[Extended Through 4/30!] Delta Bucks The Trend, Will Extend Blocking Of Middle Seats; Winning In The COVID-19 Era

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Update: Delta will block middle seats through at least 4/30/21!

Note that due to new US regulations, Delta no longer exempts children 2 and older from wearing a mask.


Originally posted on 11/18/20:

While American, JetBlue, Southwest, and United have all moved away from social distancing onboard their planes, Delta announced that they will continue to block middle seats through at least 3/30/21!

United cites the study (that they paid for) as to why they don’t feel the need to block seats:

 

But Delta thinks consumers still care about blocked middle seats.

 

Delta says that through at least 3/30/21:

  • On aircraft with middle seats: We will block the selection of middle seats in Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin for parties of 1-2. Parties of 3+ can continue selecting seats together.
  • On aircraft without any middle seats: We will block the selection of one aisle of seats on smaller aircraft.
  • Blocking adjacent seats in First Class. Delta One cabins with two aisles will have no capacity limitation. Parties of 2 in the First Class cabin and in any Delta One cabin with one aisle may select seats together.

 

Another policy where Delta leaves their competition in the dust is with masks for young children.

Other airlines require everyone 2 or older to wear a mask, with no exceptions allowed.

That has led to JetBlue egregiously kicking families off of flights despite bad information on their website and Southwest doing to the same to a child with autism.

I’m all for mask requirements on a plane, but anyone that’s a parent knows that toddlers don’t exactly listen to requirements. Requiring a 2 year old to keep a mask on for the duration of a flight might sound good to a policy maker, but that doesn’t mean it’s practical. One of the many reasons we fly with carseats for our toddlers is so they will be secure in their seats for the entire flight. It’s just too easy for a toddler to take off their airplane seatbelt!

Commenter aaron said it best, “I have a hard enough time getting my 2 year old to keep his pants on!”

However, Delta allows for a common sense exception that young children who can’t maintain a mask are exempt. Delta also exempts those with a bona fide health condition or disability from wearing a mask, though they require those 8 or older to go through a pre-travel clearance to confirm their condition with a medical advisor at the airport.

Delta was also very good about offering refunds on cancelled flights while airlines like JetBlue and United were refusing refunds until the DOT stepped in and threatened them with massive fines.

All in all, I’d say that Delta is winning in the COVID-19 era. It may cost them more in the short term, but they will likely reap the benefits of long-term loyalty from passengers who remember how they were treated by companies during these hard times.

Will you stick to flying Delta during and after the COVID-19 pandemic? Will you pay extra to fly Delta now because of their policies?

HT: YossieW, via DDF

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17 Comments On "[Extended Through 4/30!] Delta Bucks The Trend, Will Extend Blocking Of Middle Seats; Winning In The COVID-19 Era"

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Joel

Yes I am paying extra to fly with delta so my 2 year old can come along.
Just booked tickets earlier this week.

aaron

Same here, I booked three ticket and paid an extra $200 total.

Eli

We flew Delta LHR-JFK in August with 5 kids under 9. They were a pleasure to fly with. Would definitely choose Delta over other airlines in the future.
We also flew UA & JB on short haul flights. Delta won our loyalty! The planes were new and clean, the staff were pleasant and the experience was less stressful than the other two.

MaiaG

People who are choosing Delta for this policy are probably doing it for the promise of extra space. If I were flying, I would too.
Most people who are flying currently are comfortable taking the risk. No judgement from me, we all make different decisions. But thinking that having someone two feet away away side to side but not in front or behind or across a narrow aisle really makes a difference instead of one foot away isn’t really understanding the situation, in my opinion.

iahphx

Right. I think most of the people who are afraid to fly are afraid to fly regardless of whether middle seats are open (if they even aware that’s true). But people like me who are flying want empty middle seats. Everyone ALWAYS wants empty middle seats (but doesn’t want to pay for them).

Mal

I just flew American in business this week with kids, where a hysterical obsessed passenger complained that my kid wasn’t wearing his mask, he was eating at the time! The flight attendant had to explain to the crazy lady that taking off the mask while eating is ok. PEOPLE HAVE GONE CONPLETELY NUTS!!

Snacks

Delta now also gives out bags complete with Bottled water and snacks instead of the traditional drink carts ..

iahphx

This seems like a bad business decision (there’s no evidence that blocking middle seats does anything to reduce Covid risk, and make it impossible for Delta to fly profitably) but a GREAT reason to fly Deta if you can do it conveniently for the same price. I’ve personally been selecting the “underdog” airline on a route that I think will have fewer customers. Like Jetblue has started flying a bunch of new routes in cities where they have had little presence. My experience has been these flights have be pretty empty. It’s great when you get empty seats on board. Most of my AA flights, by contrast, have been packed.

Shmekel- with-paranoia.

Dear Delta,
Go around and ask people who booked with you, how many actually think that empty middle seat will help them with Covid-19, and ask if they wouldn’t fly with Delta if their were no empty seats (like all other airlines)

don’t get me wrong I also like empty plans but not for covid reason, you depart on time, and I can stretch my foot in the next empty seat, and I can go in and out to the bathroom without pushing someone, and I can go in bathroom without waiting in line.

My point, if you don’t extend the middle seat, yes you might loose a few paranoia customers, but you gain that by offering more seats on the plane, plus if their is no other airline that offer’s empty middle seat a majority have no choice but to book with you.

Gilles

I m on DELTA FLIGHT right now and they became very aggressive regarding stupid they week you up like they do to a dog

Gilles

I m on DELTA FLIGHT right now and they became very aggressive regarding stupid mask they wake you up like they do to a dog

Ok

I flew by myself on delta, loved it

But if I want to take my family I don’t know if I can fly bc my kid is 2 1/2 and won’t wear a mask

Grouchifier 1.0

The federal mask mandate has some exceptions which the airlines until now did not allow. Does this mandate supersede the airlines policy? Do all airlines now follow the federal mandate?

Joey89

@Dan, you should remove the section about Delta and masks as the CDC has made it a mute point.

Flaggie

Delta is my favorite when flying with kids. Wide isles can wheel Doona car seat all the way to seat. No other airline has that on domestic

Carl Maltzman

Why did they bother? The virus disappeared after election day.

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