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Delta has just announced a series of new measures which it hopes will help passengers to continue practice social distancing in the air as well as on the ground. These measures include pausing advance complimentary upgrades and blocking seats in most cabins across the airline’s remaining route network.
Delta’s New Social Distancing Measures
Delta is introducing the following measures for the period 13 April – 31 May 2020:
Middle Seats Will Be Blocked
All middle seats in the Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+ and Delta Premium Select will be blocked automatically and will not be available for selection via the Delta website or the Delta app.
Families wishing to sit together (and who would like the middle seat unblocked to allow them to do so) will have to contact Delta’s reservations department before traveling or they’ll have to discuss their request with an agent at the gate.
Fewer Passengers On Each Flight
Delta says that it is “reducing the number of customers on each flight” but it hasn’t gone on to say how this is being done.
Presumably, the blocking of middle seats will reduce each aircraft’s capacity significantly but with fewer and fewer people taking to the skies anyway, I’d expect any passenger number reduction to be mostly organic.
Advance Upgrades Will Be Paused
Medallion members who are entitled to a complimentary upgrade courtesy of their status (or a credit card) will no longer see those upgrades processed in advance. all complimentary upgrades will now be processed at the gate (in the order they would have been processed under normal circumstances) to allow gate agents “to determine how to best seat customers while considering social distancing and aircraft weight-and-balance restrictions“.
I like these measures. They seem fair and appropriate to the situation around us but it’s worth noting that, for once, Delta is significantly behind the other 2 big US airlines.
United announced social distancing measures in the middle of March and American Airlines followed suit a week later so I’m not sure why it has taken Delta (usually a leader) this long to join in. Still, better late than never.
There should be very little reason for most people not to make their seating requests ahead of the date of departure so please don’t leave this until the last minute. Gate agents have enough on their plates right now and will have even more to do when they have to process the complimentary upgrades, so having groups turn up at the gate demanding to be seated together when they could have easily arranged this in the preceding days will be annoying. It will also be incredibly selfish and thoughtless.
Don’t be that group.
Also, when it comes to the complimentary upgrades being issued at the gate can passengers please leave their egos at home? I’ve been hearing a lot of stories of over-entitled elites behaving appallingly at gates around the world and that’s simply unacceptable.
It’s unacceptable at the best of times let alone when the world is in the midst of a major crisis so please just assume that the gate agent is doing their best and don’t play the “do you know how much I spend with this airline” card if your upgrade doesn’t clear – upgrades that don’t clear are really not a big deal right now and you just look like a jackass when you cause a scene.
It’s good to see airlines taking more and more measures to protect customers while they’re in the air as every little thing that we do to hinder the progress of the virus is a step in the right direction.
You can do your bit too – if you know someone who’s traveling and who doesn’t really need to travel please try to talk them out of it. The fewer people that interact with one another the better it is and we don’t need people taking unnecessary trips when social distancing is the way to go.