Delta Is Cutting Seat Recline in Half on All A320 Planes

One small win for the person trying to use a laptop behind you, one giant loss for your on-board nap.

Delta Is Cutting Seat Recline in Half on All A320 Planes

Seat recline on Delta’s A320 planes is being cut drastically.

Photo by EQRoy / Shutterstock

Within days of being named the best airline in the United States and announcing its first-quarter profits were up 31 percent this year, Delta has made another major announcement. This one, however, is less likely to make its passengers happy.

Starting tomorrow, Delta will begin retrofitting its fleet of Airbus A320 planes to reduce the amount of recline on seats in economy and first class, The Points Guy reports. Once the two-month process is completed on all 62 of Delta’s A320s, economy-class seats will recline just two inches instead of four inches. Recline in first class seats will be cut from five inches down to three and a half inches.

However, Delta says the changes are being made to make flying more comfortable—at least for the people sitting behind you. By cutting the amount its seats can recline, it’ll be easier for passengers to use their laptops and watch their seatback screens without being disturbed by someone adjusting their chair abruptly or reclining fully.

So far, the reaction from frequent fliers on social media seems to be overwhelmingly positive.

FINALLY. I only recline my seat if there’s nobody behind me, yet 99% of the time the person in front of me wants to be in my lap like I’m their mama. Thank you @Delta, from someone who’s on a #plane at least once a week.#amflying #amtraveling #delta — Jessica Mehta (@ndnS4VAGE) April 12, 2019

I really don’t mind this at all! I am always behind the aggressive fully recline guy so win win here!! Keeping seat pitch unchanged should really be the story here. Way to go @Delta — Blue Enigma (@BlueEnigma) April 12, 2019

The airline says that it won’t be adding more seats to the planes with these new changes, so your legroom won’t be affected.

“It’s really not at all a gateway to reducing your legroom. That is not the intent here,” Ekrem Dimbiloglu, Delta’s director of onboard product and customer experience, told The Points Guy. “If we were adding seats, or something else, the cynics would be correct. But this is really about more personal space.”

Delta decided to test these changes out on its A320 fleet because these jets are mostly used on routes within North America that last only one or two hours and are frequented by business travelers. While it has no plans to change the amount the seats on its international fleet can recline, if passenger feedback isn’t too negative, Delta could possibly cut back seat recline on its entire domestic fleet eventually.

>> Next: How Airline Upgrades Are Bringing Class Back to Economy Class

Lyndsey Matthews is the senior commerce editor at AFAR who covers travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.
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