Delta to maintain social distancing while many other airlines end COVID-19 safety measures

Many airlines throwing out safety measures despite COVID-19 outbreaks around country

Delta Air Lines is setting capacity limits for passengers due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

DETROIT – Delta Airlines announced it will continue to enforce social distancing rules while many other airlines throw out their safety measures despite coronavirus (COVID-19) cases spiking around the country.

Delta is one of the few commercial carries still enforcing social distancing rules onboard planes and selling fewer seats in order to keep passengers and crew members said.

The airline made the announcement that those rules will continue for the next few months. Passengers and members of the medical community noticed the company’s commitment.

One of the most important ways people can reduce the spread of the coronavirus is to stay as far apart as possible. Doing that on a plane is challenging, and being packed shoulder-to-shoulder is definitely too close.

Even a mask will have limited effectiveness in that instance because any aerosols a person spreads are still at a high concentration within a certain distance.

Social distancing is key when it comes to preventing the spread of the virus, and when it comes to airplanes, anything the airline companies can do to help keep people apart is essential. Packing people into seats next to each other is a risk because there isn’t enough space to allow infected droplets or aerosols to dissipate, even with ventilation.

A person can only do so much when they’re on a plane. Masks and attention to hygiene are also important factors, but beyond that, passengers are at the mercy of airlines.

Delta’s announcement comes as other airlines, such as American Airlines, said they will start filling up their flights.

“Reducing the overall number of customers on every aircraft across the fleet is one of the most important steps we can take to ensure a safe experience for our customers and people,” a Delta spokesperson said. “Delta is offering the highest standards in safety and cleanliness, so we’re ready for customers when they’re ready to fly again.”

The company has capped seating at 50% in first class and 60% in the main cabin through Sept. 30. Middle seats will be blocked and there will be electrostatic spraying of all plans before departures in an effort to reduce germs in the cabin.

About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.