Category Archives: Delta Air Lines

Harvard study: Masks, when worn throughout travel, offer significant protection from COVID-19

From Delta Air Lines:

Face masks are an essential part of a layered strategy to keep customers safe and reduce transmission of COVID-19 throughout air travel, according to a new technical bulletin published this week by faculty at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study’s conclusions reference recent research that suggests the universal use of masks in settings such as those on aircraft may reduce infection risk from respiratory particles to less than 1 percent.

“The use of face masks is critically important throughout the air travel process, from entering the airport for departure to leaving the destination airport,” according to the Harvard report. “When the use of masks is implemented with other measures built into aircraft operations, such as increased ventilation with HEPA filtration in the aircraft and disinfection of surfaces, these layered [interventions] offer significant protection from acquiring COVID-19 through air travel.”

Harvard’s bulletin – part of a set of evidence-based recommendations to reduce the public health risks of flying during the COVID-19 pandemic – also cites another report that describes two COVID-19-positive passengers who traveled on a 15-hour flight with 350 other passengers; both wore masks, and no one else on the flight was infected.

Delta was one of the first airlines to require customers and employees to wear a mask or face covering across Delta touchpoints at airports and onboard the aircraft. It’s an extension of our safety commitment, and enforcement is a responsibility we take seriously. We ask customers to acknowledge as part of the check-in process their willingness to wear a mask throughout travel. And we insist that customers who have an underlying condition that prevents them from wearing a mask complete a “Clearance-To-Fly” process upon arrival at the airport.

“There’s no doubt that wearing a face mask is one of the most important ways to stay safe in the airport and on board, and it’s why we were so quick to incorporate it into our approach to protecting our customers and employees,” said Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer Bill Lentsch. “Thanks for doing your part to stay safe and protect those around you.”

Delta has implemented layers of protection from check-in to baggage claim to deliver a new standard of cleanliness, more space and safer service and care for customers and employees alike. When added to measures such as sanitizing aircraft surfaces with electrostatic spray before 100% of flights, blocking middle seats while capping aircraft capacity, and changing aircraft HEPA filters twice as often as recommended, mask-wearing provides a consistent layer across all travel touch points that can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Delta continues to make the necessary decision to ban customers who refuse to wear masks onboard. So far, more than 300 individuals have been barred from future Delta flights for failing to comply with this critical safety precaution.

Delta Air Lines announces upsize of SkyMiles financing to $9 billion

Delta Air Lines today announced the upsize and pricing of the previously announced private offering by Delta and its indirect wholly owned subsidiary, SkyMiles IP Ltd. An aggregate of $2.5 billion in principal amount of 4.5% senior secured notes due 2025 and an aggregate of $3.5 billion in principal amount of 4.75% senior secured notes due 2028 (collectively the “Notes”) are expected to be issued on Sept. 23, 2020, subject to customary closing conditions. The Notes will be issued at a price to investors of 100% of their principal amount. Concurrently with the issuance of the Notes, Delta and SkyMiles IP Ltd. expect to enter into a credit agreement providing for a $3.0 billion term loan facility (“New Credit Facility”), also subject to customary closing conditions. In total, the Notes and New Credit Facility will provide gross proceeds of $9.0 billion, an increase of $2.5 billion from the anticipated original $6.5 billiondeal size, at a blended average annual rate of 4.75%.

Delta launches service at new Salt Lake City airport terminal as part of $12B investment in U.S. airports

Delta Air Lines has made this announcement:

  • The new 900,000-square-foot Concourse A houses 78 gates 
  • Our largest-ever Delta Sky Club includes an outdoor Sky Deck 
  • The airport will deliver $5.5 billion in estimated economic impact to the Salt Lake City region 

Delta Flight 2020 departed for Atlanta from Salt Lake City International Airport’s stunning new Concourse A Tuesday, marking the official first flight in Delta’s new home in this core hub after a decade of partnership in planning, design and construction to deliver the first U.S. global aviation hub of the 21st century.

