What to know about masks and other travel tips from Delta


Editor’s note: The following content, originally published on April 14, was updated April 19 to reflect the Biden administration’s announcement that the Transportation Security Administration will no longer enforce the federal mandate requiring masks in all U.S. airports and on board aircraft.

We get it: you’re ready to go. As spring and summer travel ramp up, Delta is here to help ensure your next journey is as smooth as possible. Amid an evolving travel landscape, we are doing everything we can to make sure you get where you’re headed safely and on time.

As always, giving yourself and others a little grace when things don’t go as planned will go a long way while our people work around the clock to make your travel go smoothly.

Here are a few tips for an easier trip the next time you travel with Delta:

1. Stay alert to changing COVID-era protocols.

Masks are optional for customers, airport employees and crew members inside U.S. airports, on board aircraft domestically and on most international flights. The Transportation Security Administration is no longer enforcing the federal mandate as of April 18.

The choice is yours: Delta people and customers may still choose to wear a mask. Experts agree that wearing a well-fitting mask – such as a KN95 – protects the wearer, even if others around them are not wearing masks. As Delta people and customers adapt to this change, please extend some extra patience to your crew and in-flight neighbors.

As COVID-19 continues transitioning to a manageable respiratory virus with improved treatments, widespread vaccine availability and other medical advancements to prevent the worst outcomes, Delta has made some adjustments to COVID-era protocols while following the science and maintaining the Delta CareStandard. We remain committed to layers of protection like hospital-grade HEPA filters, regular cleaning and sanitization of high-touch surfaces on the planes and in the airport, a dedicated cleanliness team dedicated to ensuring high standards are maintained and the industry’s first Chief Health Officer, Dr. Henry Ting, who is a key voice for Delta as we work to protect the health and safety of Delta people and customers. Our global cleanliness team also continues to test and phase in new and innovative solutions to drive faster turn times, including low-powered blowers to quickly clear debris from crevices and hard-to-reach places, as well as vacuums that are more effective and have higher suction.

Pro tip: Customers are encouraged to carry a mask throughout the journey as face coverings may continue to be a requirement in other aspects of travel, like Lyft rides or when traveling internationally.

2. Use the Fly Delta app to check in, change your flight, manage trip interruptions and more.

Fly Delta is home to all the tools customers may need during their trip, including checking in, tracking bags and managing flight interruptions. Customers can see and make real-time updates throughout their journey through the app; they can even use the Fly Delta app to calculate how long it will take to get from curb to gate – and view current security wait times – with the app’s wayfinding feature.

Pro tip: You can nearly always skip a call to Delta Reservations by modifying or canceling flights directly in the Fly Delta app or using the Messaging feature on delta.com or the app. When trips are interrupted and wait times on the phone are longer than usual, Fly Delta is the quickest option to getting on the next available flight.


Many customers may wonder how Delta makes decisions about cancellations and schedule changes and what Delta does to help them when those disruptions occur. Read on for more about how we take care of our customers when travel is interrupted – as well as tips on managing your next flight and when to arrive at the airport.

3. Check out Fly Delta’s new Today mode, make sure your notifications are enabled and keep an eye on your text messages and emails from Delta.

Boarding information, upgrade status, baggage location and key self-service shortcuts like same-day changes are available directly from the Today tab in Fly Delta. The tab is updated in real-time with the latest and most important information customers need to make sure you never miss a beat as travel variables like gate changes or boarding times evolve. We’ll also notify you when Wi-Fi is available onboard and when you’ve reached a new loyalty milestone.

Turned off notifications by mistake? In the device’s settings app, find the notifications selection and ensure Fly Delta app notifications are turned on. Manage your device’s sleep mode settings accordingly, too, to avoid notifications being silenced. And make sure to keep an eye out for any emails or text messages you receive from Delta with important updates on your flight status, travel documents and what to know before you go to the airport. That information is also available in My Trips.

Pro tip: You can use Fly Delta to save time at the airport with new express bag-tagging functionality available at most hub airports. After checking-in, simply scan a boarding pass at a Delta kiosk and automatically print bag tags.

A woman uses an electronic boarding pass on the Fly Delta app.


Recent improvements include an all-new Today mode experience, improvements to self-service features and new ways to quickly print bag tags.

