At a time when life has gone from experiencing the world at ease to looking more like life in the 1800’s, it may seem difficult or even scary to fly. As a Florida resident, I can attest to the fact that we tried to ease back into travel slowly with a small flight from Orlando to Atlanta. While we planned this trip before the big spike in Florida, we decided to follow through with our trip to see family. I will admit, I was nervous. I have witnessed many who refuse to wear a mask properly or even at all. I was nervous about the air filtration on the airplane. Would I have to sit close to someone who refused to wear a mask? Would I feel claustrophobic onboard with the thought of germs? All these thoughts were racing. However, I can tell you that Delta is taking preventative measures. One of the reasons we went with Delta was because of their post-Covid policies. I’d like to share my experience.
One of the main considerations when booking this trip were the airline’s policies. I had heard nightmare stories of airlines like American making people sit right next to each other. I had heard that they were not requiring masks. For that reason, I did not want to fly with those other companies. I did my research prior to booking and I paid a bit more to go with Delta who had strict policies in place. First, Delta blocks out the middle seats in the rows of three. Delta also requires the wearing of masks. They also guarantee the best filtration systems as well as deep cleaning. Finally, they allow flexibility for cancelling or changing a flight. Here’s what I actually experienced as a passenger:
The middle seats were, in fact, blocked. While I was annoyed at people getting on and off the plane with no regard for my personal space, for the most part, I thought Delta did a good job with the seating of passengers on the plane. One of my least favorite things about flying is losing my personal space onboard sitting next to a stranger who, in my experience, takes my personal space. There were two of us, but we enjoyed the extra space. I will say that we did have people in front of and behind us. As you may well know, there is not much room between rows, so that is a consideration. However, it was nice having the space in the middle. One thing I wish Delta would do is actually enforce distancing getting on and off board. They made announcements, but despite that we had a lady close enough to put her head on my shoulder as we were trying to deplane. She actually pushed her way forward and tried to make us sit down while she ran up into everyone’s personal space. Despite her, they did ask everyone to stay seated until the row in front had cleared out. Hopefully this will be something they can enforce in the future.
Delta pledges to implement strict, deep sanitation. I will admit that my experience may not reflect the cleaning they are trying to do, but I did see a lacking in the cleanliness department. One hiccup I had was that someone was wrongfully in my assigned seat. So, I had to sit down and touch the seat belt he had already used and the window shade he had already touched. I also found peanuts between my seat and the seat next to me. It could have been debris left by him, but I highly doubt he was eating peanuts in the time I was boarding. The good thing was that Delta passed out small wipes upon boarding, so I was able to wipe down my area. However, I have to wonder how much more cleaning they are actually doing since I found debris in my seating area. I will say that the plane “smelled” clean.
Delta did say you had to wear a mask to fly. However, as soon as they passed out snacks, all the masks came off. I chose not to eat or drink on the flight as I did not feel comfortable doing so. However, the lady in the next row was coughing without her mask on because she was “eating.” This made me feel unsafe. Also, one of the flight attendants had his nose out from an improperly fitting mask. I am kind of surprised that they do not issue masks out that fit their flight attendants. I feel like the mask requirement is good, but as soon as the snacks are passed out, the masks fly off of the faces of the passengers, so how effective is it, really?
I would give a higher score here if they would enforce the rules a bit more. I did fly in June 2020, so this could very well have changed for the better. The flight attendants were very nice. They served snack bags which had items like granola bars as well as a mini Dasani water. Again, I did not feel comfortable enough to remove my mask, but most people seemed to enjoy it.
Overall Score: 3/5
I think that Delta did a good job. However, there are a couple of things they could still improve. For example, they could enforce social distancing during boarding and deplaning. It also seems like they need to reevaluate the cleaning they are doing between passengers. However, comparing Delta to other airlines who are not enforcing any sort of distancing onboard I would rate them much higher. At the very least, for now, you know you have a seat between you and the other person in your row of three.
I would fly Delta again during this pandemic. While I am in no hurry to take a long flight, I look forward to choosing an airline who seems to care about its passengers and employees again. I look forward to see how they will continue to improve the flying experience.
Have you flown during the pandemic? What was your experience?
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