Virgin and Delta tail fins

ABM wins cabin cleaning contracts

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Virgin and Delta tail fins

ABM has secured two high profile aircraft cabin cleaning contracts.

Delta Airlines has appointed ABM to provide cabin cleaning services, while the company will clean the cabins of Virgin Atlantic’s fleet at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Both contracts began on 1 September and will be extended to include Virgin’s Manchester Airport operation once it recommences in November 2020.

Anthony Bryant, Manager – Cabin Appearance & Cleaning at Virgin Atlantic stated: “The health and safety of our customers and our people has always been our number one priority. As we start to return to our full flying schedule, the cleanliness and presentation of our cabins remains our absolute focus. 

“Virgin Atlantic is delighted to be partnering with ABM in the UK. Dedicated to applying and delivering to the highest of standards, we are excited to work with the team to ensure a continued industry leading cleaning programme across our fleet. 

Delta crew member hands out hand sanitising wipes

Delta expands testing programme

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Delta crew member hands out hand sanitising wipes

Delta has partnered with CVS Health to accelerate employee COVID-19 testing with a rapid-response option for flight crews.

The CVS Health Return Ready testing will be overseen by a CVS Health clinician at Delta hub crew lounges and takes fewer than 15 minutes to diagnose whether the active COVID-19 virus is detected.

“Just like there’s no single method to reducing the transmission of the virus, there’s no one solution to testing our global workforce that is always on the move,” said Joanne Smith, Delta’s Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer.

The rapid-response nasal-swab test is the newest testing option Delta is providing employees so a baseline understanding of the infection can be established across Delta.

“It’s not feasible right now for everyone to take a test every time they walk out the door,” Smith said. “That’s why our baseline testing is so important, and we’re grateful to have partners who share our values and our vision to make testing easy and accessible to all Delta employees. We intend to use what we learn from this round of testing to make sure our re-testing program is one that continues to instill confidence among our people and with consumers about travelling with Delta.”

Delta teams up with Lysol to advance Delta CareStandard

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Delta has partnered with RB, the makers of Lysol to continue improving upon Delta CareStandard protocols launched during the COVID-19 pandemic across Delta airport locations and on board aircraft.

Delta and Lysol will work together to gather insights on consumers’ travel experiences to help inform the development of new, innovative disinfecting solutions for both the airport and onboard experience. The pair will also work together to identify and address ongoing germ-related travel concerns for customers. One of the first areas of focus will be developing breakthrough airplane lavatory solutions to help kill germs and protect customers and crew.

Microbiologists and germ-kill experts from Lysol will coordinate with Delta Global Cleanliness team to develop protocols for disinfection that will help protect customers against illness-causing bacteria and viruses in high-traffic areas where customers are most concerned about germs including departure gates, aircraft lavatories and Delta Sky Clubs. Delta will also deploy Delta Care Carts including EPA-approved disinfection products recommended by Lysol, making it easier to disinfect large seating areas and countertops more frequently.

Lysol will provide products to Delta, including Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, to be used with disinfecting protocols recommended by Lysol on high-touch germ hotspots across Delta areas from check-in to baggage claim.

“There’s no finish line for cleanliness – there’s always more we can do to innovate and elevate our already-high standards because that’s what our customers and employees expect and deserve,” said Bill Lentsch, Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer. “The experts at Lysol share our drive for innovative, continuous improvement – they’re the best at their craft. That’s why we’re excited to get started on R&D to target germ ‘hot spots’ and cement the Delta CareStandard as the industry gold standard – so customers feel confident in choosing Delta as more people return to travel.”

Delta reinstates alcohol service

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As of 2 July, Delta is to begin reintroducing adult beverage offerings after recent service adjustments made in March.

Domestic First Class and Delta Comfort+ customers will be served complimentary beer and wine on all flights greater than 500 miles.

Delta teams listened to feedback from customers and consulted with health professionals before bringing single-serve red and white wine, as well as Heineken, Miller Lite, SweetWater 420 and SweetWater IPA back on-board.

Flight attendants will pass the cans and single-serve bottles – which are complimentary in both First Class and Delta Comfort+ – using serving trays to minimise touch points on-board. Since beer and wine selections have fewer touch points than other adult beverage options and are individually contained, they are the first to be reintroduced on-board as Delta brings back food and beverage options.

“In keeping with the Delta CareStandard, our goal is to serve all of our food and beverage offerings in the safest way possible – both for our customers and employees,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s Senior Vice President of In-Flight Service. “We take pride in always listening to our customers, and we know beer and wine are the adult beverages our customers want most. These selections are the first step towards a normalised beverage offering while we continue to keep customer and crew safety at the center of everything we do.”

Delta’s on-board food and beverages continue to evolve based on customer feedback and guidance from health professionals. Complimentary beer, wine and cocktails remain available to all cabins on long-haul international routes, including top-shelf liquour and sommelier-selected wines for customers seated in Delta One. On-board service adjustments like individual snack bags on domestic flights and other US domestic offerings remain in place.

Delta food donations

Delta continues with food donations

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Delta food donations

Delta has donated 1 million pounds of food to communities around world, since temporarily adjusting services on board and in Delta Sky Clubs, and the effort is still ongoing.

Delta is donating food and beverages that would otherwise go unused and the number of donations increases each day. Delta is also donating food service items like utensils, bowls, napkins and packaging materials.