“I want to congratulate the Salt Lake City leadership for their vision and partnership in creating this iconic new air travel experience,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “On behalf of Delta’s global workforce, and the more than 4,000 employees based in SLC, we look forward to welcoming and serving our customers traveling to, from and through the Mountain West region.”

The new SLC includes convenient amenities designed to enhance the overall travel experience. From a more efficient baggage-handling system that accommodates luggage of all sizes and shapes so skis don’t  need to be dropped off at a special counter to a state-of-the-art parking garage with a mobile app service to remind passengers where they parked their car, the new SLC was designed with today’s traveler in mind.

As a mid-sized hub connected to global destinations, the new Salt Lake City airport will remain an important part of Delta’s overall network strategy as the airline recovers from the global pandemic. Delta’s involvement in the completion of this airport, coupled with the airline’s extension of its current lease through 2034, stands as a testament to the relationship between Delta, the state of Utah and the airport.

“This day has been years in the making,” said Bill Wyatt, Executive Director of Salt Lake City Department of Airports. “To say we are excited to be here today is an understatement. After six years of construction and many more years of planning, we are proud to open the first new U.S. hub airport in the 21st century.”

The new airport also boasts Delta’s newest and largest Delta Sky Club at 28,000 square feet. With a unique look inspired by the canyons and landscape of the region, the Club offers guests views of the Wasatch Range from the covered open-air Sky Deck and a 360-degree fireplace in the middle of the lounge on their journey through the Beehive State.

Investing in infrastructure 

Delta is investing more than $12 billion in airport projects that modernize the airline’s hub infrastructure and customer experience, including new construction at Los Angeles International Airport and New York’s LaGuardia Airport in addition to the work in SLC.

Delta people have played key roles since day one in contributing to the new SLC, which opens on time and on budget.

Salt Lake City International Airport will remain an important part of Delta’s overall network strategy as the airline recovers from the global pandemic. Delta’s involvement in the completion of this airport, coupled with the airlines’ extension of its current lease through 2034, stands as a testament to the relationship among Delta, the airport, and the state of Utah.

“For the past 60 years, Delta has remained a steadfast, strategic partner to the Salt Lake City International Airport and today, we are gathered to celebrate the opening of the new gold standard for travelers coming to or through this great region that we’ve built together,” said Scott Santoro, Delta’s Vice President – Sales for the West Coast. “This incredible space is more than the largest new build in the Western United States for more than 25 years. It solidifies Delta as the airline of choice for passengers traveling to, from, and through Salt Lake for both business and leisure travel for years to come.”

Security checkpoints in five Delta hubs feature new layer of protection with antimicrobial bins for travelers

Delta Air Lines is rolling out antimicrobial bins in partnership with TSA starting this week as part of the Delta CareStandard:

  • Latest way Delta and TSA are partnering to keep travelers safe at all steps of the journey
  • Innovative bins coming to automated screening lanes at Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Los Angeles, New York-LaGuardia and New York-JFK this month

Beginning this week, antimicrobial technology in airport security checkpoints is making the airport experience at select Delta hubs even safer. Thanks to new security bins made of innovative antimicrobial material, travelers can rest assured that their belongings will remain clean and safe as they pass through security.

In partnership with the Transportation Security Administration, Delta is rolling out these antimicrobial bins to automated screening lanes in Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Los Angeles, New York-LaGuardia and New York-JFK starting this week and continuing throughout the month. Delta will evaluate opportunities for expansion to other markets following the launch in these cities.

The new bins prevent the growth of a broad spectrum of bacteria through antimicrobial technology that is built into the bin and continuously minimizes the presence of microbes throughout the bin’s lifecycle. A sleek black color and indicators on bin handles will help customers know their belongings are safely traveling through the security checkpoint protected by this antimicrobial advancement.

This innovation in safety builds on the Delta CareStandard and is the latest advancement in Delta and TSA’s partnership to continue enhancing the customer experience, which has included launching the first biometric terminal and working together to speed up international security lines in Atlanta.

TSA also continues to adjust its security operations during the pandemic by implementing proactive and protective measures at security checkpoints to make the screening process safer — high-touch screening equipment and bins are cleaned hourly, and other surfaces are cleaned daily or as needed in airports nationwide.

