July 21 2020  |  Airline & Terminal News

Video Clips: Delta's new era for cleanliness

By Jane Hobson

This is a special feature from PAX Tech's July Cabin Hygiene, Seating & IFEC 2020 edition.

"We've got to make sure that a customer feels like they're walking into a facility or onboard an aircraft and that it has been cleaned personally for them" - Mike Medeiros, Vice President, Global Cleanliness, Delta Air Lines

As the pandemic continues to affect different regions at different rates, airlines are taking steps to keep their crew and passengers safe. Delta Air Lines is one of the many readily sharing information about the standards and precautions it has put in place – and has assembled a new team devoted entirely to innovating and evolving cleanliness and safety in a post-pandemic world.

Delta established its Global Cleanliness division in early June. The goal of the new division is to deliver the absolute highest standard of cleanliness for travelers, Mike Medeiros, Vice President of Global Cleanliness, tells PAX Tech.

“We cannot go back to the pre-COVID era of cleanliness, we cannot return to the past,” he says. Instead, the airline is focused on delivering airport facilities and aircraft cabins in a state of cleanliness that the passengers never worry about their health and wellness along the journey.

“If we can accomplish that, and then we can encourage our partners in transportation and hotels to do the same, I think we build that level of confidence back in the customer and they return to travel,” Medeiros says.

The team is responsible for achieving the Delta Care Standard through electrostatic sanitizer spraying and the deep clean and wipe down of high-touch surfaces on the aircraft, such as the seatback IFE systems, tray table, overhead bin, lavatory and galleys.

"The audit team will come onboard and assess, not just through the eyes, about the cleanliness of the aircraft" - Mike Medeiros, Vice President, Global Cleanliness, Delta Air Lines

The process is heavily metrics driven, explains Medeiros. The airline not only provides surveys to passengers about how clean the aircraft looked and how comfortable they felt onboard, it also audits many of its aircraft and airport facilities. The audit team assesses the cleanliness of the cabin using a special handheld device to provide data about how well it is cleaning the aircraft.

From there, Delta Global Cleanliness can track its performance by fleet type, the actual aircraft itself and the supplier station providing the cleaning in order to continuously improve its standard, Medeiros says.

When asked about sharing so many details of the airline’s cleanliness initiative with the public, from installing plexiglass barriers at all US hubs to the Delta Clean program at airports and aboard aircraft and now the goals and responsibilities of the Global Cleanliness division, Medeiros says Delta does not compete on safety, health and wellness.

“What is good for Delta in the health and wellness and safety space is good for the industry,” he says. “This goes back to this idea of humanity and making sure that we’re doing everything in this world that we can to protect the consumer. We are fully committed to our customers, our employees alike, and this is the most important thing that we can be doing as an airline, as a company, right now.”

"If they see one airline doing something really well and then ultimately they see a second one picking up those best practices, and then ultimately maybe the industry adopting it as a whole, it's good for the industry" - Mike Medeiros, Vice President, Global Cleanliness, Delta Air Lines

As the international travel industry preps itself for a restart, Medeiros says Delta would be more than happy to share its insights with other airlines and industry players.

“To the extent that the customers out there can see a travel ecosystem that is acting and behaving in a responsible way to ensure customer health and wellness, it is good for all of us.”

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