Delta doubles cabin cleaning & blocks middle seats until January 2021

Announced Monday, Delta Air Lines has doubled its staffing to handle revamped pre-flight “pit stops” for deeper cleaning against COVID-19. In addition, the airline service commits to blocking middle seats until 2021, ensuring that tray tables and restroom door handles are germ-free with a new testing process as told to Reuters. Depending on the plane size, the airline now increases from a minimum of three staff to now eight employees disinfecting planes between flights.

“We’ve done quite a lot of change to our turn process,” shared Mike Medeiros, the head of Delta’s new Global Cleanliness division. “As important as [being] on-time is to our company, we know that cleanliness, particularly in this environment but also going forward, will be just as important.”

After focusing on high touch points like tray tables and bathroom door handles, a flight attendant and gate agent will then inspect the cabin together; based on a checklist, the cleaning staff is called back, if necessary. The airline adopts this new “pit stop mentality”, based on industrial engineering studies into the extra resources required for cleaning each plane type.

Delta also implements ATP Test Kits to measure bacteria & germs

Delta cleans an aircraft at JFK. Photo © REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

The airline is also implementing test kits buying ATP test kits to measure bacteria on both airline and airport surfaces. However, the ATP kits cannot test for COVID-19.

Delta Air Lines commits to double its cabin cleanings, even if that means a possible delay in the flight.

The additional staffers will also decrease the time it typically takes to clean a plane. However, Medeiros assures that the team will ensure everything is up to cleaning standards before boarding.

Middle seats to remain blocked until “at least January 6th, 2021”

A cleaning certificate aboard Delta. Photo © REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

In addition to cleaning, Delta said it will continue to block middle seats until at least Jan. 6, 2021 and limit the number of passengers on board through at least Oct. 31. “Medical experts… agree – more distance onboard makes a difference,” Bill Lentsch, the chief customer experience officer, said in a statement.

“We believe that taking care of our customers and employees. 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.”

In a recent study, experts estimated the risk of catching COVID-19 on a full flight to 1 in 7,700 if the middle seat is vacant. Delta has also maintained a strict mask-wearing policy, placing people on a no-fly list if they refuse to comply and are even requiring passengers to wear a certain type of mask.
Feature photo © REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton. Source: REUTERS

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