have many friends who work there, they’ve given me no choice — We’re flying charter/private flights now and it appears we will continue to do so for the rest of the year. Reduced service, wearing masks for 8-10+ hours, no thank you. Not having to deal with all of the hassle of airline travel (including TSA)? Priceless.

    FWIW, Florida’s major spike didn’t happen until AFTER the masks were mandated… Likewise, positivity rates also went up dramatically AFTER masks were mandated in many Florida counties, with the positivity rates for counties with mask mandates being higher than those which never implemented them. Perhaps masks work in other situations, but at least here they seem to be part of the problem, not the solution. Maybe it’s for the best — get herd immunity established faster.

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