Delta Set To Stop Blocking The Middle Seat In A Month

It’s been nearly a year since Delta Air Lines first decided to block middle seats on its aircraft. However, the Atlanta-based carrier has today shared that there will be more available seats for passengers to choose from starting May 1st.

Delta Aircraft Reclaim
Delta also shared that offering it is offering SkyMiles members the chance to earn up to 75% more toward Medallion Status on most ticket types, including Award Travel. Photo: Delta Air Lines

What a year

Delta first implemented seat blocking last April following the rise of the pandemic amid a serious downturn in passenger activity. Other major carriers in the United States also implemented similar initiatives. However, while some airlines relaxed this policy throughout the year, Delta extended its measures into 2021.

Today, the operator shares that scientific studies display that the risk of transmission on a full plane, while everyone wears masks, is nearly one in a million. So, as the company looks to have more seats on offer this spring, it affirms that masks will continue to be required. Additionally, extensive cleaning processes will remain in place.

Delta Reclaim
After consultation with the Mayo Clinic, the airline is introducing a redesigned onboard snack and beverage offering from April 14th. Photo: Delta Air Lines

The next step

Delta CEO Ed Bastian emphasizes that, amid growth in demand and progress in vaccine rollouts, seat unblocking is a natural path for the carrier. He highlights that the airline’s guests have always been the voices that guide it. Moreover, he feels that this point has been exemplified during the global health crisis.

“Now, with vaccinations becoming more widespread and confidence in travel rising, we’re ready to help customers reclaim their lives. While Delta’s decision to block middle seats has given many customers a reason to choose Delta over the past year, the signature hospitality of our employees and the experiences they deliver to customers every day have also deepened their trust in our airline,” Bastian shared in a statement.

“The relationships we’ve built, together with the knowledge that nearly 65 percent of those who flew Delta in 2019 anticipate having at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1, are what’s giving us the assurance to offer customers the ability to choose any seat on our aircraft, while also introducing new services, products and rewards to support the journey.”

Delta Onboard Drinks
The carrier is also extending the validity of all tickets expiring in 2021, along with all new bookings in 2021, until the end of next year. Photo: Delta Air Lines

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The need for caution remains

Bastian concludes that his company is proud of the trust that it has built with its passengers by listening to them and responding. This approach will remain in place going forward.

Altogether, while middle seat blocking can help to give several passengers peace of mind knowing that there is space between themselves and another traveler, it’s been approximately a year since Delta first introduced this measure. Now, with demand bouncing back and millions of potential passengers receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, it is time to find a new balance. Masks, HEPA air filters, high sanitation standards, and all-around mindfulness will continue to be critical in this next chapter.

What are your thoughts about Delta Air Lines unblocking middle seats? Do you feel that this is a good move by the carrier? Let us know what you think of the decision in the comment section.