Delta flight changes: Masks required, back-to-front boarding, no middle seating

Delta Air Lines makes changes to prevent spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines (Julian Herzog/Wikimedia Commons)

DETROIT – Delta Air Lines is making several changes to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) among passengers, including requiring masks, boarding from the back to the front and blocking middle seats.

A spokesperson for Delta said the changes are temporary, but they’re designed to keep travelers and employees safe during the pandemic.


Delta is requiring face masks or face coverings for all travelers and employees in the check-in lobby, Delta Sky Club, gate areas, jet bridges and on board the airplanes.

“Delta employees and customers will experience an extra layer of protection starting May 4, as we require all customers to wear a face mask or appropriate face covering when traveling with us,” Delta officials said.

Anyone without a face mask can ask a Delta employee to have one provided.


Delta has recently started boarding from the back of the plane to the front to limit the number of other passengers walking past each other in the aisles.

This was implemented April 10 to reduce the need for customers to pass each another to reach their seats. The measure will be in place at least through June 30 and could be adjusted based on COVID-19 developments.

Pre-boarding still includes those who need extra time and assistance. During the main boarding process, customers will be invited to board by rows, starting from the back of the aircraft and moving forward.

Travelers are asked to help create more space for each other by waiting for their row to be called. Those seated in Delta One or First Class, as well as Diamond Medallion Members, remain welcome to board at any point during the boarding process, while respecting the need to provide space to all customers who are boarding, according to Delta officials.

The new process builds on the metered, or spaced, boarding that began in early April, and boards fewer customers at a time to allow for more distance between them.

No middle seats

Delta is capping seating at 50% capacity in first class and 60% capacity in the main cabin.

The new seating policy will also keep middle seats blocked. On planes without middle seats, Delta will block select aisle and window seats to make space.

The change is effective through at least June 30.

Delta is asking travelers to leave space for people ahead of them to exit.


Delta is using electrostatic sprayers to sanitize every plane before departing.

Officials said this compliments “extensive cleaning measures already in place to clean high-touch areas before every flight.”

The airline is coordinating with the CDC and health organizations to make sure planes are clean.

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