***Update 04/11/2020 @ 20:27UTC: Inserted official text of statement from Delta to flight attendants***
US carrier Delta Air Lines has asked its flight attendants to refrain from public notification about positive coronavirus tests or symptoms. The advisory was sent to flight attendants via an email on April 9th.
The email to flight attendants
HuffPost published that Delta had directed its flight attendants to avoid notifying fellow crew or else otherwise post about health on social media per an email sent out to over 25,000 flight attendants on Thursday. Instead, the Atlanta-based carrier has asked that staff work with management to report positive tests so that Delta can manage notifying any other employees who are at risk of also having contracted the coronavirus.
The airline has a procedure in place for flight attendants to notify management and receive leave due to a positive coronavirus test, or else, from the onset of symptoms associated with the virus.
Below is the following guidelines from Delta sent out to flight attendants:
We take the responsibility of notifying all of our Delta people seriously and have a strong protocol in place to ensure we get in touch with anyone potentially exposed to provide support, key information and resources, and advise them on any necessary steps. Therefore, please refrain from notifying other crew members on your own. Once you have completed the reporting procedures listed above, leaders will follow the established process to notify any impacted flight attendants.
In this update, Delta removed a statement asking flight attendants to refrain from posting on social media about their health status.
The controversy over Delta’s policy
Some people are claiming that this is an attempt from the airline that seeks to silence flight attendants about their health. Although, perhaps, that allegation is taking it a step too far. The primary motive for this seems to be aimed at reducing panic among Delta’s staff members.
Management appears to be following up with potentially affected flight attendants. HuffPost recently reported on a voicemail from an Atlanta-area employee to a flight attendant notifying them of potential contact with an employee exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus.
The world is focused on combating the coronavirus. Part of this fight has healthcare workers on the front lines relying on crucial cargo shipments of medical supplies to assist in their efforts against the virus. While it is important to follow guidance from health officials, it is equally important to avoid inciting panic.
Delta’s move to ask flight attendants to rely on management will allow the airline to notify those who are most at risk. Even though the virus is quite contagious, there are people whom the person may have come in contact with that are at low risk of contracting the virus.
However, if Delta is not notifying employees who could potentially have contracted the virus from a coworker in a timely manner, then this would be an obvious negative move. In any case, flight attendants who are symptomatic or otherwise test positive should work with relevant healthcare providers and notify Delta to receive a leave of absence from work. While the virus itself may not be fatal to one person, it could be for another.
What do you make of Delta’s policy? Let us know in the comments
Simple Flying reached out to Delta for comment, however, the airline was not immediately available.