“We are so proud of our people who have seen the needs in communities around the world and acted with the resources Delta has to offer. That is what we like to call the Delta spirit,” said Allison Ausband, Senior Vice President – In-Flight Service. “Especially during the ongoing pandemic, we see our people going above and beyond the call of duty to serve others.”

Delta is working with longstanding US partners including Feeding America, whose local organisations are distributing food to those in need. The airline has also developed new relationships with local organisations and chefs in communities seeing a significant need for food resources.

In the Philippines, Delta donated more than 39,000 packs of snacks, 25,000 drinks, almost 5,000 packages of coffee and 600 packages of tea to COVID-19 frontline workers and first responders. Delta has also made donations in Senegal, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, El Salvador, Peru, Japan, Greece, Spain, France, Netherlands and the UK.

US airlines to enforce wearing of face coverings

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Member carriers of Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organisation representing the leading US airlines, are to “vigorously” enforce face covering policies, putting rigor around rules requiring passengers and customer-facing employees to wear facial coverings over their nose and mouth.

Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines will be implementing the following policy updates regarding face coverings:

  • Preflight Communications: Each airline will clearly articulate its individual face covering policy in communications with customers, which may require passengers to acknowledge the specific rules during the check-in process.
  • Onboard Announcements: Onboard the aircraft, crew members will announce specific details regarding the carrier’s face covering policy including the consequences passengers could face for violating the policy.
  • Consequences for Noncompliance: Each carrier will determine the appropriate consequences for passengers who are found to be in noncompliance of the airline’s face covering policy up to and including suspension of flying privileges on that airline.

“US airlines are very serious about requiring face coverings on their flights. Carriers are stepping up enforcement of face coverings and implementing substantial consequences for those who do not comply with the rules,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “Face coverings are one of several public health measures recommended by the CDC as an important layer of protection for passengers and customer-facing employees.”

The measures are expected to remain in place throughout the COVID-19 public health crisis.

All passengers are required to wear a face covering throughout the travel journey on the leading US airlines, as clearly stated on each airline’s website.

Recent posts on social media have highlighted instances of passengers not adhering to respective airline policies. In one instance that has since gone viral, a passenger was removed from an American Airways flight for refusing to comply with the face covering protocol.

Gogo loses IFC exclusivity agreement with Delta

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Delta is to amend its 2Ku In-Flight Connectivity Services Agreement with Gogo.

The Amendment provides for the early expiration of the 2Ku Agreement on a fleet-by-fleet  staggered schedule beginning in November of 2020 with Delta’s A321neos and running through July of 2022, concluding with A350-900 and A330-900 aircraft.

According to a statement by Oakleigh Thorne, Gogo President and CEO: “Though we do not relish the idea of having a competitor join us at Delta, this amendment gives us time to complete our 2Ka offering and add capacity to our 2Ku network and will enable us to compete effectively for the fleets in question.

“We are also very pleased to see Delta’s continued focus on providing free Wi-fi despite the impact of COVID-19 and view that as a positive for the in-flight connectivity industry as it will drive demand.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Delta to drive its vision.

Fleet Type                      Fleet Expiration Date

A321neo                                     11/1/2020
A321-200                                   2/31/2020
737-900ER                                12/31/2020
A220-300                                  12/31/2020
757-200                                      3/1/2021
737-800                                      4/1/2021
A320-200                                   4/1/2021
A319-100                                    4/1/2021
757-300                                      10/1/2021
A220-100                                   10/1/2021
737-700                                      10/1/2021
A330-900                                   7/1/2022
A350-900                                   7/1/2022

Delta launches Global Cleanliness Division

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Delta has established a Global Cleanliness division – a new department within the Customer Experience organisation and headed up by Mike Medeiros.

The Global Cleanliness organisation will further develop and execute Delta’s cleanliness standards, methods and quality management to ensure a consistently safe and sanitised experience across the operator’s facilities and aircraft for employees and customers, alike.

“Mike has been a steadfast leader in our transformation and cleanliness focus to date, effectively working across teams to coordinate our massive efforts at scale,” said Bill Lentsch, Chief Customer Experience Officer. “This team will bring the same focus and rigor to cleanliness that we’re known for in transforming customer expectations for on-time, completion and baggage performance – so that customers can feel confident when choosing to fly with us.”

“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our colleagues and our customers,” Medeiros added. “I’m looking forward to innovating our processes and elevating our standards so that every customer, every flight feels confident in their choice to fly with Delta.”

Delta Flight Products PPE

Delta Flight Products begins manufacture of personal protective equipment

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Delta Flight Products PPE

Delta Flight Products, Delta Airlines wholly owned subsidiary, is collaborating with Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI), a non-profit affiliate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, to manufacture face shields to protect hospital workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Using materials and designs provided by GCMI, Delta Flight Products leveraged its manufacturing facilities to quickly deliver an initial order of 2,000 shields to aid workers in New York by 3 April, and an additional 4,000 for Atlanta-area hospitals in the following days.

“Our entire team is rallying around this effort – it’s a meaningful way we can show our support for the health care workers working around the clock to protect us,” said Rick Salanitri, President of Delta Flight Products. “Georgia Tech and GCMI have been an incredible partner and we are proud to help carry out the vision of so many leading medical innovators to supply desperately needed personal protective equipment.”

Delta Flight Products is serving as an initial manufacturing site to test GCMI’s design and prescribed fabrication process, and is exploring expanding its face shield production beyond the initial order in the coming weeks.