Delta extends middle seat restrictions by three months
Airline had initally guaranteed empty middle seats through to the end of June
Delta and JetBlue Airways. are the only US carriers to guarantee empty middle seats
Delta Air Lines will block middle seats on all its aircraft through September, extending the policy for three months to soothe passenger fears about contracting the coronavirus.
The carrier will switch to larger planes or add flights on high-demand routes that approach seating limits, Delta said in a statement Wednesday. The Atlanta-based carrier previously guaranteed empty middle seats through June 30th.
US airlines slashed flights earlier this quarter as demand nearly disappeared because of the coronavirus pandemic and government restrictions on travel. Carriers have resumed some flights as demand has begun inching up. Nearly 268,000 travelers passed through US security checkpoints Tuesday, compared with 2.25 million on the equivalent day a year earlier.
Delta and JetBlue Airways. are the only US carriers to guarantee empty middle seats. Southwest Airlines has pledged to book flights at no more than two-thirds full, while American Airlines is limiting the number of customers on each flight.
United Airlines said it will let passengers change seats to maintain social distancing, when possible. The carrier attempts to notify passengers on planes that approach capacity so they can rebook. American Airlines has similar policies in place.
All major airlines have stepped up cleaning at airport gates and on planes to help convince consumers that it’s safe to return to flying.
Delta previously capped seating at 50 per cent in first class and at 60 per cent in economy, premium economy and Delta Premium Select on international flights. The airline will continue blocking some aisle seats in planes with two-by-two seating.