ATLANTA — Delta Airlines’ CEO announced that the airline is ending a year-long pandemic practice of blocking middle seats beginning May 1.
Beginning May 1, Delta will be selling every seat on its flights.
In a press release, CEO Ed Bastian said that the unblocking of seats was based partly on the increase of travelers receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
“With COVID-19 vaccinations accelerating, we’re hearing from more and more of our customers that they’re ready to reconnect and return to the skies,” Bastian said. “Thanks to your outstanding service during an especially challenging year, our customers’ trust in Delta has only deepened and our outlook for the spring and summer travel season continues to improve amid strong signs that consumer confidence in travel is returning.”
Bastian said that internal research showed that 64 percent of customers expect to receive at least one dose of the vaccine by May 1 and 75 percent by Memorial Day. Bastian also said that 31 percent of Delta employees have been vaccinated already.
“Don’t confuse these actions with a return to ‘normal,’” Bastian said. “We’re still operating in a pandemic and many of the changes we’ve made over the past year, such as strengthening our cleanliness protocols and eliminating change fees, will be permanent. Importantly, masks remain critical to our ability to safely welcome more people onboard our planes and we remain committed to enforcing these requirements.”
Bastian’s full press release can be read here.