Delta also eliminates change fees

Delta Air Lines made this announcement:

At Delta’s Investor Day in December 2019, the airline shared its intent to overhaul its change fee structure, delivering the flexibility and simplicity customers are looking for. Since then, Delta has put its full focus into taking care of customers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including implementing a waiver to eliminate change fees in March 2020. Delta is now doubling down on its mission to make it easier for customers to book, change or cancel their travel plans by making this policy permanent for tickets purchased for travel within the U.S.

“We’ve said before that we need to approach flexibility differently than this industry has in the past, and today’s announcement builds on that promise to ensure we’re offering industry-leading flexibility, space and care to our customers,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “We want our customers to book and travel with peace of mind, knowing that we’ll continue evaluating our policies to maintain the high standard of flexibility they expect.”

The elimination of change fees is effective immediately and includes tickets purchased for travel within the domestic U.S., Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands in Delta’s First Class, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin, with the exception of Basic Economy tickets.

Additionally, Delta will extend its waiver on change fees for newly purchased flights, including international flights and Basic Economy fares, through the end of the year and will extend its expiration on travel credits through December 2022 for tickets booked before April 17, 2020.

Other steps Delta has taken to deliver flexibility and a superior experience to customers include:

  • Blocking middle seats through Jan 6, 2021, ensuring more space for safer travel, on all flights and including for Basic Economy customers
  • Giving customers industry-leading flexibility to plan, re-book and travel,  Delta has provided more than $2.6 billion in cash refunds in 2020
  • Delta was the first airline to Extend Medallion Status through 2021, and offer extensions for Delta Sky Club Memberships and more
  • Offering a 24-hour risk free cancellation policy when customers purchase a new ticket
  • Empowering our employees to use situational flexibility when customers need it most

As customers consider future travel, Delta’s multi-layered approach to their health and safety ensures peace of mind throughout the travel journey. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Sanitizing all aircraft with electrostatic spraying before departure and extensive pre-flight disinfection of high-touch points throughout the aircraft interior.
  • Using state-of-the-art air circulation systems with HEPA filters that extract more than 99.99% of particles, including viruses.
  • Requiring face masks throughout the airport, in Delta Sky Clubs and on board the aircraft

Delta to add more flights across Atlantic and Pacific this winter and summer 2021

Delta Air Lines has made this announcement:

As Delta works to restart service in line with the lifting of travel restrictions, potential vaccine availability and the gradual return of demand, customers will see more trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific flights to top business and leisure destinations for the winter 2020-2021 and summer 2021 seasons. While the airline expects pre-COVID level recovery for international flying to continue to lag U.S. domestic, Delta plans to add over 50 transoceanic flights next summer, compared to the summer 2020 schedule.

Delta will focus its strengths in its core markets and with the support of its partners, offer customers a wide array of onward connections.

Delta will operate the adjusted schedule with a more efficient, upgraded fleet of Airbus A350-900s, A330-900neos and refurbished Boeing 767s, following the retirement of its Boeing 777 aircraft by the end of October 2020.

Delta’s schedule remains subject to change due to the evolving nature of COVID-19, customer demand, government travel regulations and federal health guidelines. Specific restart dates may vary for previously suspended routes due to travel restrictions and other operational requirements. Delta will make decisions about resuming additional service on other routes at a later date.

Trans-Pacific Schedule

Delta is maintaining its global presence and investment in Seattle (SEA) over the next year, which continues to be a premier gateway for travel to Asia. Continued daily service next year from Sea-Tac to Tokyo-Haneda (HND), Seoul-Incheon (ICN), Beijing (BJS), and Shanghai (PVG) will allow customers to connect further within the region through Delta’s partners, Korean Air and China Eastern.

With the opening of the new international arrivals facility at SEA, Delta will offer an entirely upgraded experience for local and connecting customers with direct or one-stop partner access to over 95% of Asia markets. Customers traveling from Seattle to any destination the airline serves in Asia will enjoy an enhanced experience on efficient, next-generation aircraft featuring the award-winning Delta One suites and the popular Delta Premium Select cabin.

