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Delta Airplane
Studio Porto Sabbia/

Delta Ends Empty Middle Seats Policy

For the last few months, Delta has been the lone U.S. airline holding out and leaving middle seats empty, but that’s about to change. Delta CEO Ed Bastian just announced that the airline will be unblocking the middle seat and booking flights to full capacity starting May 1.

Bastian cited an increase in COVID-19 vaccination rates as the reason behind the change. “The knowledge that nearly 65 percent of those who flew Delta in 2019 anticipate having at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1, are what’s giving us the assurance to offer customers the ability to choose any seat on our aircraft,” said Bastian.

Delta is trying to soften the middle seat news blow with some good news for passengers, including launching new digital resources for booking (such as an interactive map that is searchable by price and destination type), increased SkyMiles Member rewards, and extending tickets that expire in 2021 (including all new tickets purchased this year) through the end of 2022.

The airline will also bring back in-flight food/drink service, which had been paused during the pandemic, starting April 14. Beverage service will now feature mini-cans of soft drinks (rather than drinks poured by a flight attendant), as part of Delta’s response to COVID-19. Other changes on board will include contactless payment technology, high-speed WiFI, and new snack options.

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