While most of Atlanta-based Delta's nearly 10,000 administrative staff are working from home, Bastian said the majority of employees who are working need to be on site for work such as handling airport customers or working on planes.
In airplane cabins, Delta is allowing some social distancing by blocking middle seats and capping seating capacity at 60% through Sept. 30.
"As demand starts to grow and as people have more confidence in the travel experience, we will decide later this year when we start to ease up on that cap restriction," Bastian said.
The company parked more than 700 planes, or more than half of its fleet, early in the pandemic. As the company rapidly scaled down operations and worked to raise cash to cover expenses, the board of directors was meeting virtually as often as three times a week.
Delta has now retired all MD-88 and MD-90s from its fleet, will retire all of its Boeing 777s, and continues to look at retiring other fleet types of sub-fleets. More retirement decisions are likely by the end of the year, according to Bastian.
"We are realistic that the timing and shape of revenue recovery are uncertain," Bastian said. "It could take up to two to three years to return to a new level of normal, which could still be lower than 2019."
Bastian said during an interview Thursday on Bloomberg Television that Delta is adding flights in July and August as traffic grows. He plans to reduce the company’s cash burn from $100 million at the start of the pandemic to $30 million this month and 0 by the end of this year -- and he expects next spring to “be at a point where we’ll be break even.”
The continuing cancellations of flights and the impact of the virus on travel continues to cause frustrations for some customers trying to get refunds or change flights.
In response to a question about long wait times for customer service, Bastian said about 2,000 reservations agents took leaves of absence as the company redesigned reservations centers to allow social distancing, and those employees will be returning to work over the next two weeks. He also said the company is expanding its use of at-home reservations agents.
"We are experiencing, as all airlines are, an unprecedented surge in calls as people are canceling flights, changing plans, looking to see the status of their refunds, and understanding what the new standards of cleanliness and care that we're taking on board the planes," Bastian said.