Delta Air Lines will re-introduce more in-flight service like meals and drinks, but will end seat blocking effective May 1, 2021.
On Delta, Seating Blocking Is Out, Meals Are In
Delta has taken a different approach than its peers during the pandemic. Food and beverages onboard have been drastically reduced, to the point that even today first class passengers cannot request coffee or tea and economy class passengers can drink whatever they want, as long as it’s water.
But in exchange, Delta has blocked middle seats in economy class and adjacent seats in first class long after other carriers stopped doing so.
Blocking middle seats when flights are mostly empty is more a marketing gimmick than anything else. However, as more American are vaccinated and domestic travel rebounds rapidly, the cost for Delta to leave middle seats blocked is growing.
As a result, Delta will stop seat blocking on May 1, 2021, which Delta spins as offering “more available seats to choose from.”
Food and beverage will be returning, though. Effective April 14, 2021, Delta is making a number of changes to its onboard service offerings:
- Beverage service will return in both cabins
- Select drinks will be available in 7.5 oz cans and served sealed
- Diet Coke
- Ginger ale
- Coffee and tea will return
- Cocktails, beer, and wine will be sold in economy class
- Alcoholic drinks will cost $1 more than pre-pandemic levels
- Ice and cups will only be available upon request
- Two snacks will be offered
- Biscoff cookies
- Clif Bars
By June, hot meals in first class will be return to “select domestic and coast-to-coast flights” while passengers on “other key U.S. routes” can expect “fresh boxed meals” by early July.
That’s all the info we have…so mark that as developing.
Delta SkyClubs, Delta’s airport lounge network, will also restore more hot and cold food options starting in May.
Whether blocked seats or onboard food or drink is more important is a matter of personal taste. As for me, I’m happy to see that Delta is beginning to restore service onboard and have long felt Delta’s push to block seats was unnecessary if airplanes are as safe as airlines–including Delta–have promised us.
As Delta ends seat blocking, do you prefer a far more limited food and drink menu in exchange for an open seat next to you or do you welcome this change?