Posted by Sade Williams
Consumer confidence and demand for travel are growing as COVID-19 vaccinations accelerate, and Delta is welcoming customers back with new travel experiences – all while enhancing the Delta CareStandard health and safety commitment the airline has become known for during the pandemic.
Delta is launching new digital resources to make travel planning easier, including an interactive map that is searchable by price and destination type; offering SkyMiles Members the ability to earn up to 75 percent more toward Medallion Status on most ticket types, including Award Travel, in a first for the industry; reintroducing onboard snacks and beverages; and extending the validity of all tickets expiring in 2021 – as well as all new tickets purchased this year – through the end of 2022.
“Our customers have always been the voices that guide us at Delta, and that was amplified during the pandemic,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “During the past year, we transformed our service to ensure their health, safety, convenience and comfort during their travels. Now, with vaccinations becoming more widespread and confidence in travel rising, we’re ready to help customers reclaim their lives.”
More available seats to choose from starting May 1
“While Delta’s decision to block middle seats has given many customers a reason to choose Delta over the past year, the signature hospitality of our employees and the experiences they deliver to customers every day have also deepened their trust in our airline,” said Bastian. “The relationships we’ve built, together with the knowledge that nearly 65 percent of those who flew Delta in 2019 anticipate having at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1, are what’s giving us the assurance to offer customers the ability to choose any seat on our aircraft, while also introducing new services, products and rewards to support the journey. We take great pride in the trust we’ve built with customers by listening and delivering on what they said was most important, and that is the approach you can continue to expect.”
Since Delta introduced its middle seat block in April 2020, consumer behaviour and vaccination rates have been the baseline for Delta’s decision to remove or extend the block throughout the pandemic. While scientific studies showed the risk of transmission onboard a full aircraft with everyone wearing a mask is nearly one in a million, Delta was the only airline to continue its middle seat block for an entire year to give customers peace of mind.
Masks will continue to be required and Delta’s industry-leading cleanliness standards will remain in place. Experts at Mayo Clinic and Emory, as well as our own Chief Health Officer Dr. Henry Ting, are helping to guide our way back.
More digital planning power, less guesswork for ever-changing travel landscape
Customers can use a new interactive digital map to search by price or destination type – or use miles to discover somewhere new. This tool is at the centre of Delta’s streamlined digital Travel Planning Centre, a one-stop guide to resources to manage travel restrictions, testing requirements and everything else along the journey as the carrier continues to add service to popular leisure destinations including Alaska, the Mountain West, beaches and abroad.
More rewards with industry-first Status accelerators and more time to enjoy Card benefits
Delta is making each flight count for more. Starting April 1 through the end of 2021, customers can earn up to 75 percent more toward Medallion Status on most ticket types, including Award Travel – a true industry first. These offers follow Delta’s pace-setting status extension program and ensure Medallion Members can continue to enjoy Status and benefits for flights now and in the future. Members also have more time to plan travel with select Consumer and Business Delta SkyMiles American Express Card benefits extended through June 30, 2022. For more ways to earn Status at home or on the go, Delta also continues to offer special opportunities to get closer to Status on Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Reserve American Express Cards.
More to enjoy with reimagined snacks and beverages, refreshed IFE content and more open Delta Sky Clubs
Snacks are back April 14. After an exhaustive redesign process that included flight attendant feedback and tips from our partners at Mayo Clinic, onboard food and beverage service is taking the first step toward a safe return with classic favourites and new treats. In early June, customers flying in Delta One or First Class on select domestic coast-to-coast flights will see hot food options return, and First-Class customers on other key U.S. routes will enjoy fresh boxed meals beginning in early July. Catch your favourite movies or shows while you sip and snack, and stop by more open Delta Sky Clubs once your feet hit the ground
More flexibility to protect your travel plans
Delta is giving customers more time to plan and rebook a trip than any other U.S. airline with a travel credit extension that allows for unmatched flexibility. Tickets normally expire one year after purchase, but Delta is extending the validity of all tickets expiring in 2021, and all tickets purchased in 2021, to now expire Dec. 31, 2022. Additionally, to provide more protection for more tickets, Delta is extending its existing change fee waiver for all Basic Economy tickets purchased through April 30, 2021 – as well as all tickets that originate outside North America. Delta has already made lasting changes to help simplify travel into a seamless, stress-free experience, including permanently removing change fees for premium and Main Cabin tickets (for travel originating in North America).
More science-backed health & safety efforts
Beginning last year, teams across Delta quickly and effectively established a new standard of cleanliness for the airline and our industry. Delta’s Global Cleanliness organization is one of the unique ways Delta continues to innovate on cleanliness as part of the layers of protection offered to customers. In recent months, the team has led efforts to: develop a strict quality assurance program with input from partners at Mayo Clinic, Emory and Reckitt, the makers of Lysol; install onboard hand sanitizer stations and antimicrobial lavatory lighting; introduce contactless payment technology onboard to minimize touchpoints during the payment process; provision Lysol Disinfecting Wipes to clean customer-facing areas at airports and on aircraft; and work with TSA to ensure checkpoint cleanliness in airports nationwide.
Delta remains focused on delivering innovation in the air and on the ground, having been recognized as one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies worldwide this year. Delta also recently announced plans to bring high-speed Wi-Fi onboard in 2021 – a key step in offering free Wi-Fi in the future – and launched a new digital identity test in Detroit aimed at providing a touchless curb-to-gate experience.