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Delta and Mayo Clinic have partnered since the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the clinic’s experts advising the airline on employee testing, strategies for cleanliness and operational tactics to reduce the transmission of the virus. In early February, a Mayo Clinic team visited Delta’s Atlanta headquarters to review another facet of the airline’s work – flight attendant and pilot training.  

“Our Mayo Clinic partners came down [from Minnesota] to take a look at our training center – our spaces, our training devices and our policies and procedures – to help us make the training experience even safer than it is today,” said Johnathan Cunningham, General Manager – In-Flight Service Learning Strategy. 

The team also visited Flight Operations’ pilot training facilities, where they observed classrooms, briefing rooms and even a flight from Portland to Seattle in a 757 simulator.  

“We’re excited to hear how we’re doing a lot of things right already,” said Cunningham. “And we’ll be taking Mayo Clinic’s analysis and going back to different teams – environmental teams, testing teams – to talk about what else we can be doing to keep our people safe.” 

Based on earlier recommendations from Mayo Clinic following an observed simulation of Delta’s in-flight service, the airline launched service changes to further streamline our onboard procedures and minimize the already-low risk of exposure to COVID-19 in flight.  

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

Delta and Mayo Clinic launched a partnership in June 2020 and have been working closely to review, enhance and improve health and safety protocols. 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 launched. 

In January, former Mayo Clinic Chief Value Officer Dr. Henry Ting joined Delta as the company’s first Chief Health Officer.