Delta Air Lines canceled hundreds flights this Sunday due to lack of staff, and made some middle seats available a month earlier than anticipated with the goal of moving more passengers.
The airline noted that has served more than a million travelers in recent days, the highest number since before the coronavirus pandemic began last year.
“We apologize to our customers due to the inconvenience, and most have already been rescheduled to travel the same day, ”the airline reported in a statement.
Delta implemented measures to increase the capacity of its flights, including making center seats available on Sunday and Monday in an attempt to accommodate more passengers.
The airline announced Wednesday that would stop blocking the sale of center seats from May. The measure was taken in April last year in order to maintain greater distance between passengers, an action that the company’s CEO reiterated was a factor in raising confidence in the airline. The seats will be made available to the public again at a time when people are flying again and more people are getting vaccinated against COVID-19, the company said.
Delta said center seats would only open for Sunday and Monday, and its measure to block seats for sale remains in effect. When necessary, the seats could be occupied with the aim of taking passengers to their destination the same day.
“The Delta teams have been working amid different factors, including personnel issues, large numbers of vaccinations among employees and the fact that pilots are returning to activity, ”the airline said in a statement. Some of the employees had adverse side effects from the vaccine.
Websites at three Delta hubs showed 33 canceled flights on Sunday. There were 19 at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, 11 at Detroit Metropolitan Airport and three more at Minneapolis-St. Paul.
The company said Wednesday that nearly 65 percent of the people who flew with it last year expect to have received at least one dose of the new vaccines by May 1. That gave Delta the security to end seat limitations, he said.