COVID-19 has definitely held most industries, including tourism. With progress on vaccine development, however, hope seems to be just around the corner. In a recent report, Delta Air Lines, Inc. CEO Ed Bastian expresses his optimism for the company’s outlook in 2021.
In a release, Bastian commended the COVID-19 healthcare workers for their extensive efforts this year. “Throughout the challenges of 2020, the character of our healthcare heroes and essential workers has shown through,” he said while noting that the frontliners have carried the people through 2020, which he called ‘one of the most challenging periods in our history’.
At the same time, he commended the ‘amazing scientists and researchers’ for the extraordinarily short time it took for a COVID-19 vaccine to be developed.
2021 Travel Expectations
In line with all the changes, Bastian has also outlined what customers can expect from the airline giant in 2021.
#1 No Change Fees
With a call for flexibility from its customers, Delta Air Lines now allows customers to take control of their travel plans without paying additional fees for changes in schedule.
This will be a permanent implementation for all travelers flying from North America to anywhere in the world. For those traveling from other locations, however, this will be applicable for all tickets purchased through March 30, 2021.
#2 Elevated Standard of Cleanliness
The airline has in place more than 100 protective measures as it prioritizes the safety of its passengers and employees.
Now, a higher standard of cleanliness is implemented as HEPA filters and improved sanitization procedures are in place, and will continue to be implemented even after the pandemic subsides.
#3 Routine Testing of Employees
All employees will be tested under a comprehensive COVID-19 testing program to ensure that everyone on board is healthy and safe.
#4 Partnerships with Experts to Ensure Safety and Comfort
In partnership with experts from Mayo Clinic, Delta Air Lines has had COVID-tested flights from Atlanta to Amsterdam and Rome. These flights involved eligible passengers to travel without requiring quarantine upon arrival.
Calculations and modeling have resulted in the reliable prediction of nearly one in a million COVID-19 infection risk.
“Based on the modeling we have conducted, when the recommended testing protocols are combined with multiple layers of protection, including mask requirements, proper social distancing and environmental cleaning, we can predict that the risk of COVID-19 infection – on a flight that is 60 percent full – should be nearly one in a million,” explained Mayo Clinic Chief Value Officer Dr. Henry Ting.
Delta is also looking into bringing back on board experiences and services like availability of food and beverages. It also plans to reopen Delta Sky Clubs.
#5 Blocked Middle Seats
Delta Air Lines will also continue to block middle seats for flights through March 30, 2021.
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#6 Simplified Guidance
Delta passengers can now use an interactive map that will provide guidance on travel routes and travel restrictions, as well as dos and don’ts upon arrival at a specific country. The goal here is to minimize queries as every country has its own guidelines.
#7 Medallion Status Benefits
As the airline announced earlier this year, it has implemented an extension of 2020 Medallion Status through Jan. 31, 2022, and the rollover of all 2020 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) into 2021 for all SkyMiles Members.
Delta also has a set of guidelines for For Delta SkyMiles Reserve or Platinum American Express Card members to conveniently reach 2022 Medallion Status.
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