Update: Since publishing this article, Delta issued a new policy on Friday evening (3 April 2020). Delta said “leaders will identify and notify any employees who have come into prolonged close contact with any pilot or worker who has symptoms or a diagnosis of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, within the 48 hours prior to when the sick employee’s symptoms began.”
It’s worth noting that the company now considers “prolonged close contact” to mean “within 6 feet for a 10 continuous minutes.”
It’s also worth noting that by Friday evening, the number of Delta pilots who tested positive for COVID-19 rose to more than 50.
To tell or not to tell others that you have tested positive for COVID-19? That is the question and the latter appears to be the route Delta Air Lines administration is conveying.
Thursday night (2 April 2020), a 9-minute video – that appears to be secretly recorded – was uploaded to Youtube showing representatives within Delta Air Lines discussing a call they were going to have with pilots the next day.
However, as you will see in the video (below), the representatives don’t appear to be exactly forthcoming with the facts and given the current pandemic the optics are do not look good.
One representative tells the other leaders that one of Delta’s chief pilots told air captains “it’s not your job to go telling people that you were infected.”
The conversation continues and one representative says “we think the number is quite significant. We just don’t have the data. The company is hiding it” and suggests that those that are diagnosed with COVID-19 are being advised not to tell others at Delta “including flight attendants that they have been infected” and was directed by the Chief Pilot’s office.
Another representative in the video specifically says:
“That’s one reason why the company was telling people, ‘Hey, don’t tell the flight attendants you were sick,’ or anything of that nature,”
Here’s a look the leaked video:
Look, we are all in uncharted territory and this is NOT the time to save face. Lives are depending on the truth. In fact, a Delta baggage handler has already died from COVID-19 and at least 4 TSA agents at Atlanta Hartsfield Airport have been diagnosed with it.
The release of the video (understandably) sent flight attendants and other crew – none of whom, besides some dispatchers and pilots, are unionized – at the world’s highest-revenue-generating airline into a panic.
The incident added yet another layer of turmoil to an industry in chaos as the U.S. death toll from the pandemic surges and analysts warn that the record $50 billion bailout Congress approved for airlines won’t be enough to prevent mass layoffs.
What do you make of this video?