Delta Blocks Middle Seats, Cuts Advance Upgrades

Filed Under: Delta

Delta Air Lines has just announced a series of initiatives intended to help people social distance when flying. These changes apply for flights between April 13 and May 31, 2020 (though I imagine they have the potential to be extended).

So, what all is changing?

Delta is blocking all middle seats

Delta Air Lines will be blocking all middle seats in Main Cabin, Comfort+, and Premium Select, across all flights. When booking future seat selections via Delta, you’ll see that all middle seats show as being unavailable — that’s because of this initiative, and not because they’re actually occupied.

Those customers who prefer to be seated directly next to travel companions and family members can contact Delta reservations ahead of travel, or can talk to a Delta agent upon arriving at the gate.

However, in almost all circumstances I’d rather still have the middle seat blocked, and then once onboard people can always choose to sit next to one another if they prefer.

Delta is also letting people move seats within the same class of service, though they’re asking people to not move further than three rows away (either in front or behind) so there’s no impact on the weight and balance of the aircraft.

Delta is blocking middle seats on all flights

Delta pausing automatic elite upgrades

Delta Air Lines will no longer be processing Medallion complimentary upgrades in advance. These will now be processed at the gate, in the same priority order as usual.

This is being done to allow gate agents to determine how best to seat customers while considering social distancing and aircraft weight and balance restrictions.

I imagine there are some passengers who would prefer to stay in economy if first class is full and the main cabin is empty.

Delta will only process upgrades at the gate

Delta boarding 10 people at a time

While perhaps not as significant as the other changes, Delta Air Lines will be boarding passengers 10 at a time, reminding them to social distance during the boarding process.

This makes perfect sense, since there’s otherwise typically a significant bottleneck on the jet bridge.

Delta will only be boarding 10 passengers at a time

Bottom line

These all seem like reasonable adjustments for Delta to be making. It’s nice to see Delta literally guaranteeing blocked middle seats on all flights, as other airlines have introduced similar initiatives without guarantees.

Furthermore, I totally get why they’ll only process upgrades at the gate, in light of the current situation. That way people can make more informed decisions as to whether or not they’d like an upgrade.

What do you make of Delta’s new social distancing policies?

Comments
  1. why is American such a bad airline, hasn’t extended status, taken any measures like this, just demand our money via bailouts…everyone should jump ship from american

  2. @Nelson, they will block the two middle seats of the 4 seat center block. Saw that on an A330-300 seat map for an AMS-ATL flight.

  3. @Todd, that’s great but what about the other 2 at the window seats? On the other hand I think they will not be overcrowded at that point so they probably can have almost every passenger with no direct neighbor.

  4. Finally blocking the middle seats. This should have been required of all airlines a month ago!!!!!

  5. When I flew Delta in early March I got my complimentary upgrade when we were 4/12 full in F (plenty of room to distance ourselves). Then the gate agent upgraded all the non-revs and we were 12/12 with only 7 passengers in the main cabin. I didn’t want be around people unnecessarily so I asked to be re-seated in an empty C+ row. I wonder if they’re still upgrading non-revs to the detriment of paying passengers who receive an upgrade.

  6. At this uncertain times.may we please just be happy and thankful for what is before us in everything.Whether you a non rev or a paying passenger .does that really matter whole others are I. The verge of dying.Our FA are trying their best to accommodate all and surely they as nervous as we all are.God bless all

  7. At this uncertain times.may we please just be happy and thankful for what is before us in everything.Whether you a non rev or a paying passenger .does that really matter while others are in The verge of dying.Our FA are trying their best to accommodate all and surely they are as nervous as we all are.God bless all

  8. I don’t like the upgrading at the gate now. I have an overweight bag over 50 pounds that I will have to pay an extra $100 for now. Before I would buy the cheapest fare other than basic economy and then usually get the upgrade the day before. Then my overweight bag is free. Can’t do that anymore which sucks.

  9. They should be blocking out F seats as well so instead of 2:2 on a narrow body, its now 1:1.

  10. Limiting boarding to 10 passengers at a time? I bet most flights don’t even have 10 passengers on the entire plane. This is a gimmick to get Delta PR coverage. What are they doing in 2×2 aircraft? And don’t get me started on not serving booze in first-class. United and American still has wine.

  11. @Jim. Uh maybe because they are trying to save jobs or help employees who are struggling financially. Dont be lame.

  12. “These changes apply for flights between April 13 and May 31, 2020.”

    This is a laugh…although it’s not funny. If airline(s) were sincere, they would remove the middle seats permanently and provide “social distancing” by removing rows of seats.

    While no one is flying, they fake it that they are doing something positive for passengers?

    Let’s face it — this very contagious COVID-19 deadly virus was spread by airlines, aka “by travel.” And, it looks like they want to keep the status quo.

  13. So how does blocking a middle seat probably no more than 60-70 cm wide in economy make one gram of difference. Social distancing is meant to be 2 meters. People are on a small steel tube, despite air being circulated every 3 mins it make no difference like literally none

  14. Because you know suddenly it’s safe to remove the middle-seat on April 13 than April 12 and to re-seat people in the middle-seat on June 1 than May 31. #gimmick

  15. I flew back home few days back. Gloves, mask and all. Again this trip was very necessary bc a dying father. I’d rather not fly and rather choose to just be quarantined in my condo with family nuclei. Which was before and now. But point is, my flight from LAX to Atlanta had 7 passengers and flight to West Palm I was 1 of 3. So I don’t think it will really matter of having to worry about keeping distance regardless the aircraft type your on. The world is basically shutdown from a very easily spread invisible enemy, no one should be worrying about traveling or even traveling at this moment, yet alone status. Bunker / hunker down and we will all get thru this.

  16. AA is selling ALL seats in revenue producing upgrade sections. Money first.
    AA has been worse than a pain. They sold me seats on flights that they knew were already cancelled..They simply lied through their teeth.
    I assume they are planning on holding onto that money similar to how they are handling flight cancellations.
    So dishonest.

  17. Upgrading to First I can deal with, not getting upgraded at booking to C+ (as PM or DM) is going too far. Most planes I fly have the same seat arrangements for Main as they have for Comfort +. Further, my flights were cancelled on which I already had C+ and I was forced to reschedule and now I only get Main on a very long International flight and havelock hope to get C+. So I rescheduled to fly on KLM and did get their version of C+ right after booking.

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