Delta Air Lines has extended its caps on seating capacity through Sept. 30, allowing more space for social distancing to lessen the spread of the novel coronavirus. The cap, which limits seating at 50 percent in First Class, 60 percent in Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+, and Delta Premium Select, and 75 percent in Delta One, was originally set to expire at the end of June.
The policy of blocking the availability of middle seats which was announced in April, will also continue, along with some aisle seats in aircraft with 2-2 configurations.
“Reducing the overall number of customers on every aircraft across the fleet is one of the most important steps we can take to ensure a safe experience for our customers and people,” according to Delta’s chief customer experience officer Bill Lentsch.
The airline says that on routes where rising demand is pushing load factors close to caps, they will “look for opportunities to upsize to a larger aircraft type or add more flying.”
Limiting seating capacity onboard flights is one of several steps Delta has taken over the past few months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other measures include:
Boarding all flights from back to front, reducing the instances of customers passing by one another to reach their seats.
Requiring customers and employees to wear face coverings throughout the travel journey, a move which has become an industry-wide recommendation.
Installing plexiglass shields at all Delta check-in counters, in Delta Sky Clubs and at gate counters across the globe.
Adding social distance markers in public areas, at the gate and down the jetbridge.
Using electrostatic spraying on every flight prior to boarding. By summer the same measures will be used in all Delta airports in the US. This in addition to frequent wiping down of check-in lobbies, self-service kiosks, gate counters and baggage claims.
As part of the original capacity limits announced in April, Delta put a pause on automatic Medallion upgrades. Starting June 10, the airlines says it is resuming automatic, advance Medallion Complimentary Upgrades to Delta One (domestic US), First Class and Delta Comfort+, subject to availability and as permitted by the seat caps. Under the earlier restrictions, the upgrades were being managed at the gate.