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Delta CEO thanks employee COVID-19 sacrifices with free travel

Delta Air Lines is thanking its employees for their sacrifices during the COVID-19 pandemic by giving them free travel anywhere the airline flies.

In a memo to employees Monday, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said every employee who worked or took a leave in 2020 would receive two passes for travel worldwide.

"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 wrote in the memo.

The passes do not expire and are available to the 40,000 Delta employees who voluntarily took unpaid short- and long-term leaves of absence to avoid involuntary furloughs.

"Those of you who have worked consistently throughout the crisis have done so under conditions that were unimaginable a year ago," Bastian said, "and you still provide the best service and professionalism in the industry."

The pandemic has caused a precipitous drop in air travel this year. Delta reported a $5.4 billion quarterly loss last month, reflecting the impact of the pandemic on the usually busy summer travel period.

Airlines and unions representing pilots and flight attendants have been pushing lawmakers in Congress to extend the $50 billion in aid airlines received last spring under emergency COVID-19 relief legislation. The support ran out on Oct. 1.

This article originally appeared on USA Today

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