Delta modifies boarding process to encourage social distancing

Apr 13, 2020

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Boarding groups are out and back-to-front is in.

That’s the latest change at one big U.S. airline as the coronavirus pandemic continues to reshape the way we fly this year.

Delta said it’s changing its boarding process, moving to a back-to-front system that it believes will help customers follow social distancing guidelines.

The carrier rolled out the procedure on Friday (April 10) and said it would remain in place through at least June 30, noting that it “may be adjusted or extended depending on COVID-19 developments.”

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As part of the change, Delta will do away with the how passengers are called to board. Pre-boarding will remain available to those needing extra time or assistance.

Beyond that, however, Delta is paring back the number of groups that can board early. Delta’s first- and business-class customers will still be able to board at any time during the process, as will Delta’s Diamond-level SkyMiles members. All other customers — including other elite-level frequent flyers — will be called during the main boarding process that will start with those sitting in the back and then filling in toward the front.

Related: Why the airplane boarding process is more efficient than you think.

“The new process builds on the metered, or spaced, boarding that began in early April, and boards fewer customers at a time to allow for more distance between them,” the airline said in a statement.

Related: What aircraft types might Delta retire as a result of coronavirus?

The modified boarding process is just the latest step Delta is taking to keep travelers safe and separated during the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, the airline also announced that — among other measures — it would be temporarily blocking all middle seats and suspending advanced complimentary upgrades for SkyMiles elites.

Read more: 5 things you need to know about Delta SkyMiles.

Editor’s note: this post has been updated to reflect Delta’s new timeline for these procedures.

Featured photo by Chris Rank/Rank Studios.

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