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Delta Has a Solution for Disgruntled Flyers

Delta Has a Solution for Disgruntled Flyers
Joe Cortez

Delta Air Lines wants to make short-haul economy seats more comfortable by reducing how far back they recline. The pilot project will start on the airline’s fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft and could expand to the entire fleet based on feedback from regular flyers.

Delta Air Lines is beginning an experiment to make economy class seating feel more spacious. In an interview with Skift, the Atlanta-based carrier announced it would soon begin limiting seat recline on their Airbus A320 fleet.

According to SeatGuru, seat pitch in Delta’s economy section ranges from 30 to 34 inches, depending on the aircraft. For the pilot project, the airline will reduce seat recline on 62 aircraft flying select business travel routes under two hours. Economy seats – including those in Delta Comfort+ – will recline by only two inches, while first class seats will go back by 3.5 inches.

The goal is to allow travelers to feel like they have more room to work, eat, watch in-flight entertainment or relax. Delta’s first airframe with the new seat plan will take flight over the weekend of April 12, 2019, with the remainder of seats set to be adjusted over the next two months.

Ekrem Dimbiloglu, director of onboard product and customer experience at Delta, told Skift that the airline did not want to add seats by reducing seat recline. Instead, the airline wants to create “an optimal experience” for passengers.

FlyerTalkers are cautiously optimistic about the new plan. “Obviously the superior solution would be to increase pitch,” writes forum member ethernal. “But Delta is not going to do that, so I’ll take it.” While FlyerTalker lucycan says: “100% supportive. There is simply no reason to recline your seat on a flight less than a few hours long.”

Delta will monitor passengers’ feelings on the new seats through surveys after the flight. If the test is successful, it could be possible for the reduced recline to be expanded to additional aircraft.

Is this the right move to improve comfort aboard Delta flights? Make your voice heard on the FlyerTalk forums!

[Image Source: Wikimedia/ Aero Icarus]

View Comments (8)


  1. SpartyAir

    April 14, 2019 at 5:33 am

    Take notice United! This time it’s the proper time to mimic Delta. Follow your normal action of copying Delta.

    This is a good start, but airlines need to install no-recline seats in the first several rows of both coach and business class.

  2. jayer

    April 14, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    The best of two bad choices.

  3. Jrostern

    April 15, 2019 at 6:02 am

    Great, now can Delta ask their crews to actually have people put their seats upright before landing and for takeoff? Last month I was on at least 3 flights where I landed or took off with the passenger in front of me reclined.

  4. ptcflyer

    April 15, 2019 at 8:48 am

    After reading the headline, I thought Delta was gong to take care of disgruntled passengers by telling them to fly another airline. I think I might have been close.

  5. N1120A

    April 15, 2019 at 10:40 am

    You mean they want to make flying less comfortable

  6. zitsky

    April 17, 2019 at 7:33 am

    I must be the only one who doesn’t like this. I don’t believe Delta, Down the road, they will add seats. You’ll see.

  7. Barks

    April 17, 2019 at 11:10 am

    First, reducing recline isn’t going to give any economy pax the feeling that they have more room to work. If you’re taller than 5’2″, your knees are going to rub, and you’ll struggle to retrieve items from your under-seat storage. It’s a fact of life. They’re cramming us in like lemmings, and we’re just going to have to adapt.

    And, yeah, I do see them adding seats eventually.

  8. divrdrew

    April 18, 2019 at 9:23 am

    I don’t like this either. It’s bad enough that we are packed in like sardines. One of the redeeming factors is that you can ‘stretch’ out a bit by reclining your seat. It’s common courtesy to keep it up during meal times, but on domestic flights, there are no real ‘meals’ in coach anyways. First, let’s reduce the pitch and width and pack in more seats. Then let’s reduce the recline and tell the passengers its for their own benefit. Just another “enhancement.”

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