Air on commercial airplanes is safer than the air circulating in homes or hospital operating rooms, according to a recent study conducted for the U.S. Department of Defense.  

The study attributed high air exchange rates, HEPA-filters and downward ventilation systems with a 99.7% reduction in the risk of coronavirus transmission through air onboard after testing two aircraft fleet types used for commercial flights, even when all seats are filled. Delta remains committed to blocking middle seats on all flights through at least Jan. 6 to provide more space for customers on all aircraft, while limiting overall capacity. 

“The 767 and 777 both removed particulate 15 times faster than a home and five to six times faster than recommended design specifications for modern hospital operating or patient isolation rooms,” according to the report. 

Delta’s focus on keeping the onboard air clean and safe is a key layer of protection Delta works to provide to its customers and employees. The air on Delta aircraft is completely refreshed 10 to 30 times per hour (every 2 to 6 minutes) with fresh outside air or air that has been recirculated through industrial-grade HEPA filters, which extract more than 99.99% of particles, including viruses. 

Delta replaces these industrial-grade HEPA filters twice as often as recommended and is installing LEED Platinum MERV14 filters to provide cleaner air while aircraft are parked, which can result in a significant reduction in air particles and cleaner air in jetbridges.  

“In addition to continually innovating and setting the new standard of cleanliness, it’s also our job to share science-based facts and research with our customers to help them feel informed and comfortable when they return to the skies,”  said Bill Lentsch, Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer.  

Delta has implemented layers of protection from check-in to baggage claim to deliver a new standard of cleanliness, more space and safer service and care for customers and employees alike. Delta’s comprehensive list of more than 100 safety actions is collectively known as the Delta CareStandard – it includes sanitizing aircraft surfaces with electrostatic spray before every flight, blocking middle seats while capping aircraft capacity, enforcing mask-wearing requirements and changing aircraft HEPA filters twice as often as recommended – all to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Want to dive deeper into the science behind Delta’s air filtration? Watch this video to learn more. 

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