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TPG Readers Weigh in on Delta's Decision to Cut Seat Recline

April 13, 2019
4 min read
TPG Readers Weigh in on Delta's Decision to Cut Seat Recline
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Delta Air Lines announced Friday that the airline would cut seat recline on select Airbus narrow-body aircraft. The decision to cut seat recline is merely a test to see if less recline improves the passenger experience as it relates to personal space — but is a decision that is already creating quite a buzz.

The process of cutting seat recline has already begun, with Delta expecting the entire retrofitting process to take around two months. 62 aircraft — the entirety of Delta's A320 fleet — will see a reduction in seat recline. Delta's Airbus A320s currently offer 5.5 inches of recline in first class and 4 inches of recline in economy. Following the recline reductions, Delta will offer roughly 36% less recline in first class with just 3.5 inches of recline and 50% less in coach with 2 inches of recline.

On the surface, many readers might immediately view a reduction in seat recline to be a way for airlines to add additional seats. However, Delta Air Lines noted that this is not the case and has no plans to add additional seats to its Airbus A320s. Instead, the airline believes that reducing recline will improve the personal space available to each passenger, resulting in a more enjoyable on-board experience.

To gauge the reaction thus far, The Points Guy asked its readers to voice their opinions and respond to a Facebook poll in the TPG Lounge. Here's what they had to say.

TPG Readers Overwhelmingly Support The Move

In the survey, readers were asked whether or not they viewed the move as a positive improvement or something that will reduce passenger comfort. An overwhelming number of respondents said that they viewed the decision to cut seat recline as a good move on Delta's part: 69% of respondents (902 responses) viewed the move to cut seat recline in a positive light. Just 31% (400 responses) found the move to be problematic.

Delta Comfort+ aboard a Delta Air Lines A321, an aircraft similar to the A320 (Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

Readers Sound Off in The TPG Lounge

One common reoccurring response from those in favor of the seat recline reductions involved the height of the passengers. Tall people are thrilled that Delta wants to improve personal space.

"As a 6'3 dude this is fantastic. I don't recline my seat because it isn't fair to [the] person behind me for my head to be in their lap. I also will tap [the] person in front of me and ask [them] to lift [their] seat if they recline." — Andrew R.

Tall people are not fans of reclining seats as the recline often inhibits their ability to access the aisle or enjoy their already limited personal space.

Others despise the recline feature regardless of passenger height.

"There is a special place in hell for people that recline their seats." — Paul C.
"A recline feels like 2 inches to the recliner but 2 miles to the person being reclined into." — Kristen J.

Many comments included concerns of reclined seats impeding on personal space, crushing laptops, or resulting in friction between passengers. We even have a new hashtag for the occasion: #TEAMNORECLINE.

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delta a320 first class seating
(Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

Though the majority of the comments from readers were in support of Delta's decision, some of the 31% of those who responded to the poll against the move offered their take.

"As someone with a back injury who needs recline to take the pressure off my spine, just another reason why I won't fly their crappy airline." — Ian J.
"For someone like me who sleeps very well while flying, this really sucks." — Becky B.

Join the Discussion

The Facebook poll and comments are still open. If you want to share your thoughts on Delta's decision to cut recline on its fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft, make sure to join the TPG Lounge and respond to our post on Delta's decision.

Correction: This article has been updated to say that Delta will offer roughly 36% less recline in first class, not 60% as originally stated.

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