Delta Air Lines will continue to block middle seats through March 2021, the carrier announced on Wednesday, making it one of the last remaining airlines to limit capacity well into next year.
CEO Ed Bastain told Good Morning America the airline made the decision “because customers tell us that adds confidence to their travel experience.”
“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,” Bill Lentsch, Delta’s chief customer experience officer, said in a news release.
“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.”
Previously, Delta had committed to block the middle seat into the middle of 2021.
The news comes as JetBlue officially announced it will end its own seat blocking policy January 2021. Joanna Geraghty, president and COO of the airline, announced the news last week, citing research from Harvard and the Department of Defense.
JetBlue had previously announced it would cap on-board capacity at 70% and no longer promise that middle or adjacent seats would be kept empty from Oct. 15 through Dec. 1.
During the “busy holiday season” from Dec. 2 to Jan. 7, 2021, the airline will bump its onboard capacity limit up to 85%. From Jan. 8 on, all seats will be available for customers to book.
Southwest said it stop blocking middle seats on Dec. 1. Alaska Air has committed to blocking seats until Jan. 6. Meanwhile, United and American Airlines have not blocked middle seats on flights since July.