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This is The Email That Delta Air Lines Sent to Flight Attendant Warning Them Not to Share Their COVID-19 Diagnosis

This is The Email That Delta Air Lines Sent to Flight Attendant Warning Them Not to Share Their COVID-19 Diagnosis

Photo Credit: Delta Air Lines

Yesterday, Delta Air Lines faced a barrage of criticism after an email emerged of it telling flight attendants not to share their COVID-19 diagnosis with their colleagues. The instructions also expressly prohibited flight attendants from sharing their Coronavirus experiences on social media, including the Atlanta-based airline’s internal intranet – a move that prompted critics to claim Delta was trying to conceal how many flight attendants had contracted COVID-19.

To make matters worse, the email emerged just one week after a similar controversy between Delta and its pilots group. In that incident, a video of a recording of a Delta manager telling pilots not to tell colleagues they had recently worked with stoked fears that employees would continue working with little or no idea they had been exposed to the potentially deadly virus.

A spokesperson for Delta, though, says there “seems to be some confusion in the presentation of the message”. Instead, the airline says it was simply asking flight attendants to follow an “established” internal reporting process so that the airline could conduct contact tracing on the behalf of affected crew members.

“Our employee communication was designed to inform our crews so that they hear from us first, protect the confidentiality of the potential employees/customers impacted and ensure that crews receive leader support,” the Delta spokesperson told us. Affected employees would also be given “details on available resources as well as advice on next steps,” the statement continued.

Seeking to clear up the confusion over the messaging, Delta agreed to provide a copy of the entire email that was sent to flight attendants:

Flight attendant reporting procedures 
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, are symptomatic or have been told by your local health department to quarantine, do the following: 

  • Immediately contact our Air Crew and Passenger Health Services (ACPHS) Nurse Line at 404-XXX-XXXX
  • If outside normal business hours (before 0800 ET or after 1700 ET), contact the IFS OCC. 
  • Contact the MST Desk at 800-XXX-XXXX to report your absence. 
  • Contact your FSM (or other local base leader/IFS OCC) to advise them of the onset of your symptoms and your current status. 

For your safety and that of your fellow crew members, please ensure you complete these actions as soon as symptoms occur.  

***Original***

Best practices if you are symptomatic or diagnosed with COVID-19

  • 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. 
  • Please do not post on social media (including SkyHub) about your health status. 

***Updated***

Best practices if you are symptomatic or diagnosed with COVID-19

  • 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.

There are, however, concerns that some flight attendants who have been told about working a flight with an infected colleague have been told to continue working because the airline has deemed the risk to be low – something they can’t verify.

Delta does, though, also say there are no plans to discipline flight attendants who do happen to flout the rules. A popular Facebook group of flight attendants self-quarantining with COVID-19 symptoms would suggest the real number of infected flight attendants is far higher than official figures.

Delta was asked to provide figures on how many of its crew had tested positive for COVID-19 but the airline declined to comment.

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