As the spread of COVID-19 remains a big risk in air travel, Delta decided to extend its social distancing policy. Not only on the ground, but also in the air. This means a limited amount of passengers and some seats will remain empty during the flight. The airline announced to keep this policy in effect until at least January 2021.
Social distancing is nowadays the norm in many countries. That doesn’t go for aviation. At the airport, social distancing policies are enforced as much as possible. However, flights may operate at full capacity in terms of seats. This means that, in theory, flights could depart with all seats occupied, which implies no social distancing at all. Face masks are mandatory. Although there is no common agreement in public opinion on the effectiveness of face masks to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Delta Air Lines has announced to continue its social distancing efforts, especially during flights. In Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin middle seats are unavailable. This means:
- For customers in parties of 1-2: Blocked middle seats for safety.
- For customers in parties of 3 or more: Middle seats will appear as available for booking, to allow families and travel companions to select seats together.
“Medical experts, including our own partners at Emory Healthcare, agree – more distance on board makes a difference. We believe that taking care of our customers and employees and restoring confidence in the safety of air travel is more important right now than filling up every seat on a plane. We’ll continue taking a thoughtful, layered approach ensuring customers know to expect the highest standard of care as they prepare for their holiday travels.”Bill Lentsch, Chief Customer Experience Officer at Delta Air Lines
Furthermore, Delta limits the number of customers on board all aircraft. For instance, in First Class the cabin’s capacity is only 50%. Delta One will be offered at full capacity from 1 October 2020. On aircraft that don’t have a middle seat, one aisle of seats is blocked. On routes where demand increases, Delta will upsize to larger aircraft where possible or add more flights.