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Delta Will Continue To Block Middle Seats Amid Virus Surge
Delta Airlines will not be allowing passengers to reserve the middle seat on flights anytime soon.
The airline recently announced that it would continue to block the middle seat through March 30, 2021, to provide more space and an extra layer of protection for customers. Delta says it’s “the only U.S. airline blocking the middle seats” through the beginning of next year.
“Several independent studies have validated the effectiveness of the Delta CareStandard’s multi-layered protection, like advanced ventilation and an extensive cleaning regimen, which together significantly reduce the risk of flight-related transmission,” said Bill Lentsch, Chief Customer Experience Officer. “However, we recognize some customers are still learning to live with this virus and desire extra space for their peace of mind. We are listening and will always take the appropriate steps to ensure our customers have complete confidence in their travel with us.”
What are the other airlines doing?
Alaska and Hawaiian Airlines are also blocking middle seats. While there’s no end date on Hawaiian Airlines’ website, Alaska will limit booking the middle seat through Jan. 6, 2021.
Southwest Airlines will block the middle seat through Nov. 30, 2020.
Meanwhile, American and United Airlines are allowing customers to book the middle seat. American says it is “encouraging physical distancing at the gate and while boarding the plane.”
United has not committed to blocking the middle seats, but says it is providing individual hand sanitizer wipes for customers, and de-planing in groups of five rows at a time to reduce crowding.”
JetBlue is blocking the “vast majority” of middle seats on its larger planes, and “most” aisle seats on smaller aircraft through Dec. 1, 2020.
All major U.S. airlines—including Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, and United—have mandatory mask policies with strict enforcement rules.
Research conducted by the U.S. government found that the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 during a flight is “extremely unlikely.” According to the study, travelers on longer flights also face minimal risk of exposure. Only passengers seated next to someone with the virus are at higher risk.