Like to snooze on flights? Delta may not be the airline for you

By Aimee Picchi

/ MoneyWatch

Delta Air Lines is reducing how far seats recline on some flights as part of an effort to protect the personal space of passengers, according to travel site The Points Guy.

The airline will start retrofitting its Airbus A320 jets on Saturday, which The Points Guy says are typically used on one- to two-hour North American flights. Coach seats will be adjusted to recline 2 inches from the top of the seat, down from 4 inches; first-class seats will be reduced to 3.5 inches from 5.5 inches.

The effort is aimed at providing more room for passengers seated behind other travelers — that could avoid issues like laptops getting dinged, as well as make it easier to watch videos on screens embedded in seat-backs. Delta told The Points Guy that it doesn't plan to reduce legroom or add seats.

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"There's long been a debate among frequent travelers if flyers should have a right to recline or not," Scott Mayerowitz, executive editorial director at The Points Guy, said by email. "Delta appears here to try and strike a balance between those of us who want a little space to work and those who want to take a short nap."

Flights may be more comfortable for passengers, especially those who want to work on their computers, Mayerowitz added. "Anybody who ever tried to work on a plane only to have their laptop screen slammed by the seat in front of them will rejoice at the change."

Delta gets top ranking

Separately, Delta earlier this week was ranked No. 1 in a long-running study that rates U.S. airlines based on how often flights arrive on time and other statistical measures. Researchers also said that as a whole, U.S. airlines are getting better at handling baggage and overcrowded flights, and they're getting fewer complaints.

Delta Air Lines takes top spot in ranking of nation's largest airlines

Academics at Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University released their annual study, now in its 29th year, on Monday. Their Airline Quality Rating used 2018 data collected by the U.S. Transportation Department on rates of on-time arrivals, mishandled baggage, bumping passengers and consumer complaints.

Delta was the only carrier to improve in all four categories, the researchers said. It rose from second place last year.

First published on April 12, 2019 / 12:55 PM

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