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Delta announced this morning that it will extend its pandemic-related middle seat blocking through at least the end of April 2021.
This is yet another extension of their industry leading middle-seat blocking policy that both adheres to science and also, perhaps more importantly, makes customers feel safer. Southwest and Alaska, two airlines that blocked longer than most, both ended their middle seat blocking policies by the start of 2021.
As for the science, actual evidence does bear out that the risk of catching COVID-19 on-board is absolutely reduced when the middle seat is blocked, by a factor of 1.8.
But the goodwill this engenders may be even more important. I have no idea how much this move is costing them, but they are long term focused on providing customers with experiences that keep them flying Delta.
As a reminder, Delta’s policy is as follows:
- Limit the total number of customers on board all aircraft – with or without middle seats.
- Block adjacent seats in First Class.
- Block one aisle of seats on aircraft without middle seats.
Even when I go on the attack against Delta’s SkyMiles program, which I do every time they destroy that program even more than the last time, I always simultaneously point out that they may well have the best domestic flying experience – and elite experience – of any US airline.
This middle seat blocking extension shows that second part in spades.
What do you think?
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