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.
A haunted house, but they're not blocking middle seats.
— Delta (@Delta) October 22, 2020
- 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?
- You can discuss coronavirus and how it’s affecting your life on the dedicated COVID-19 board on DDF here.