With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Delta will continue to block the middle seat on airplanes “well into next year,” said Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian on Wednesday.
“We’re one of the few airlines in the world still that’s blocking the middle seat and capping the load factors on our plane at somewhere around two-thirds of the normal capacity,” Bastian told Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo on “Mornings with Maria.”
According to the CEO, Delta customers “feel great comfort” with the “extra space” and plans to keep the policy “well into next year.”
In an August statement, the airline extended its policy on middle seat blocks into January 2021.
“We’re extending one of our key health and safety protocols this winter holiday season by blocking the selection of middle seats and limiting the number of customers per flight through at least Jan. 6, 2021,” the statement said.
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“Medical experts, including our own partners at Emory Healthcare, agree – more distance on board makes a difference,” said Bill Lentsch, Chief Customer Experience Officer, as shown in the statement.
“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,” Lentsch added.
Bastian explained that they haven’t decided when next year would be the right time to start selling the middle seat. However, “at this point in time, it’s going to be based very much on customer sentiment, what we’re learning from medical experts about advances and dealing with the virus, and when people are comfortable buying and sitting back in the middle seats – and that’s going to take a number of months.”