Delta Will Stop Blocking Middle Seats in 2021
Update 2/8/21: Delta has extended this curtesy until April 30, 2021.
Delta Air Lines has so far promised to block middle seats through at least January 6, 2021. That is longer that any other domestic airline. But, the policy is likely to go away sometime in the first half of 2021, Delta CEO Ed Bastian confirmed on the airline’s September quarter earnings call this week.
According to Bastian, “consumer sentiment and confidence in air travel” will ultimately determine when the carrier begins filling planes to capacity, but no specific date was provided, Business Insider reports.
Bastian said the airline will end the policy within the first half of 2021. He did not give an exact date or clarify what medical statistics will be examined before the decision is made.
Domestic rivals such as United Airlines and American Airlines removed capacity restrictions early in the summer season. JetBlue Airways will keep middle seats blocked until October 15 and Alaska and Southwest are blocking seats through November 30. Delta remains the only major international airline that is still blocking middle seats as a COVID-19 precaution.
The news comes as airlines are seeing higher travel demand in recent weeks. Daily passenger numbers reached almost 1 million on October 11, which is the highest since back in mid March.