Delta modifies boarding process to encourage social distancing

Apr 13, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.”

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more airline news.

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.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.