To accommodate social distancing recommendations, Delta Air Lines has temporarily adjusted its method of boarding passengers onto planes.
As of April 10, the carrier has been filling the back of aircraft first, working toward the front. That way, customers on their way to seats toward the rear of the cabin won't need to pass already-seated flyers, exchanging clouds of germs along the way.
In a statement, Delta says the "measures will be in place through June 30 and may be adjusted or extended" depending on global health developments.
We're all for Delta extending the measures indefinitely—and other airlines should follow suit. Filling a plane from back to front makes the most sense if you're trying to board passengers quickly and efficiently.
The airlines' preferred system of letting the people who paid more for seats go first—and those carriers' knack for devising elaborate pay structures with more gradations of rank than the Hapsburg Monarchy—is how we've ended up with the proliferation of boarding group numbers and categories causing stress and confusion at airport gates across the land.
Even with Delta's new back-to-front policy, there are exceptions to accommodate high rollers. "Those seated in Delta One or First Class, as well as Diamond Medallion Members, remain welcome to board at any point during the boarding process," the company's statement says.
(Also, passengers who need extra time to get to their seats because of mobility issues or because they're traveling with small children will still be allowed to preboard no matter where they're seated in the cabin—and that's how it should be.)
Still, the new policy is a start.
Of course, hardly any customers are flying these days—air travel is down by a whopping 96% amid the pandemic.
But here's hoping airlines continue to follow sensible measures when more of us return to the skies.