Delta Air Lines reassures worried passengers as coronavirus pandemic spreads

Airline waives fees for travelers affected by outbreak

Delta Air Lines doesn’t want its passengers to worry about taking a financial hit if their travel plans are changed or canceled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Atlanta-based carrier, which has shifted its flight schedules to affected areas, is working with customers to adjust their itineraries, even calling on other airlines when necessary.

Delta has waived change fees for all passengers traveling through April 30 with tickets issued on or before March 9, including both international and domestic flights. Change fees will also be waived for those purchasing flights in March.

“If you can’t get through and won’t make your flight, don’t worry,” the airline said in text messages to passengers. “Delta will ensure all changes are processed and applicable credits will be issued.”

Travelers flying to Europe including the U.K., Shanghai and Beijing in China or Seoul, South Korea, through May 31 can make a change to travel plans without a charge, the airline announced.

DELTA RESPONDS TO CORONAVIRUS, CUTS PASSENGER CAPACITY

Delta is also taking precautionary measures to protect passengers’ health during flights.

Bill Lentsch, chief customer experience officer, said in a video that the airline has been spraying a high-grade disinfectant inside plane cabins and wiping down areas like headrests, entertainment screens and other frequently-touched items between flights.

“Cleanliness is always important, but now it matters more than ever,” Lentsch said.

Members of Delta's line maintenance crew disinfect the surfaces of the cabin including tray tables, seat backs and in-flight entertainment screens on Friday, March 6. (Chris Rank for Rank Studios)

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With fewer people traveling, Delta has cut its passenger-carrying capacity by 40 percent, the Associated Press reported. It’s the largest reduction in the airline’s history, even more than in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Many airlines have offered customers leniency on alterations as a result of the virus outbreak, which had sickened more than 145,000 people and killed more than 5,400 worldwide as of Saturday.

More travelers will likely need to change their plans before the outbreak dissipates. On Saturday, President Trump announced that the new European travel ban would also include the U.K. and Ireland.

Trump said he was considering adding restrictions on travel to some parts of the U.S. hit hardest by the virus.

There were more than 2,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and 50 deaths as of Saturday.

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