Over time airlines have reduced the seat size and passenger’s personal space in the cabin. At the same time passengers continued to grow, in particular in the USA. Carriers are free to reduce the seat size and the pitch (the distance between rows). But it is remarkable that the conditions for animals transported in the hold are much more regulated.
However, several carriers including Lufthansa and Delta Air Lines have announced they will block middle seats in their aircraft. This will create a much needed increase of personal space in the cabin.
Social distancing in cabin
Thus, for the time being passengers will no longer be sitting shoulder to shoulder. It is great that carriers contribute to lower a little bit the chance to contribute to spreading the coronavirus. Practicing social distancing in a plane suggests that airlines take social responsibility. More distance between passengers implies that a lower chance they will infect each other.
Fewer customers on each flight
Delta wants to be sure that passengers will understand what they are doing. Therefore, the airline writes in a press release that the carrier is reducing the number of customers on each flight. Also, Delta is pausing automatic, advance complimentary upgrades for passengers with a status in its frequent flyer program. The upgrades will now be processed at the gate.
How to fill aircraft
But wait, how many passengers are flying these days? In reality there are very few. Only if it is really necessary to travel by plane some people do it. Airlines have canceled most of their flights, but even so there are not enough flyers to fill their aircraft.
Thus, carriers don’t lose a penny by blocking middle seats. There are simply not sufficient passengers to fill most of the seats. In fact, carriers make a virtue of necessity. Through public relations they are trying to improve their poor customer satisfaction record. In the USA only 3 industries have a lower overall customer satisfaction than the airline industry.
Tags: seat size, personal space, middle seat, pitch