Delta Air Lines extends seat-blocking through April 2021

Feb 8, 2021

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Delta Air Lines will continue blocking seats for at least an additional month, the carrier announced Monday.

The carrier’s seat caps and blocks on middle seats will now run through at least April 30. Previously, the caps had been set to expire March 30.

In extending the policy, Delta hopes to remove anxiety about packed planes as a reason travelers might put off returning to the skies. Many customers have not flown since the pandemic first hit the U.S. in March, and flights in the U.S. are still only about half-full on average — even after a slow recovery that began in the summer.

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Delta, citing recent studies, says it’s confident that the risk of inflight transmission is low.

“We’ll continue to reassess seat blocking in relation to case transmission and vaccination rates, while bringing back products and services in ways that instill trust in the health and safety of everyone on board – that will always be Delta’s priority,” Bill Lentsch, Delta’s chief customer experience officer, said in a statement.

Delta’s move means it will be blocking all economy middle seats far longer than any other of the nation’s six biggest carriers. Alaska, which had stood out along with Delta for capping sales, now offers most middle seats for sale, but is blocking middles in its extra-legroom “Premium Class” through May 31, 2021.

More: Which US airlines are blocking middle seats, requiring masks?

As for Delta, it will block middle seats on flights with 3-3 seating configurations. On regional jets with 2-2 seating, it will block at least one seat in each row. For planes with other configurations – notably widebody jets – sales will be capped at about 75%.

TPG reporter Zach Griff contributed to this post. 

Featured image by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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