Delta is to introduce a raft of social distancing measures both on the ground and inflight, as part of the carrier’s fight against the spread of coronavirus.

The changes – which are being made “in keeping with current health-expert recommendations” – include blocking the middle seat on all flights in Main Cabin, Delta Comfort + and Delta Premium Select cabins.

For flights between April 13 and May 31, middle seats will be shown as unavailable when selecting seats online or via the Fly Delta App, although the carrier says that “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 notes that the social distancing measures are being balanced with aircraft weight requirements, meaning that customers will still need to be seated within the same class of service and within three rows (in front or behind) of their assigned seat.

Further to the above, the carrier is reducing the number of customers on each flight (although it does not say by how much), and is pausing automatic, advance Medallion Complimentary Upgrades, which will now be processed at the gate, allowing agents “to determine how to best seat customers while considering social distancing and aircraft weight-and-balance restrictions”.

Other measures, several of which have already been reported by Business Traveller, include:

Earlier this week Delta extended the tier status privileges within its Sky Miles programme, meaning that members will enjoy the same loyalty benefits throughout 2021 as they have in 2020.