Although, according to a survey by Atmosphere Research, travelers are willing to pay up to 17% more to fly on planes that block middle seats, Delta might stop implementing that exact policy beginning 2021.
Business Insider reports that, during the company's third-quarter earnings call, Delta CEO Ed Bastian announced the probable halting of the policy within the first half of next year. No exact date or medical-related statistics were cited on the call.
Here's what we know so far: Delta is actually the only airline that is still blocking middle seats and has vowed to do so until, at least, January 6, 2021. Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines will stop blocking seats by the end of November while JetBlue will do so on October 15 but then limit flight capacity at 70% through December 1. United Airlines and American Airlines, on the other hand, stopped implementing the policy earlier this summer but they are currently offering passengers the chance to-rebook their tickets without being charged a fee if they find their formerly-reserved flights to be too crowded for their liking.
Delta's decision comes at the heels of a renewed sense of hope for the travel industry. According to the Transportation Security Administration, the number of traveling passengers has been steadily increasing in the past few months, actually surpassing 1 million yesterday for the first time since March 16 of this year. Good news indeed.
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