Delta Air Lines unlocks the middle seats in its aircraft starting May 1, 2021.
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Delta Air Lines said on Wednesday it would begin selling seats in the middle on its planes starting May 1, more than a year after it decided to leave them empty to promote distancing. Other airlines blocked the middle seats at the beginning of the pandemic, but Delta lasted the longest and is the last of the four major US airlines to abandon this policy.
The company's chief executive, Ed Bastian, said a survey of those flying with Delta Air Lines in 2019 showed that almost 65% of passengers expected to receive at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by 1 May, which gave the airline "Ensuring that customers have the ability to choose any seat on the plane."
Travel has started to return to normal in recent weeks, with ticket sales rising. Also, more than one million people / day were checked at airport checkpoints, starting in mid-March, according to the Transportation Security Administration. More than 1.5 million people were examined on March 28 alone, the busiest day at American airports since the pandemic began. However, the number of air travel is declining, by about 40% compared to 2019.
Delta Air Lines blocked reservations in the middle of the aircraft in April 2020.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend avoiding non-essential travel, even for those who have been vaccinated. This week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned of the "imminent arrival" of a potential fourth wave of the pandemic if Americans ignore the advice of public health officials.
Delta was one of the few airlines that decided to block the middle seat in order to limit the spread of the new coronavirus. Although studies have shown that it is not necessary to lock the middle seat, Delta will continue to implement this measure to provide more peace of mind to passengers.
IATA even warned: Mandatory flight mask YES / Empty seat in the middle NO. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO / ICAO) - the UN body responsible for aviation - has formulated comprehensive recommendations for airlines and airports, without requiring locking the middle seat.
Delta Air Lines will give customers more time to use expired travel credits. All new tickets purchased in 2021 and credits due this year will now expire at the end of 2022. Starting April 14, the airline plans to bring soft drinks, cocktails and snacks back on flights from the United States and to international destinations. In June, the company plans to start offering hot food for those who will travel to premium classes on some of the domestic flights.