Delta To Block All Middle Seats Until September 30th

Delta Air Lines has officially confirmed that it will be blocking middle seats through September 30th. In addition, Delta will cap seats in all cabin classes, scheduling additional frequencies, and, in a win for elite members, resume automatic complimentary upgrades.

Delta 737
Delta has confirmed it is blocking middle seats through September. Photo: Getty Images

Blocking middle seats through the fall

Delta will block middle seats through September 30th. These will show up on the app and the website as unavailable for selection. On smaller regional jets, the airline will block some aisle seats. Below are all of the aircraft Delta fly and the seating configuration on board:

  • A220: 2-2 in First; 2-3 in Comfort+ and Main Cabin
  • A320 family: 2-2 in First; 3-3 in Comfort+ and Main Cabin
  • A330 family: 1-2-1 in Delta One; 2-4-2 in Comfort+ and Main Cabin
  • A350 family: 1-2-1 in Delta One; 2-4-2 in Premium Select, and 3-3-3 in Main Cabin
  • 717: 2-2 in First; 2-3 in Comfort+ and Main Cabin
  • 737 family: 2-2 in First; 3-3 in Comfort+ and Main Cabin
  • 757 family: 2-2 in First/Delta One; 3-3 in Comfort+ and Main Cabin
  • 767-300ER: 1-2-1 in Delta One; 2-3-2 in Comfort+ and Main Cabin
  • 767-400ER: 1-2-1 in Delta One; 2-2-2 in Premium Select; 2-3-2 in Main Cabin and Comfort+
  • 777-200s: 1-2-1 in Delta One; 2-4-2 in Premium Select; 3-3-3 in Comfort+ and Main Cabin

If you are traveling with someone and want to be seated together, reach out to a Delta agent on the phone or else while at the gate.

Delta 757 Comfort+
Delta will leave seats open between strangers. Photo: Jay Singh – Simple Flying

In a press release viewed by Simple Flying, Chief Customer Experience Officer Bill Lentsch had the following comment:

“Reducing the overall number of customers on every aircraft across the fleet is one of the most important steps we can take to ensure a safe experience for our customers and people. Delta is offering the highest standards in safety and cleanliness so we’re ready for customers when they’re ready to fly again.”

Extending seating caps

Through September 30th, Delta is also limiting the number of seats sold on its plane. In First Class, capacity is limited at 50%. In economy, extra-legroom economy, and premium economy, it is capped at 60%. And, for Delta One, it is at 75% capacity. This ensures that no Delta flight will go out full until October 1st.

Delta One 767
Delta One has no middle seats, so, instead, capacity is limited at 75%. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

A joy for elite members: resumption of automatic upgrades

From June 10th, Delta will be resuming automatic Medallion upgrades. This will continue to process in the traditional order with top-tier elites getting first-dibs on upgrades. During the crisis, the complimentary upgrades were done at the gate on the day of departure. This new move will mean that passengers will get their upgrades on their mobile app or online.

Adding flights instead of opening seats

Delta has also decided that it will instead add flights on routes with increasing demand instead of unblocking middle seats. On some routes, this may see Delta upgauge to a larger aircraft. Or Delta will add new frequencies giving passengers more options. The airline has plenty of planes it can bring out of parking to add more flights.

Delta air lines, runway, storage, aircraft,
Delta aircraft parked in Kansas could end up flying soon. Photo: Getty Images

Why Delta is doing this

This move is not terribly surprising given some signs that Simple Flying reviewed a few days ago, showing Delta may be extending these policies through September 30th.

But, competitively, Delta is betting on taking on passengers that are focused on traveling with some space. This may mean higher fares, but it appears that Delta thinks it will be able to offer a competitive advantage with guaranteed space onboard. Whether this pans out, however, remains to be seen.

Are you glad to see Delta make this official? Let us know in the comments!