4. Delta people are working around the clock to help support you.

Whether it’s at airports, onboard or behind the scenes at our reservations and operations centers, we’re here to help our customers get where they need to be as safely and quickly as possible. When travel interruptions happen, our customers can rest assured that we are working around the clock to move and position equipment and crews, adjusting schedules and taking other proactive measures to ensure our customers get where they need to go.

When cancellations become necessary as a last resort, Delta works to make changes that impact the fewest customers with the shortest delays. And, whenever possible, Delta teams strive to cancel flights far enough in advance to notify customers before arriving at the airport.

If for any reason a flight is delayed while you’re at the airport, Delta people are ready to support you. Ahead of the busy summer travel season, we’re increasing our airport staffing and introducing new ways to take care of you while you wait for your flight. If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to find one of our famous Red Coats – Delta’s elite airport customer service experts, identifiable by their bright red coats – who are armed with a chat feature and will do their best to resolve any questions. For longer delays, teams are ready to help take care of customers in gate areas with light refreshments and supporting our Chat to Help feature to connect and support customers with rebooking. 

Pro tip: If your flight is interrupted, Delta will automatically rebook customers with canceled flights on the next best available itinerary to their final destination. You’ll be able to see the best alternate flight options on the Fly Delta app – most of the time, these are the same options our Reservations agents have.

5. Budget enough time to navigate the airport and speed through security lines with CLEAR and TSA Precheck.

Plan to arrive at the airport two hours ahead of domestic flights and three hours ahead of international flights. Especially during popular travel days, you should allow some extra time to check your bags and go through security – and remember to pack any valuables or essential items in your carry-on bags.

For a quicker in-airport experience, you can enroll in CLEAR — now available in more than 35 airports where we fly — and speed through security lines with just the touch of a finger or blink of an eye. U.S.-based SkyMiles® Members get preferred pricing on CLEAR memberships, including complimentary memberships for U.S.-based Diamond Medallion Members.

Thanks to Delta’s partnership with TSA, qualifying customers in Atlanta, Detroit, and – coming soon – Los Angeles and New York-LGA can opt in to make use of new facial recognition technology that provides the ability to check bags, pass through security and board their flight completely hands-free through use of their digital identity (SkyMiles Member number, passport number and Known Traveler Number).

TSA Facial Recognition


Delta customers in Detroit can use their passport number and TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry membership as a digital ID.

Pro tip: CLEAR members can bring children under 18 through CLEAR lanes for free with no additional registration required. Customers should consider applying for TSA PreCheck, which is now available at 200+ airports nationwide. Frequent travelers thinking about investing in expedited security programs should compare the benefits of CLEAR, TSA PreCheck, Sky Priority and Global Entry on delta.com to see what program is right for them.

6. Enjoy more effortless and rewarding travel at every step.

New premium products, a connectivity experience that is more like what you’d find at home, mindful in-flight entertainment, specially curated plant-based menus and beverage options are just some of the ways Delta is delivering a premium travel experience that is better for you, your journey and your world.

Delta has also made a series of investments to elevate and advance its SkyMiles program, including making the ability to earn toward Medallion Status on Delta-marketed Award travel a permanent feature of the program, new partnerships with brands like Instacart and more control over how to pay for your flight with Plan It, American Express’ “buy now, pay later” feature now available on delta.com.

Customers at the new Delta Sky Way at LAX.


Delta continues to make the SkyMiles Program more rewarding and easier to use by making the ability to earn toward Medallion Status on Delta-marketed Award Travel a permanent feature of the program. Delta is also removing the 75,000 mileage earn cap.

Pro tip: You can earn miles on more than just flights. Make sure to link your SkyMiles accounts with partners like Lyft and Instacart to earn 1 mile per $1* spent – you can set it and forget it, and watch your miles add up even faster. *Excluding taxes, tips, fees, and tolls. Terms apply.

First Class customers on select flights 900 miles or greater will again enjoy hot meals featuring local ingredients and favorite items. Menu highlights include ginger beer-braised osso bucco, wild mushroom ravioli, chicken cacciatore and French bread pizza.


As Delta begins to welcome record numbers of customers back on board, the airline has already started to transform travel in order to meet evolving customer expectations. Below, Delta’s E.V.P. and Chief Customer Experience Officer Allison Ausband outlines what’s on the horizon in the months ahead.


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