At Delta’s partner hub at ICN, customers can connect on Delta’s current flights from Atlanta (ATL), Detroit (DTW) and Seattle to over 70 destinations throughout Asia via partner Korean Air. In April 2021, Delta plans to return to service between Minneapolis (MSP) and Seoul-Incheon.

Delta also remains committed to the Japan market and by summer 2021, will offer service from seven U.S. cities to Haneda, Tokyo’s closest and most convenient airport. Currently, the airline offers up to 14 weekly flights across its Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles (LAX) and Seattle gateways. Beginning in December 2020, Delta plans to add up to four-times weekly services between Haneda and Honolulu (HNL).

Between the U.S. and China, Delta is working closely with governments in both countries to increase service in response to high demand. Currently, Delta operates four weekly flights to Shanghai (PVG) from Detroit and Seattle. Subject to approval, the airline plans to increase service between these destinations. In summer 2021, Delta hopes to operate daily service between Shanghai and Detroit, Seattle and Los Angeles, plus daily service connecting Sea-Tac with Beijing’s new Daxing Airport, subject to government approval.

To Australia, Delta plans to maintain a minimum of thrice-weekly service between Los Angeles and Sydney (SYD) before resuming daily service in 2021. The flight will be operated on Airbus 350-900 aircraft beginning in November, which offers more luxury and comfort with the Delta One suite, Delta Premium Select cabin, large in-flight entertainment screens and more personal stowage.

 

U.S. Hub Route IATA Winter Schedule

(Oct. 25-March 27)

IATA Summer Schedule

(March 28-Oct. 30)

ATL ATL-HND 4x weekly 1 daily
ATL-ICN +5x weekly 1 daily
 
DTW DTW-HND 3x weekly 1 daily
DTW-NGO 3x weekly
DTW-ICN Daily 1 daily
DTW-PVG* +2x weekly 1 daily
 
LAX LAX-HND 3x weekly 1 daily
LAX-PVG* 1 daily
LAX-SYD +3x weekly 1 daily
 
MSP MSP-HND 5x weekly
MSP-ICN 5x weekly
 
SEA SEA-HND 4x weekly 1 daily
SEA-ICN +4x weekly 1 daily
SEA-PVG* +2x weekly 1 daily
SEA-BJS* 1 daily
Additional Service PDX-HND 5x weekly
HNL-HND 4x weekly** 1 daily
ICN-MNL 4x weekly 1 daily

*Subject to government approval

**Starting in December 2020

Trans-Atlantic Schedule

As travel restrictions lift and Delta begins to restore its global network, the airline plans to increase flying in the trans-Atlantic market from winter 2020-2021 to summer 2021.

Between September and October, Delta will resume service to several major business and leisure markets, including a buildup at its hub in New York-JFK.

In September, Delta will resume:

  • Atlanta – Lagos*(LOS)
  • Boston – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • New York-JFK – Accra* (ACC)
  • New York-JFK – Barcelona (BCN)
  • New York-JFK – Madrid (MAD)
  • New York-JFK – Rome (FCO)

In October, Delta will add:

  • New York-JFK – Brussels (BRU)
  • New York-JFK – Dublin (DUB
  • New York-JFK – Frankfurt (FRA)
  • New York-JFK – Zurich (ZRH)
  • Seattle – Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG)

Service between Boston and Paris will return in November.

Following this resumption of service in the fall, Delta expects to maintain a similar schedule across the Atlantic through winter 2021.

Moving into next summer, Delta will expand its hub-to-hub flying between the U.S. and Europe, offering nonstop daily service to Amsterdam (AMS), Paris and London-Heathrow from Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, New York-JFK and Minneapolis. From Seattle and Salt Lake City, customers will have nonstop daily access to Amsterdam and Paris. Delta’s LAX hub will offer nonstop service to Paris. This expansion also marks a restart of trans-Atlantic service for L.A., Minneapolis and Salt Lake City.

Additionally, Delta will add back service to Paris from our focus cities Cincinnati (CVG) and Raleigh-Durham (RDU), as well as service to Amsterdam from Portland (PDX).

