Delta Air Lines will keep its middle seats open

CEO Ed Bastian talks safety protocols, mask enforcement and the state of the airline industry.
4:25 | 11/18/20

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Transcript for Delta Air Lines will keep its middle seats open
Thanksgiving time. It's supposed to be one of the busiest times of the year for the airline industry, but having an alarming uptick in covid-19 cases across the country have left many folks, their Thanksgiving plans are kind of up in the air. To say the least. But our next guest says air travel is actually safe and he's here to tell us why. CEO of delta air lines Ed Bastian. Thank you for being with us again. We are looking at air travel, people are wondering if it's safe. Jetblue just announcing earlier that it's adding back that middle seat so there's obviously concern about social distancing on planes, but you have announcement on that middle seat on delta air lines today. Tell us what it is. Our people first and foremost are doing a great job, Amy, protecting the safety and the comfort of our customers as we're traveling through this difficult period and customers are telling us that they really appreciate that. In fact, the experience our customers are having on delta has never been better for that reason. One of the reasons we are extending, we're announcing today that we're extending the middle seat block through the end of March, is because customers tell us that adds confidence to their travel experience, and while travel is slow, it's steadily improving. We're expecting over the Thanksgiving holidiod, starting on fridayhe next ten days, about 2 million customers, so we'll have a meaningful number of customers will be traveling on delta, but it's still significantly off where we would expect in normal times. I have flown a couple of times. Everybody seems to be very compliant with the mask situation, but that's earlier. We've been talking about this so-called pandemic fatigue, how are your employees prepared to handle people who may say, I don't want to wear a mask, I'm not wearing mask? Well, we know that masks are the single most important factor that we all have to otect not just ourselves but to protect others and our people are doing a great job in enforcing that policy. Candidly it's not just our employs are doing it, fellow customers are doing it as well. We still have some customers when they get onboard refuse to wear the mask and we're continuing to put people on no-fly list, right now, we have about 500 people on that list. That's part of the safety protocol in dealing with a pandemic and traveling in public. Ed, to your point, every single flight I've gotten on and I fly your airline a lot, one of your employees has to deal with somebody refusing to put their mask on, I know that you hate to see your employees dealing with that, to still have to be arguing about masks right now is a shame. Are there any additional safety precautions y'all are considering putting in place? You put some things in place for the pandemic. Given a new uptick, are any additional safety precautions you're considering? The biggest one is the continuation of the middle seat block through the end of March, partly because of the -- the renewed surge of the virus that we're seeing over the winter period of time. But we haven't pulled back at all with our safety and cleaning protocols. Every airplane gets sanitized with electric spray fogging before we take off, we continue to focus on the filtration systems and they're state of the art and customers are required to wear masks. While these things work, we don't have a single documented transmission of covid aboard any of our planes for this entire period of time and we carry about 1 million people a week in normal times. So, you know, I think our protocols are working and customers are feeling pretty good at least onboard the airplane that they're safe. We certainly appreciate you telling us exactly what delta air lines is doing to keep passengers safe as this travel season although not as busy it used to be. CEO Ed Bastian, be well. Thank you so much. Thank you, Amy. You, too. Have a happy Thanksgiving. Thank you. Same to you. It's so annoying to get on the plane and see a flight attendant arguing about a mask. Can that stop please? Just a friendly request. Coming up, hear from the mom

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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