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Delta to begin selling middle seats

Delta to begin selling middle seats
© Greg Nash

Delta Air Lines announced Wednesday that it will once again begin selling middle seats, about a year after it stopped selling the seats due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a press release, the airline said it would be reintroducing more seat options for customers to choose from; bringing back onboard snacks and beverages; and extending the validity of tickets that were set to expire in 2021 in 2022, including new tickets that were purchased this year.

Customers will be given more seating options beginning May 1. Masks will still be required on Delta planes.

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Delta CEO Ed Bastian cited the growing number of people who have received at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine as part of the reason for the airline’s decision.

“The relationships we’ve built, together with 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, while also introducing new services, products and rewards to support the journey,” Bastian said in the release.

The airline first blocked middle seats beginning in April 2020 as a way to provide some social distancing between passengers. Delta claims it is the only airline to maintain a middle seat block for an entire year "to give customers peace of mind."

Snacks and beverages will also be brought back beginning April 14 after the company went through what it calls an “exhaustive redesign process” with tips from the Mayo Clinic and feedback from flight attendants.

“In early June, customers flying in Delta One or First Class on select domestic coast-to-coast flights will see hot food options return, and First Class customers on other key U.S. routes will enjoy fresh boxed meals beginning in early July,” the company said.