Staff Shortage, Increased Travelers Force Delta To Open Middle Seats

Good news – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened 1,543,474 people nationwide on Sunday, April 4, the highest number of passengers to fly since the pandemic began 13 months ago.

Bad news – Delta Air Lines appears to have been caught short-handed by the Easter Weekend traffic.

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Delta suffered from a staff shortage that not only forced the airline to cancel almost 100 flights but to open up the sale of middle seats a month earlier than it had planned to do so, according to CNBC.

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“We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience, and the majority have been rebooked for the same travel day,” the airline said Sunday in a statement.

It was just last Wednesday, March 31, when Delta announced it would no longer block middle seats starting on May 1. But that target date became irrelevant quickly when holiday travel picked up significantly for Easter – which for many secondary school students across the country was also spring break week.

So in order to increase capacity on flights, Delta made a snap decision to begin selling middle seats for flights on Easter Sunday and today.

But, for now, only for those two days.

Delta said the middle seats were opened just for Sunday and Monday, and its seat-blocking policy has not changed. Where needed, seats could be unblocked in order to get customers to their destinations on the same day.

“Delta teams have been working through various factors, including staffing, large numbers of employee vaccinations and pilots returning to active status,” the airline said in the statement.

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