Delta Air Lines is cutting in half the amount by which passengers can recline their seats on its fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft.
"As part of Delta's continued efforts to make the in-flight experience more enjoyable, Delta is testing a small change to its A320 aircraft — adjusting the recline throughout to make multitasking easier," the Delta representative said.
The Points Guy first reported the move in an interview with Delta director of onboard product and customer experience Ekrem Dimbiloglu published on April 12.
Coach seats will be able to recline by two inches, down from four inches, and first-class seats will be able to recline by 3.5 inches, down from 5.4 inches, the Delta representative said. Dimbiloglu told The Points Guy that Delta would begin adjusting the seats on Airbus A320 aircraft on April 13. The adjustment process is expected to take around two months, Dimbiloglu said.
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By reducing a seat's ability to recline, Delta is engaging with a fundamental question at the heart of passenger comfort in the airline industry: Do passengers prefer the ability to recline, or freedom from the possibility that the passenger in front of them will recline to an extent that will take up too much of their space?
The move is designed to make it easier for passengers to use their laptops or watch content on the screens embedded in the backs of seats, Dimbiloglu said. Delta will not reduce legroom or add seats to its A320s in response to the seat-incline adjustment.
"Delta has no plans to add seats or reduce space between rows with this test – it's all about protecting customers' personal space and minimizing disruptions to multitasking in-flight," the Delta representative said.
Around 7% of Delta's total fleet consists of Airbus A320s, according to Airfleets.net. The airline has 62 A320s and 897 total planes.
Delta's A320s are most often used for short and medium-haul flights of around one-to-two hours that are popular among business travelers, the Delta representative said.