Delta further limits seat sales, including half of first class

May 5, 2020

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Like Alaska Airlines and most recently Southwest, Delta has been limiting the sale of economy seats, capping the number of passengers on each flight with the aim of enabling physical separation onboard. As with other carriers, American Airlines and United have been blocking seat selection, but if a flight is fully booked, agents will assign middle seats at the gate. See our detailed guide for more on how each airline is handling seat sales, onboard separation and more.

Tuesday, Delta announced an even more safety-focused strategy, capping sales of first-class seats at 50% as well. That join’s the carrier’s previous effort of capping economy, Comfort+ and Premium Select seat sales at 60%.

As the airline explains, “Delta will now also block select window and aisle seats in all cabins on aircraft configured with 1×2, 2×2 and 2×3 seating. Seat blocks for narrowbody and regional jet aircraft will launch this week; blocks for the two-seat sections of widebody aircraft will be visible in the coming weeks.”

Delta's A220 first class cabin. Photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy.
Delta’s A220 first class cabin. Photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy.


Naturally, upgrades will be affected as well. Delta has already paused advance complimentary upgrades to the first-class cabin, and, as my friend experienced on a flight from New York (LGA) to Atlanta (ATL) yesterday, gate agents will only process upgrades until the cabin is 50% full. Travelers may request to sit next to a companion if they’d like, but, otherwise, they’ll fly next to an empty seat.

As of now, this policy is effective through June 30, though there’s always a chance Delta could continue limiting ticket sales beyond that date. Other coronavirus-related procedures, including a requirement for all passengers to wear masks or face coverings, could be extended as well.

Featured photo of Delta’s A220 first class by Darren Murph/The Points Guy.

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