End of a Covid era: Delta will stop blocking middle seats on May 1st

The passenger cabin of a Delta Boeing 737-900ER is shown as it lands in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, on January 10, 2018.

Mike Blake | Reuters

Delta Air Lines announced on Wednesday that it will cease blocking seats on its aircraft from May 1. This is the last U.S. airline to end the pandemic policy as more travelers return to heaven.

Delta began blocking center seats and limiting capacity on smaller planes in April just before the Covid-19 pandemic began. Other airlines had similar policies, including Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and Alaska Airlines, but have since sold all seats again.

Physical distancing from other passengers is extremely difficult on an airplane. Delta and other airlines have repeatedly said that filtration systems and intensive cleaning make travelers unlikely to catch Covid-19 on an airplane. But Delta said many travelers choose Delta over other airlines because it has maintained its policies.

CEO Ed Bastian said in an announcement that 65% of customers who flew Delta in 2019 expect to receive at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by May 1st, and that this “gives us the peace of mind To give customers the opportunity to choose. ” every seat on our aircraft while at the same time introducing new services, products and rewards to support the journey. “

The change comes just as an improved summer travel season approaches. The airlines have generally been the most lucrative time of the year with many potential customers staying at home over the past year.

However, with vaccines rolled out nationwide, airline executives are optimistic that bookings for travel in late spring and summer will increase.

Delta also announced a number of other changes. Tickets that are valid until the end of this year, as well as all tickets purchased this year, are valid until the end of 2022. Delta also said its customers can earn up to 75% more to achieve medallion status.

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