Will Delta Offer a Social Distance Section Onboard?

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In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Delta has taken steps to create extra space onboard their flights. Delta is currently blocking middle seats and select aisle/window seats in all cabins in addition to reducing the total number of passengers per flight to between 50% and 60% of capacity depending on aircraft type.

These changes are implemented on all flights through June 30, 2020, however what happens come July? It appears that Delta may be offering a social distance section onboard starting July 1, 2020.

screens screenshot of a flight schedule

Looking at several upcoming flight seat maps after June 30th, it appears that Delta continues to block middle seats in Comfort +, however no such blocking is being done in First Class or the Main Cabin.

Delta could be eyeing turning Comfort + into a social distancing cabin, where the middle seat would be blocked allowing extra space for passengers who prefer not to sit next to someone, similar to European style business class, which essentially blocks the middle seat.

It’s not feasible for Delta to operate with 50% and 60% seating capacities onboard indefinitely, which is why they’re looking at ways to continue offering social distancing onboard for those looking for extra space.

Passengers would have to pay for a Comfort + seat, which depending on the route could be as much as $159 to upgrade from the Main Cabin to Comfort + on a transcontinental flight to have a guaranteed empty middle seat. I also would suspect that Delta will continuing pausing automatic Medallion upgrades to Comfort + if they go in this direction.

a row of seats in an airplane

What are your thoughts on Delta pondering the idea of creating a social distance cabin onboard by blocking the middle seats in Comfort +? Would you be wiling to pay more to be guaranteed an empty seat next to you? Feel free to share your thoughts below. 

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  1. I guess this is what we’ve done on JetBlue for the past 3 years from Ft. Lauderdale to Albany. My husband and I fly in the “More Space” section and always pay for an extra seat, the middle seat, so we have the entire row to ourselves. We pay the going rate for 3 seats. So is Delta going to be cheaper than how we fly on JetBlue?

  2. I think the more exciting question is: When will they restart service in First Class? I think travel will come back faster if they start serving food and drinks again

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