As the CEO of Delta, Ed Bastian said that the airline will keep middle seats open beyond September. To follow social distancing on the aircraft. He is keeping his words but the airline plans to fill more of its seats. So now passengers will not have as much room as they were enjoying all summer.
Recently, Delta updated its coronavirus safety policy. And said the airline commits to blocking middle seats for most passengers through January 6. However, it is the duration that covers most of the busy holiday travel season.
On the other hand, Delta says that it will increase the maximum number of passengers it will put on each flight beginning Oct. 1. The airline isn’t filling each flight if demand is strong, but will cap capacity at 75% percent in the main cabin, up from 60% all summer, through Oct. 31. However, the airline will review the policy again ahead of that date.
Other Airlines Policy on Blocking Seats
Whereas, Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines are two major competitors of Delta. They are blocking seats through October 31, and JetBlue Airways policy goes through October 15.
“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,” Delta Chief Customer Experience Officer Bill Lentsch said in a statement. “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.”
With the extension, Delta has committed to blocking middle seats longer than any of its competitors.
Whereas, American and United are not blocking any seats and whereas they can limit seats due to low travel season. This business will also go down as leisure travel is about to be over and business travel is not expected to fall as previous years.
A United executive has criticized airline seat blocking policies as a marketing ploy.
“Blocking middle seats is a PR strategy, not a safety strategy,’’ Chief Communications Officer Josh Earnest said in July.
Low Financial Performance
This is Delta’s worst financial year in its history. The airline’s quarterly revenues have gone down to $1.5 billion from $12.5 billion which was in the previous year. 91%, to just $1.4 billion from $12.5 billion a year ago.
The airline’s revenue for the April-June quarter is just $1.5 billion, versus $12.5 billion in the same period a year ago. Moreover, passenger counts are down by 93%. The airline has reported a net loss of $5.7 billion, compared with a profit of $1.4 billion last year. However. It is the first major airline to report results for the quarter.