With not one but two COVID-19 vaccines now approved and being distributed across the country, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian is optimistic that recovery for the financially impacted airline industry will take place next year.
“Throughout the challenges of 2020, the character of our healthcare heroes and essential workers has shown through. I have tremendous hope for the year ahead thanks to the people who have carried us through one of the most challenging periods in our history,” Bastian said in his monthly “Letter From Ed”sent to Delta customers. “While we continue to work to prevent the spread of the virus, I am optimistic that 2021 is going to be a year of recovery for our world thanks to the amazing scientists and researchers who have developed vaccines in an extraordinarily short period of time.”
Buoyed by the prospects, Bastian also outlined expectations for the airline in terms of customer care. They include:
More flexibility with no change fees, permanently. “You told us flexibility was important. You now have control of your travel plans thanks to the permanent elimination of change fees when flying from North America to anywhere in the world, excluding Basic Economy fares,” he said. “For travelers outside of North America, Delta extended the existing commitment to no change fees for all tickets purchased through March 30, 2021, for travel at any time to anywhere.
An elevated standard of cleanliness at all times. “Delta has more than 100 protective measures in place to ensure safety, such as a higher standard of cleanliness throughout your trip, sanitizing every flight and the use of industrial-grade HEPA filters on board that extract more than 99.99 percent of particles from the air, including viruses. Our commitment to cleanliness will remain, even after the virus subsides,” Bastian said.
Regular testing of employees to keep everyone healthy and safe on board. “Our layers of protection include a comprehensive employee COVID testing program, allowing employees to be tested regularly - increasing confidence in travel while doing our part to slow the spread of the virus,” he wrote.
Continued evolution of a safe and comfortable travel experience, in partnership with experts. “By engaging advisors from Mayo Clinic, a global leader in serious and complex healthcare, we’ve unveiled COVID-tested flights from Atlanta to Amsterdam and Rome without quarantine on arrival for eligible customers,” Bastian said. Said Mayo Clinic Chief Value Officer Dr. Henry Ting: "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."
Other expectations include more peace of mind with blocked middle seats through March 30, simplified guidance on travel restrictions and increased ways to take advantage of your Medallion Status benefits.
This article originally appeared on Travel Pulse