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 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 Airlinesbut they have declined since then Sale of all seats.
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 the announcement that 65% of customers who flew Delta in 2019 expect to receive at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by May 1. This gives us the peace of mind that we are giving customers the ability to choose any 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 announced a number of other changes to increase revenue. 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. The airline’s and its competitors’ frequent flyer programs have grown in prominence during the pandemic. These programs make money by selling miles to banks that customers earn when they use award credit cards. Delta set a record at that time last year $ 9 billion in debt supported by its SkyMiles program.
The airline is also bringing snacks back on board on April 14th and will be offering hot meals in its Delta One or First Class cabins on some transcontinental flights in early June. Boxed meals will be offered first class on some other domestic routes in July.