In order to maintain social distance between travelers, Delta Air Lines reiterated its commitment to keep blocking the middle seat through April 2021.
In March 2020, in the beginning of the pandemic, multiple US airlines offered to block middle seats in the main cabin. However, most of them have abandoned the practice since. Southwest, JetBlue (JBLU) and Hawaiian (HA) lifted the block in December 2020, and Alaska’s policy finished in January 2021. However, Delta Air Lines decided to extend the policy throughout the busy Easter travel period, until the end of April 2021.
“We want our customers to have complete confidence when traveling with Delta, and they continue to tell us that more space provides more peace of mind,” Bill Lentsch, Delta’s chief customer experience officer, said in a statement. “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.”
Delta will block middle seats on flights with 3-3 seating configurations. On regional jets with 2-2 seating, one seat in each row will be blocked. The sales for flights on widebody jets will be curbed at 75%.
“We remain confident that this layered approach significantly reduces risk and are encouraged that science continues to confirm there is a very low risk of virus transmission on board aircraft,” said Katherine Estep, a spokeswoman for Airlines for America trade group.
On January 25, 2021, Delta appointed doctor Henry Ting to be the airline’s first Chief Health Officer, saying that health and safety is a top priority during the COVID-19 crisis.