Delta Will Start Blocking Aisle and Window Seats to Promote Social Distancing

Delta will now block certain window and aisle seats from being booked, in addition to all middle seats, in an effort to maintain social distancing for passengers while flying.

In a press release Tuesday, the airline announced the specifics of its seat blocking measures. In first-class, 50 percent of all seats will be blocked off. In the main cabin, 40 percent of the seats will be blocked and unavailable for booking.

Since mid-April, Delta and many other airlines began blocking the middle seat to encourage social distancing in the cabin. Now, Delta is expanding the measure to select window and aisle seats — meaning that smaller airplanes will have blocked seating, too. In the coming weeks, all of Delta’s fleet will have some version of blocked seating, no matter the size of the aircraft. So those smaller airplanes with only 2×2 seating will encourage distance between passengers, too.

“Limiting the number of people you pass on the way to your seat and providing you with additional space is a priority,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian explained in a letter to customers. He also encouraged passengers to maintain social distancing when waiting to deplane.

The socially distanced seating measures will continue until at least June 30.

On narrowbody and regional jet aircraft, passengers will not be able to book select seats. When passengers try to select seats during booking or check-in, they will see much of the cabin is unavailable or not assignable. Passengers who need to be seated next to a travel companion are encouraged to speak to a gate agent at the airport for new seats.

In addition to capping cabin capacity, Delta has also significantly trimmed its flight offerings. The airline cut 15 percent of its domestic capacity in response to decreased travel demand. The airline also now requires that passengers wear facemasks in the airport and while onboard.

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