From AMS, CDG or LHR, customers will then have access to over 160 destinations throughout the region via partners Virgin Atlantic and Air France-KLM.

Delta remains committed to ensuring customers benefit from easy access across the pond through its key hubs in ATL, BOS and JFK. By next summer, customers traveling through JFK will have direct access to six more seasonal destinations popular with leisure travelers. Delta will also resume popular vacation spots from Atlanta, such as Barcelona, Dublin, Rome and Madrid. Service from Boston to Paris, London-Heathrow and Dublin will increase to daily.

U.S. Hub Route IATA Winter Schedule

(Oct. 25-March 27)

IATA Summer Schedule

(March 28-Oct. 30)

ATL ATL-AMS 2 daily 3 daily
ATL-CDG 1 daily 2 daily
ATL-FRA 4x weekly 1 daily
ATL-JNB* 3x weekly** 5x weekly
ATL-LHR 1 daily 2 daily
ATL-LOS* Up to 1 daily 4x weekly
ATL-MUC 3x weekly 1 daily
ATL-BCN 1 daily
ATL-DUB 1 daily
ATL-FCO 1 daily
ATL-MAD 1 daily
ATL-STR 5x weekly
 
BOS BOS-AMS 1 daily 1 daily
BOS-CDG 4x weekly 1 daily
BOS-LHR 5x weekly 1 daily
BOS-DUB   1 daily
 
DTW DTW-AMS 1 daily 3 daily
DTW-CDG 1 daily 1 daily
DTW-FRA   1 daily
DTW-LHR   1 daily
 
JFK JFK-ACC* Up to 1 daily 5x weekly
JFK-AMS 1 daily 2 daily
JFK-BCN 5x weekly 1 daily
JFK-BRU 5x weekly 1 daily
JFK-CDG 1 daily 2 daily
JFK-DSS 3x weekly 3x weekly
JFK-DUB 5x weekly 1 daily
JFK-FCO 5x weekly Up to 2 daily
JFK-FRA 5x weekly 1 daily
JFK-LHR 1 daily 2 daily
JFK-MAD 5x weekly 1 daily
JFK-MXP 5x weekly 1 daily
JFK-TLV Up to 2 daily 2 daily
JFK-ZRH 5x weekly 1 daily
JFK-ATH   Up to 2 daily
JFK-EDI   1 daily
JFK-KEF   5x weekly
JFK-LIS   1 daily
JFK-LOS*   3x weekly
JFK-NCE   1 daily
JFK-VCE   1 daily
 
LAX LAX-CDG   1 daily
 
MSP MSP-AMS   2 daily
MSP-CDG   1 daily
MSP-LHR   1 daily
 
SEA SEA-AMS 1 daily 1 daily
SEA-CDG 4x weekly 1 daily
 
SLC SLC-AMS 1 daily
SLC-CDG 1 daily
 
Focus Cities RDU-CDG 5x weekly
PDX-AMS   4x weekly
CVG-CDG 4x weekly

*Subject to government approval

**Starting Dec. 13

IATA refers to the International Air Transport Association.

Delta aircraft photo gallery (Airbus):

Reuters: Delta Air Lines plans to resume more international routes

From Reuters:

“Delta Air Lines Inc on Friday said it plans to resume 50 flights on the international route this winter and in 2021 that were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delta said its resumed service would include daily flights from Seattle to Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing and Shanghai.”

Delta extends the middle seat blockage into January 2021

Delta Air Lines has made this announcement:

If you’re considering holiday travel this year, Delta is your choice for safer space.

We’re extending one of our key health and safety protocols this winter holiday season by blocking the selection of middle seats and limiting the number of customers per flight through at least Jan. 6, 2021.

“Medical experts, including our own partners at Emory Healthcare, agree – more distance on board makes a difference,” said Bill Lentsch, Chief Customer Experience Officer. “We believe that taking care of our customers and employees and restoring confidence in the safety of air travel is more important right now than filling up every seat on a plane. We’ll continue taking a thoughtful, layered approach ensuring customers know to expect the highest standard of care as they prepare for their holiday travels.”

