Delta Air Lines will extend the capacity caps it has in place through September 30, the company reported on Wednesday. This will entail blocking middle seats and capping seating at 60 percent in the main cabin and 50 percent in first class. On routes where increasing customer demand is driving flight loads closer to its caps, Delta will look for opportunities to upsize to a larger aircraft type or add more flights.
During a webcast sponsored by Business Travel News, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said the company plans to operate twice as many domestic flights in July as it did in May.
“We need courage to bring our country back, our economy back, we can’t stay in suspension. We have to get everyone out,” said Bastian during the webcast. “We are doing everything we can to keep people safe and protected at a level never seen before.”
That includes sanitizing every flight at every Delta airport using electrostatic sprayers, adding plexiglass safety barriers for airport check-in lobbies, departure gates and Delta Sky Club counters, and providing customers with a complimentary care kit at ticket counters and gates that include disposable face masks and hand sanitizer. Delta will also be testing all of its employees for COVID-19.
According to Bastian, some, especially those in high-risk categories, should not be traveling, but for others, “It’s the best time to fly.”
Leisure travel will come back first, he reported, but business executives should soon be encouraging people to get back out on the road.
“One of the things we are all suffering during this time of quarantine is people having lost the opportunity to look forward to something. To plan a trip, plan a vacation. We find joy in all these things. We have to get out and restore hope and travel is a big part of that,” explained Bastian.
Bastian is a leader who walks the talk. In March, as the company did it best to preserve cash, he took a 100 percent base salary cut for the next six months.
During the webcast, he said it would be two to three years before the airline bounces back.
For steps you can share with your clients to prep for a flight, click here. For more updates on new protocols, visit Recommend’s Safe Travels page. Stories about future travel can be accessed at #AmazingDaysAhead.