Delta Airlines begins filling middle seats early after Easter cancellations

by Laura Nasole
A350 Soaring Above The Clouds

Delta Airlines has had to begin filling middle seats on its aircraft to keep passengers moving over the Easter weekend, as it was forced to cancel at least 72 flights on Sunday.

Pilot shortage

With seasonal holidays usually comes a surge in travel. Delta Air Lines experienced this first-hand yesterday, as the Easter weekend posed a massively busy period for the airline, forcing them to cancel at least 72 scheduled flights. It is reported that the need to cancel so many flights was directly related to a lack of available pilots. As a result, the airline had no option but to cancel these flights and now offer passengers the opportunity to transfer to flights that are still scheduled to fly, filling up previously blocked middle seats.

Pilots talk after exiting a Delta Airlines flight at the Ronald Reagan National Airport

[A shortage of pilot’s resulted in Delta canceling numerous flights on Easter Sunday] | © ]Michael A. McCoy]

This is not the first time Delta has had to make last-minute cancellations. In the lead-up to Christmas and Thanksgiving, Delta was forced to cancel hundreds of flights, with the pilot’s union citing the Coronavirus as a contributing factor to the difficulties faced during the festive period.

Starting to unblock

It has been approximately one year since Delta decided to block middle seats on its aircraft, much like Emirate’s initiative to allow passengers to block entire rows of seats. This week, Delta announced plans to offer more seating availability onboard flights from 1st May, effectively suggesting that there will be no seat blocking from next month.

Delta Air Lines rows of empty seats

[Delta may be about to unblock the majority of their seats, but masks will remain a strict requirement] | © ]Skift]

The decision to start unblocking seats from this weekend and going forward may come as a shock to some passengers. There will be some frustration amongst travelers who had purposely booked a flight knowing there would be a space between them and a potential stranger. However, many others may welcome the news as a hopeful sign that travel is finally starting to resume as normal. The airline is not taking this decision lightly, though, as they confirmed that masks will still be mandatory and extensive cleaning operations will remain.

Do you think Delta handled the cancellations correctly? Would you feel comfortable traveling at full capacity again? Please share your thoughts with us. 

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