Delta Air Lines announced Monday that it will continue to block out the middle seats on its aircraft through April, becoming the only major carrier to continue doing so.
The airline will continue to create space between passengers while also limiting overall capacity on all its flights to ensure "customers can confidently plan and book their spring travel," until at least April 30, the airline said in a statement.
The airline has been offering more space through seat blocking while also reducing the number of people on board each flight since April 2020, the airline said in a statement.
It also remains one of the only major airlines to keep the policy in place amid the ongoing pandemic.
Most major carriers, including Southwest, American, and United, lifted the restriction by the holiday season just months after taking the unprecedented step to block middle seats and create more distance between passengers.
Just last month, Alaska Airlines became the latest airline to no longer block middle seats in the main cabin. The airline had pointed to "several" scientific studies suggesting how masks, in addition to onboard air circulation and HEPA-filtration, keep passengers safe "even when every seat is occupied on an aircraft."
|DAL||DELTA AIR LINES, INC.||40.30||-0.15||-0.37%|
|LUV||SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.||49.47||+0.09||+0.18%|
|UAL||UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS, INC.||45.95||-0.27||-0.58%|
|AAL||AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP, INC.||19.52||-0.01||-0.05%|
|ALK||ALASKA AIR GROUP, INC.||57.25||+0.31||+0.54%|
All middle seats on any Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin will continue to be blocked for parties of one to two people. However, parties of three or more can continue selecting seats together, the airline said. If an aisle doesn't have a middle seat, it will be entirely blocked off.
“We want our customers to have complete confidence when traveling with Delta, and they continue to tell us that more space provides more peace of mind,” Bill Lentsch, Delta's chief customer experience officer, said.
If Delta sees signs of higher demand for certain flights, the airline will "look for opportunities to upgrade to larger aircraft or add more flying to promote space on board."
Delta will "continue to reassess seat blocking in relation to case transmission and vaccination rates" while it works to bring back other products and services that the airline says will "instill trust in the health and safety of everyone on board."
In addition, to block off seats, Delta says it is working to make it easier for passengers to understand testing requirements and get tested prior to travel by either offering an at-home test or helping passengers find a nearby location for in-person testing. The airline recently expanded its rapid testing centers to Delta hubs in Minneapolis and Detroit in addition to Atlanta, Boston, New York-JFK and Seattle.
Delta's interactive travel map was implemented to help customers understand the latest travel requirements or restrictions, the airline said.
More than 55 airports also have a dedicated team of "clean ambassadors" who are tasked with ensuring a "consistently safe and sanitized experience."