If you were enjoying the luxury of having a empty middle seat near you while flying, those days are soon to be over as airlines are returning to pre-pandemic policies.
As of May 1, Atlanta-based Delta Airlines will no longer block of middle seating for its passengers.
Delta is now the only U.S. airline still limiting seat capacity on airplanes to give passengers more space during the pandemic, though studies have shown that the risk of COVID-19 transmission is low if everyone wears a mask.
Delta first started blocking middle seats and limiting capacity on smaller planes in April near the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Other airlines had similar policies, including Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Alaska Airlines, but they have since gone back to selling all seats.
Physically distancing from other passengers is extremely difficult on an airplane. Delta and other carriers have repeatedly said filtration systems and intense cleaning make it unlikely that travelers will catch Covid-19 on a plane. But Delta said many travelers choose Delta over other airlines because it kept its policy in place.
CEO Ed Bastian said in announcement that 65% of customers who flew Delta in 2019 said they expect to have at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by May 1 and that is “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.”
As more people are becoming vaccinated, travel have increased at U.S airports, Delta hopes this change will increase revenue.