Delta Air Lines (DAL -2.89%) has announced new steps to operate in an environment of social distancing requirements. The plan is aimed at ensuring the safety of both customers and employees both on the ground and on flights. 

The company had previously announced business adjustments including the suspension of CEO Ed Bastian's full salary, and overall capacity cuts of over 40% for several months to align operating conditions with demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

airplane passengers in seats

Image source: Getty Images.

Protection efforts

Delta has now announced that it will be reducing the number of passengers being booked per flight and leaving middle seats open on all flights, labeling them as unavailable upon check-ins. Additionally, status upgrades will not be automatic, but rather can be processed at the gate to allow employees to consider social distancing along with weight and balance issues on flights. 

Other measures include boarding customers 10 at a time, streamlining food and beverage service to minimize contact, and working with passengers once the flight reaches 10,000 feet to find new seats if appropriate. The company announced the new conditions will be in place beginning April 13, and ending May 31. 

The company also listed ways in which it is working to protect and help its employees. These include paid leave for workers deemed by the CDC guidelines as at higher risk, providing face masks for some, and encouraging face protection for all employees, as well as expanding temperature screening and disinfectant spraying.