Delta A330-900 aircraft in flight

DO&CO secures first contract with Delta Air Lines

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Delta A330-900 aircraft in flight

As it looks to expand in the US, DO&CO has won its first contract with Delta Air Lines.

From 16 March 2021 DO&CO will be the airline’s sole Hub Caterer in Detroit (DTW) for the next 10 years. DO & CO will be responsible for the entire board service across all short and long-haul flights.

In a statement, the caterer said that its culinary expertise will “support Delta Air Lines in its vision to improve the in-flight customer experience. The Gourmet Entertainment provided by DO&CO invigorates Delta Air Lines distinctiveness and promises to enhance its reputation as a premium airline.”

The caterer will also bid for Delta Air Lines’ upcoming Hub tenders in 2021.

A dog recognised as a service animal

US bans emotional support animals in the cabin

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A dog recognised as a service animal

US airlines have begun enforcing a ban on emotional support animals, following a final rule issued in December 2020, by the US Department of Transport (DOT).

The DOT’s final rules bring the definition of a service animal into alignment with the Department of Justice’s definition under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), defining a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability. This does not include emotional support animals (ESAs).

“Airlines are committed to promoting accessibility for passengers with disabilities and ensuring their safe travel. The Department of Transportation’s final rule will protect the traveling public and airline crewmembers from untrained animals in the cabin, as well as improve air travel accessibility for passengers with disabilities that travel with trained service dogs,” stated A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “We commend Sec. Chao for her leadership in both aviation safety and passenger accessibility.”

A broad range of stakeholders including consumer, disability, labour and service dog training organisations have advocated for changes to stop this abuse.

As of 11 January 2021, Alaska will only transport service dogs, which are specially trained to perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability.

“This regulatory change is welcome news, as it will help us reduce disturbances onboard, while continuing to accommodate our guests traveling with qualified service animals,” said Ray Prentice, Director of Customer Advocacy at Alaska Airlines.

Under the revised policy, Alaska will accept a maximum of two service dogs per guest in the cabin, to include psychiatric service dogs. Guests will be required to complete a DOT form, which will be available on, attesting that their animal is a legitimate service dog, is trained and vaccinated and will behave appropriately during the journey.

Alaska will continue to accept emotional support animals under its current policy for reservations booked prior to 11 January 2021, for flights on or before 28 February 2021. No emotional support animals will be accepted for travel after 28 February 2021.

Delta’s updated policy includes input and guidance from our frontline teams, as well as recommendations from its Advisory Board on Disability.

“We applaud the DOT for making this change and acknowledging the concerns that Delta and many other stakeholders have raised for the past several years,” said Allison Ausband – S.V.P., In-Flight Service. “The DOT’s final rule enables airlines to put the safety of all employees and customers first, while protecting the rights of customers who need to travel with trained service animals.”

“Delta’s updated policy follows a nearly 85% increase in animal incidents since 2016, including urination, defecation and biting,” said David Garrison – S.V.P. Corporate Safety and Security. “Our top priority is the health, safety and comfort of Delta customers and our people. We strongly believe this policy change will enhance the overall travel experience for everyone.”

Delta will lift its ban on pit bull type dogs that meet documentation requirements for trained service animals.

From 1 February, to ensure accessible travel for individuals with disabilities while protecting the safety and well-being of customers and team members, American will ask customers traveling with service animals to complete a DOT form attesting to the dog’s behaviour, training, and health. The airline will require this form to be submitted electronically 48 hours in advance of a flight unless the reservation is booked within 48 hours of travel. A service animal’s authorisation will be valid for one year or until the expiration of its vaccinations.

Delta wants to work with work black-owned companies to strengthen its health measures

Delta pitches for supplier diversity

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Delta wants to work with work black-owned companies to strengthen its health measures

Delta’s Mike Medeiros, Vice President – Global Cleanliness, is seeking out minority-owned businesses to support its development of a world-class cleanliness standard.

In an appeal to business leaders in the areas of UV, surface disinfectants, autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence, Medeiros said: “We need your ideas, your creativity, your entrepreneurial spirit,” Medeiros told the suppliers. “The innovation and resilience that minority-owned businesses bring to the table make you the optimal partners for Delta to build a key area of our business around. Supporting diverse suppliers isn’t just our social responsibility; it’s a smart business strategy that drives results.”

Delta CEO Ed Bastian recently highlighted the airline’s focus on supporting Black-owned businesses as part of Delta’s COVID-19 recovery strategy. His commitments include:

  • Generating wealth in the Black community by further diversifying Delta’s supply chain and doubling spending with Black-owned businesses by 2025, while seeking diverse business partners for Delta’s COVID-19 recovery strategy.
  • Requiring each bidding and request-for-proposal process for new partnerships to include participation from minority-owned businesses, while introducing micro-development programs to identify and grow diverse businesses in underrepresented areas of our supply chain.
  • Evaluating every Delta contract to ensure suppliers are held accountable for anti-racism policies within their organisations.
Wash basin surface cleaned via Vyz LED lighting

Vyv antimicrobial LED lighting comes onboard Delta

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Wash basin surface cleaned via Vyz LED lighting

Delta is to begin installation of Vyv (pronounced “VIVE” – formerly known as Vital Vio) antimicrobial LED lighting above onboard the high-touch areas of lavatory sinks and countertops, on its Boeing 757-200 fleet.

