After a turbulent 2020 for the airline industry, Delta is thanking employees for their work during the pandemic with free travel.
"I hope these passes will help with your own healing as we move into the future, whether it’s to connect with family, experience a brand-new part of the world, or embark on an adventure with a loved one," Bastian said in the memo.
"Those of you who have worked consistently throughout the crisis have done so under conditions that were unimaginable a year ago," Bastian wrote, "and you still provide the best service and professionalism in the industry."
Bastian went on to note the thousands of Delta employees who took voluntary unpaid leaves of absence to save airline jobs. Those who continued working and those who took a leave in 2020 will receive the free travel passes, which do not expire.
With travel restrictions implemented during the pandemic, Delta lost $5.38 billion in the third quarter with passenger volume down more than 70 percent compared to the same quarter in 2019.
Still, the Atlanta-based airline was able to prevent furloughing its flight attendants and frontline workers, unlike some of its competitors, such as American and United.
Airlines have been urging Congress to fund additional relief to the struggling industry during the pandemic. The industry has so far received $25 billion in aid under the CARES Act to save aviation industry jobs.