Home Airlines Delta Air Lines, The Pandemic Airline Hero, Fumbles The Ball Against The Delta Variant

Delta Air Lines, The Pandemic Airline Hero, Fumbles The Ball Against The Delta Variant

by joeheg

Delta Airlines made several concessions during the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic that were detrimental to the bottom line. They continued to block middle seats long after other airlines stopped the practice.  The apparent reasoning was that the airline could afford to do so because of its operational excellence and not needing to fill every seat to get passengers to their destinations. That would generate goodwill for the future.

The idea was that if Delta could brand itself as the airline that cared about passengers the most during the pandemic, people would be willing to pay more to fly with Delta once things got back to normal. It was a daring bet and it might have actually worked if they followed through with the plan.

We’ll never get to find out because Delta has come back to the pack so fast that few travelers boarding planes, now that travel is picking back up, even know how Delta took care of passengers during the pandemic.

What do I mean by this? On our trip, it was clear that Delta has given up on all of its pandemic protocols in the name of filling up planes.

When we arrived at Orlando Airport and JFK, the only way to check our bags was to stand in a long line at the terminal. There was no attempt to keep distant from other passengers and while everyone in an airport is expected to wear a mask, there was no attempt at enforcement. The lines were long, at least 20-30 minutes for each flight because only 4 or 5 agents were checking in all of the passengers.

In addition to this, the Delta boarding process was chaotic because of the elimination of following the normal boarding process in favor of boarding by rows. This meant every passenger had to huddle close to the gate to hear when their row was called.

For comparison, our recent flights on American Airlines were much better than our experience with Delta. When arriving at the airport with our boarding passes, we were directed to the self-service kiosk to print our luggage tags. The line to drop off our tagged bags was much shorter than the one we stood in for Delta.

We had problems with the gate agents boarding our American flight early but despite being full, everyone followed the boarding groups as announced by the gate agents and there was no problem with people gathering at the gate before their group was called. In addition, once on board the captain of one of our American flights gave a strong speech before we departed telling passengers that we are all adults and in the past 18 months we’ve al learned how important it is to wear a mask over our nose and mouth. If you need to eat or drink, do so quickly and replace your mask, and don’t sip your drink slowly for an hour. It’s all about respect for each other and everyone paid money for their tickets and deserves to be properly respected by the crew and other passengers.

After the announcement, I heard another passenger across the aisle say, “This pilot don’t play!” I’m not sure if people were listening but it seemed to work and when I scanned the cabin when going to the bathroom, almost everyone was wearing their masks properly.

No matter how much money Delta Airlines lost during the pandemic to garner goodwill, if they’re not willing to follow up with the same practices now, then all that uncaptured revenue was for nothing.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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