As customers consider upcoming travel, we know flexibility is more important than ever. That’s why Delta is also extending our change fee waiver for new flights purchased through Sept. 30.

Blocking Middle Seats for More Space

Through Jan. 6, 2021, Delta will block the selection of middle seats in Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin via the Fly Delta app or online.

  • For customers in parties of 1-2: Middle seats will be blocked for safety.
  • For customers in parties of 3 or more: Middle seats will appear as available for booking, to allow families and travel companions to select seats together.

This functionality helps us maintain our pledge to give customers more space on board while offering flexibility with their seat choices.

We’re also continuing to ensure our flights are not filled to capacity. For travel through at least Oct. 31, customers can expect that Delta will:

  • Limit the number of customers on board all aircraft – with or without middle seats.
  • Limit the First Class cabin to half capacity to further ensure more space between customers.*
  • Block one aisle of seats on aircraft without middle seats.

On routes where our planes begin to fill, we will continue to look for opportunities to upsize to a larger aircraft type or add more flights.

The Delta One cabin on widebody aircraft, which is designed with more space and privacy built in, will be offered at full capacity effective Oct. 1.

Customers can review their seat selections any time prior to departure in My Trips on delta.com or in the Fly Delta app for greater reassurance about space on board.

As with all our health and safety measures, we will continue reviewing best practices and evaluating our standard of care, based on expert medical advice and customer feedback.

Wearing Your Mask

Medical research tells us that wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways to reduce the COVID-19 infection rate. For everyone’s safety, customers should expect to continue wearing masks or face coverings throughout the airport, in Delta Sky Clubs and on board the aircraft through the winter holiday travel season and beyond.

Customers who indicate they have an underlying condition that prevents them from wearing a mask are required to complete a “Clearance-To-Fly” process before being permitted to travel.

Peace of Mind When Purchasing

Customers can continue enjoying peace of mind in case their travel plans change. For all new flights purchased through Sept. 30, travelers have the option to change their flight without a change fee for a year from the date of purchase. See delta.com for details.

For a comprehensive overview of how we’re delivering cleanliness, more space and safer service throughout the travel journey, visit our delta.com Coronavirus Update Center.

*On regional jets in 1×2 configurations, First Class cabin will be capped at 67%

Delta teams up with CVS Health to accelerate employee COVID-19 testing

Delta Air Lines has made this announcement:

Delta Air Lines is partnering with CVS Health to accelerate employee COVID-19 testing with a rapid-response option for flight crews, a move that will build confidence about traveling with Delta among our people and customers alike. The CVS Health Return Ready SM testing will be overseen by a CVS Health clinician at Delta hub crew lounges and takes fewer than 15 minutes to diagnose whether the active COVID-19 virus is detected.

“Just like there’s no single method to reducing the transmission of the virus, there’s no one solution to testing our global workforce that is always on the move,” said Joanne Smith, Delta’s Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer. “That’s why we’re excited to be partnering with CVS Health and their clinicians to offer an additional convenient and reliable option to our people.”

The rapid-response nasal-swab test is the newest testing option Delta is providing employees so a baseline understanding of the infection can be established across Delta.

“It’s not feasible right now for everyone to take a test every time they walk out the door,” Smith said. “That’s why our baseline testing is so important, and we’re grateful to have partners who share our values and our vision to make testing easy and accessible to all Delta employees. We intend to use what we learn from this round of testing to make sure our re-testing program is one that continues to instill confidence among our people and with consumers about traveling with Delta.”

Read more here about Delta’s leading-edge effort to test all its employees for COVID-19.

“Our relationship with Delta and their commitment to testing underscores Delta’s leadership in taking swift action in response to the pandemic, serving as a model for organizations with large, diverse and geographically dispersed workforces, and shows the important role that Return Ready COVID-19 testing can play in supporting continuity for the business community across many different industries,” said Troyen Brennan, M.D., M.P.H., Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health. “This is also another example of two values-based companies working together in innovative ways to keep people working while providing services people rely on.”

Health experts agree that a multi-layered approach that includes testing, regularly checking symptoms, wearing masks, distancing and personal hygiene are the greatest inhibitors to spreading COVID-19.