Working with internal staff, Delta’s Flight Products team has created an additional layer of safety at airports for its customers, as well as the airline’s staff. Plexiglass safety barriers have been installed in airport check-in lobbies, at each departure gate, as well as at Delta Sky Club check-in counters.
The Atlanta-based carrier has often amazed the industry with its ability to move quickly to make major changes, and the manufacturing of more than 150 barriers daily in order to update all of its airport locations was no small feat.
In a unique and bold move, effective November 1, Delta Air Lines employees who choose to remain unvaccinated against the COVID-19 virus will be assessed an additional $200 monthly for their health insurance premium. Rather than specifically mandating vaccination, the Atlanta-based carrier is telling those who refuse to be innoculated that they will be paying for the increased costs the airline incurs to cover pandemic hospitalizations.
In addition to the higher insurance premium, starting September 12, unvaccinated Delta employees will be required to take a weekly COVID-19 test and wear a mask indoors while at work. Thus far, United Airlines, Hawaiian Air and Air Canada are the only North American airlines to mandate vaccinations for all workers, with an exception allowed for those who may be immuno-compromised and have not been vaccinated at the direction of a physician. Frontier Airlines requires vaccination or a weekly test for the virus, and Alaska Airlines is expected to mandate the vaccine shortly.
The world’s best airports for 2020 according to Skytrax, the London-based airline and airport research organization, have been announced. The annual results are viewed with keen interest by airport and air travel enthusiasts around the world. In order to reach the top 5-star rating, airports must excel in areas such as the overall facility design, ease of finding your way, access to multilingual assistance, dining and shopping options, terminal comfort and cleanliness, security/immigration, and the service level of airport staff.
Thanks to COVID we’ve all had plenty of time to plan our next adventure. While many Americans have already taken to the skies domestically, international travel has been virtually non-existent for the last year and a half. With the Delta variant now slowing our return to ‘normalcy’, whatever that is, and with more variants expected to follow, it’ll take a major ramping up of vaccinations worldwide before the international travel community can welcome us back to their countries.
While everyone agrees that the covid-19 pandemic has been beyond catastrophic for the airline industry, it has also given low-cost carriers the opportunity to grow their route systems to entice leisure travelers to try new services. Airlines such as Allegiant, Frontier, JetBlue and Twin Cities-based Sun Country are all in the process of adding new routes that are pretty much non-competitive. Additionally, new airlines have popped up, most notably Avelo and Breeze, both of which offer primarily point-to-point service from secondary airports that allow travelers to bypass the mega-airline hubs.
As it does annually, AirlineRatings.com has announced its list of the world’s best airlines for 2021. This, of course, doesn’t mean that these are the world’s best airlines or that there aren’t many other superb carriers, as that is a totally subjective determination, but the website’s editors have conferred internally, as well as taken in the opinions of its readers to comprise their list for this year.
The airline website considers inflight service, safety (thank goodness), and passenger comfort as primary factors in naming their winners. To make the top-20, each airline must also receive a seven-star safety rating from the website. How each airline has reacted to and worked through the covid-19 crisis is another determinant for this year.