Read: Delta CEO Ed Bastian’s Latest Memo To Employees

Delta CEO Ed Bastian has taken Covid-19 tests several times. The airline is offering testing for all of their employees and everyone is expected to do it. They’re even offering at-home test kits for employees in Texas and Florida. The airline is now up to 120 passengers they’ve banned for refusing to wear face masks on board.

They’re actively promoting police reform and celebrate passage of legislation in Minnesota, and they’re committed to racial equality and justice – though notably unlike American Airlines CEO leading off their earnings call declaring “black lives matter” that’s not part of Bastian’s memo.


​To: Delta Colleagues Worldwide

From: Ed Bastian, CEO

Subject: Protecting Our Jobs and Our Health

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to set records for infections across the nation, we’re stepping up our efforts to ensure the health and safety of our people and our customers. In recent days, we’ve unveiled new strategies to better utilize some of our most effective tools to combat the virus: testing and face masks.

​Building on testing events at our largest hubs and our headquarters in Atlanta, we’re expanding Delta’s program to ensure that all of our active, U.S.-based employees are tested within the next four weeks. This means we’ll be scheduling additional onsite testing opportunities at our hubs, and we’ll also be introducing at-home testing for employees based elsewhere.

At-home testing will kick off for Delta people based in Florida and Texas – two hot spots where we have a large contingent of our non-hub employees – as well as our Reservations and Customer Care people based in non-hub locations. Additional groups will be added from there.

It’s estimated that between 30 to 50 percent of the virus spread is happening from asymptomatic individuals. Testing will ensure that if you’re ill, you will be identified, even if you’re not exhibiting symptoms. You’ll have time to recover at home, which is a vital step in protecting those around you – including your families, friends, coworkers and our customers.

By testing 100 percent of our people, we’re establishing a baseline that helps us make critical decisions to protect everyone’s health and safety – our employees and our customers. We’re exploring additional programs and technology to make it easier for everyone to stay tested, notify us if they contract the virus, and enable contact tracing to identify those who may have been exposed and reduce transmission. More information on our expanded testing program is available here.

We expect 100 percent of our people to participate. I’ve done it several times since the outbreak began, and I assure you that it’s easy, painless and takes just 10 minutes to complete.

Testing is important, but it’s just one of the layers of our broad strategy to keep you safe. Another incredibly important tactic is wearing face masks, and wearing them properly. All employees are required to wear masks, and soon after the pandemic began, we enacted a policy to require all of our customers to wear masks or face coverings as well.

This week, we strengthened that policy with a new measure requiring customers who believe they have an underlying condition that prevents them from wearing a mask to complete a “Clearance-To-Fly” process before they can travel, including a medical consultation with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. And we’re encouraging those who can’t wear masks to reconsider their travel altogether. Countless studies and medical experts have advised us that masks are an essential response to the virus that will help us reduce transmission.

That’s why we’re taking it very seriously. We’ve already banned 120 passengers from future travel with Delta for refusing to wear masks on board.

These are all part of our multi-layered approach to slow the spread and stop the virus. The infection rate among our customer-facing people is below the national average, which indicates that our levels of protection are working.​

Our shared values extend beyond our commitment to health and safety. We continue to make the fight for racial equality and justice a top priority. This past week in Atlanta, we saw the passing of two great heroes of the Civil Rights movement – John Lewis and the Rev. C.T. Vivian. We honor them for their tremendous achievements that improved the lives for millions of Americans, and pledge to join so many in continuing their legacy amid this national reckoning over racial injustice.

We made some progress this week, with the passage of a Delta-supported police reform package in Minnesota. Among many reforms, the measure bans chokeholds and neck restraints, increases police training and creates a unit to investigate use of force cases. It’s just a start, but this legislation provides meaningful actions as we address the challenges of inequality and racism in Minnesota.

I want to thank you all for everything you do for our customers each day. Your spirit of caring and service is something that no pandemic can ever diminish. It’s why I am so optimistic that we will be a better, stronger, and more resilient airline when we get through this.

I look forward to seeing you soon in my travels and at our virtual Town Hall next week.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Most people are not interested in racial equality. They want their own race to be supreme.

    This is true of many White people.
    This is true of many Black people.

    And can you blame either of them?

    They are playing to win.

    Who ever plays to be “equal”?

  2. Jason speaks only for himself and his comment adds nothing but hate and divisiveness to a travel blog

    Black Lives Matter

  3. Bill, you’re not in DC, you’re in denial. You’re a White man saying Black Lives Matter out of fear and coercion. You don’t care about Black people.

  4. I think its disgusting that these companies participate in any political or other issues. BLM is a joke to many people. I support the police. I know not all police are bad. You have racist and bad individual’s in every profession. Defunding the police is a joke and so are the companies that are supporting it as well.

  5. People like @Florida can’t argue with the factual statement I presented so they resort to schoolyard bully remarks.

  6. @Jason – this is a sociopathic perspective. Our society *does* value equality and aspires to do better.

    To borrow a thought experiment from John Rawls, imagine that you were involved in setting the rules of society without knowing what position you would hold within it – sex, gender, race, intelligence level, tastes, wealth, etc., how would you set the rules? Most would set it to be equitable valuing those qualities that we want to incentivize: creativity, leadership, entrepreneurialism, etc. rather than choosing one race or another.

    On another note, that this is the first comment on this post on a travel blog just baffles me.

  7. This guy. He wants to fire his employees so bad but he is addicted to the bailout cash. As he cannot improve the quality of his product and he is not willing to cut prices, he wraps himself in the flag of boutique causes. Not exactly leadership

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