Delta Air Lines has begun to enforce social distancing onboard all flights. The news comes as the magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic continues to intensify in the United States.
Around the globe, airlines are being affected by the current coronavirus pandemic. While a huge majority of flights have been canceled, with many aircraft grounded, vital flights maintaining connectivity remain in operation. Thankfully, it seems as though demand on these routes is fairly low, allowing flights to continue with passengers suitably separated.
However, last week there were allegations that American Airlines forced all passengers on a flight to sit together. This won’t happen on Delta flights, as the airline has now introduced a new social distancing policy.
The new policy
The biggest change with Delta’s new policy is that all middle seats will be blocked. This means that there will be at least one seat width between all passengers. This policy will be in place in the Main, Delta Comfort+ and Delta Premium Select cabins. Of course, if you wish to sit right next to somebody for a genuine reason, such as in order to care for someone, gate agents will work to facilitate your request.
Delta will implement this change from the 15th of April, in other words, in a week’s time. Of course, with one-third of the seats in the economy cabin blocked out, Delta will have to reduce the number of passengers on each flight. Given current levels of demand, this shouldn’t be too taxing for the airline. The new measures are currently due to last until the 31st of May, however, this end date could be extended depending on the outcome.
The change will effectively mean that passengers are sitting in business class on narrowbody aircraft. If you look at the business cabins onboard many Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 family aircraft in Europe, this typically sees the same cabin layout as economy but with middle seats blocked out.
What else is changing?
From the 15th of April through to May the 31st, in addition to the above policy change Delta will also make changes to its upgrade policy. Specifically, automatic Medallion upgrades will no longer be dealt with in advance. Instead, gate agents will manually process them prior to boarding.
This is in addition to a number of changes that have already been implemented by the US airline. For example, Delta has already changed boarding procedures to make sure only 10 passengers board the aircraft at a time.
Additionally, the carrier has changed its food handling process. This change is to ensure that physical contact between passengers and crew is kept to a minimum at all times.
What do you think of Delta’s new policy? A welcome change or too little too late? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!