Social distancing: Delta starts back-to-front boarding process during coronavirus pandemic

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Delta Air Lines has revised its boarding process to encourage better social distancing during the global coronavirus pandemic.

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Introduced late last week, Delta’s new system-wide boarding procedure guides passengers with seats in the back rows of the aircraft to board first. This new process aims to “to support social distancing and reduce the instances of customers needing to pass by one another to reach their seat,” the Atlanta-based carrier explained in a statement.

Delta Air Lines has launched an innovative new boarding process to encourage better social distancing during the global coronavirus pandemic.

Delta Air Lines has launched an innovative new boarding process to encourage better social distancing during the global coronavirus pandemic. (iStock)

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The procedure will be operative through at least May 31, then potentially adjusted or extended depending on the latest developments of the COVID-19 outbreak.

There are, of course, some exceptions. Customers who need extra time and assistance remain welcome to pre-board, while those seated at the rear of the aircraft will board first, row by row, during the main boarding procedure. Diamond Medallion Members and passengers seated in Delta One or First Class can also still enter at any point during the boarding process.

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The new policy marks an expansion of the metered boarding approach that the carrier debuted early April to create for greater, socially-distanced spaces between people as they enter the aircraft.

Effective April 10, Delta’s new system-wide boarding procedure guides passengers to board from the back (not the front) of the aircraft, and find their seat from there.

Effective April 10, Delta’s new system-wide boarding procedure guides passengers to board from the back (not the front) of the aircraft, and find their seat from there. (iStock)

Among other efforts to promote safe travel during the coronavirus crisis, Delta has also extended adjustments for coronavirus-impacted travel plans for up to two years. Airline passengers can now cancel, change and rebook travel for the next 24-plus months to provide some much-needed "breathing room" during this time of crisis.

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Delta is also offering free flights for medical professionals to travel to where they’re needed most during the ongoing outbreak.