Saturday, 24 October 2020

Mayo Clinic’s review of in-flight service guides Delta's safety response



A team of expert advisors from Mayo Clinic boarded a Delta A330-300 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport last month – and never left the gate. They were there to experience a simulation of the in-flight service our flight attendants deliver to customers every day and to share their views on key health and safety considerations as Delta continues to refine our processes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve asked Mayo Clinic to take a hard look at our food and beverage service, the way the flight attendants prepare the food, the way they deliver it to the customer, the way they interact with each other,” said Jaime Jewell, Delta’s Director - In-Flight Service Brand Strategy and Customer Experience. “We want to create an environment on the aeroplane that [customers] feel great about and that our crews feel great about, so they’re confident to come fly again.”

The Mayo Clinic team observed meal, snack and beverage service in all cabins; witnessed flight attendant announcements, interactions and other in-flight responsibilities; and facilitated Q&A sessions throughout the day with Delta leaders and participants.

“Mayo Clinic has developed models to evaluate someone’s risk of [exposure to] COVID-19 on a flight,” said Dr Eric Polley of Mayo Clinic’s Department of Health Sciences Research. “We wanted to engage the people who are on the flight and use that information to better inform the risk models we’ve been developing.”


Mayo Clinic Professor of Medicine Christopher Wittich added, “We’re thinking about ways to help decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and looking at the amount of time masks are off, the data, the current science – putting that all together to make the best recommendations for policies and procedures for Delta.”

Delta and Mayo Clinic launched a partnership in June and have been working closely to review, enhance and continuously improve health and safety protocols.

“Mayo Clinic is helping us to find that balance between minimizing risk and exposure and doing it in a way that is genuinely warm and caring and feels like us,” said Jewell.

Earlier this year, Mayo Clinic designed an unprecedented employee COVID-19 testing program across Delta’s entire workforce and is currently overseeing a re-testing strategy for high-risk groups. An Integrated Advisory Council made up of Delta leaders and Mayo Clinic medical experts continue to meet weekly to address a range of protocols, processes and questions.

Mayo Clinic physicians have also headlined virtual town hall meetings for both customers and employees, addressing current concerns and speaking to the effectiveness of the measures Delta has implemented, from mask requirements to blocking middle seats into January 2021.






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