Mar 31, 2021 - Economy

Delta to stop blocking middle seats on May 1

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Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Delta Airlines will begin filling middle seats again on May 1 — reversing a change made in April 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, per a news release.

Why it matters: Delta is one of the last airlines to unblock middle seats. The company says increased consumer confidence and the rollout of coronavirus vaccines have lowered potential risks. All passengers will still be required to wear face masks.

  • Airline industries have struggled during the pandemic due to lower travel numbers. Filling middle seats could be a way for Delta to get back on financial track.

Of note: May 1 is also the date by which President Biden has ordered states to make coronavirus vaccines available to all individuals over 18 years old.

What they're saying: "While Delta's decision to block middle seats has given many customers a reason to choose Delta over the past year, the signature hospitality of our employees and the experiences they deliver to customers every day have also deepened their trust in our airline," Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a statement.

  • Bastian also noted 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."
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