Tourism contributes to a large chunk of South Africa’s economy, and as lockdown restrictions begin easing, the travel and tourism sector will gradually begin opening up. In May, Delta Airlines announced plans to include Cape Town to their routes.

The airline has solidified their plans and say they will launch the Atlanta-Johannesburg-Cape Town-Atlanta service from October 24 this year. This route will use an Airbus A350-900 and will officially replace Delta’s Atlanta to Johannesburg roundtrip by using a Boeing 777.

Delta will be flying its flagship Airbus A350 to South Africa. The plane is outfitted with 32 seats in Delta One, 48 Premium Select seats, and 226 Main Cabin seats. Unlike the Boeing 777s, there is no Comfort+, which is an extra-legroom economy product.

The airline announced a number of measures it will implement to ensure flyers remain safe. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

– Using a high-grade electrostatic spray that clings to surfaces, instantly killing viruses on contact. The spraying method allows the disinfectant to reach even the smallest nooks and crannies of an interiors like the corners of overhead bins. Electrostatic spray sanitization continues to be expanded to employee areas, gates, baggage claim, jet bridges and other common areas.

– Wiping down surfaces customers care about most including tray tables, seat-back entertainment screens, seat belts, arm rests and more.

– Introducing cleaner air onboard. Air onboard is recirculated every two to six minutes with fresh, outside air or through HEPA filters that extract more than 99.99% of particles, including viruses. These filters function similarly to filters used in hospital operating rooms, and Delta is committed to changing them out twice as often as recommended by the manufacturer.

– Customers will be required to sanitise their hands as soon as they board a plane. One of the first things customers notice when entering any Delta airport space is that they’re never more than a few steps away from a hand sanitizing station. Delta is also providing each customer with sanitizing wipes or gel packs upon boarding and as part of snack bag service on board.

– From check-in lobby bag-drop lines to gate areas and jet bridges, Delta is providing spacing markers to make it easy to determine a safe distance from others in the area. “We are also boarding customers 10 at a time starting at the back of the plane to reduce the instances of people passing one another in the aisle.  Additionally, customers will notice acrylic shields on all Delta counters to protect both customers and employees during ongoing interactions,” the airline said in a statement.

The airline has also capped the number of guests it will allow to book seats on flights at 60% in the main cabin and 50% in First Class, while blocking the ability to select middle seats.

“We’re committed to this through September 30, at which point we’ll re-evaluate. We’re doing all of this because medical experts recommend having space between each other in conjunction with wearing a mask as an important step in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Similarly, customers are telling us that having more space between travelers is one of the most important factors they consider when deciding to fly. ”

Picture: Delta Airlines

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.