Delta to stop blocking middle seats on flights Saturday


FILE – In this April 1, 2020, file photo, several dozen Delta Air Lines jets are parked at Kansas City International Airport in Kansas City, Mo. A sign of the deepening slump in air travel with coronavirus cases rising across the country, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, that Delta will need more employees to take unpaid leave “for the foreseeable future.” Unlike American and United, Atlanta-based Delta has avoided furloughs since the pandemic started by convincing thousands of workers to retire early or take unpaid leave. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

ATLANTA (NewsNation Now) — Delta Airlines will stop blocking middle seats on flights beginning Saturday, a move that will allow it to start selling more tickets on each flight as travel demand picks as more Americans receive COVID-19 vaccines.

Delta originally announced the change at the end of March along with the resumption of food and beverage service on flights. The airline is also extending the validity of tickets expiring in 2021, and those bought this year, through the end of 2022, it said.

Atlanta-based Delta is the only U.S. airline still limiting seat capacity on all the cabins of its planes to give passengers more space during the pandemic, though studies have shown that the risk of COVID-19 transmission in flight is low if everyone wears a mask.

Nearly 100 million Americans or 30% of the U.S. population have been fully inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer Inc/ BioNTech SE, Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson, according to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention data.

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