Delta CEO says airline will continue COVID-19 middle seat policy 'well into next year'

The decision to sell the middle seat will be 'based very much on customer sentiment,' Ed Bastian said

Delta will continue to block the middle seat on airplanes "well into next year" amid the coronavirus pandemic, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said on Wednesday.

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"We’re one of the few airlines in the world still that’s blocking the middle seat and capping the load factors on our plane at somewhere around two-thirds of the normal capacity," Bastian told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo on "Mornings with Maria."

Bastian added that Delta customers “feel great comfort” in having the "extra space" and plans to keep the policy in place "well into next year."

DELTA CEO: COVID-19 INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL RECOVERY WILL REQUIRE REGULATIONS

In a statement, in August, Delta extended its policy on middle seat blocks into January 2021 and limited the number of customers on flights for the holiday season.

"We’re extending one of our key health and safety protocols this winter holiday season by blocking the selection of middle seats and limiting the number of customers per flight through at least Jan. 6, 2021," the statement said.

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Bastian said while the plan to reopen the middle seat has not yet been determined, the decision to do so will be "based very much on customer sentiment."

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"We haven’t decided when next year is the right time to start to sell the middle seat, but, at this point in time, it’s going to be based very much on customer sentiment, what we’re learning from medical experts about advances and dealing with the virus, and when people are comfortable buying and sitting back in the middle seats -- and that’s going to take a number of months," Bastion explained.

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