EDITOR'S NOTE: Delta CEO Ed Bastian emailed the below message to customers Wednesday.
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2021 is a year of opportunity. As vaccines continue to be distributed in the U.S. and around the world, we’re hopeful for an inflection point in the spring where the virus will be more contained, leading to the reopening of international borders and increased confidence in public life.

Amid the optimism, it is as important as ever to follow safety precautions to stop the spread. Wearing masks continues to be the most effective tool to mitigate the virus, and I urge each of you to get vaccinated when you are given the opportunity. To the incredible frontline health workers, who are administering vaccines and continuing to care for us all, thank you.

Your health and well-being - and that of our employees and communities - will remain central to Delta's mission in the months and years to come. That’s why I’m excited to share that Dr. Henry Ting, world-renowned cardiologist and current Chief Value Officer for the Mayo Clinic, will join Delta as our first Chief Health Officer this month. He has been a critical guide for Delta as layers of protection were put in place and a new standard was set to keep you and our employees safe.

Dr. Ting will be a vital leader as Delta continues to provide layers of protection when you fly, increasing your comfort and confidence while making it easier to navigate the new travel experience:

Layers of protection and peace of mind, including blocked middle seats

We are committed to listening to you and having you guide our decision making throughout the recovery. That’s why Delta is extending our middle seat block through April 30 to give you peace of mind when booking spring travel.

President Biden’s federal mask mandate for travelers helps us all. It aligns with our mask requirement that has been in place since last April, requiring you and our employees to wear them at every Delta touchpoint.

You’ll find clean ambassadors at airports across the country overseeing a quality assurance program developed with input from Mayo Clinic, Emory and Lysol. They regularly spot-check the highest-touch surfaces in the airport and on board to ensure you encounter clean surfaces that meet the highest cleaning standards.

Making travel easier with updated tools, access to testing and prioritized flexibility

Delta’s Travel Requirements map helps take the guesswork out of traveling. As requirements are added, like U.S.-bound travelers having to show a negative COVID-19 test result when boarding, we are proactively making updates.

You’ll now find the ability to search for nearby testing facilities in international locations Delta serves, and we are working closely with partners like Aeromexico and Delta Vacations to find ways to make testing more accessible during travel.

Testing resources, while they are growing, can still be difficult to find. Delta is deploying in-home testing solutions over the next few weeks to bring easy testing options to you, leveraging lessons from Delta’s comprehensive employee testing program. In addition, Delta Vacations is only offering hotel options outside of the U.S. that have on-site testing for travel through April 30.

Your flexibility continues to be prioritized. All customers can easily cancel, make changes or rebook on My Trips any time before your travel date without a change fee for tickets purchased through March 30. And flexibility is here for the long haul – this applies to all Delta tickets from North America to anywhere worldwide purchased from March 31 onward, excluding Basic Economy.

Harnessing innovation and agility to give you stress-free travel remains core to everything we do. While we’re still a long way from normal, you will start to see us bring back some of the things you’ve missed over the next few months, like onboard food and beverage offerings.

Many of you asked about in-flight entertainment and connection. With Viasat, our new high-speed Wi-Fi partner, you will start to see our vision for a revolutionized connectivity experience come to life. There are also more than 300 new pieces of content on Delta Studio, including two curated collections to celebrate Black History Month. Featured documentaries in the collection honor leaders in the fight for justice and equity, including John Lewis and Bryan Stevenson.

Even after the most challenging year yet, we continue to battle inequity, economic disparity and climate change. Delta’s values demand it. As you return to travel, you’ll find an experience that is more efficient, sustainable and resilient than ever before.

The hope and optimism before us make it all the more important to take care of yourself and your loved ones. The future is bright, and we look forward to you joining us when you’re ready.