Delta Rolling Back How Far Back Passengers Can Recline Seats

The airline is hoping to eliminate one of the most annoying things about flying

Airline seats
More airlines are taking trans-Atlantic flights for less cash and leg room. (Nicolas Economou/ SOPA Images/ LightRocket via Getty)
By Evan Bleier / April 15, 2019 9:24 am

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In a move that is designed to give all passengers more room to watch TV, eat, drink and use their airline-approved devices, Delta is cutting back the amount customers can recline their seats.

The recline rollback will debut on Delta’s fleet of Airbus A320 jets which usually fly domestic routes that are shorter than two hours and don’t generally have sleeping passengers.

In economy class, seats — including those with extra-legroom —  will recline two inches, down from four. In first class, seats will go from a five-inch to a 3.5-inch recline.

A portion of the retrofitted fleet of Airbus A320s, which have 157 seats in all, took off over the weekend and the rest will hit the skies within the next two months. Though the recline reduction program is a test, it is an open-ended one and could lead to Delta making the change on more of its planes down the road.

“This is not a push to add seats to the cabin or find a way to reduce the pitch of the seats,” Ekrem Dimbiloglu, director of onboard product and customer experience, told Skift. “It’s about ensuring an optimal experience.”

Delta plans to monitor the program using customer surveys and could make some tweaks to it if needed.

“Maybe we will stay at these two inches or maybe we will find a happy medium between two and four,” Dimbiloglu said.

On behalf of knees everywhere, thanks Delta.

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