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Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines have all joined United Airlines in ditching change fees for flights within the U.S. USA TODAY

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Delta Air Lines is thanking its employees for their sacrifices during the 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.

Keep your hands clean: Delta adding in-flight hand sanitizing stations during pandemic

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