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Thursday airline updates: Delta waves goodbye to middle seats

written by Dylan Nicholson | April 9, 2020

Delta has temporarily stopped allocating passengers middle seats as it moves towards increasing social distancing measures on its flights.

Starting 13 April through 31 May, the following temporary changes were announced by Delta and will go into effect to further promote a safe flying experience:

  • Blocking middle seats in Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+ and Delta Premium Select across all flights. When booking your future seat selection via the Fly Delta App or online, middle seats will be shown as unavailable;
  • Reducing the number of customers on each flight;
  • Pausing automatic, advance Medallion Complimentary Upgrades. These will now be processed at the gate – still in priority order – to allow gate agents to determine how to best seat customers while considering social distancing and aircraft weight-and-balance restrictions; and
  • Customers who want to practice social distancing can explore options via the Fly Delta App or at delta.com. Customers who prefer to be seated directly next to travel companions and family members or needing additional assistance should contact Reservations ahead of travel or talk to a Delta agent upon arriving at the gate.
Delta Orders State-of-the-Art, Fuel-Efficient Bombardier C Series (PRNewsFoto/Delta Air Lines)
Delta Orders State-of-the-Art, Fuel-Efficient Bombardier C Series (PRNewsFoto/Delta Air Lines)

In other airline announcements:

  • Virgin Atlantic will halt all passenger services for just under a week this month. This suspension will come into place between 20 and 26 April amid the impact that the coronavirus pandemic is having on the British carrier.
  • JetBlue has today announced that it will be consolidating flights to just one or two major airports of the country’s five largest destinations. The announcement comes after the airline’s decision to cut its services by 80 per cent in April and park more than 40 per cent of its fleet.
  •  After Air Canada moved to reduce its workforce by 50 per cent, or 16,500 employees, the Canadian government has come to the rescue. Canada’s emergency wage subsidy has being extended to cover large companies like Air Canada and will assist with rehiring employees or ensuring those who are furloughed can be paid.
  • Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways announced schedule cuts following the declaration of a state of emergency in seven prefectures.
  • The chief executive of Austrian Airlines has said that he does not see demand after the COVID-19 pandemic recovering until at least 2023.
  • The LATAM group has cancelled an order for 10 A350s.
  • SaudiGulf Airlines has cancelled orders for 16 A220s.

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