After installation on this initial fleet, Delta plans to conduct further tests in 2021 with the hope of expanding installation in the future.

These antimicrobial LED lights, when combined with electrostatic spraying and frequent cleaning, help to improve cleanliness and eliminate germs in lavatories. In-flight crews also use kits that include disinfectant spray, wipes and gloves to ensure the thorough sanitisation completed before boarding stays fresh throughout the flight.

“Innovation is central to everything we do at Delta. Our partnership with Vyv shows how we are adapting the vision we showcased at CES to double-down on our commitment to customer health and safety,” said Bill Lentsch, Chief Customer Experience Officer. “This technology will provide another of the many layers we’ve put in place that, when working together, keep customers safe. For Delta, there’s no more important goal for applied innovation.”

Vyv is a visible spectrum LED light (non-UV) that provides high-quality illumination that is deadly to bacteria, while being ideal for continuous use around people and animals.

Customers will know their flight is equipped with Vyv thanks to newly installed messaging placards in outfitted lavatories. These placards feature a link customers can visit to learn more about Delta’s layers of protection and how the company is harnessing innovative collaboration to keep customers safe.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, our nimble teams from Delta Flight Products and TechOps have worked in partnership with our Innovation team to deliver cleanliness solutions for customers,” said Don Mitacek, SVP – Technical Operations. “This is another example of how Delta and our startup partners have worked together to create a safer travel experience.”

A Delta catering employee in PPE washes down a food preparation counter

Delta promotes food hygiene standards

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A Delta catering employee in PPE washes down a food preparation counter

Delta has released details of the measures its catering partners have adopted to keep customers and crew safe.

Delta’s catering partners have always followed the industry’s cleaning standards and are consistently inspected by government agencies including the US Food and Drug Administration.

Before passengers board, all inbound international catering equipment and trucks are cleaned and sanitised with a food safe disinfectant using electrostatic sprayers throughout the day. Delta teams are currently testing an expansion of this process for all flights.

Before walking through the doors of its  kitchen facilities, catering employees and visitors are temperature-checked and asked to complete a health questionnaire. Catering employees follow social distancing protocols and wear personal protective gear, including face coverings and gloves, according to their work area.

Delta has also added additional cleaning staff to help with enhanced sanitising processes that focus on high traffic and high-touch areas:

All food contact surfaces are sanitised throughout the day and are verified for cleanliness before food production.

After being unloaded, food carts are taken to a cart wash area to be rinsed and sanitised, while crockery and utensils are washed and sanitised using high-heat, industrial dishwashing machines.

All catering products are sanitised before food carts are provisioned for our customers.

One provisioned with food and beverages, carts are given a second cleanse before they are loaded onto our aircraft.

In the air Delta has temporarily moved to essential food and beverage offerings on board on all US domestic and short-haul international flights. Customers in all cabins receive their own personal snack bags on domestic flights.

Customers flying on long-haul international routes are also receiving temporarily streamlined in-flight services and meal choices, along with a full selection of beverage offerings.

Cropped image showing engine and wing of 777 belonging to Delta

Delta signals end of 777 fleet by year end

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Cropped image showing engine and wing of 777 belonging to Delta

Delta has announced the planned retirement of its 18 widebody 777 aircraft as it continues to reduce operational complexity and cost, while maintaining a modern fleet.

Last month, Delta announced plans to accelerate the retirement of the MD-88 and MD-90 fleets to June

“We’re making strategic, cost-effective changes to our fleet to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while also ensuring Delta is well-positioned for the recovery on the backside of the crisis,” said Gil West, Delta’s Chief Operating Officer. “The 777 has been a reliable part of Delta’s success since it joined the fleet in 1999 and because of its unique operating characteristics, opened new non-stop, ultra-long-haul markets that only it could fly at that time.”

The Boeing 777-200 first entered the fleet in 1999 and grew to 18 aircraft, including 10 of the long-range 777-200LR variant, which arrived in 2008.

Delta will continue flying its fleet of long-haul next generation Airbus A350-900s, which burn 21% less fuel per seat than the 777s they will replace.

More specific details of the timing of the 777’s exit from the fleet will be disclosed at a later date.

It’s less than a year since Delta upgraded its Boeing 777, featuring all four branded seat products offered by the airline – Delta One Suite, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort + and Main Cabin, which offers Nine-abreast seating, rather than the industry-standard ten-abreast seating, with 47 cm wide Main Cabin seats, the widest Main Cabin seats of Delta’s international fleet.

Additionally, there are seatback entertainment screens throughout with Delta Studio and thousands of hours of content — free of charge across all cabins and full-spectrum LED ambient lighting with customised lighting schemes depending on phase of flight.