Delta is reducing seat recline, even in first class, on all Airbus A320 jets. Is this a good or bad move?
First reported by Scott Mayerowitz of The Points Guy, Delta will start dropping seat pitch today on all 62 of its A320 aircraft. Economy class seats currently recline four inches (from the top of the seat). That recline will be halved to two inches. In first class, seat recline will drop from 5.5 inches to 3.5 inches. It will take about two months to retool all of Delta’s A320s.
You might be asking why. Why would Delta make such a change? Is this a ruse to reduce seat pitch?
No, no, no says Delta. Instead, Delta claims this move is about preventing passengers from suddenly reclining in such a way that the passengers behind are disturbed. I’ve had many near-misses with my laptop almost being crushed due to sudden recline by the passenger in front of me and this is what Delta says it wants to prevent. Delta also reasons that it will be easier to watch seatback IFE with less recline.
A Delta spokesperson told Mayerowtiz:
It’s really not at all a gateway to reducing your legroom. That is not the intent here. If we were adding seats, or something else, the cynics would be correct. But this is really about more personal space.
The spokesperson also stressed that A320s fly mostly on shorter 1-2 hour routes in the USA, so this will not negatively impact redeye flights or longer transcontinental flights.
Good Or Bad Move?
I’m of the opinion that this is a smart move. A couple of extra inches of recline does make a difference on longer flights but always comes with a downside. Generous recline, especially in economy class but in “domestic” first class as well, makes it very difficult to get up and use the restroom for those in middle or window seats. Furthermore, the laptop issue is real…and a real annoyance.
For shorter, daytime flights, this represents a reasonable change to impact the most passengers in a positive way. I suspect those who watch TV or movies on seatback screens will also appreciate the easier viewing angle.
Delta could always pull a fast one on us and add more seats, but I doubt it. After all, Delta still only has nine across on its 777-300ERs. United and American have added a tenth seat. Instead, Delta is looking to create a more premium experience onboard and this small change will help to achieve that.
What are your thoughts on Delta reducing seat pitch?