Delta Air Lines has announced that beginning this week it is limiting capacity to reduce the overall number of customers in every cabin across the fleet. The carrier says through June 30 it is capping the number of first class seats at 50 percent and in other cabins at 60 percent.
Seats will be blocked aboard narrow-body and regional jet aircraft starting this week; blocks for the two-seat sections of wide-body aircraft will start in the coming weeks. Window and aisle seats will be blocked on aircraft configured with 1-2, 2-2 and 2-3 seating. The airlines says that customers booking a future seat selection through the Fly Delta app or online will see blocked seats indicated as unavailable or not assignable.
Last month, Delta stopped selling all middle seats and paused automatic, advance Medallion Complimentary upgrades. These will now be processed at the gate. The airline advises customers who want to be seated directly next to their travel companions or who need additional assistance to talk to an agent upon arriving at the gate.
The question of what to do with middle seats in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a contentious one, with the International Air Transport Association issuing recommendations that advise against blocking the middle seats, while Frontier Airlines has bowed to public pressure, scrapping plans to charge a fee to keep the seat empty.