The official name that the World Health Organization (WHO) chose for the latest COVID-19 variant setting the world’s recovery from the pandemic back a step is one that Delta Air Lines would rather not mutter. But the delta variant, or B.1.617.2, if you really want to avoid calling it by its Greek alphabet name, is hard to avoid at the moment.
For the Atlanta-based airline, the variant moniker is just an “unfortunate and inconvenient naming coincidence” and so far at least, chief executive Ed Bastian says the variant hasn’t caused a dent in forward bookings.
But when you’re just three years old and happen to share your name with the delta variant, the negative connotations can take their toll. That was certainly the case for Delta Gerardi who, as her mom pointed out, once thought the airline of the same name would be the most annoying namesake joke.
Kellie Gerardi took to social media to highlight her daughter’s predicament after the media started referring to a new ‘Delta Plus’ variant – a name that some people immediately thought was a type of seat onboard a Delta Air Lines plane.
“Petition not to call it “Delta Plus” and instead move on to the next letter in this cursed variant alphabet,” Kelli wrote on Twitter. She tagged the airline in her next tweet, saying: “I feel like we should form an alliance in this matter.”
Her message caught the attention of Delta’s social media team who felt “some obvious sympathy for Delta”.
“We sent her a care package that included a handwritten note, Delta backpack, Biscoff cookies and a model plane,” explained Andrea Feminella, a Delta Audience Engagement Manager. “Basically, everything we could find at the Delta Flight Museum gift shop with the name ‘Delta’ on it!”
Delta’s mom says she is “over the moon” with the care package that has allowed her to reclaim and celebrate her name. As for the airline, internally they prefer just to called delta the “variant”.
Photo Credit: Markus Mainka / Shutterstock.com
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.