Watching airlines adapt to the current conditions have been fascinating. We’ve seen airlines implement policies and other airlines follow suit shortly thereafter. We’ve also seen airlines go out on a limb and implement bold policies.
Delta just made a decision that fits squarely in the latter…
DELTA CONTINUES TO BLOCK SEATS
Delta announced they will counter the trend and continue blocking middle seats through 30 March 2021, an extension of their current policy that expires at the beginning of January.
For comparison among US airlines, there are three other airlines that have implemented some form of policy concerning seat blocking — Alaska, JetBlue, and Southwest — with the following expiration dates:
- Alaska Airlines: policy currently expires 6 January 2021
- JetBlue: policy currently expires 7 January 2021
- Southwest: policy currently expires 1 December 2020
And at the time of publication, no additional extensions have been announced by the aforementioned carriers so Delta is in a league of its own.
IS THIS STRATEGY PAYING OFF FOR DELTA?
While airlines may not have been losing much money when they first implemented a seat blocking policy – and only ~90,000 passengers were flying – I have to wonder if this strategy is paying off for Delta recognizing that more than a million daily passengers returned to the skies yesterday alone.
Understanding that airlines have slashed the amount of planes actually flying means that more passengers are being crammed into planes.
Additionally, American and United aren’t blocking seats so focusing solely on financial results, this has been a huge gamble for Delta.
And for what it’s worth, Delta’s financial results haven’t great:
- Delta Air Lines reported a $534 million loss for the first quarter of 2020
- Delta Air Lines reported a $3.9 billion loss for the second quarter of 2020
- Delta Air Lines reported a $2.6 billion loss for the third quarter of 2020
Delta has announced they will counter the trend and continue blocking middle seats through 30 March 2021, an extension of their current policy that expires at the beginning of January.
What do you think about this policy extension? Are you / have you been willing to pay the premium to have the middle seat blocked?
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I continue to only fly Delta because of this policy. It usually means I have to add a layover which I’d still prefer over having the middle seat occupied. And the premium I pay is still less than what I was paying for air travel a year ago.
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going out on a limb…but I think you’re part of the majority.
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