With the acceleration of COVID-19 vaccinations, and the demand for travel growing again, Delta announces some moves to boost loyalty rewards, make flying easier and reignite the joy of travel.
Delta launches new digital tools to make travel planning easier, introducing an interactive searchable map; allowing SkyMiles Members to earn up to 75 percent more miles toward Medallion Status; offering onboard snacks and beverages again; and extending the validity of tickets through the end of 2022.
“Our customers have always been the voices that guide us at Delta, and that was amplified during the pandemic,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “During the past year, we transformed our service to ensure their health, safety, convenience and comfort during their travels. Now, with vaccinations becoming more widespread and confidence in travel rising, we’re ready to help customers reclaim their lives.”
A new interactive digital map, searchable by price or destination type, is at the center of Delta’s digital Travel Planning Center, a one-stop resource guide to manage travel restrictions, testing requirements and everything else along the journey, as the carrier continues to add service to popular destinations, such as Alaska.
After a long redesign process, onboard food and beverage service is making a comeback, starting April 14, with new and classic treats. By early June, Delta One or First-Class passengers on select coast-to-coast flights will see hot food options return, and First Class passengers on other U.S. routes will be offered fresh boxed meals starting early July.
In addition, Delta is allowing passengers more time to plan and rebook a trip, extending the validity of all tickets expiring in 2021, and all tickets purchased this year, to now expire at the end of 2022. To afford ticket holders more protection, the carrier is also extending its change fee waiver for all economy tickets purchased through April 30, 2021, on top of all tickets originating outside North America.
Since Delta adopted its middle seat block last April, passenger behavior and vaccination rates have been the keys to Delta’s decision to extend the block throughout the pandemic. Research may have showed the risk of transmission onboard a full aircraft, with everyone wearing a mask, is nearly one in a million, yet Delta chose to continue its middle seat block for an entire year, giving its customers some peace of mind.
Masks will continue to be required on all flights, with health and safety requirements maintained at the highest levels. According to the press release, “Experts at Mayo Clinic and Emory, as well as our own Chief Health Officer Dr. Henry Ting, are helping to guide our way back.”